Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

we will transcribe the commencing portion, which contains the
most effective passages :

How! Providence! and yet a Scottish crew!
Then Madame Nature wears black patches too.
What! shall our nation be in bondage thus
Unto a land that truckles under us?
Ring the bells backward : I am all on fire;
Not all the buckets in a country quire
Shall quench my rage. A poet should be feared
When angry, like a comet's flaming beard.
And where's the Stoic can his wrath

appease
To see his country sick of Pym's disease, -
By Scotch invasion to be made a prey
To such pig-widgeon myrmidons as they ?
But that there's charm in verse, I would not quote
The name of Scot without an antidote;
Unless my head were red, that I might brew
Invention there that might be poison too.
Were I a drowsy judge, whose dismal note
Disgorgeth halters, as a juggler's throat
Doth ribands; could I in Sir Empiric's tone
Speak pills in phrase, and quack destruction,
Or roar like Marshall, that Geneva bull,
Hell and damnation a pulpit-full;
Yet, to express a Scot, to play that prize,
Not all those mouth-granados can suffice.
Before a Scot can properly be cursed,
I must, like Hocus, swallow daggers first.

Come, keen Iambics, with your badger's feet,
And, badger-like, bite till your teeth do meet.
Help, ye tart satirists, to imp my rage
With all the scorpions that should whip this age.
Scots are like witches; do but whet your pen,
Scratch till the blood come, they'll not hurt you then.
Now, as the Martyrs were enforced to take
The shapes of beasts, like hypocrites, at stake,
I'll bait my Scot so, yet not cheat your eyes ;--
A Scot, within a beast, is no disguise.
No more let Ireland brag her harmless nation
Harbours no venom, since that Scots plantation.
Nor can our feigned antiquity obtain :
Since they came in, England hath wolves again.
The Scot that kept the Tower might have shown,
Within the grate of his own breast alone,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

? Red hair was in the worst repute formerly, and was attributed alike to Cain, to Judas, and to the devil.

The leopard and the panther, and engrossed
What all those wild collegiates had cost
The honest high-shoes,' in their termly fees
First to the salvage-lawyer, next to these.
Nature herself doth Scotchmen beasts confess,
Making their country such a wilderness;
A land that brings in question and suspense
God's omnipresence, but that Charles came thence-
But that Montrose and Crawford's royal band
Atoned their sin, and christened half their land :
Nor is it all the nation hath these spots :
There is a Church as well as Kirk of Scots;
As in a picture where the squinting paint
Shows fiend on this side, and on that side saint.
He that saw Hell in his melancholy dream,
And, in the twilight of his fancy's theme,
Scared from his sins, repented in a fright,
Had he viewed Scotland had turned proselyte.
A land where one may pray with cursed intent,
O may they never suffer banishment!
Had Cain been Scot, God would have changed his doom,-
Not forced him wander, but confined him home.
Like Jews they spread, and as infection fly,
As if the Devil had ubiquity.
Hence 'tis they live as rovers, and defy
This or that place, rags of geography:
They ’re citizens o' the world, they 're all in all ;
Scotland's a nation epidemical.

The poem is accompanied by a Latin version on the opposite page, which however is not by Cleveland, but by Thomas Gawen, a Fellow of New College, Oxford.

This may be fitly followed up by the verses headed The Definition of a Protector :

What's a Protector? He's a stately thing
That apes it in the non-age of a king :
A tragic actor, Cæsar in a clown;
He's a brass farthing stamped with a crown:
A bladder blown, with other breaths puffed full;
Not the Perillus, but Perillus' bull :
Æsop's proud Ass veiled in the Lion's skin;
An outward saint lined with a Devil within :
An echo whence the royal sound doth come,
But just as a barrel-head sounds like a drum :

Perhaps this should be high-lows-that is, rustics.

Fantastic image of the royal head,
The brewer's with the king's arms quartered :
He is a counterfeited piece, that shows
Charles his effigies with a copper nose :
In fine, he's one we must Protector call ;-
From whom the King of Kings protect us all.

