Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

We are no less beholden to Him for the new turn of Verse, which he brought in, and the improvement he made in our Numbers.. Before His time, men rhymed indeed, and that was all: as for the harmony of measure, and that dance of words, which good ears are so much pleased with, they knew nothing of it. Their Poetry then was made up almost entirely of monofyllables; which when they come together in any cluster, are certainly the most harsh untuneable things in the world. If any man doubts of this, let him read ten lines in Donne, and he will be quickly convinced. Besides, their verses ran all into one another; and hung together, throughout a whole copy, like the hooked Atoms that compose a Body in Descartes. There was no distinction of parts, no regular stops, nothing for the ear to reft upon : but, as soon as the copy began, down it went, like a larum, incessantly; and the reader was sure to be out of breath, before he got to the end of it. So that really Verse in those days was but down-right prose, tagged with rhymes. Mr. Waller removed all these faults ; brought in more polysyllables, and smoother measures; bound up his thoughts better; and in a cadence more agreeable to the nature of the Verse He wrote in: so that where-ever the natural stops of that were, He contrived the little breakings of His sense so as to fall in with them. And for that reason, since the ftress of our Verse lies commonly upon the last fyllable, you will hardly ever find Him using a word of no force there. I would say, if I were not afraid the reader would think me too nice, that He commonly closes with Verbs; in which we know the life of language consists.

Among other improvements, we may reckon that of his rhymes : which are always good, and very often the better for being new. He had a fine ear, and knew how quickly that sense was cloyed by the same round of chiming words still returning upon it. It is a decided case by the Great Master of writing, · Que sunt ampla, * & pulchra, diu placere poffunt; quæ lepida & concinna," (amongst which rhyme muft, whether it will or no, take its place) “ cito fatietate afficiunt aurium sensum “ faftidiofiffimum. This he understood very well: and therefore, to take off the danger of a furfeit that way, strove to please by variety, and new sounds. Had he carried this observation, among others, as far as it would go, it muft, methinks, have shewn him the incurable fault of this jingling kind of Poetry; and have led his later judgment to Blank Verse. But He continued an obstinate lover of Rhyme to the very laft: it was a mistress that never appeared unhandsome in His eyes; and was courted by Him long after Sacharissa was forsaken. He had raised it, and brought it to that perfection we now enjoy it in; and the Poet's temper (which has always a little vanity in it) would not suffer Him ever to flight a thing He had taken so much pains to adorn. "My Lord Roscommon was more impartial: no man ever rhymed truer and evener than he: yet he is so just as to confess, that it is was

but a trifle; and to wish the tyrant dethroned, and Blank Verse set up in its room. There is † a third perfon, the living glory of our English Poetry, who has disclaimed the use of it upon the Stage: though no man ever employed it there fo happily as he. It was the strength of his Genius, that first brought it into credit in Plays; and it is the force of his example that has thrown it out again. In other kinds of writing, it continues ftill; and will do so, till fome excellent fpirit arises, that has leisure, enough, and resolution to break the Charm, and free us from the troublesome bondage of rhyming, as Mr. Milton very well calls it; and has proved it as well, by what he has wrote in another way. But this is a thought for times at some distance ; the present age is a little too warlike; it may perhaps furnish out matter for a good Poem in the next, but it will hardly encourage one now: without prophesying, a man may easily know what sort of laurels are like to be in request.

* Ciccro ad Herennium, l. iv.

+ Mr. Dryden.

Whilft I am talking of Verse, I find myself, I do not know how, betrayed into a great deal of prose. I intended no more than to put the Reader in mind what respect was due to any thing that fell from the pen of Mr. Waller. I have heard his last printed copies, which are added in the feveral editions of his poems, very Nightly spoken of; but certainly they do not deserve it. They do indeed difcorer themselves to be his last, and that is the worft we can say of them. He is there

