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VERSES ON A M STONY HEARTED MAIDEN WHO
MY TRUE FRIEND.
J. H. MSS. 1564. From the Nugæ Antiquæ.
1. Why didst thou raise such woeful wail, And waste in briny tears thy days? 'Cause she that wont to flout and rail, At last gave proof of woman's ways; She did, in sooth, display the heart That might have wrought thee greater smart.
Give o'er thy plaint, the danger's o'er ;
No youth shall sue such one to win,
WITHOUT enduring Lord Orford's cold blooded depreciation of this hero, it must be owned that his writings fall short of his traditional glory; nor were his actions of the very highest importance to his country. Still there is no necessity for supposing the impression which he made upon his contemporaries to have been either illusive or exaggerated. Traits of character will distinguish great men, independently of their pens or their swords. The contemporaries of Sydney knew the man: and foreigners, no less than his own countrymen, seem to have felt, from his personal influence and conversation, an homage for him, that could only be paid to a commanding intellect guiding the principles of a noble heart. The variety of his ambition, perhaps, -unfavourably divided the force of his genius : feeling that he could take different paths to reputation, he did not confine himself to one, but was successively occupied in the punctilious duties of a courtier, the studies and pursuits of a scholar and traveller, and in the life of a soldier, of which the chivalrous accomplishments could not be learnt without diligence and fatigue. All his excellence in those pursuits, and all the celebrity that would have placed him among the competitors for a crown, was gained in a life of thirty-two years. His sagacity and independence are recorded in the advice which he gave to his own sovereign. In the quarrel with Lord Oxford * he opposed the rights of an English commoner to the prejudices of aristocracy and of royalty itself. At home he was the patron of literature. All England wore mourning for his death. Perhaps the well known anecdote of his generosity to the dying soldier speaks more powerfully to the heart than the whole volumes of elegies in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, that were published at his death by the universities.
Mr. Ellis has exhausted the best specimens of his poetry. I have only offered a few short ones.
FROM THE ARCADIA.
COME sleep, O sleep, the certain knot of peace,
With shield of proof shield me from out the prease'
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
O HAPPY Thames, that didst my Stella bear,