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Lastly, a poem which was ascribed to him in the Topographer unquestionably belongs to Wotton (see p. 45); and if Tychbourne's verses were printed, as Mr. D’Israeli states (see p. 68, note), “ in one of the old editions of Sir Walter Raleigh's Poems,”—a circumstance which I know only from his report,—the claim is equally untenable.

Though we have been compelled, in this classification, to take from Raleigh many of the finest poems commonly ascribed to him, it will, I think, be found, that the outlines of his poetical character become more definite, as the limits of his poetry are more distinctly drawn. In the way in which it has been previously collected, his own peculiar features have been nearly lost, while they were softened down and blended with those common to a whole school of his contemporaries. The Lee Priory Collection, especially, is calculated to give us the most erroneous notions of Raleigh as a poet,—not only because it assigns to him so many poems, amounting to two-thirds of the whole volume, which he never wrote,—but because so many of the most characteristic poems which he did write are excluded. By far the most valuable part of that publication is the Biographical and Critical Introduction, which we cannot read without a feeling of regret, that the admiration for his author, which Brydges expressed with so much eloquence, was not rewarded with better success. I believe some parts of it were afterwards incorporated in another of his publications, which I have not at hand; but as it was not retained in the Oxford edition of Raleigh's Works, the following extracts will be new to many readers, and must be acceptable to all:

“Raleigh's mind appears to have been characterized by boldness, and freedom from nice scruples, either in thought or in action. He was, as Lodge says of Sydney, a poet

• The arrangement of the poems ascribed to Raleigh in these abree classes will be understood more easily from the table appended to ibis Introduction.


rather by necessity than inclination; he only indulged in speculation when he was shut out from action : for his head was restless and turbulent. When no overwhelming passions or interests misled bim, he was generous, and perhaps even feeling.

“ Difficulties and disappointments gave a plaintive sort of moral cast to his occasional effusions.—He possessed all the various faculties of the mind in such ample degrees, that to whichever of them he had given exclusive or unproportionate cultivation, in that he must have highly excelled. There are so many beautiful lines in the poem prefixed to Spenser's Fairy Queen,' beginning. Methought I saw,' &c. (see p. 116) that it is clear he was capable of attaining an high place among poetical writers.”

“ –Do I pronounce Raleigh a poet? Not perhaps in the judgment of a severe criticism. Raleigh, in his better days, was 100 much occupied in action to have cultivated all the powers of a poet ; which require solitude, and perpetual meditation, and a refinement of sensibility, such as intercourse with business and the world deadens.

“But perhaps it will be pleaded, that his long years of imprisonment gave him leisure for meditation, more than enough. It has been beautifully said by Lovelace that

Stone walls do not a prison make,

Nor iron bars a cage,' so long as the mind is free. But broken spirits, and indescribable injuries and misfortunes, do not agree with the fervour required by the Muse. Hope, that'sings of promis'd pleasure,' could never visit him in his dreary bondage; and Ambition, whose lights had hitherto led him through difficulties and dangers and sufferings, must now have kept entirely aloof from one, whose fetters disabled him to follow as a votary in her train. Images of rural beauty, quiet, and freedom might perhaps have added by the contrast to the poignancy of his present painful situation; and he might rather prefer the severity of mental labour in unravelling the dreary and comfortless records of perplexing History, in remote ages of war and bloodshed.

“There are times when we dare not stir our feelings or our fancies; when the only mode of reconciling ourselves to the excruciating pressure of our sorrows is the encouragement of a dull apathy, which will allow none but the coarser powers of the intellect to operate.

“The production of an Heroic Poem would have nobly employed this illustrious Hero's mighty faculties, during the lamentable years of his unjust incarceration.* But how could he delight to dwell on the tale of Heroes, to whom the result of Heroism had been oppression, imprisonment, ruin, and condemnation to death?

