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effusions, for the occasion was one on which he was likely to be moved to more than usual earnestness of feeling. A few years after he welcomed Charles II. on his restoration to the throne of his ancestors in another poem, which has been generally considered a much less spirited composition: Fenton accounts for the falling off by the author's advance in the meanwhile from his forty-ninth to his fifty-fifth year—" from which time,” he observes, “his genius began to decline apace from its meridian ;" but the poet himself assigned another reason :—when Charles frankly told him that he thought his own panegyric much inferior to Cromwell's, “Sir,” replied Waller, “we poets never succeed so well in writing truth as in fiction.” Perhaps the true reason, after all, might be that his majesty's return to England was not quite so exciting a subject to Mr. Waller's muse as his own return had been. One thing must be admitted in regard to Waller's poetry; it is free from all mere verbiage and empty sound ; if he rarely or never strikes a very powerful note, there is at least always something for the fancy or the understanding, as well as for the ear, in what he writes. He abounds also in ingenious thoughts, which he dresses to the best advantage, and exhibits with great transparency of style. Eminent, however, as he is in his class, he must be reckoned among that subordinate class of poets who think and express themselves chiefly in similitudes, not among those who conceive and write passionately and metaphorically. He had a decorative and illuminating, but not a transforming imagination.
The chief writer of verse on the popular side after the Restoration was Andrew Marvel, the noble-minded member for Hull, the friend of Milton, and, in that age of brilliant profligacy, renowned alike as the first of patriots and of wits. Marvel, the son of the Rev. Andrew Marvel, master of the grammar-school of Hull, was born there in 1620, and died in 1678. His poetical genius has scarcely had justice done to it. He is the author of a number of satires in verse, in which a rich vein of vigorous, though often coarse, humour runs through a careless, extemporaneous style, and which did prodigious execution in the party warfare of the day; but some of his other poetry, mostly perhaps written in the earlier part of his life, is eminent both for the delicate bloom of the sentiment and for grace of form. His Song of the Exiles, beginning “ Where the remote Bermudas ride,” is a gem of melody, picturesqueness, and sentiment, nearly without a flaw, and is familiar to every lover of poetry. Not of such purity of execution throughout are the lines entitled To his Coy Mistress, but still there are few short poems in the language so remarkable for the union of grace and force, and the easy and flowing transition from a light and playful tone to solemnity, passion, and grandeur. How elegant, and even deferential, is the gay extravagance of the commencement:-
Had we but world enough and time,
Nor would I love at lower rate. And then how skilfully managed is the rise from this badinage of courtesy and compliment to the strain almost of the ode or the hymn! and how harmonious, notwithstanding its suddenness, is the contrast between the sparkling levity of the prelude and the solemn pathos that follows !
But at my back I always hear
Till, at the end, the pent-up accumulation of passion bursts its floodgates in the noble lines :
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Thorough the iron gates of life. The following verses, which are less known, are exquisitely elegant and tuneful. They are entitled The Picture of T. C. in a Prospect of Flowers :
Sce with what simplicity
1 Charm itself, that is, delight itself.
Gather the flowers, but spare the buds;
Nip in the blossom all our hopes in thee. Certainly neither Carew, nor Waller, nor any other court poet of that day, has produced anything in the same style finer than these lines. But Marvel's more elaborate poetry is not confined to love songs and other such light exercises of an ingenious and elegant fancy. Witness his verses on Milton's Paradise Lost—“When I beheld the poet blind, yet bold”which have throughout almost the dignity, and in parts more than the strength, of Waller. But, instead of transcribing these, which are printed in most editions of Milton, we will give as a specimen of his more serious vein a portion of his longer poem on the Death of the Lord Protector :
That Providence, which had so long the care
To love and grief the fatal writ was signed
Straight does a slow and languishing disease
i This may remind the reader of Wordsworth of that poet's
“Here are Daisies, take your fill;
Pansies, and the Cuckow-flower :
Only spare the Strawberry-blossom.” 2 Misprinted" or love shall mourn."
3 That is, Cromwell's second and favourite daughter, Elizabeth, the wife of John Claypole, Esq., who died about a month before ber father.
Like polished mirrors, so his steely breast
He without noise still travelled to his end,
O Cromwell! heaven's favourite, to none
Since him away the dismal tempest rent,
his form was not the vulgarism in the seventeenth century that it is now. 18 frequent in Marvel and several of his contemporaries.