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The versification of this is not so striking as the other ; but Dryden again falls short in the freshness and feeling of the sentiment. His lines are beautiful; but they do not come home to us with so happy and cordial a face. Here they are. The word “morning” in the first line, as it is repeated in the second, we are bound to consider as a slip of the pen; perhaps for “ mounting."

The morning-lark, the messenger of day,
Saluted in her song the morning grey ;
And soon the sun arose with beams so bright,
That all the horizon laugh'd to see the joyous sight:
He with his tepid rays the rose renews,
And licks the drooping leaves, and dries the dews;
When Arcite left his bed, resolv'd to pay
Observance to the month of merry May :
Forth on his fiery steed betimes he rode,
That scarcely prints the turf on which he trod :
At ease he seem'd, and, prancing o'er the plains,
Turn’d only to the grove his horse's reins,
The grove I named before ; and, lighted there,

A woodbine garland sought to crown his hair ;
Then turn'd his face against the rising day,
And raised his voice to welcome in the May:
'For thee, sweet month, the groves green liveries wear,
If not the first, the fairest of the year :
For thee the graces lead the dancing hours,
And Nature's ready pencil paints the flowers :
When thy short reign is past, the feverish sun
The sultry tropic fears, and moves more slowly on.
So may thy tender blossoms fear no blight,
Nor goats with venom'd teeth thy tendrils bite,
As thou shalt guide my wandering feet to find
The fragrant greens I seek, my brows to bind.'
His vows address’d, within the grove he stray'd.”

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How poor is this to Arcite's leaping from his courser lusty heart”! How inferior the commonplace of the “fiery

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steed,” which need not involve any actual notion in the writer's mind, to the courser “starting as the fire ” !-how inferior the turning his face to "the rising day” and “raising his voice,” to the singing "loud against the sunny sheen”! and lastly, the whole learned invocation and adjuration of May, about guiding his “wandering steps” and “so may thy tender blossoms,” &c., to the call upon the fair fresh May, ending with that simple, quick-hearted line, in which he hopes he shall get

some green here ;" a touch in the happiest taste of the Italian vivacity. Dryden's genius, for the most part, wanted faith in nature. It was too gross and sophisticate. There was as much difference between him and his original, as between a hot noon in perukes at St James's, and one of Chaucer's lounges on the grass of a May-morning

All this worship of May is over now. There is no issuing forth, in glad companies, to gather boughs; no adorning of houses with “the flowery spoil ;” no songs, no dances, no village sports and coronations, no courtly poetries, no sense and acknowledgment of the quiet presence of nature, in grove or glade.


“ () dolce primavera, o fior novelli,

O aure, o arboscelli, o fresche erbette;
O piagge benedette ; o colli, o monti,
O valli, o fiumi, o fonti, o verdi rivi,
Palme lauri ed olive, edere e mirti;
O gloriosi spiriti de gli boschi ;
() Eco, o antri foschi, o chiare linfe,
O faretrate ninfe, o agresti Pani,
O Satiri e Silvani, o Fauni e Driadi,
Naiadi ed Amadriadi, o Semidee,
Oreadi e Napee,-

-or siete sole."


“O thou delicious spring, O ye new flowers,
O airs, O youngling bowers ; fresh thickening grass,

And plains beneath heaven's face ; O hills and mountains,
Valleys, and streams, and fountains ; banks of green,
Myrtles, and palms serene, ivys, and bays;
And who warm’d old lays, spirits o' the woods,
Echoes, and solitudes, and lakes of light;


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This time two hundred years ago, our ancestors were all an. ticipating their May holidays. Bigotry came in, and frowned them away ; then Debauchery, and identified all pleasure with the town; then Avarice, and we have ever since been mistaking the means for the end.

