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I sent thee late a rosy wreath, not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a hope that there it could not wither'd be ;
But thou thereon didst only breathe, and sent'st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear, not of itself, but thee.
His song, entitled The Grace of Simplicity, is one of the most characteristic of its author :
Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powder’d, still perfum’d;
Lady, it is to be presum’d,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.
Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace ;
Robes loosely Aowing, hair as free ;
Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
Than all the adulteries of art :
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.
Another of his exquisite songs is the well-known Hymn to Diana,'
Diana is here addressed as the moon, rather than the goddess of hunting.
in which the spirit of the classic lyre is beautifully illustrated. It is supposed to be derived from Philostratus :-
Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep :
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess, excellently bright!
Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heaven to clear, when day did close ;
Bless us then with wished sight,
Goddess excellently bright!
Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal shining quiver ;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short soever ;
Thou that mak’st a day of night,
Goddess excellently bright!
There is such a fulness of inspiration about the old poets, such prodigality of fancy and imagery, that their chief difficulty appears to have been to find place for their thick-coming fancies. For instance, take BEAUMONT's fine Ode to Melancholy:
Hence, all you vain delights,
As short as are the nights
Wherein you spend your folly !
There's naught in this life sweet,
If man were wise to see't,
But only melancholy ;
Oh, sweetest melancholy !
Welcome, folded arms and fixed eyes,
A sight that piercing mortifies,
A look that's fastened to the ground,
A tongue chained up without a sound;
Fountain heads, and pathless groves,
Places which pale passion loves,-
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
Are warmly housed, save bats and owls;
A midnight bell, a passing groan,
These are the sounds we feed upon :
Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley,
Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.
Here is a delicious lyric from the same source :
Look out, bright eyes, and bless the air !
Even in shadows you are fair.
Shut-up beauty is like fire,
That breaks out clearer still and higher.
Though your beauty be confin’d,
And soft Love a prisoner bound,
Yet the beauty of your mind
Neither check nor chain hath found ;
Look out nobly, then, and dare
E’en the fetters that
What a fine figure has BEAUMONT employed in the following lines to illustrate the influence of woman :
The bleakest rock upon the loneliest heath,
Feels in its barrenness some touch of Spring;
And in the April dew, or beam of May,
Its moss and lichen freshen and revive;
And thus the heart, most sear’d to human pleasure,
Melts at the tear,-joys in the smile of woman.
SHIRLEY, the latest of the Elizabethan dramatists, wrote the following :
Woodmen, shepherds, come away,
This is Pan's great holiday;
Throw off cares, with your heaven-aspiring airs—
Help us to sing,
While valleys with your echoes ring.
Nymphs that dwell within these groves,
Leave your arbours, bring your loves,
Gather posies, crown your golden hair with roses :
As you pass,
Foot like Fairies on the grass.
What stateliness and vigor of expression characterize his celebrated Dirge :
The glories of our blood and state,
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate :
Death lays his icy hand on kings;
Sceptre and crown must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade!
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
But their strong nerves at last must vield,
They tame but one another still:
Early or late, they stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath,
When they, pale captives, creep to death!
The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon death's purple altar, now,
See, where the victor-victim bleeds :
All heads must come to the cold tomb;
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet, and blossom in the dust.
Listen to the sweet music and melancholy Aow of this fine old song :
Go sit by the summer sea, thou whom scorn wasteth,
And let thy musing be where the Aood hasteth ;
Mark, how o'er ocean's breast rolls the hoar billow's crest,-
Such is his heart's unrest who of love tasteth.
Griev'st thou that hearts should change? Lo, where life reigneth,
Or the free sight doth range, what long remaineth ?
Spring, with her Aowers, doth die, fast fades the gilded sky,
And the full moon on high ceaselessly waneth !