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When their reputation was high, they had undoubtedly more imitators than time has left behind. Their immediate successors, of whom any remembrance can be said to remain, were Suckling, Waller, Denham, Cowley, Cleiveland, and Milton. Denham and Waller sought another way to fame, by improving the harmony of our numbers. Miiton tried the metaphysic style only in his lines upon Hobson the carrier. Cowley adopted it, and excelled his predecessors, having as much sentiment and more music. Suckling neither improved versification, nor abounded in conceits. The fashionable style remained chiefly with Cowley ; Suckling could not reach it, and Milton dis. dained it.

CRITICAL remarks are not easily understood without examples; and I have therefore collected instances of the modes of writing by which this species of poets (for poets they were called by themselves and their admirers) was eminently distin. guished.

As the authors of this race were perhaps more desirous of being admired than uns derstood, they sometimes drew their conceits from recesses of learning not very much frequented by common readers of poetry. Thus Cowley on Knowledge.

The sacred tree 'midst the fair orchard grew,

The phoenix Truth did on it rest,
And built his perfum'd nest :
That right Porphyrian tree, which did true logic shew.
Each leaf did learned notions give,

And th' apples were demonstrative:
So clear their colour and divine,
The very shade they cast did other lights outshine.

On Anacreon continuing a lover in his old age.

Love was with thy life entwin’d,
Close as heat with fire is join'd;
A pow'rful brand prescrib'd the date
Of thine, like Meleager's fate.
Th' antiperistasis of age
More enflam'd thy amorous rage. "

In the following verses we have an allusion to a rabbinical opinion concerning manna.

Variety I ask not: give me one
To live perpetually upon.
The person, Love does to us fit,
Like manna, has the taste of all in it.

Thus Donne shows his medicinal knowledge in some encomiastic verses.

In every thing there naturally grows
A balsamum, to keep it fresh and new,

If 'twere not injur'd by extrinsique blows'
Your youth and beauty are this balm in you.

But you, of learning and religion,
And virtue and such engredients, have made

A mithridate, whose operation
Keeps off, or cures what can be done or said,

Though the following lines of Donne, on the last night of the year, have something in them too scholastic, they are not inelegant.

This twilight of two years, not past nor next,

Some emblem is of me, or I of this,
Who, meteor-like, of stuff and form perplext,

Whose what and where in disputation is,

If I should call me any thing, should miss.
I sum the years and me, and find me not

Debtor to th’ old, nor creditor to th’ new.
That cannot say, my thanks I have forgot,
Nor trust I this with hopes; and yet scarce true
This bravery is, since these times show'd me you.

Yet more abstruse and profound is Donne's reflection upon man as a microcosin,

If inen be worlds, there is in every one i
Something to answer in some proportion
All the world's riches : and in good men, this
Virtue, our form's form, and our soul's soul, is.

Of thoughts so far-fetched, as to be not only unexpected, but unnatural, all their books are full.

To a Lady who made Posies for Rings.
They, who above do various circles find,
Say, like a ring, th' equator Heaven does bind.
When Heaven shall be adorn'd by thee,
(Which then more Heaven than 'tis will be)
'Tis thou must write the posy there,

For it wanteth one as yet,
Though the Sun pass through’t twice a year,

The Sun which is esteem'd the god of wit,


The difficulties, which have been raised about identity in philosophy, are by Cowley with still more perplexity applied to love.

Five years ago (says Story) I lov'd you,
For which you call me most inconstant pow.
Pardon me, madam, you mistake the man,
For I am not the same that I was then;
No flesh is now the same 'twas then in me,
And that my mind is chang'd yourself may see.
The same thoughts to retain still, and intents,
Were more inconstant far: for accidents
Must of all things most strangely inconstant prove,
If from one subject they t'another move;
My members then the father members were,
From whence these take their birth which now are here.
If then this body love what th' other did,
'Twere incest, which by Nature is forbid.

The love of different women is, in geographical poetry, compared to travels through different countries.

Hast thou not found each woman's breast
(The land where thou hast travelled)
Either by savages possest,

Or wild, and uninhabited ?
What joy could'st take, or what repose,
In countries so unciviliz'd as those ?
Lust, the scorching dog-star, here

Rages with immoderate heat;
Whilst Pride, the rugged northern bear,

In others makes the cold too great.
And where these are temperate known,
The soil's all barren sand, or rocky stone.


A lover, burnt up by his affection, is compared to Egypt.

The fate of Egypt I sustain,

And never feel the dew of rain
From clouds which in the head appear;
But all my too much moisture owe
To overflowings of the heart below.


The lover supposes his lady acquainted with the ancient laws of augury and rites of sacrifice.

And yet this death of mine, I fear,
Will ominous to her appear:
When, sound in every other part,
Her sacrifice is found without an heart.
For the last tempest of my death
Shall sigh out that too, with my breath.

That the chaos was harmonised, has been recited of old; but whence the different sounds arose remained for a modern to discover.

Thungovern'd parts no correspondence knew,
An artless war from thwarting motions grew,
Till they to number and fixt rules were brought.
Water and air he for the tenor chose,
Earth made the base, the treble flame arose.


The tears of lovers are always of great poetical account; but Donne has cx. tended them into worlds. If the lines are not easily understood, they may be read again.

On a round ball
A workman, that hath copies by, can lay

An Europe, Afric, and an Asia,
And quickly make that, which was nothing, all :

So doth each tear,

Which thee doth wear,
A globe, yea world, by that impression grow,
Till thy tears, mixt with mine, do overflow
This world, by waters sent from thee my heaven dissolved so.

On reading the following lines, the reader may perhaps cry out--Confusion worse tonfounded.

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Who but Donne would have thought, that a good man is a telescope ?

Though God be our true glass, through which we see
All, since the being of all things is he;
Yet are the trunks, which do to us derive
Things in proportion, fit by perspective,
Deeds of good men ; for by their living here,
Virtues, indeed remote, seem to be near.

Who would imagine it possible, that in a very few lines so many remote ideas could be brought together?

Since 'tis my doom, Love's undershriere,

• Why this reprieve ?
Why doth my she Advowson fly

To sell thyself dost thou intend

By candle's end,
And hold the contrast thus in doubt,

Life's taper out?
Think but how soon the market fails,
Your sex lives faster than the males;
And if to measure age's span,
The sober Julian were th' account of man,
Whilst you live by the fleet Gregorian.


Of enormous and disgusting hyperboles, these may be examples :

By every wind that comes this way,

Send me at least a sigh or two,
Such and so many I'll repay

As shall themselves make winds to get to you.

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Upon a paper written with the juice of lemon, and read by the fire :

Nothing yet in thee is seen,
But when a genial heat warms thee within,
A new-born wood of various lines there grows;

Here buds an L, and there a B, .

Here spouts a V, and there a T,
And all the flourishing letters stand in rows.


As they sought only for novelty, they did not much inquire whether their allusions were to things high or low, elegant or gross: whether they compared the little to the great, or the great to the little.

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