“We have no proof that Raleigh possessed the copious, vivid, and creative powers of Spenser; nor is it probable that any cultivation would have brought forth from him fruit equally rich. But even in the careless fragments now presented to the reader, I think we can perceive some traits of attraction and excellence, which perhaps even Spenser wanted. If less diversified than that gifted bard, he would, I think, have sometimes been more forcible and sublime. His images would have been more gigantic, and his reflections more daring. With all his mental attention keenly bent on the busy state of existing things in political society, the range of his thought had been lowered down to practical wisdom : but other habits of intellectual exercise, excursions into the ethereal fields of fiction, and converse with the Spirits which

• Written doubtless in reference to the poem by A. W. printed above, p. lii. In his note on that poem, Brydges says:-" It well agrees with that which is understood to have been the progress of Raleigh's poetical habits. He began with amorous pieces; he had now, I doubt not, turned his mind to a longer and more important kind of poem; from which pro bably the continual scenes of activity that he was engaged in soon withdres him. If his leisure had permitted such an application of his rich and various faculties, I see no reason why he should not bave succeeded in so arduous an attempt." It is very unlucky, certainly, that the piece in question was not written by Raleigh.

inhabit those upper regions, would have given a grasp and a

a colour to his conceptions as magnificent as the fortitude of his soul.

“I lament, therefore, that these idlenesses of a passing hour, thrown forth without care, and scattered without an attempt at preservation, are all the specimens that we have of Raleigh's poetical genius. To me they appear to justify the praise which I have thus ventured to confer on that genius : but I am well aware that they will be viewed in a very different manner by many others, who will discover nothing in them but the crude abortions of a jejune wit, never worth collecting, and now grown tiresomely obsolete by the changes of Time.

“ To him," he concludes," whose enlarged taste is alive to excellence in every varying fashion of our literature ; to him, whose mind is not so narrowed by the severity of a cold discipline, as to refuse to throw on the composition some of the interest derived from the character of the man; to him whose fancy is not too sterile or too cynical to delight in pastoral poetry;* to him whose sensibility or ardour can cherish with fondness the very fragments of genius; to him whose love of History is enlightened by imagination and enriched by moral reflection; I consign this imperfect collection of the Poems of Sir Walter Raleigh, with a glow of satisfaction and triumph : yet not unabated by regret at the imperfect manner in which I have performed my task.”+

• We have no proof that the “ pastoral poetry” in the Collection belongs to Raleigh.

+ This Introduction is dated Jan. 16: 1814: The title-page and Dedica. tion bear the date of 1813.



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HE various causes of uncertainty, which make

it so difficult to draw out a correct list of Raleigh's Poems, had so wide an influence on all

the Minor Literature of his time, that it is quite impossible to form a proper estimate of them in one case, without subjoining a few illustrations of their more general effect. There is nothing remarkable in the simple fact that such uncertainty existed; for small pieces which are written chiefly for amusement, and passed about in MS. from hand to hand, would in all ages be assigned to different persons at different times, as the information or fancies of transcribers varied; but there were some peculiar circumstances which made these contradictory accounts more perplexing than usual in the reigns of Elizabeth and James.

This was fully acknowledged at the time. Thus Puttenham complained, that“ such among the Nobilitie or gentrie as be very well seene in many laudable sciences, and especially in making or Poesie" were often so “loath to be a knowen of their skill,” that if they wrote at all, they either “ suppressed it agayne, or els suffred it to be publisht without their owne names to it; as if it were a discredit for a Gentleman to seeme learned, and to shew him selfe amorous of any good Art.” In another passage, where Raleigh (among several others) is expressly mentioned, he confessed, that how “excellently well” they had written could only be discovered, “if their doings could be found out and made publicke with the rest.

Even when such poets did not care to conceal their names, they took no measures to secure their rights of authorship; but were quite content for their poems to be dispersed, as Meres says of Shakespeare's

sugred sonnets," "among (their) private friends.” Hence

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• Arte of English Poesie, pp. 16, 40, reprint, Cr, Sidney's Defence of Poesy, p. 52, ed. Gray.

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