« ZurückWeiter »
But here was youth, genius, aspiring hope, growing Scarce please you ; we want subtilty to do
Strike when you wink, and then lament the blow ;
I needs must cry ;
I see my days of ballading grow nigh;
I can already riddle, and can sing
That takes no medicines, but thought of thee of brightness and sweetness, lapt in Elysium; and The wit of our young men, fellows that show it gives one a reluctant pang to see the splendid. No part of good, yet utter all they know, vision, by which they are attended in their path of who, like trees of the garden, have growing souls. glory, fade like a vapour, and their sacred heads Only'strong Destiny, which all controls, laid low in ashes, before the sand of common mortals I hope hath left a better fate in store has run out. Fletcher, too, was prematurely cut for me, thy friend, than to live ever poor. off by the plague.'*
Banish'd unto this home : Fate once again
Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and plain (Letter to Ben Jonson.]
The way of knowledge for me ; and then I,
Who have no good but in thy company, The sun (which doth the greatest comfort bring
Protest it will my greatest comfort be, To absent friends, because the self-same thing
To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee, They know, they see, however absent) is
Ben ; when these scenes are perfect, we'll taste wine; Here, our best haymaker (forgive me this,
I'll drink thy muse's health, thou shalt quaff mine.
On the Tombs in Westeninster.
Mortality, behold and fear,
What a charge of flesh is here ! With fustian metaphors to stuff the brain,
Think how many royal bones So mixed, that, given to the thirstiest one,
Sleep within these heap of stones : Twill not prove alms, unless he have the stone.
Here they lie, had realms and lands, I think, with one draught man's invention fades : Who now want strength to stir their hands ; Two cups had quite spoild Horner's Iliades.
Where, from their pulpits seal’d with dust, 'Tis liquor that will find out Sutcliff's wit,
They preach-in greatness is no trust.
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin : It is a potion sent us down to drink,
Here the bones of birth have cried, By special Providence, keeps us from fights,
Though gods they were, as men they died : Makes us not laugh when we make legs to knighte. Here are wands, ignoble things, 'Tis this that keeps our minds fit for our states,
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings. A medicine to obey our magistrates :
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
Here she lies, whose spotless fame
Invites a stone to learn her name :
The rigid Spartan that denied * Loctures on the Age of Elizabeth, &c., p. 227.
An epitaph to all that died,
Unless for war, in charity
in tasteless conceits, even on grave elegiac subjects In his epitaph on the daughter of Sir Thomas Wentworth, he says
And here the precious dust is laid,
Song. Ask me no more where Jove bestows, When June is past, the fading rose ; For in your beauties, orient deep, These flowers, as in their causes, sleep. Ask me no more whither do stray The golden atoms of the day; For in pure love heaven did prepare Those powders to enrich your hair. Ask me no more whither doth haste The nightingale when May is past ; For in your sweet dividing throat She winters, and keeps warm her note. Ask me no more if east or west The Phænix builds her spicy nest ; For unto you at last she Aies, And in your fragrant bosom dies !
THOMAS CAREW (1589-1639) was the precursor and representative of a numerous class of poetscourtiers of a gay and gallant school, who to personal accomplishments, rank, and education, united a taste and talent for the conventional poetry then most popular and cultivated. Their influence may be seen even in Cowley and Dryden: Carew and Waller were perhaps the best of the class : Rochester was undoubtedly the most debased. Their visions of fame were in general bounded by the circle of the court and the nobility. To live in future generations, or to sound the depths of the human heart, seems not to have entered into their contemplations. A loyal panegyric was the epic strain of their ambition; a . rosy cheek or coral lip' formed their ordinary theme. The court applauded; the lady was flattered or appeased by the compliment; and the poet was praised for his wit and gallantry; while all the time the heart had as little to do with the poetical homage thus tendered and accepted, as with the cold abstractions and rare poesies' on wax or ivory. A foul taint of immorality and irreligion often lurked under the flowery surface, and insidiously made itself known and felt. Carew sometimes went beyond this strain of heartless frivolity, and is graceful in sentiment as well as style-piling up stones of lustre from the brook ;' but he was capable of far higher things; and in him, as in Suckling and Sedley, we see only glimpses of a genius which might have been ripened into permanent and beneficial excellence. Carew was descended from an ancient Gloucestershire family. He was educated at Oxford, then travelled abroad, and on his return, obtained the notice and patronage of Charles I. He was appointed gentleman of the privy chamber, and sewer in ordinary to the king. His after life was that of a courtierwitty, affable, and accomplished without reflection; and in a strain of loose revelry which, according to Clarendon, the poet deeply repented in his latter days. “He died,' says the state historian, with the greatest remorse for that license, and with the greatest manifestation of Christianity, that his best friends could desire.'