Jam senior; sed cruda Deo viridisque senectus, The same cenfure perhaps will be paffed on the pieces of this Second Part. ! fhall not so far engage for them, as to pretend they are all equal to whatever ke wrote in the vigor of his youth: yet they are fo much of a piece with the reft, that any man will at firft fight know them them to be Mr. Wallers. Some of them were wrote very early, but not put into former collections, for reafons obvious enough, but which are now ceased. The play † was altered to please the Court: it is not to be doubted who sat for the Two Brothers' characters. It was agreeable to the Tweetness of Mr. Waller's temper, to foften the rigor of the Tragedy, as he exprefies it: but, whether it be so agreeable to the nature of Tragedy itfelf to make every thing come-off easily, I leave to the Critics. In the Prologue, and Epilogue, there are a few verses that he has made use of upon another occafion: but, the Reader may be pleased to allow that in Him, that has been allowed fo long in Homer and Lucretius. Exact writers dress up their thoughts so very well always, that, when they have need of the same sense, they cannot put it into other words, but it muf be to its prejudice. Care has been taken in this Book to get together every thing of Mr. Waller's that is not put into the former collection: fo that between both, the Reader may make the set complete.

It will perhaps be contended after all, that some of these ought not to have been publifhed: and Mr. | Cowley's decision will he urged, that a neat tomb of marble is a better monument than a great pile of rubbish. It might be answered to this that the Pictures, and Poems, of great Masters have been always valued, though the laft hand were not put to them. And I believe none of those Gentlemen that will make the objection, would refuse a sketch of Raphael's, or one of Titian's draughts of the first fitting. I might tell them too, what care has been taken by the learned, to preserve the fragments of the ancient Greek and Latin Poets: there has beea thought to be a Divinity in what they said; and therefore the least pieces of it have been kept up and reverenced like religious reliques. And, I am sure, take away the u ġ mille anni;” and impartial reasoning will tell us there is as much due to the memory of Mr. Waller, as to the most celebrated names of antiquity,

But, to wave the dispute now of what ought to have been done; I can afsure the Reader, what would have been, had this edition been delayed. The following Poems were got abroad, and in a great many hands: it were vain to exped, shar among so many admirers of Mr. Waller, they should not meet with one fond enough to publish them. They might have faid, indeed, till by frequent transcriptions they had been corrupted extremely, and jumbled together with things of another kind: but, then they would have found their way into the world. So it was thought a greater piece of kindness to the Author, to put them out whilst they continue genuine and unmixed; and such as He Himself, were He alive, might own.

* Virg. Æn. vi. 304.

"The Maid's Tragedy;" which does not come within the plan of the present publicatioe. In the Preface to his Works. Alluding to that verse in Juvenal,

* Et uni zedit Homero
Propter mille aunos

Sat, vü.
And yields to Homer on no other scorce,
Than that he liv'd a thousand years before.

Mr, C. Dryden,

THE

POEMS OF EDMUND WALLER.

ESCAPED IN THE ROAD AT SAINT ANDERO.

OF THE DANGER BIS MAJESTY (BEING PRINCE) : They ply their feet, and still the restless ball,

Toft to and fro, is urged by them all :
had his Highness bid farewell to Spain, And like effects of their contention finds.

So fares the doubtful barge 'twixt tide and winds;
And
the main ;

Charles and his virfue was their facred load: With British bounty in his thip he fcafts Th' Hesperian Princes, his amazed guests,

Than which a greater pledge Heaven could not e To find that watery wilderness exceed

give, The entertainment of their great Madrid.

That the good boat this tempeft should out-live.

But storms increase! and now no hope of grace Healths to both Kiogs, attended with the roar Of cannons echoed from th'affrighted shore,

Among them shines, lave in the Prince's face; With loud resemblance of his thunder, prove

The rest resigu their courage, skill, and light, Bacchus the seed of cloud-compelling Jove:

To danger, horror, and unwelcome night. While to his harp divine Arion sings

The gentle vessel (wont with state and pride The loves and conquests of our Albion Kings.

