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through all the windings of romantic love, plots, escapes, and adventures, more time is required than the author's busy age could afford-we need hardly wonder that Chamberlayne was an unsuccessful poet. His works were almost totally forgotten, till, in our own day, an author no less remarkable for the beauty of his original compositions than for his literary research and sound criticism, Mr Campbell, in hisSpecimens of the Poets,' in 1819, by quoting largely from 'Pharonnida,' and pointing out the 'rich breadth and variety of its scenes,' and the power and
pathos of its characters and situations, drew attention to the passion, imagery, purity of sentiment, and tenderness of description, which lay, like metals in the mine,' in the neglected volume of Chamberlayne. We cannot, however, suppose that the works of this poet can ever be popular; his beauties are marred by infelicity of execution : though not deficient in the genius of a poet, he had little of the skill of the artist. The heroic couplet then wandered at will, sometimes into a' wilderness of sweets,' but at other times into tediousness, mannerism, and absurdity. The sense was not compressed by the form of the verse, or by any correct rules of metrical harmony. Chamberlayne also laboured under the disadvantage of his story being long and intricate, and his style such-from the prolonged tenderness and pathos of his scenes-as could not be appreciated except on a careful and attentive perusal. Denham was patent to all-short, sententious, and perspicuous.
The dissatisfaction of the poet with his obscure and neglected situation, depressed by poverty, breaks out in the following passage descriptive of a rich simpleton:
The following description of a dream is finely executed, and seems to have suggested, or at least bears a close resemblance to, the splendid opening lines of Dryden's Religio Laici :'—
A strong prophetic dream, Diverting by enigmas nature's stream, Long hovering through the portals of her mind On vain fantastic wings, at length did find The glimmerings of obstructed reason, by A brighter beam of pure divinity Led into supernatural light, whose rays As much transcended reason's, as the day's Dull mortal fires, faith apprehends to be Beneath the glimmerings of divinity. Her unimprison'd soul, disrob'd of all Terrestrial thoughts (like its original In heaven, pure and immaculate), a fit Companion for those bright angels' wit Which the gods made their messengers, to bear This sacred truth, seeming transported where, Fix'd in the flaming centre of the world, The heart o' th' microcosm, about which is hurl'd
The spangled curtains of the sky, within
Chamberlayne, like Milton, was fond of describing the charms of morning. We have copied one passage in the previous notice of Denham, and nume
rous brief sketches,
Like atoms of the rainbow fluttering round, are interspersed throughout his works. For example
Where every bough Maintain'd a feather'd chorister to sing Soft panegyrics, and the rude wings bring Into a murmuring slumber, whilst the calm Morn on each leaf did hang her liquid balm, With an intent, before the next sun's birth, To drop it in those wounds, which the cleft earth Receiv'd from last day's beams.
Of virgin purity he says, with singular beauty of expression
The morning pearls,
Dropt in the lily's spotless bosom, are Less chastely cool, ere the meridian sun Hath kiss'd them into heat.
In a grave narrative passage of Pharonnida,' he stops to note the beauties of the morning—
The glad birds had sung
A lullaby to-night, the lark was fled,
'Is't a sin to be
Born high, that robs me of my liberty?
genuine feeling and the language of nature. His poems are chiefly short and incidental, but he wrote a poem on Divine Love, in six cantos. Cowley had written his 'Davideis,' and recommended sacred subjects as adapted for poetry; but neither he nor Waller succeeded in this new and higher walk of
the muse. Such an employment of their talents was graceful and becoming in advanced life, but their fame must ever rest on their light, airy, and occasional poems, dictated by that gallantry, adulation, and play of fancy, which characterised the cavalier poets.
Should some brave Turk, that walks among
All this with indignation spoke,
Anger, in hasty words or blows,
Unwisely we the wiser East
A Panegyric to the Lord Protector. While with a strong and yet a gentle hand, You bridle faction, and our hearts command, Protect us from ourselves, and from the foe, Make us unite, and make us conquer too; Let partial spirits still aloud complain, Think themselves injur'd that they cannot reign, And own no liberty, but where they may Without control upon their fellows prey.
Above the waves, as Neptune show'd his face, To chide the winds, and save the Trojan race, So has your Highness, raised above the rest, Storms of ambition tossing us repress'd.
Your drooping country, torn with civil hate,
Heav'n, that hath plac'd this island to give law,
Hither the oppressed shall henceforth resort, Justice to crave, and succour at your court; And then your Highness, not for our's alone, But for the world's Protector shall be known.
Still as you rise, the state exalted too,
The rising sun night's vulgar lights destroys.
Had you, some ages past, this race of glory
This Cæsar found; and that ungrateful age, With losing him, went back to blood and rage; Mistaken Brutus thought to break their yoke, But cut the bond of union with that stroke.
That sun once set, a thousand meaner stars
If Rome's great senate could not wield that sword, Which of the conquer'd world had made them lord, What hope had ours, while yet their power was new, To rule victorious armies, but by you?
You, that had taught them to subdue their foes,
Above our neighbours our conceptions are; But faultless writing is the effect of care. Our lines reform'd, and not compos'd in haste, Polish'd like marble, would like marble last. But as the present, so the last age writ: In both we find like negligence and wit. Were we but less indulgent to our faults, And patience had to cultivate our thoughts, Our Muse would flourish, and a nobler rage Would honour this than did the Grecian stage.
[The British Navy.]
When Britain, looking with a just disdain
And knowing well that empire must decline
And now some months, encamping on the main,
Others may use the ocean as their road, Only the English make it their abode, Whose ready sails with every wind can fly, And make a covenant with the inconstant sky: Our oaks secure, as if they there took root, We tread on billows with a steady foot.
While in this park I sing, the list'ning deer
More deaf than trees, and prouder than the heav'n!
Of such stern beauty, plac'd those healing springs?
I might, like Orpheus, with my num'rous moan
Of just Apollo, president of verse;
Highly concerned that the Muse should bring
1 Sir Philip Sidney.
2 Tunbridge Wells.
Flies for relief unto the raging main,
Lately on yonder swelling bush,
Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retir'd;
And not blush so to be admir'd.
Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
How small a part of time they share
Old Age and Death.
The seas are quiet when the winds give o'er; So calm are we when passions are no more. For then we know how vain it was to boast Of fleeting things, too certain to be lost. Clouds of affection from our younger eyes Conceal that emptiness which age descries.
The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
Above all the poets of this age, and, in the whole range of English poetry, inferior only to Shakspeare, was JOHN MILTON, born in London, December 9,
1608. His father was of an ancient Catholic family, but having embraced the Protestant faith, he was disinherited, and had recourse, as a means of support, to the profession of a scrivener-one who draws legal contracts, and places money at interest. The firmness and the sufferings of the father for conscience' sake, tinctured the early feelings and sentiments of the son, who was a stern unbending champion of religious freedom. The paternal example may also have had some effect on the poet's taste and accomplishments. The elder Milton was distinguished as a musical composer, and the son was well skilled in the same soothing and delightful art. The variety and harmony of his versification may no doubt be partly traced to the same source. Coleridge styles Milton a musical, not a picturesque, poet. The saying, however, is more pointed than correct. In the most musical passages of Milton (as the lyrics in 'Comus'), the pictures presented to the mind are as distinct and vivid as the paintings of Titian or