The poems of Carew are short and occasional. His longest is a masque, written by command of the king, entitled Cælum Britannicum. It is partly in prose; and the lyrical pieces were set to music by Dr Henry Lawes, the poetical musician of that age.* The short amatory pieces and songs of Carew were exceedingly popular, and are now the only productions of bis which are read. They are often indelicate, but rich in expression. Thirty or forty years later, he would have fallen into the frigid style of the court poets after the Restoration; but at the time he wrote, the passionate and imaginative vein of the Elizabethan period was not wholly exhausted. The 'genial and warm tints' of the elder muse still coloured the landscape, and were reflected back in some measure by Carew. He abounded, however,
* of the peculiar composition called the masquo, an account given in the sequel
The Compliment. I do not love thee for that fair Rich fan of thy most curious hair ; Though the wires thereof be drawn Finer than the threads of lawn, And are softer than the leaves On which the subtle spider weaves. I do not love thee for those flowers Growing on thy cheeks (love's bowers); Though such cunning them hath spread, None can paint them white and red : Love's golden arrows thence are shot, Yet for them I love thee not. I do not love thee for those soft Red coral lips I've kiss'd so oft ; Nor teeth of pearl, the double guard To speech, whence music still is heard; Though from those lips a kiss being taken, Might tyrants melt, and death awaken. I do not love thee, oh! my fairest, For that richest, for that rarest Silver pillar, which stands under Thy sound head, that globe of wonder ; Tho' that neck be whiter far Than towers of polish'd ivory are.
Song. Would you know what's soft! I dare Not bring you to the down or air ; Nor to stars to show what's bright, Nor to snow to teach you white. Nor, if you would music hear, Call the orbs to take your ear ; Nor to please your sense bring forth Bruised nard or what's more worth. Or on food were your thoughts plac'd, Bring you nectar, for a taste : Would you have all these in one, Name my mistress, and 'tis done.
A Pastoral Dialogues
Shepherd, Nymph, Chorus. Shep. This mossy bank they press’d. Nymph. That
aged oak Did
canopy the happy pair All night from the damp air. Cho. Here let us sit and sing the words they spoke, Till the day breaking, their embraces broke. Skep. See, love, the blushes of the mom appear,
And now she hangs her pearly store,
(Robb'd from the eastern shore,) I'th' cowslip's bell, and rose's ear: Sweet, I must stay no longer here. Nymph. Those streaks of doubtful light usher not day,
But show my sun must set; no morn
Shall shine till thou return; The yellow planets, and the gray Dawn, shall attend thee
thy way. Shep. If thine eyes gild my paths, they may forbear
Their useless shine. Nymph. My tears will quite
Extinguish their faint light. Shep. Those drops will make their beams more clear, Love's flames will shine in ev'ry tear. Cho. They kiss'd and wept; and from their lips and eyes,
In a mix'd dew of briny sweet,
Their joys and sorrows meet ; But she cries out. Nymph. Shepherd, arise, The sun betrays us else to spies. Cho. The winged hours fly fast, whilst we embrace;
But when we want their help to meet,
They move with leaden feet.
