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Near the pavilions where we slept, still ran Soft tinkling streams, and dashing waters fell, And sobbing breezes sighed, and oft began (So worked the wizard) wintry storms to swell, As heaven and earth they would together mell; At doors and windows threatening seemed to call The demons of the tempest, growling fell, Yet the least entrance found they none at all; Whence sweeter grew our sleep, secure in massy hall.
And hither Morpheus sent his kindest dreams, Raising a world of gayer tinct and grace; O'er which were shadowy cast Elysian gleams, That played in waving lights, from place to place, And shed a roseate smile on nature's face. Not Titian's pencil e'er could so array, So fierce with clouds, the pure ethereal space; Ne could it e'er such melting forms display, As loose on flowery beds all languishingly lay.
No, fair illusions! artful phantoms, no! My muse will not attempt your fairy land; She has no colours that like you can glow; To catch your vivid scenes too gross her hand. But sure it is, was ne'er a subtler band Than these same guileful angel-seeming sprights, Who thus in dreams voluptuous, soft, and bland, Poured all the Arabian heaven upon our nights, And blessed them oft besides with more refined delights.
They were, in sooth, a most enchanting train,
They, till due time should serve, were bid far hence
Ye guardian spirits, to whom man is dear, From these foul demons shield the midnight gloom; Angels of fancy and of love be near, And o'er the blank of sleep diffuse a bloom; Evoke the sacred shades of Greece and Rome, And let them virtue with a look impart: But chief, awhile, oh lend us from the tomb Those long-lost friends for whom in love we smart, And fill § pious awe and joy-mixt wo the heart.
When Britain first at Heaven's command,
This was the charter of the land,
Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves'
The nations not so blest as thee,
Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame; All their attempts to bend thee down Will but arouse thy generous flame, And work their wo and thy renown. Rule Britannia, &c.
John DYER, a picturesque and moral poet, was a native of Wales, being born at Aberglasslyn, Carmarthenshire, in 1700. His father was a solicitor, and intended his son for the same profession. The latter, however, had a taste for the fine arts, and rambled over his native country, filling his mind with a love of nature, and his portfolio with sketches of her most beautiful and striking objects. The sister art of poetry also claimed his regard, and during his excursions he wrote Grongar Hill, the production on which his fame rests, and where it rests securely. Dyer next made a tour to Italy, to study painting. He does not seem to have excelled as an artist, though he was an able sketcher. On his return in 1740, he published another poem, The Ruins of Rome, in blank verse. One short passage, often quoted, is conceived, as Johnson remarks, ‘with the mind of a poet:
The pilgrim oft
At dead of night, 'mid his orison, hears,
Aghast, the voice of time, disparting towers,
Tumbling all precipitate down dashed,
Rattling around, loud thundering to the moon.
Seeing, probably, that he had little chance of succeeding as an artist, Dyer entered the church, and obtained successively the livings of Calthrop, in Leicestershire, of Conningsby, in Huntingdonshire, and of Belchford and Kirkby, in Lincolnshire. He published in 1757 his longest poetical work, The Fleece, devoted to
The care of sheep, the labours of the loom.
The subject was not a happy one. How can a man write poetically, as was remarked by Johnson, of serges and druggets? One critic asked Dodsley how old the author of “The Fleece’ was ; and learning that he was in advanced life, ‘He will,’ said the critic, “be buried in woollen.” The poet did not long survive the publication, for he died next year, on the 24th of July 1758. The poetical pictures of Dyer are happy miniatures of nature, correctly drawn, beautifully coloured, and grouped with the taste of an artist. His moral reflections arise naturally out of his subject, and are never intrusive. All bear evidence of a kind and gentle heart, and a true poetical fancy.
Silent nymph, with curious eye,
Grongar Hill invites my song,
The sturdy oak, with broad-spread boughs.
