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Jonson, whose full of merit to rehearse
write a line which he might owne,
He thus apologises for being led into frequent digressions : we quote the passage, for the fertility and richness of its expressions, though employed in describing a landscape too much in the Dutch style for our tastes: the poet had been led away by his praises of the golden age and of women.
“O what a rapture have I gotten now! That age of gold, this of the lovely browe, Have drawne me from my song! I onward run (Cleane from the end to which I first begun.)
ye the heavenly creatures of the West,
thinke none blest but who live there.
them from the stem,
hand to crop
It is absolutely necessary, however, that we bring our extracts to a close, which we will do with the poet's spirited ad
dress to his native country: premising, that it is far from having been in our power to select, as we at first intended, every good passage
from these poems, to which we must refer our reader if he is pleased with what we have already presented to him. We fairly give him notice, that he must arm himself with no ordinary share of patience; and in his search after mere poetical imagery or expression, expect not the way to be beguiled with one particle of interest arising from the subject or story. William Browne lived immediately after the reign of Elizabeth, and thus speaks patriotically:
“ Haile thou, my native soile! thou blessed plot,
By winning this though all the rest were lost.”
The third of these volumes contains the Shepherd's Pipe and the Inner Temple Masque, with other smaller poems of Browne, and some complimentary eclogues by his friends Brooke and Davies, addressed to him on the publication of the Shepherd's Pipe. The whole of this latter poem is written in a puling and waterish vein,' except a few passages, which may claim the merit of musical versification, and nearly the whole of the fourth eclogue, which is of a higher mood. This is the author's elegy on the death of his friend, Mr. Thomas Manwood, whom he terms Philarete; from which it is supposed that Milton conceived the idea of celebrating the memory of Mr. Edward King in a pastoral form, under the name of Lycidas. The action, if it may be so called, of the two poems, is not unlike, and there are one or two similar sentiments : farther than this it would be absurd to push the comparison. The poem of Milton is the production of a mighty genius, such as sage poets, taught by the heavenly muse, story'd of old in high immortal verse : while all the merit the Philarete can claim is, that it is composed in a strain of natural sorrow, expressed in a
gentle and equable flow of melodious verse. Some of the stanzas are tame and weak, and others disfigured by conceit—but, in nearly all those we shall quote, he may have been supposed to have begun "wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy, to meditate his rural minstrelsy.”
“ Under an aged oke was Willy laid,
Willy, the lad who whilome made the rockes
But now o’re-come with dolors deepe
That nie his heart-strings rent:
Ne car'd for merriment.
For uncouth paths unknowne,
And eccho rue his mone.
Autumne it was, when droopt the sweetest floures,
And rivers, swolne with pride, ore-look'd the banks,
And void of sap stood Ida's cedar-rankes,
Against the broad-spread oke,
Each wind in furie beares :
As did the shepheard's teares.
Meeke and dejected, but his thoughts as hie
Sad was his looke,
Broke was his tuneful pipe
That charm'd the christall floods.
And flew about the woods.
O what is left can make me leave to mone!
Or what remains but doth increase it more ?
With locked armes have vow'd our love,
It solitarie seemes.
Behold our flowrie beds; Their beauties fade, and violets
For sorrow hang their heads.
A mourning garment, wailing elegie,
Although the shepheards all should strive
By yearly obsequies,
In spight of destinies,
All these and more may be, Yet all in vaine to recompence
My greatest losse of thee.
Cypresse may fade, the countenance be changed,
A garment rot, an elegie forgotten,
All things th' unpartial hand of fate
Can rase out with a thought:
Which ended, turne to nought.
Of sorrow firmly stay,
Shall fanne and sweepe away.
Bewrayes her beauties to th' enamour'd morne,
Or else her rarest smels delighting
Make her herselfe betray,
To plucke her thence away.
Whereon he fairely stood.
(Sweet soule !) this onely comfort seizeth me,