Nymph. No, arise,
Nymph. My soul. Shep. My paradise.
Mediocrity in Love Rejected. Give me more love, or more disdain ;
The torrid or the frozen zone
The temperate affords me none ;
Like Danae in that golden shower,
Disdain, that torrent will devour
Most fleeting when it is most dear ;
Or a coral lip admires,
Fuel to maintain his fires ;
Gentle thoughts and calm desires ;
Kindle never-dying fires. Where these are not, I despise Lovely eeks, or lips, or eyes ! No tears, Celia, now shall win
My resolv'd heart to return; I have search'd thy soul within,
And find nought but pride and scorn ; I have learn'd thy arts, and now Can disdain as much as thou. Some power, in my revenge, convey That love to her I cast away.
Persuasions to Love. Think not, 'cause men flatt'ring say, Y'are fresh as April, sweet as May, Bright as is the morning star, That you are so ; or, though you are, Be not therefore proud, and deem All men unworthy your esteem ; Nor let brittle beauty make You your wiser thoughts forsake : For that lovely face will fail ; Beauty's sweet, but beauty's frail ! Tis sooner past, 'tis sooner done, Than suramer's rain or winter's sun ;
[4 pproach of Spring.) Now that the winter's gone, the earth hath lost Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost Candies the grass, or calls an icy cream Upon the silver lake, or crystal stream ;
But the warm sun thaws the benumb'd earth, deserving of much praise; they were endowed with And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
minds eminently poetical, and not inferior in imagiTo the dead swallow ; wakes in hollow tree
nation to any of their contemporaries. But an inThe drowsy cuckoo, and the humble bee ;
judicious taste, and an excessive fondness for a style Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring
which the public was rapidly abandoning, that of In triumph to the world the youthful spring. allegorical personification, prevented their powers The valleys, hills, and woods, in rich array, from being effectively displayed.' Mr Campbell Welcome the coming of the long'd for May.
remarks, . They were both the disciples of Spenser, Now all things smile.
and, with his diction gently modernised, retained much of his melody and luxuriant expression. Giles,
inferior as he is to Spenser and Milton, might be PHINEAS AND GILES FLETCHER.
figured, in his happiest moments, as a link of con
nexion in our poetry between these congenial spirits, These brother poets were sons of Dr Giles Fletcher, for he reminds us of both, and evidently gave hints and cousins of Fletcher the dramatist ; both were to the latter in a poem on the same subject with clergymen, whose lives afforded but little variety of Paradise Regained.' These hints are indeed very incident. Phineas was born in 1584, educated at plain and obvious. The appearance of Satan as an Eton and Cambridge, and became rector of Hilgay, aged sire. slowly footing' in the silent wilderness, in Norfolk, where he died in 1650. Giles was younger the temptation of our Saviour in the 'goodly garden,' than his brother, but the date of his birth has not and in the Bower of Vain Delight, are outlines been ascertained. He was rector of Alderton, in which Milton adopted and filled up in his second Suffolk, where he died, it is supposed, some years epic, with a classic grace and force of style unbefore his brother.
