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P. 4, 1. 54. prevent: anticipate.
P. 5, 1. 64. broach to loosen or thaw.
P. 5, 11. 73, 74. The Poet repeats this striking image in the Hymn To the Name above every name, the Name of Jesus, 1. 212—
"The ruby windows that enriched the east ;
also in the Hymn for the Epiphany, II. 69, 70—
"Aurora shall set ope
Her ruby casements."
P. 5, 1. 75. the Temple sacred to sweet Peace: the temple at Jerusalem, or (more probably) the temple of Janus in Rome, which was "sacred to peace," the doors of which were thrown open in times of war, and closed in times of peace. P. 6, ll. 102, 103. Cf. Milton (Par. Lost., Bk. i., l. 542, 543)—
"A shout, that tore hell's concave, and beyond
P. 7, 1. 32. Cf. Milton (Par. Lost, Bk. ii., l. 105)—
"Which, if not victory, is yet revenge."
P. 7, 11. 33-40. The loveliest of the sixty-six stanzas of our Poet's translation of Marino: especially note the vivid imagination displayed in last two lines of the stanza.
P. 7, 1. 40. the common people of the skies: Sir Henry Wotton spoke of the stars in precisely the same language. In the poem On his Mistress, the Queen of Bohemia, he has :
"You common people of the skies;
What are you when the moon shall rise?
P. 8. The Fury "Cruelty." These stanzas are not, on the whole, equal to the previous excerpts from the same piece; but I could not forego including them, because of the very striking concluding ten lines.
P. 9, 1. 30. Prof. M'Carthy (Notes and Queries, 2nd S., v. 449-52) has suggested this line as a motto for Hood's "Song of the Shirt." An admirable suggestion.
P. II. In the Holy Nativity of our Lord God. With this piece may be compared Milton's Hymn on the Nativity. Willmott quotes a portion of this poem as an example of Crashaw's "pastoral sweetness ;" and observes that "when released from his self-imposed fetters, he uttered his lays with a softness, that like the melody of the nightingale he sang, seems to come from a silver throat" (Willmott's Lives of Sacred Poets, ed. 1834, p. 321).
Dr George Macdonald (England's Antiphon, p. 243) characterises this Hymn as the most musical and most graceful... of his poems."
P. 15. Upon Easter Day. Dr Macdonald, again (England's Antiphon, p. 243), comments as follows on this poem: "The strangeness of the... hymn rises almost into grandeur. In the second stanza there is a strange combination of images: the rock buds; and buds a fountain; the fountain is light. But the images are so much one at the root, that they slide grace
fully into each other, and there is no confusion or incongruity: the result is an inclined plane of development."
P. 16. To the Name above every name. This Hymn is one of the best examples of our Poet's "ardent enthusiasm, and ecstacy of lyrical movement." His resemblance to Shelley in this poem is strongly marked; and one special quality of his poetry, i.e. "Imaginative-sensuousness" (as it is well characterised by Dr Grosart), is especially noticeable both here and in Music's Duel (p. 51), for instance
"Sweet Name, in Thy each syllable
A thousand blest Arabias dwell;
And ten thousand Paradises,
The soul that tastes Thee takes from thence."
(To the Name of Jesus, 11. 177-182.)
P. 17, 1. 34. Cf. "These tumultuous shops of noise" in Crashaw's Prayer, 1. 69, Grosart's ed., v. I, p. 130.
P. 18, 1. 77. Solicitors: exciters or animators.
P. 23. Dies Irae, dies illa. This translation of the Latin Hymn was the earliest English version. To it Roscommon was much indebted in his poem on the Day of Judgment. Willmott's opinion of this poem and its original is thus expressed: "To style Crashaw's Hymn a translation at all, is an untruth; unless a picture, wrought into life by force of colouring and expression, can be considered a copy of a feeble and inanimate outline” (Lives of Sacred Poets, ed. 1834, p. 313).
P. 25, St. xvi., 1. i. 'Ite': go ye.
P. 26. Translation of "Christe, veni," by Rev. R. Wilton. This is taken from Dr Grosart's complete Edition of the works of Crashaw in "The Fuller Worthies' Library," Vol. ii., pp. 223-225. Neither the original Latin poem nor the translation had ever been printed until included in Dr Grosart's Edition. For the sake of the Latin scholar I here give the original :
Ergo veni; quicunque ferant tua signa timores,
Quae nos cunque vocant tristia, Christe, veni.
Mutuus attonito titubet sub foedere mundus,
Sole sub invito subitae vis improba noctis
Christe, veni; tonet Oceanus pater, et sua nolit
Quicquid id est, veniat. TU MODO, CHRISTE, VENI.
P. 27. Saint Mary Magdalene, or The Weeper. Dr Grosart (Essay on the Life and Poetry of Crashaw, p. lxiii.) names this lovely poem as containing many examples of our Poet's Imaginative-sensuousness. On the beautiful second stanza he makes the following discerning comment: "What a grand reach of 'imaginative' comprehensiveness have we where from the swimming eyes of his Magdalene he was, as it were, swept upward to the broad transfigured sky in its wild ever-varying beauty of the glittering silver rain!"
