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One little space prolong my mournful day! One little lapse suspend thy last decree!
I am a youthful traveller in the way, And this slight boon would consecrate to thee, Ere I with Death shake hands, and smile that I am
The mournful close of Kirke White's history is too familiar to the memories of us all to require any further mention. What I could add would only deepen the melancholy of the story. The “youthful traveller" has reached that Home, where no harp hangs upon the cypress !
AND HIS FRIEND WILLIAM HERVEY.
He was my friend, the truest friend on earth;
By friendship given of old to Fame
Whom the kind youth preferred to me;
And even in that we did agree,
Cowley on the death of Hervey.
COMPLAINTS of the dreariness of Cambridge are as old as Milton. In our own days it was said, with some exaggeration, to have driven Robert Hall mad. “ When I look upon a tree,” he remarked, “ it seems like Nature putting out signals of distress." Yet there is one walk behind the colleges which Meditation might love to haunt; and here we know that Cowley delighted to wander, or muse by the river side, as he has told us in his own beautiful verses :
Cum me tranquilla mente sedentem,
tua. The very name of Cowley has a peculiar charm. The sunshine of his temper diffused a warmth and
beauty over a cold and melancholy fortune. Johnson has ridiculed his love of the country, yet his writings amply prove it to have been sincere. He said finely, that he always went with delight out of the world, as it was man's, into the world, as it was Nature's, and as it was God's. And in another place,
God the first garden made, and the first city, Cain.
A line in which we have the probable original of
God made the country, and man made the town.
Cowley's sojourn at Trinity forms the pleasantest passage in his history. Canıbridge, although reckoning our greatest poets among her children, has no cause to boast of their gratitude or affection. Milton's hostility and hatred are, alas, too well remembered; Spenser, indeed, has mentioned the University in terms of regard, but of his own college not a single notice any where occurs; while Dryden's preference of “ Athens in his riper age, shows how freshly he bore in mind the fortnight's confinement within the college walls, &c. But with Cowley, his college seems to have possessed all the charm of a home, and he pours out his love for it, as for a mother. We hear of no
scholastical bur sticking in the throat, no voice cracked with metaphysical gargarisms*; all is dear within and without; every tree partakes his affection. How his heart beats, if we may employ the metaphor, in the dedication of his poems to Alma Mater!
O mihi jucundum Grantæ super omnia nomen!
O penitus toto corde receptus amor!
Splendida paupertas, ingenuusque decor.
Digna Domus! Trini nomine digna Dei !
Quas recreant avium Pieridumque chori.
Amnibus auriferis invidiosus inops !
Det que Deus doctâ posse quiete frui,
Vidisti in ripa, Came serene, tua.
What a delightful picture have we of the poet in the last couplet, sitting in the golden quiet of his studious youth, with a tranquil and thoughtful mind, on the grassy bank of the Cam, bending over his own shadow in the unruffled water. We see him on the warm eve of some long Summer
day, reclined by the side of his friend Herveythe Lycidas of Cowley—with half-closed eye watching the sunbeams through the leaves; while the Muse perhaps stood before him
Bodied, arrayed, and seen by an internal light.
Our poetical biography contains no episode more beautiful or touching than the friendship of these affectionate companions; both students of Trinity, both youths of genius, both eager in the pursuit of knowledge. Of Hervey, indeed, we know nothing, except from the tender elegy in which his sorrowful friend has enshrined his virtues and his talents.
No passage of that poem which Milton consecrated to the memory of Edward King, contains a thought so affecting, as the sudden tolling of the funeral bell in the following stanza:
It was a dismal and a fearful night,
By something liker death possest.
with tears did uncommanded flow,
Of some intolerable fate-