known to the Fletchers. To the latter, however, The works of PHINEAS FLETCHER consist of the belong the merit of original invention, copiousness Purple Island, or the Isle of Man, Piscatory Eclogues, of fancy, melodious numbers, and language at times and miscellaneous poems. The Purple Island was rich, ornate, and highly poetical. If Spenser had published in 1633, but written much earlier, as ap- not previously written his Bower of Bliss, Giles pears from some allusions in it to the Earl of Essex. Fletcher's Bower of Vain Delight would have been The name of the poem conjures up images of poeti- unequalled in the poetry of that day; but probably, cal and romantic beauty, such as we may suppose a like his master Spenser, he copied from Tasso. youthful admirer and follower of Spenser to have drawn. A perusal of the work, however, dispels this illusion. The Purple Island of Fletcher is no
Happiness of the Shepherd's Life. sunny spot ' amid the melancholy main,' but is an elaborate and anatomical description of the body and
(From the Purple Island.] mind of man. He begins with the veins, arteries, Thrice, oh thrice happy, shepherd's life and state ! bones, and muscles of the human frame, picturing When courts are happiness' unhappy pawns ! them as hills, dales, streams, and rivers, and describ- His cottage low and safely humble gate ing with great minuteness their different meander, Shuts out proud Fortune with her scorns and fawns : ings, elevations, and appearances. It is admitted No feared treason breaks his quiet sleep, that the poet was well skilled in anatomy, and the Singing all day, his flocks he learns to keep ; first part of his work is a sort of lecture fitted for Himself as innocent as are his simple sheep. the dissecting room. Having in five cantos exhausted his physical phenomena, Fletcher proceeds No Syrian worms he knows, that with their thread to describe the complex nature and operations of the Draw out their silken lives : nor silken pride : mind. Intellect is the prince of the Isle of Man, and His lambs' warm fleece well fits his little need, he is furnished with eight counsellors, Fancy, Me-Not in that proud Sidonian tincture dyed : mory, the Common Sense, and five external senses. No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright; The Human Fortress, thus garrisoned, is assailed by Nor begging wants his middle fortune bite : the Vices, and a fierce contest ensues for the posses- But sweet content exiles both misery and spite. sion of the human soul. At length an angel interposes, and insures victory to the Virtues, the angel Instead of music, and base flattering tongues, being King James I., on whom the poet condescended Which wait to first salute ny lord's uprise ; to heap this fulsome adulation. From this sketch The cheerful lark wakes him with early songs, of Fletcher's poem, it will be apparent that its worth And birds sweet whistling notes unlock his eyes : must rest, not upon plot, but upon isolated passages In country plays is all the strife he uses ; and particular descriptions. Some of his stanzas Or sing, or dance unto the rural Muses; have all the easy flow and mellifluous sweetness of And but in music's sports all difference refuses. Spenser's Faery Queen ; but others are marred by His certain life, that never can deceive him, affectation and quaintness, and by the tediousness Is full of thousand sweets, and rich content: inseparable from long-protracted allegory. His fancy The smooth-leaved beeches in the field receive him was luxuriant, and, if better disciplined by taste and with coolest shades, till noon-tide rage is spent ; judgment, might have rivalled the softer scenes of His life is neither toss'd in boist'rous seas Spenser. GILES FLETCHER published only one poetical Pleas'd and full blest he lives, when he his God can
Of troublous world, nor lost in slothful ease : production of any length-a sacred poem, entitled
please. Christ's Victory and Triumph. It appeared at Cambridge in 1610, and met with such indifferent suc. His bed of wool yields safe and quiet sleeps, cess, that a second edition was not called for till While by his side his faithful spouse hath place ; twenty years afterwards. There is a massive gran. His little son into his bosom creeps, deur and earnestness about 'Christ's Victory' which The lively picture of his father's face : strikes the imagination. The materials of the poem Never his humble house nor state torment him: are better fused together, and more harmoniously Less he could like, if less his God had sent him; linked in connexion, than those of the Purple Island. And when he dies, green turfs, with grassy tomb, con. • Both of these brothers,' says Mr Hallam, are tent him.
(Decay of Human Greatness.)
Choice nymph! the crown of chaste Diana's train,
Thou beauty's lily, set in heavenly earth; [From the same.)