P. 28, St. vii., 1. 4. Nuzzel'd: nestled or cherished.
P. 31, St. xvi., ll. 5, 6. These lines have a striking resemblance in expression, if not in thought, to Spenser's
"O wondrous skill and sweet wit of the man,
That her in daffodillies sleeping made," &c.
P. 31, St. xix., 1. 6. Cf. Rev. xiv. 4, "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth."
P. 32, St. xxiii., 1. 4. threasure: treasure. From thesaurus (Latin).
P. 35, St. xxxii., 1. 5. field's eyes: This expression for the flowers is repeated in " Sospetto d'Herode." See our extract (No. iii.), 1. 38.
P. 35, St. xxxiii., ll. 5, 6. "Feet' at highest; mark the humbleness, and the fitness too."-Dr Grosart.
P. 35. Hymn to the name and honour of the Admirable Saint Teresa. Coleridge (Table Talk and Omniana, ed. by T. Ashe, 1884) thought this poem on St. Teresa Crashaw's finest work, and remarked in regard to lines 43-64 that they were ever present to my mind whilst writing the second part of Christabel; if, indeed, by some subtle process of the mind they did not suggest the first thought of the whole poem."
This poem to St. Teresa was written before Crashaw's change of faith, and indicates that he was even then, in spirit, a Catholic.
P. 41. From The Flaming Heart. I have given only the concluding lines from this, the third poem on St. Teresa. G. A. Simcox (Ward's English Poets, Vol. ii. p. 197) observes: "The wonderful close of the poem on the Flaming Heart is more wonderful because it comes after an atrocious and pro
longed conceit, to the effect that the saint's heart would not be inflamed by the arrow of the seraph, but was fit to inflame that and all creatures beside." The following fine lines may be given here as an additional specimen of this striking piece :
"In Love's field was never found
A nobler weapon than a wound.
O heart! the equal poise of Love's both parts
Live here, great heart; and love and die and kill;
P. 42. Description of a Religious House and Condition of Life. original of this occurs in Barclay's Argenis, Book v."-Dr Grosart. P. 42, 1. 16. This line is quoted by Pope in Eloisa to Abelard, line 212.
P. 43. Psalm cxxxvii. In addition to this our Poet has also paraphrased Psalm xxiii., which Pope thought one of his best pieces. A comparison of the two will, we think, convince the reader that Pope's judgment in this case was not an infallible one. The reader should carefully compare Crashaw's paraphrase with the authorised version. Let him especially notice lines 15-24, which he has made even more poetical than is our ordinary version.
P. 44. Hope. The poem from which this excerpt is given was written in reply to Cowley's poem on the same subject. Coleridge says (Table Talk and Omniana, ed. by T. Ashe, 1884, p. 322): "In the poem Hope, . . . . his superiority to Cowley is self-evident."
Pp. 45-48. DIVINE EPIGRAMS. Dr Geo. Macdonald (England's Antiphon, p. 240) says of these Epigrams: "They are to me the most valuable of his verses, inasmuch as they make us feel afresh the truth which he sets forth anew. In them some of the facts of our Lord's life and teaching look out upon us as from clear windows of the past. As epigrams, too, they are excellent— pointed as a lance."
P. 45. Two went up into the temple to pray. Dr Geo. Macdonald, again (England's Antiphon, p. 241), comments as follows on this : "Here is the true relation between the forms and the end of religion. The priesthood, the altar and all its ceremonies, must vanish from between the sinner and his God. When the priest forgets his mediation of a servant, his duty of a doorkeeper to the temple of truth, and takes upon him the office of an intercessor, he stands between man and God, and is a Satan, an adversary."
P. 48. Water turned into wine. This Epigram has had a greater celebrity than its actual merit should have warranted; it is known by many readers
who know nothing of the Poet's other and more note-worthy epigrammatic poems. The conceit in it is, however, a striking one. The following is Dr Grosart's translation of the Latin epigram :—
"Whence that blush upon thy brow,
Fair Nymph of the waters, now?
Of the stream astonièd.
All the guests in tumult rush'd:
The shy Nymph saw her God, and blushed."
P. 48. To the assembly of all the Saints. From Willmott's Lives of Sacred Poets, ed. 1834, p. 324.
P. 51. Music's Duel. It has been truthfully said that the genius of Crashaw shews itself at its highest in his Translations. This poem alone (which is translated from the Latin of Strada) is a sufficient proof of this. It is probably one of the most wonderful poems in the language, and (to quote Gilfillan) accomplishes with magical ease one of the most difficult of poetic tasks, and seems almost higher than nature. Like an Arabian sorcerer, the soul of the poet leaps back and forward, from the musician to the bird, entering into the very heart, and living in the very voice of each... the most deliciously-true and incredibly-sustained piece of poetry in probably the whole compass of the language.'
A comparison of Crashaw's translation with the original Latin will at once shew that our poet has transcended his original. As is pointed out by Dr Grosart, such word-painting as is in the following lines belongs to Crashaw, not Strada :
staggers in a warbling doubt
Of dallying sweetness, hovers o'er her skill,
Of streaming sweetness, which in state doth ride
Thus high, thus low, as if her silver throat
The Lute's light genius now does proudly rise,
Creeps on the soft touch of a tender tone.