And beyond the purple grove,
A little rule, a little sway,
* Byron thought the lines here printed in Italics the original of Campbell's far-famed lines at the opening of The Plea
sures of Hope:'—
• ‘Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
WILLIAM HAMILTON of Bangour, a Scottish gentleman of education, rank, and accomplishments, was born of an ancient family in Ayrshire in 1704. He was the delight of the fashionable circles of his native country, and became early distinguished for his poetical talents. In 1745, struck, we may supwith the romance of the enterprise, Hamilton joined the standard of Prince Charles, and became the “volunteer laureate” of the Jacobites, by celebrating the battle of Gladsmuir. On the discomfiture of the party, Hamilton succeeded in effecting his escape to France; but having many friends and admirers among the royalists at home, a pardon was procured for the rebellious poet, and he was soon restored to his native country and his paternal estate. He did not, however, live long to enjoy his good fortune. His health had always been delicate, and a pulmonary complaint forced him to seek the warmer climate of the continent. He gradually declined, and died at Lyons in 1754. Hamilton's first and best strains were dedicated to lyrical poetry. Before he was twenty, he had assisted Allan Ramsay in his ‘Tea-Table Miscellany.’ In 1748, some person, unknown to him, collected and published his poems in Glasgow; but the first genuine and correct copy did not appear till after the author's death, in 1760, when a collection was made from his own manuscripts. The most attractive feature in his works is his pure English style, and a somewhat ornate poetical diction. He had more fancy than feeling, and in this respect his amatory songs resemble those of the courtier poets of Charles II.'s court. Nor was he more sincere, if we may credit an anecdote related of him by Alexander Tytler in his life of Henry Home, Lord Kames. One of the ladies whom Hamilton annoyed by his perpetual compliments and solicitations, consulted Home how she should get rid of the poet, who she was convinced had no serious object in view. The
philosopher advised her to dance with him, and show
him every mark of her kindness, as if she had resolved to favour his suit. The lady adopted the counsel, and the success of the experiment was complete. Hamilton wrote a serious poem, entitled Contemplation, and a national one on the Thistle, which is in blank verse:—
How oft beneath Its martial influence have Scotia's sons, Through every age, with dauntless valour fought On every hostile ground ! While o'er their breast, Companion to the silver star, blest type Of fame, unsullied and superior deed, Distinguished ornament this native plant Surrounds the sainted cross, with costly row Of gems emblazed, and flame of radiant gold, A sacred mark, their glory and their pride!
Professor Richardson of Glasgow (who wrote a
For she has tint her lover lover dear,
And I hae slain the comeliest swain
Why runs thy stream, O Yarrow, Yarrow, red
And why yon melancholious weeds
What’s yonder floats on the rueful rueful flude :
'Tis he, the comely swain I slew
Wash, oh wash his wounds his wounds in tears,
And wrap his limbs in mourning weeds,
Then build, then build, ye sisters sisters sad,
And weep around in waeful wise,
Curse ye, curse ye, his useless useless shield,
The fatal spear that pierced his breast,
Did I not warn thee not to lue,
O'er rashly bauld a stronger arm
Sweet smells the birk, green grows, green grows the
grass, Yellow on Yarrow bank the gowan, Fair hangs the apple frae the rock, Sweet the wave of Yarrow flowan.
his love of argument and society, into which he poured the treasures of a rich and full mind—his wit, repartee, and brow-beating—his rough manners and kind heart—his curious household, in which were congregated the lame, blind, and despised—his very looks, gesticulation, and dress—have all been brought so vividly before us by his biographer, Boswell, that to readers of every class Johnson is as well known as a member of their own family. His heavy form seems still to haunt Fleet Street and the Strand, and he has stamped his memory on the remote islands of the Hebrides. In literature his influence has been scarcely less extensive. No prose writer of that day escaped the contagion of his peculiar style. He banished for a long period the naked simplicity of Swift and the idiomatic graces of Addison; he depressed the literature and poetry of imagination, while he elevated that of the understanding; he based criticism on strong sense and solid judgment, not on scholastic subtleties and refinement; and though some of the higher qualities and attributes of genius eluded his grasp and observation, the withering scorn and invective with which he assailed all affected sentimentalism, immorality, and licentiousness, introduced a pure and healthful and invigorating atmosphere into the crowded walks of literature. These are solid and substantial benefits which should weigh down errors of taste or the caprices of a temperament constitutionally prone to melancholy and ill health, and which was little sweetened by prosperity or applause at that period of life when the habits are formed and the manners become permanent. As a man, Johnson was an admirable representative of the Englishman—as an author, his course was singularly pure, high-minded, and independent. He could boast with more truth than Burke, that “he had no arts but manly arts.” At every step in his progress his passport was talent and virtue; and when the royal countenance and favour were at length extended to him, it was but a ratification by the sovereign of the wishes and opinions entertained by the best and wisest of the nation. Johnson was born at Lichfield, September 18, 1709. His father was a bookseller, and in circum
stances that enabled him to give his son a good edu
cation. In his nineteenth year he was placed at Pem