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the time carelessly” as well as studiously " in the golden age” of our poetry.
[lines sent from the Country with two unfinished Comedies,
which deferred their merry meetings at the Mermaid.] “ The sun which doth the greatest comfort bring
To absent friends, because the self-same thing
They know they see, however absent is,
(Here our best hay-maker, forgive me this,
It is our country style) in this warm shine
I lie and dream of your full Mermaid wine:
Oh, we have water mixt with claret lees,
Drink apt to bring in drier heresies
Than here, good only for the sonnet's strain,
With fustian metaphors to stuff the brain :
Think with one draught a man's invention fades,
Two cups had quite spoild Homer's Iliads.
'Tis liquor that will find out Sutclift's wit,
Like where he will, and make him write worse yet:
Filld with such moisture, in most grievous qualms *
Did Robert Wisdom write his singing psalms :
And so must I do this: and yet I think
It is a potion sent us down to drink
By special providence, keep us from fights,
Make us not laugh when we inake legs to knights ;
'Tis this that keeps our minds fit for our states,
A medicine to obey our magistrates.
* So in Rochester's Epigram,
• Sternhold and Hopkins had great qualms,
When they translated David's Psalms.”
Held up at tennis, which men do the best
With the best gamesters. What things have we seen
Done at the Mermaid! Hard words that have been
So nimble, and so full of subtile flame,
As if that every one from whence they came
Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,
And bad resolv'd to live a fool the rest
Of his dull life; then when there hath been thrown
Wit able enough to justify the town
For three days past, wit that might warrant be
For the whole city to talk foolishly,
Till that were cancell'd; and when that was gone,
We left an air behind us, which alone
Was able to make the two next companies
Right witty, though but downright fools more wise."
I shall not in this place repeat Marlowe's ce
“ Come live with me and be my love," nor Sir Walter Raleigh's no less celebrated answer to it (they may both be found in Walton's Complete Angler, accompanied with scenery and remarks worthy of them); but I
may quote as a specimen of the high and romantic tone in which the poets of this age thought and spoke of each other the “ Vision upon the conceipt of the Fairy Queen," understood to be by Sir Walter Raleigh.
Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay,
Within that temple, where the vestal flame
Was wont to buru, and passing by that way
To see that buried dust of living fame,
Whose tomb fair Love, and fairer Virtue kept.
All suddenly I saw the Faery Queen:
At whose approach the soul of Petrarch wept;
And from thenceforth those Graces were not seen,
For they this queen attended, in whose stead
Oblivion laid him down on Laura's hearse.
Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,
And groans of buried ghosts the Heav'ns did pierce,
Where Homer's spright did tremble all for grief,
And curst th' access of that celestial thief.”
A higher strain of compliment cannot well be conceived than this, which raises your idea even of that which it disparages in the comparison, and makes you feel that nothing could have torn the writer from his idolatrous enthusiasm for Petrarch and his Laura's tomb, but Spenser's magic verses and diviner Faery Queen-the one lifted above mortality, the other brought from the skies!
The name of Drummond of Hawthornden is in a manner entwined in cypher with that of Ben Jonson. He has not done himself or Jonson any credit by his account of their conversation ; but his Sonnets are in the highest degree elegant, harmonious, and striking. It appears to me that they are more in the manner of Petrarch than any others that we have, with a certain intenseness in the sentiment, an occasional glitter of thought,
and uniform terseness of expression. The reader
may judge for himself from a few examples.
" I know that all beneath the moon decays,
And what by mortals in this world is wrought
In time's great periods shall return to nought;
That fairest states have fatal nigbts and days.
I kpow that all the Muse's heavenly lays,
With toil of spright which are so dearly bought,
As idle scunds, of few or none are sought;
That there is nothing lighter than vain praise.
I know frail beauty's like the purple flow'r,
To which one morn oft birth and death affords:
That love a jarring is of minds' accords,
Where sense and will bring under reason's pow'r.
Know what I list, this all cannot me move,
But that, alas! I both must write and love."
“ Fair moon, who with thy cold and silver shine
Mak'st sweet the horror of the dreadful night,
Delighting the weak eye with sniles divine,
Which Phoebus dazzles with his too much light;
Bright queen of the first Heav'n, if in thy shrine
By turning oft, and Heav'n's eternal might,
Thou hast not yet that once sweet fire of thine,
Endymion, forgot, and lovers' plight:
If cause like thine may pity breed in thee,
And pity somewhat else to it obtain,
Since thou hast power of dreams as well as he
That holds the golden rod and mortal chain;
Now while she sleeps*, in doleful guise her show,
These tears, and the black map of all my woe.”
* His mistress.
This is the eleventh sonnet : the twelfth is full of vile and forced conceits, without any sentiment at all; such as calling the Sun “the Goldsmith of the stars," " the enameller of the moon,” and “ the Apelles of the flowers.” This is as bad as Cowley or Sir Philip Sidney. Here is one that is worth a million of such quaint devices.
“To the Nightingale.
Dear chorister, who from these shadows sends*,
Ere that the blushing morn dare show her light,
Such sad lamenting strains, that night attends
(Become all eart) stars stay to hear thy plight.
If one whose grief even reach of thought transcends,
Who ne'er (not in a dream) did taste delight,
May thee importune who like case pretends,
And seem'st to joy in woe, in woe's despite:
Tell me (so may thou milder fortune try,
And long, long sing !) for what thou thus complains",
Since winter's gone, and sun in dappled sky
Enamour'd smiles on woods and flow'ry plains ?
The bird, as if my questions did her move,
With trembling wings sigh'd forth, “ I love, I love."
Or if a mixture of the Della Cruscan style be allowed to enshrine the true spirit of love and poetry, we have it in the following address to the river Forth, on which his mistress had embarked