On the smooth back of silver Thanks to ride)

Wanders astonith'd in the angry Main, Of the fourth Edward was his noble song,

As Titan's car did, while the golden rein Fierce, goodly, valiant, beautiful, and young : He rent the crown from vanquish'd Henry's head; when the whole world an equal hazard run

Fill'd the young hand of his adventurous son Rais'd the White Rose, and trampled on the Red: To this of ours, the light of whose desire, Till Love, triumphing o'er the victor's pride, Brought Mars and Warwick to the conquer'd Tho impatient sea grows impotent, and raves

Waves threaten now, as that was scar'd by fire. fide : Neglected Warwick, (whose bold hand, like Fate, Should find resistance from fo light a thing :

That, night assisting, his impetuous waves
Gives and resumes the sceptre of our State)
Wooes for his Master; and, with double shame,

These fusges ruin, those our safety bring.
Himself deluded, mocks the Princely Dame,

Th’ oppreffed vessel doth the charge abide, The Lady Bona : whom just anger burns,

Only because affail'd on every fide :

So men with rage and passion set on fire, And foreign war with civil rage returns. Ah! spare your swords, where beauty is to blame; Trembling for haste, impeach their mad desire. Love gave th' affront, and must repair the same: But that their wonder did divert their care;

The pale Iberians had expir'd with fear, When France shall boast of her, whose conquering To see the Prince with danger mov'd no more,

eyes Have made the best of English hearts their prize; Godlike his courage seem'd, whom nor delight

Than with the pleasures of their Court before : Have power to alter the decrees of Fate,

Could foften, or the face of Death affright: And change again the counfels of our State. What the prophetic Muse intends, alone

Next to the power of m.king tempefts cease,

Was in that storm to have so calm a peace. To him that feels the secret wound is known. With the fweet found of this harmonions lay, when the loud winds ufurping on the Main

Great Maro could no greater tempest feign, About the keel delighted dolphins play ; Too fure a sign of sea's ensuing rage,

For angry Juno, labor'd to destroy Which must anon his royal troop engage :

The hated reliques of confounded 'Troy: To whom soft-sleep.seeins more secure and sweet, His bold Æncas, on like billows toft Within the town commanded by our fleet.

In a tall ship, and all his country lost, These mighty Peers plac'd in the gilded barge, Proclaims them happy whom the Greeks had

Diffolves with fear; and both his hands upheld, Proud with the burden of fo brave a charge;

quellid With painted oars the youths begin to sweep Neptune's smooth face, and cleave the yielding in honourable fight: our Hero fet,

In a small shallop, Fortune in his debt, deep : Which soon becomes the seat of sudden war

So near a hope of crowns and sceptres, more

Than ever Priam, when he flourish'd, wore; Between the wind and tide, that fiercely jar. As when a sort of lufty shepherds try

His loins yet full of ungot Princes, all Their force at foot-ball, care of victory

His glory in the bud, lets nothing fall Makes them falute fo rudeiy breast to breast,

• Phaeton. That their encounter seems too rough for jeft;

[ocr errors]

NEWS OT TEI

That argues fear, if any thought annoys Twice was the cable hurl'd in vain; the Fates
The Gallant Youth, 'tis love's unrafted joys; Would not be mov'd for our fifter States;
And dear remembrance of that fatal glance, For England is the third successful throw,
Por which he lately pawn'd his heart in France ; And then the Genius of that land they know,
Where he had seen a brighter Nymph, than she Whose Prince must be (as their own books devike
That sprung out of his present foe, the sea. Lord of the scene, where now his danger lies.
That noble ardour, more than mortal fire,

Well sung the Roman bard; “ all human things 'The conquer'd ocean could not make expire : « Of deareft value hang on fender ftrings." Nor angry Thetis raise her waves above

O see the then sole hope, and in design
Th' heroic Prince's courage, or his love : Of Heaven our joy, supported by a line!
*Twas indignation, and not fear, he felt, Which for that instant was Heaven's care zbore,
The Irine should perish where that image dwelt. The chain that's fixed to the throne of jove,
Ah, Love forbid! the noblest of thy train On which the fabric of our world depends;
Should not survive to let her know his pain : One link diffolv'd, the whole creation enda
Who nor his peril minding, nor his flame,
Is entertain'd with some less serious game,
Among the bright nymphs of the Gallic Court;
All highly born, obsequious to her sport :