And we fear the still more bitter bile of the following effusion On 0. P. Sick, with which we shall conclude our extracts, must be understood to be directed against the same illustrious quarter:

Yield, periwigged impostor, yield to fate,
Religious whiffler, mountebank of state,
Down to the lowest abyss, the blackest shade,
That night does own; that so the earth thou 'st made
Loathsome by thousand barbarisms may be
Delivered from heaven's vengeance, and from thee.
The reeking steam of thy fresh villanies
Would spot the stars, and menstruate the skies ;
Force them to break the league they 've made with men,
And with a flood rinse the foul world again.
Thy bays are tarnished with thy cruelties,
Rebellions, sacrilege, and perjuries.
Descend, descend, thou veiled Devil! Fall
Thou subtle bloodsucker, thou cannibal !
Thy arts are catching; cozen Satan too;
Thou hast a trick more than he ever knew;
He ne'er was atheist yet; persuade him to 't;
The schismatics will back thee, horse and foot.

In one of his prose pieces, The Character of a London Diurnal, Cleveland introduces other personal peculiarities of Cromwell besides his fiery nasal organ. “ This Cromwell,” he observes, “is never so valorous as when he is making speeches for the Association; which, nevertheless, he doth, somewhat ominously, with his neck awry, holding up his ear as if he expected Mahomet's pigeon to come and prompt him. He should be a bird of prey, too, by his bloody beak ;" &c. It is probable enough that this attitude of one threading a needle, or trying to look round a corner, may have been customary with Cromwell in speaking at the early date to which the description refers, as it appears to have been with his sect in general : in another poem Cleveland depicts the Puritan preacher as

[blocks in formation]

With face and fashion to be known
For one of sure election ;
With eyes all white, and many a groan ;
With neck aside, to draw in tone;
With harp in 's nose, &c.

WITHER,

These last-mentioned writers - Carew, Lovelace, Suckling, Denham, and Cleveland-W

-were all, as we have seen, cavaliers ; but the cause of puritanism and the parliament had also its poets as well as that of love and loyalty. Of these the two most eminent were Marvel and Wither. Marvel's era, however, is rather after the Restoration. George Wither, who was born in 1588, covers nearly eighty years of the seventeenth century with his life, and not very far from sixty with his works : his first publication, his volume of satires entitled Abuses Stript and Whipt, having appeared in 1611, and some of his last pieces only a short time before his death in 1667. The entire number of his separate works, as they have been reckoned up by modern bibliographers, exceeds a hundred. Two songs or short poems of Wither's inserted by Percy in his Reliques *—the one beginning

Shall I, wasting in despair,
Die because a woman's fair ?
Or make pale my cheeks with care
'Cause another's rosy are?
Be she fairer than the day,
Or the flowery meads in May;
If she be not so to me,

What care I how fair she be? the other entitled The Stedfast Shepherd, an exquisitely graceful as well as high-thoughted carol,-first recalled attention to this forgotten writer; his high merits were a few years afterwards more fully illustrated by Mr. Octavius Gilchrist in the Gentleman's Magazine; and he was subsequently made more widely known by the specimens of him given by Ellis,-among the rest the passage of consummate beauty (previously quoted by Gilchrist) from his Shepherd's Hunting, published in 1615, while he was confined in the Marshalsea, in which, breaking out into what we may call a hymn or pæan of gratitude and affection, he recounts all that Poetry and his Muse still were and had ever been to him :

* Vol. iii. pp. 190 and 264.

In my former days of bliss
Her divine skill taught me this,-
That from every thing I saw
I could some invention draw,
And raise pleasure to her height
Through the meanest object's sight.
By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least bough's rusteling;
By a daisy, whose leaves spread
Shut when Titan goes to bed ;
Or a sbady bush or tree,
She could more infuse in me
Than all Nature's beauties can
In some other wiser man.
By her help I also now
Make this churlish place allow
Some things that may sweeten gladness
In the very gall of sadness.
The dull loneness, the black shade,
That these hanging vaults have made;
The strange music of the waves
Beating on these hollow caves;
This black den, which rocks emboss,
Overgrown with eldest moss;
The rude portals, that give sight
More to terror than delight;
This my chamber of neglect,
Walled about with disrespect;
From all these, and this dull air,
A fit object for despair,
She hath taught me by her might
To draw comfort and delight.
Therefore, thou best earthly bliss,
I will cherish thee for this,-
Poesy !-thou sweet'st content
That e'er heaven to mortals lent.
Though they as a trifle leave thee
Whose dull thoughts cannot conceive thee;
Though thou be to them a scorn
That to nought but earth are born;
Let

my life no longer be
Than I am in love with thee.
Though our wise ones call thee madness,
Let me never taste of gladness

VOL. II.

D

« PreviousContinue »