Fortunately it does not follow that we shall continue to do so. Commerce, while it thinks it is only exchanging commodities, is helping to diffuse knowledge. All other gains,-all selfish and extravagant systems of acquisition,—tend to overdo themselves, and to topple down by their own undiffused magnitude. The world, as it learns other things, may learn not to confound the means with the end, or, at least (to speak more philosophically), a really poor means with a really richer. The veriest cricket-player on a green has as sufficient a quantity of excitement as a fundholder or a partisan; and health, and spirits, and manliness to boot. Knowledge may go on; must do so, from necessity; and should do so, for the ends we speak of: but knowledge, so far from being incompatible with simplicity of pleasures, is the quickest to perceive its wealth. Chaucer would lie for hours, looking at the daisies. Scipio and Lælius could amuse themselves with making ducks and drakes on the water. Epaminondas, the greatest of all the active spirits of Greece, was a flute-player and dancer. Alfred the Great could act the whole part of a minstrel. Epicurus taught the riches of temperance and intellectual pleasure in a garden. The other philosophers of his country walked between heaven and earth in the colloquial bowers of Academus; and “the wisest heart of Solomon,” who found everything vain because he was a king, has left us panegyrics on the Spring and "the voice of the turtle," because he was a poet, a lover, and a wise man.



HE Spring is now complete. The winds have done their

work. The shaken air, well-tempered and equalised,

has subsided; the genial rains, however thickly they may come, do not saturate the ground beyond the power of the sun to dry it up again. There are clear crystal mornings ; noons of blue sky and white cloud ; nights, in which the growing moon seems to lie looking at the stars, like a young shepherdess at her flock. A few days ago she lay gazing in this manner at the solitary evening star, like Diana, on the slope of a valley, looking up at Endymion. His young eye seemed to sparkle out upon the world ; while she, bending inwards, her hands behind her head, watched him with an enamoured dumb


But this is the quiet of Spring. Its voices and swift movements have come back also. The swallow shoots by us, like an embodied ardour of the season. The glowing bee has his will of the honeyed flowers, grappling with them as they tremble. We have not yet heard the nightingale or the cuckoo ; but we can hear them with our imagination, and enjoy them through the content of those who have.

Then the young green. This is the most apt and perfect mark of the season,--the true issuing forth of the Spring. The trees and bushes are putting forth their crisp fans; the lilac is loaded with bud; the meadows are thick with the bright young

* Written about the middle of April.--Ed.

grass, running into sweeps of white and gold with the daisies and buttercups. The orchards announce their riches in a shower of silver blossoms. The earth in fertile woods is spread with yellow and blue carpets of primroses, violets, and hyacinths, over which the birch-trees, like stooping nymphs, hang with their thickening hair. Lilies of the valley, stocks, columbines, lady-smocks, and the intensely red piony, which seems to anticipate the full glow of summer-time, all come out to wait upon the season, like fairies from their subterraneous palaces.

Who is to wonder that the idea of love mingles itself with that of this cheerful and kind time of the year, setting aside even common associations ? It is not only its youth, and beauty, and budding life, and “the passion of the groves," that exclaim with the poet

Let those love now, who never loved before ;

And those who always loved, now love the more.” *

All our kindly impulses are apt to have more sentiment in them than the world suspect ; and it is by fetching out this sentiment, and making it the ruling association, that we exalt the impulse into generosity and refinement, instead of degrading it, as is too much the case, into what is selfish and coarse, and pollutes all our systems. One of the greatest inspirers of love is gratitude, -not merely on its common grounds, but gratitude for pleasures, whether consciously or unconsciously conferred. Thus, we are thankful for the delight given us by a kind and sincere face; and if we fall in love with it, one great reason is, that we long to return what we have received. The same feeling has a considerable influence in the love that has been felt for men of talents whose persons or address have not been much calculated to inspire it. In spring-time, joy awakens the heart; with joy awakes gratitude and nature; and in our gratitude we return, on its own principle of participation, the love that has been shown us.

* Pervigilium Veneris.-Parnell's Translation.

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