OF HIS MAJESTY RECEIVING TE
They roses seem, which, in their early pride,
But half reveal, and half their beauties hide:

DUKE OF BUCKINGHAX'S DEATE.
She the glad morning, which her beams does
throw

No sense of danger, interrupt thy prayer? Upon their smiling leaves, and gilds them fo: Like bright Aurora, whose refulgent ray

The sacred wrestler, till a bleffing given, Foretels the fervour of ensuing day;

Quits not his hold, but halting conquers Heares And warns the shepherd with his flocks retreat,

Nor was the stream of thy devotion stop,

When from the body luch a limb was lopd, To leafy shadows, from the threaten'd heat. From Cupid's string of many fhafts that fled,

As to thy present atate was no less main; Wing'd with those plumes which noble Fame had

Though thy wise choice has fince repair'de

same. shed, As through the wondering world she flew, and

Bold Homer durft not so great virtue seiga told

In his * best pattern: of Patroclus flain,

With such amazement as weak mothers ase, Of his adventures, haughty, brave, and bold; Some had already couched the Royal Maid,

And frantic gesture, he receives the news. But Love's first summons seldom are obey'd :

Yet fell his darling by th' impartial chance Light was the wound, the Prince's care unknown, Thine in full peace, and by a vulgar hand

Of was, impos'd by Royal Hector's lance : She might not, would not, yet reveal her own. His glorious name had so posleft her ears,

Torn from thy bosom, left his high command That with delight those antique tales she hears

The famous t painter could allow do place Of Jason, Theseus, and such Worthies old,

For private sorrow in a Prince's face: As with his story best resemblance hold.

Yet, that his piece might not exceed belie,

He cast a veil upon supposed grief.
And now she views, as on the wall it hung,
What old Museus so divinely sung:

'Twas want of such a precedent as this,

Made the old heathen frame their Gods amus. Which art with life and love did so inspire,

Their Phæbus should not ad a fonder part That she discerns and favours that defire

For the f fair boy, than he did for his hart: Which there provokes th’adventurous youth to

Nor blame for Hyacinthus' fate his own, swim, And in Leander's danger pities him;

That kept from him with’d death, bad thos bens

known, Whose not new love alone, but fortune, secks

He that with thine shall weigh good David. To frame his story like that amorous Greek's.

deeds, For from the stern of some good ship appears

Shall find his passion, nor his love exceeds: A friendly light, which moderates their fears:

He curft the mountains were his brare frice New courage from reviving hope they take,

dy'd, And climbing o'er the waves that taper make

But let false Ziba with his heir divide: On which the hope of all their lives depends,

Where thy immortal love to thy blest friends. As his on that fair Hero's hand extends. The ship at anchor, like a fix'd rock,

Like that of Heaven, upon their sced defcenda Breaks the proud billows which her large fides

Such huge extremes inhabit thy great minde knock;

God-like, unmov'd; and yet, like woman L

Which of the ancient Poets had not brought Whose rage, restrained, foaming higher swells, And from her port the wcary barge repels :

Our Charles's pedigree from heaven; and these

How some bright dame, compreft by nighty 3-5Threatening to make her, forced out again,

Produc'd this mix'd Divinity and Love?
Repeat the daugers of the troubled Main.
Venus.

* Achilles.

+ Timaatbes. Cypariffus.

THAT

TO THE KING ON HIS NAVY. Like hungry wolves, those pirates from our More

Whole flocks of sheep, and ravish'd cattle, bore. W THERE'ER thy Navy spreads her canvas

Safely they might on other nations prey; wings,

Fools to provoke the Sovereign of the sea ! Homage to thee, and peace to all the brings :

Mad Cacus so, whom like ill fate persuades, The French, and Spaniard, when thy flags appear, The herd of fair Alcmena's feed invades; Forget their hatred, and consent to fear.

