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(From “ Select Ayres,” printed for J. Playford, 1669.)

Tell me, ye wandering spirits of the air,
Did you not see a nymph more bright, more fair
Than beauty’s darling, or of looks more sweet
Than stol’n content? If such a one ye meet, -
Wait on her hourly, wheresoe'er she flies,
And cry, and cry, Amyntor for her absence dies !

Go search the valleys, pluck up every rose,
You'll find a scent, a blush of her in those.
Fish, fish for pearl or coral—there you'll see
How oriental all her colours be.
Go, call the echoes to your aid, and cry,
Chloris! Chloris ! for that's her name for whom

I die!

But stay awhile, I have inform’d you ill;
Were she on earth, she had been with me still :
Go, fly to heaven, examine every sphere,
And try what star hath lately lighted there.
If any brighter than the sun you see,
Fall down, fall down, and worship it, for that is she!



As it was a principal object of this Miscellany, to collect such a series of early poetry as should exhibit specimens of our language through all its gradations, it may, perhaps, be convenient to the reader to bring into one point of view, the various conclusions or conjectures which these specimens have suggested. These are dispersed through the first volume of the work, so as to form a succinct and intelligible, if not a satisfactory, history of the formation and early progress of the English language.

The Saxon conquerors of this country, having been converted to Christianity, towards the close of the sixth century, appear to have engaged in the pursuit of learning, with the usual eagerness of proselytes. Great numbers of them, travelling to Rome, in quest of religious truth, distinguished themselves by their zeal and industry, and, returning to their own country, brought with thein considerable stores of such learning, as that age could furnish. At a time when single books were estimated so highly, as to form no trifling part of a valuable patrimony, large libraries were founded at Weremouth, in Northumberland, at Hexham, at York, and other places; and the writings of Venerable Bede, of · Alcuinus, and many other scholars who issued from these seminaries, excited universal and merited admiration.

But the scholars of the eighth century, communicating only with each other, and taking little interest in the concerns of such of their fellowcreatures as were unable to express their happiness or misery in Greek or Latin, do not seem to have produced very extensive benefits to mankind. So much of life was wasted in acquiring erudition, that little remained for the application of it; and, as nature seldom produces a long suc

cession of prodigies, learning expired with its first · professors. Alfred is said to have lamented that,

in his youth, very few priests, south of the Humber, understood the ordinary service of the church; and that he knew none, south of the Thames, who were capable of turning a piece of Latin into Saxon.

It may perhaps have been matter of regret to this great monarch that he was unable to naturalize among his subjects the languages of Greece and Rome, which he considered as the depositaries of much useful information ; but, by translating into

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