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Attains to full-aged noon!
And what's a life? A weary pilgrimage,
False world, thou ly’st : thou canst not lend
The least delight :
They are so slight!
To please at night :
And yet thou vaunt’st, and yet thou vy’st
Here are some of his lines, gilded with a little more sunshine :
As when a lady, walking Flora's bower,
This on her arm, and that she lists to wear
WALLER, whose life has been thought to possess more romance than his poetry, is, however, the author of these striking stanzas, among the last he wrote :
The seas are quiet when the winds give o'er ;
The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
Stronger by weakness, wiser, men become,
For harmony and elegance of fancy, these verses, by AYTON, have rarely been surpassed :
I loved thee once, I'll love no more,
Thine be the grief, as is the blame ;
What reason I should be the same?
God send me love my debts to pay,
Nothing could have my love o'erthrown
If thou hadst still continued mine;
I might, perchance, have yet been thine ;
And then, how could I but disdain
The“ melancholy Cowley,” as that poet styles himself, was yet the writer of this paraphrastic version of one of Anacreon's sparkling lyrics :
The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
The plants suck in the earth, and are,
the sun :
Cowley's deep love of rural retirement is exhibited in the subjoined lines :
Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good!
Where the poetic birds rejoice,
Pay with their grateful voice.
Here nature does a house for me erect-
Who those fond artists does despise,
Yet the dead timber prize
If, in the verse of Chaucer, the muse lisped her early numbers with the artless simplicity and grace of infancy, she may be said to have attained to her full-voiced maturity and glory in the august and
matchless creations of Shakspeare, and the “magnificent sphereharmonies” of Milton. The latter, indeed, as it has been beautifully expressed, like the nightingale, sang his sublime song in the night: for not only was he deprived of the glad light of day, but the dark clouds of sorrow cast their added shadows on his pathway. Yet this noble man stood erect in his integrity and exemplary in his patience, amidst all adverse circumstances. Beautifully has he been likened to the bird of Paradise, which, Aying against the wind, best displays the splendour of its golden plumage ; so the bard of Paradise, in his sublime excursions amid the beings of light, bursts upon us with a more supernal grandeur, as he emerges from the darkness with which he was environed. Gray thus refers to him,
Who rode sublime
The Secret of the abyss to spy
The living throne, the sapphire's blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze!
Milton did not commence the composition of his grand epic until he was forty-seven years of age ; although he had matured its plan in his mind several years before. When he visited the Continent, he met Galileo, then a prisoner of the Inquisition : he also became acquainted with Hugo Grotius. It is a curious fact, that Grotius had then written a tragedy of which the leading subject was the Fall of Man; and Milton's epic was formed out of the first draught of a tragedy to which he had given the title of Adam Unparadised. No evidence has been adduced, however, to prove that Milton borrowed his design from Grotius; or from Du Bartas' Divine Weekes, as has been by some persons supposed. One of his earliest compositions, the Hymn to the Nativity, was written when he was but