Who, for revenge, and mortals' glad relicf, So Jove from Ida did both hosts survey,

Sack'd the dark cave, and crush'd that horrid And, when he pleas'd to thunder, part the fray.

thief. Ships heretofore like fishes fped,

Morocco's monarch, wondering at this fact, The mightiest still upon the fmalleit fed :

Save that his presence his affairs exact, Thou on the Deep imposeft nobler laws;

Had come in person to have seen and known And by that justice has remov'd the cause

'The injur'd world's avenger and his own. Of thosc rude tempests, which, for rapine sent, Hither' he sends the chief among his Peers, Too oft, alas! involv'd the innocent.

Who in his baris proportion'd prefents bears, Now shall the Ocean, as thy Thames, be frec

To the renown'd for piety and force, From both those fates, of forms and piracy.

Poor captives manumis'd, and matchless horse. But we most happy, who can fear no force But winged troops, or Pegasean horse : 'Tis not so hard for greedy foes to spoil Another nation, as to touch our foil.

UPON HIS MAJESTY'S REPAIRING OF ST. PAUL'S, Should Nature's self invade the world again, And o'er the centre spread the liquid Main, Thy power were fafe; and her destructive hand

"HAT shipwreck'd vessel which th' Apostle

bore, Would but enlarge the bounds of thy command :

Scarce fuffer'd more upon Melita's fhore, Thy dreadful Fleet would style thee Lord of all,

Than did his temple in the sca of time; And ride in triumph o'er the drowned Ball :

Our nation's glory, and our nation's crime. Those towers of oak o'er fertile plains might go,

When the first * Monarch of this happy Ille, And visit mountains where they once did grow.

Mov'd with the ruin of so brave a pile, The world's restorer once could not indure,

This work of cost and picty begun, That finish'd Babel should chofe men secure,

To be accomplish'd by his Glorious Son: Whose pride design'd that fabric to have stood;

Who all that came within the ample thought Above the reach of any second flood :

Of his wife Sire, has to perfection brought. To thee his chofen more indulgent, He

He, like Amphion, makes those quarries leap : Dares trust fuch power with so much piety.

Into fair figures from a confus'd heap:
For in his art of regiment is found

A power, like that of harmony in sound.
ON THE TAKING OF SALLE.

Those antique minstrels sure were Charles-like

Kings, Jafan, Theseus, and such Worthies old,

Cities their lutes, and subje&s' hearts their strings;

On which with fo divine a hand they strook, Such beasts, and monsters, as their force oppres, Consent of motion from their breath they took: Some places only, and some times, infeft. So, all our minds with his conspire to grace Calle, that fcorn'd all power and laws of men,

The Gentiles' great Apostle; and deface Goods with their owners hurrying to their den ;

Those state-obscuring sheds, that like a chain And future ages threatening with a rude

Seem'd to confine, and fetter him agaib : And favage race, successively renewid :

Which the glad Saint shakes off at his command, Their King despising with rebellious pride,

As once the viper from his sacred hand. And foes profeft to all the world beside :

so joys the aged oak, when we divide this pest of mankind gives our Hero fame,

The creeping ivy from his injur'd fide. And through the obliged world dilates his name.

Ambition rather would affect the fame The Prophet once to cruel Agag said,

Of some new structure, to have borne her name : As thy fierce fword has mothers childless made,

Two distant virtues in one act wc find, 50 shall the sword make thine : and with that the modesty, and greatness, of his mind: word

Which, not content to be above the rage le hew'd the man in pieces with his sword. And injury of all-impairing age, Fuft Charles like measure has return’d to these,

In its own worth secure, doth higher climb, Vhose pagan hands had fain’d the troubled feas: And things half swallow'd, from the jaws of time With fhips, they made the spoiled merchants Reduce: an earnest of his grand design, mourn ;

To frame no new Church, but the old refine: Vith ships, their city and themselves are torn.

Which, spouse-likc, may with comely grace com One squadron of our winged castles fent

mand,
D'erthrew their Fort, and all their Navy rent: More than by force of argument or handa
For, not content the dangers to increasi,
And act the part of tempests in thc (ças;

• King James VOL. II.

s[C]

« AnteriorContinuar »