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vain, he bowed, laid his hand upon his heart, and improvised the following lines :
Thus Adam looked, when from the garden driven,
Notwithstanding the morbid spirit which pervades and overshadows most of his poetry, depriving it of much of its potency, yet it abounds with grand imagery, and is sustained by splendor of conception. The genius of Christianity is the patron of all that is joyous ; she gilds the pathway of the present life with Heaven's own brightness, and makes even the clouds and darkness which hang over the grave, luminous with the rainbow of Hope. If the poet and moralist had but infused a little starlight into his Night Thoughts, they would have possessed a tenfold charm. It is said that his friend, the Duke of Wharton, sent him a human skull with a candle fixed in it, as the most fitting lamp for him during his nocturnal lucubrations. But we must cull a few passages from our author : and here is an apostrophe to Night :
O majestic night!
Thy gloomy grandeurs-nature's most august,
Here are his impressive lines on Procrastination :
Be wise to-day: 'tis madness to defer;
There are some noble thoughts in the following passage :
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
A beam ethereal, sullied and absorpt!
One more passage, for the sake of its striking metaphor :
Hearts wounded, like the wounded air,
Our last selection is from his Love of Fame, which Johnson so highly eulogizes :
What will not men attempt for sacred praise ?
It aids the dancer's heel, the writer's head,
Thus conclude we our second evening's entertainment with the Minstrels; and since it has been questioned, from his gravity, whether the author of The Night Thoughts was ever Young, we shall regard him as the last of the old poets. With regret we bid adieu,
then, to these great masters of the lyre, whose magnificent melodies, quaint imagery, and rich cadences, fall upon the ear like a benediction
“Or like those maiden showers
Which, by the peep of day, do strew
Justly has it been said, that with them “the imaginative ruled and reigned ; poetry lived much in the upper air, and, like the lark, sang best as it soared to heaven.” A bigh, chivalrous spirit marked the Elizabethan age of song; its pomp of diction and stateliness of measure often challenging the curious interest of the reader, by the subtle obscurity and inversion of its style, as well as by its rich cadences. What a galaxy of illustrious names then shed lustre upon literature and life! It was, indeed, the golden age of letters, with its registered glories in philosophy, science, and song.
It was the
age of contemplation and devotion to study, as ours is of action. Although poets are mortal, poetry is immortal; the muse's priesthood still lives in a line of illustrious succession, “to enrich her galleries with glowing and beautiful creations, embodied in deathless and glorified forms:” and the noble inheritance is ours to stimulate us in the highways of wisdom and virtue. We need not, therefore,
· Sigh the old heroic ages back; These worthies were but brave and honest men ; Let us their spirit catch,-pursue their track ;
Striving, not sighing, brings them back again.”