Thy fairs, unpattern'd, all perfection stain : Fond man, that looks on earth for happiness, Sure Heaven with curious pencil at thy birth And here long seeks what here is never found ! In thy rare face her own full picture drew : For all our good we hold from heav'n by lease, It is a strong verse here to write, but true, With many forfeits and conditions bound;
Hyperboles in others are but half thy due. Nor can we pay the fine, and rentage due :
Upon her forehead Love his trophies fits,
A thousand spoils in silver arch displaying :
Upon her brows lies his bent ebon bow,
And ready shafts ; deadly those weapons show; With gilded tops and silver turrets shining; Yet sweet the death appear’d, lovely that deadly blow. There now the Sart fearless of greyhound feeds, And loving pelican in fancy breeds :
A bed of lilies flow'r upon her cheek, There screeching satyrs fill the people's empty stedes. And in the midst was set a circling rose ; Where is the Assyrian lion's golden hide,
Whose sweet aspect would force Narcissus seek That all the east once grasp'd in lordly paw!
New liveries, and fresher colours choose Where that great Persian bear, whose swelling pride To deck his beauteous head in snowy 'tire ; The lion's self tore out with rar'nous jaw?
But all in vain : for who can hope t' aspire
' Or he which 'twixt a lion and a pard,
To such a fair, which none attain, but all admire ! Through all the world with nimble pinions far’d, And to his greedy whelps his conquer'd kingdoms A troop of pearls, which march in goodly row :
Her ruby lips lock up from gazing sight shared.
But when she deigns those precious bones undight, Aardly the place of such antiquity,
Soon heavenly notes from those divisions flow, Or note of these great monarchies we find :
And with rare music charm the ravish'd ears, Only a fading verbal memory,
Daunting bold thoughts, but cheering modest fears : And empty name in writ is left behind :
The spheres so only sing, so only charm the spheres. But when this second life and glory fades,
Yet all these stars which deck this beauteous sky And sinks at length in time's obscurer shades,
By force of th' inward sun both shine and move; A second fall succeeds, and double death invades.
Thron'd in her heart sits love's high majesty ;
The sparkling crystal burns in glittering flame,
[The Rainbow.] Back’d, bridled by a monk, with seven heads yoked stands.
[From the Temptation and Victory of Christ. By Giles
As though his purer waves from heaven sprung, Who then shall look for happiness beneath?
To crawl on earth, as doth the sluggish main : Where each new day proclaims chance, change, and But it the earth would water with his rain, death,
That ebb’d and flow'd as wind and season would ; And life itself 's as flit as is the air we breathe. And oft the sun would cleave the limber mould
To alabaster rocks, that in the liquid rollid. [Description of Parthenia, or Chastity.] Beneath those sunny banks a darker cloud, With her, her sister went, a warlike maid,
Dropping with thicker dew, did melt apace,
And bent itself into a hollow shroud,
On which, if Mercy did but cast her face,
A thousand colours did the bow enchase,
That wonder was to see the silk distain'd
With the resplendence from her beauty gain's, Flinging all to the earth with her enchanted spear.
And Iris paint her locks with beams so lively feign'd. Her goodly armour seem'd a garden green,
About her head a cypress heaven she wore, Where thousand spotless lilies freshly blew;
Spread like a veil, upheld with silver wire, And on her shield the lone bird might be seen,
In which the stars so burnt in golden ore, Th’ Arabian bird, shining in colours new ;
As seem'd the azure web was all on fire : Itself unto itself was only mate ;
But hastily, to quench their sparkling ire, Ever the same, but new in newer date :
A flood of milk came rolling up the shore, And underneath was writ ‘Such is chaste single state.' That on his curded wave swift Argus wore,
And the immortal swan, that did her life deplore. Thus hid in arms she seem'd a goodly knight, And fit for any warlike exercise :
Yet strange it was so many stars to see, But when she list lay down her armour bright,
Without a sun to give their tapers light; And back resume her peaceful maiden's guise ;
Yet strange it was not that it so should be ; The fairest maid she was, that ever yet
For, where the sun centres himself by right, Prison'd her locks within a golden net,
Her face and locks did flame, that at the sight Or let them waving hang, with roses fair beset.
The heavenly veil, that else should nimbly move,
Forgot his flight, and all incensed with love,
With wonder and amazement, did her beauty prove.