« PreviousContinue »
At times there come, as come there ought,
Thomas Haynes Bayley, the most successful song-writer, next to Moore, of his time, addressed, amidst the misfortunes of his chequered life, these touching verses to his wife :Oh! hadst thou never shared my fate More dark that fate would
prove; My heart were truly desolate
Without thy soothing love.
Whilst this relief I found,
The poison from a wound.
Then judge of my regret
If we had never met !
Ah, no! that smiling cheek
Than labour'd words could speak.
But there are true hearts which the sight
Of sorrow summons forth;
We knew not half their worth.
So much in Friendship's name,
They may evade her claim.
They'd make me loathe mankind;
learn From thy more holy mind. The love that gives a charm to home
I feel they cannot take ; We'll
pray for happier years to come For one another's sake.
The glowing affection of a true husband as well as a true poet animates Thomas Hood's
Good morrow to the world's delight !
Since it makes my own so bright.
I could find no flowers, dear;
In thy bonny locks to shine ;
They have learn'd that look of mine.
These are by the same poet:
TO MY WIFE.
eyes that were so bright, love,
Was what they gave to mine.
The beams of former hours,
That now are turn'd to grey ;
years were spent with
The golden glow of noon;
When silver'd by the moon.
That looks so shaded now;
That spoild a bonny brow.
The gloss it had of yore,
Where Hope admired before. A few specimens of royal anniversary poems of middle age will now engage our attention. I should be truly glad to be able to present some from the great court poet of England, Geoffrey Chaucer, in the splendid reign of the chivalric King Edward III. and his admirable queen Philippa, who in 1345, as on many other occasions, kept the birthday of her mighty lord (surrounded
by her numerous family, including the famous Black Prince), with tournaments and dances and minstrelsy, at her residence, where Chaucer describes a certain maple-tree
That is fair and green,
In an old folio copy of the “ Arcadia” preserved at Wilton have been found two beautiful and interesting relics—a lock of Queen Elizabeth's hair, and an original poem in the handwriting of Sir Philip Sidney. The hair was given by the fair hands of the queen to her young hero. The poet repaid the precious gift in the following lines :
Her inward worth all outward show transcends; Envy her merits with regret
commends; Like sparkling gems her virtues draw the light, And in her conduct she was always bright. When she imparts her thoughts her words have
force, And sense and wisdom flow in sweet discourse.
The date of this exchange of gifts was 1573, when the queen was forty and the knight twentynine. Elizabeth's hair is very fine, soft, and silky, with the undulation of water, its colour a fair auburn or golden brown, without the tinge of red her detractors have attributed to it; but the soft lines are flecked with light, and shine as though powdered with gold-dust. In every country under the sun such hair would be pronounced beautiful.
We may here mention the fatal wedding-gift of Mary, Queen of Scots, when she married Darnley. It was sent to Queen Elizabeth a ring with a diamond in the form of a heart. It was accompanied by some Latin verses, written by that scholar and poet of Scotland, Buchanan, and thus trans
This gem behold, the emblem of my heart,
Some of the poetry of Queen Elizabeth's magnificent anniversaries will be considered under “Birthdays of Later Life.”
Walpole says of those inimitable entertainments of James I. and Charles I. that have previously engaged our attention :-“Poetry, painting, music, and architecture were all called in to make them rational amusements: and I have no doubt but the celebrated festivals of Louis XIV. were copied from the shows exhibited at Whitehall, in its time the most polite court in Europe. Ben Jonson was the laureate; Inigo Jones the inventor of the decorations ; Laniere and Fera Vosco composed the symphonies; the king, the queen, and the young nobility danced in the interludes.”
On the twenty-second birthday of the queen of Charles I. Ben Jonson made the following poetic offering :
AN ODE OR SONG BY ALL THE MUSES,
Up, public joy ! remember
Some brave uncommon way ;