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but search, and you will always discover tenderness at the root, as in this:

I walk'd the other day, to spend my hour,

Into a field,

Where I sometimes had seen the soil to yield
A gallant flow'r;

But Winter now had ruffled all the bow'r,
And curious store

I knew there heretofore.

Then taking up what I could nearest spy,
I digg'd about

That place where I had seen him to grow out;
And by and by

I saw the warm recluse alone to lie,

Where fresh and green

He liv'd of us unseen. 17

Supply the rest out of your own inner consciousness; and then look into the text to see whether you have answered the riddle.

Research has brought to light little about Vaughan's career in the world. He had seen much of it, as his poems indicate. It recollected little of him. In youth he had lived with the wits, but not been of them. From early middle age to grey hairs he practised medicine. Of his scientific skill we have no record. That he healed affliction often by contact with his soul we may be certain; as, too, that, while the physician questioned nature, it was, as for St. Francis, to find God in all. No regular theologian, a mystic rather, he yet had developed for himself as elaborate a Church as Laud, without a mitred persecutor to work it. A Cavalier, as pure as if of King Arthur's Table in its prime, he had assisted at battles, though doubtless to save, not take, life. Not the less did he suffer, with his brother, for the cause they deemed the right. When at length it triumphed, the children of the Saint and Martyr

failed to remember the faithful minstrel's losses and perils, even his most pathetic tears on the grave of their dead sister :

A rosebud born in snow! 1 18

He never reminded them. A long existence, eventful without events tabulated and dated, though not without friends, if few, ended in apparent penury and obscurity, by 'Isca's loved arbours'.

sure

Where first it sprang in beams ;

though the sun be far

Doing the works of day, to rise a star! 19

A beautiful soul! Not unhappy in that, without a biographer to imprison petty details in clay, his verse is his life.

The Poems of Henry Vaughan, Silurist, ed. E. K. Chambers, with Introduction by H. C. Beeching. Two vols. (The Muses' Library.) Lawrence & Bullen, 1896.

1 To the River Isca (Olor Iscanus).

2 To I. Morgan (Thalia Rediviva).

3 Remains of Thomas Vaughan, Anthroposophia Theomagica (Grosart's ed. of Vaughan-Fuller Worthies' Library, vol. i, p. 298). • Dedication to Jesus Christ (Silex Scintillans, part i).

5 A Rhapsodis.

6 The Charnel-house (Olor Iscanus).

7 The Eclipse (Thalia Rediviva).

8 Thou that know'st for whom I mourn (Silex Scintillans).

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They are all gone, &c. (Silex, &c.).

16 Jesus Weeping (Silex, &c.)

10 The Timber (Silex, &c.).

12 The Night (Silex, &c.).

14 Peace (Silex, &c.).

17 I Walk'd the Other Day, to Spend My Hour (or Hidden) (Silex, &c.). 18 An Epitaph upon the Lady Elizabeth, Second Daughter to His Late Majesty (Olor Iscanus

19 Rules and Lessons (Silex, &c.).

JOHN MILTON

1608-1674

A GIANT! How he towers in letters above his age, though it was that of Dryden, Cowley, Bunyan! A born poet, if ever poet was born, but a greater poet had he been a lesser man. His superiority is not in imagination, in style, and in learning alone; it is first of all in the man, his will, his character, his sword and spear of a brain. For his place in the eternal kingdom of poetry he had to contend with the temptations to him of his period. He was put to his option for or against the Muse in a crisis of conflicts of intellect, religion, ethics. Wars were being waged, less with foreign foes than between classes, and inside human breasts, with weapons he could brandish among the strongest and bravest. Happily free thought in politics, theology, morals, and the dialectic trophies of Tetrachordon, Areopagitica divorce tracts, Eikonoklastes, if they intercepted many a Christmas Carol, Lycidas, and Comus, did not dry up the fountain. But if they left us the Poet, they quenched the Elizabethan in him.

Whatever the gain in other directions, it is impossible not to deplore that loss. Between his twenty-fourth year and his thirtieth he had enriched literature with works, which have, of their kind, no superiors in the language. The imagery of L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, and their cadences, contain inexhaustible beauties. It is difficult to see or recall anything fair and ideal in English life which a line from one or another of them does not exquisitely illustrate and develop. They charm for that they say, and, infinitely more, for all they suggest. Between them they

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make a succession of lovely vignettes, alternating with and supplementing, sometimes by way of contrast, one another: The lark begins his flight,

Then,

And, singing, startles the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise.

the ploughman, near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrowed land,
And the milk-maid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale

Under the hawthorn in the dale.

The day is done at last with its open-air toils, and its open-air joys; and night descends, with its rest for day's toilers:

To bed they creep,

By whispering winds soon lulled asleep.

But for us, the listeners to the lay, its truest interest now
begins; for it is of himself that the poet proceeds to sing;
of the treasures of his fancy, the visions of his youth:
Towered cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,

Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit or arms, while both contend
To win her grace whom all commend.
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eves by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon
If Jonson's learned sock be on,

Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.
And ever against eating cares

Lap me in soft Lydian airs,

Married to immortal verse,

Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
In notes with many a winding bout

Of linked sweetness long drawn out
With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie

The hidden soul of harmony.1

Or he may incline to woo mute silence and

Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne,
The Cherub Contemplation.

In such a mood,

Oft, on a plat of rising ground,
I hear the far-off curfew sound
Over some wide-watered shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar.

Or let my lamp at midnight hour
Be seen in some high lonely tower,
Where I may oft outwatch the Bear,
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold

What worlds or what vast regions hold
The immortal mind that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook :
And of those demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or underground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptred pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine,

Or what-though rare—of later age
Ennobled hath the buskined stage.

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