« ForrigeFortsæt »
Of his forward flower; when lo!
While he sweetly 'gan to show
His swelling glories, Auster spied him,
Cruel Auster thither bied him;
And with the rush of one rude blast,
Shamed Dot spitefully to waste
All his leaves so fresh and sweet,
And lay them trembling at his feet.
I've seen the morning's lovely ray
Hover o'er the new-born day;
With rosy wings so richly bright
As if he scorned to think of night;
When a ruddy storm, whose scowl
Made heaven's radiant face look foul,
Called for an untimely night
To blot the newly blossomed light.
But were the rose's blush so rare,
Were the morðing's smile so fair,
As was he, nor cloud, nor wind,
But would be courteous, would be kind.
The ripe endowments of his mind
Left his years so much behind,
That numbering of his virtues' praise,
Death lost the reckoning of his days,
And believing what they told,
Imagined him exceeding old. The following verses are in a different strain. They are from a short poem .op Mr. Stanihurst's death."
Come then youth, beauty, blood, all ye soft powers,
Whose silken flatteries swell a few fond hours
Into a false eternity; come man,
Hyperbolized nothing, know thy span;
Take thy own measure here
here put on
Thyself in this unfeigned reflection.
Here gallant ladies, this impartial glass,
Through all your painting, shows you your own face.
These death-sealed lips are they dare give the lie
To the proud hopes of poor mortality.
These curtained windows, this self-prisoned eye,
Out-stares the lids of large-looked tyranny:
This posture is the brave ope; this that lies
Thus low, stands up, methinks, thus, and defies
The world. All-daring dust and ashes, only yo
Of all interpreters read nature true.
O Death, all eloquent! you only prove
What dust we doat on, when 'tis man we love. And Juvenal had said long before
Mors sola fatetur Quantula sunt hominum corpuscula. The whole invocation quoted from Crashaw may, perhaps, remind one of a passage in Pope's · Epistle to Mr. Jervas”, where after speaking of the power of painting to representi
An angel's sweetness, or Bridgewater's eyes : he proceeds:
Muse! at that name, thy sacred sorrows shed,
Those tears eternal, that embalm the dead.
Call round her tomb each object of desire,
frame informed with purer fire,
Bid her be all that cheers, or softens life,
The tender sister, daughter, friend and wife ;
Bid her be all that makes mankind adore;
Then view this marble, and be vain no more. The following verses may show how much of good sense was mingled with Crashaw's somewhat erroneous and perverted feelings of religion.
ON A TREATISE OF CHARITY.
Rise then immortal maid ! Religion, rise !
Put on thyself in thine own looks : tour eyes
Be what thy beauties, not our blots, have made thee;
Such as, ere our dark sins to dust betrayed thee,
Heaven set thee down new drest; when thy bright birth
Shot thee, like lightning, to the astonished East,
These learned leaves shall vindicate to thee
Thy holiest, humblest, handmaid, Charity.
This shall from henceforth be the masculine theme
shall sweat in ; to redeem Virtue to action, that life-giving fame
That keeps religion warm. * * * *
A similar character appears in his epitaph on Mr. Ashton.
There is great felicity and point in some of its simple turns of
The modest front of this small door,
Believe me, reader, can say more,
Than many a braver marble can':
• Here lies a truly honest man:
One, whose conscience was a thing,
That troubled neither church nor king :
One of those few, that in this town,
Honour all preachers, hear their own:
Sermons he heard, but not so many,
As left no time to practice any:
He heard them reverently, and then,
His practice preached them o'er again.
His parlour sermons rather were
Those to the eye than to the ear.
His prayers took their price and strength
Not from the loudness, nor the length.
Peace, which he loved in life, did lend
Her hand to bring him to his end.
When age and death called for the score
No surfeits were to reckon for.
Death tore not, therefore, but sans strife,
Gently untwin'd his thread of life.
What remains then, but that thou
Write these lines, reader, in thy brow;
And by his fair example's light,
Burn in thy imitation bright.
So while these lines can but bequeath
A life perhaps unto his death;
His better epitaph shall be
His life still kept alive by thee.
The beginning of this epitaph is imitated by Pope in that on
This modest stone, what few vain marbles can;
May truly say ; bere lies an honest man.
There is a magnificence in the commencement of Crashaw's
Hymn for Easter-day, which is like the sudden opening of an
Rise! heir of fresh eternity!
From thy virgin tomb.
Rise! mighty man of wonders, and thy world with thee.
Thy tomb the universal East,
Thy tomb, fair immortality's perfumed nest. But the peculiar genius of Crasbaw is most richly displayed in two poems, from which I shall now give some passages. They are glowing with the dazzling conceptions of mystic devotion. There is, in some parts, a continued play of brilliant coruscations. The first is 'on a prayer-book sent to Mrs. B.'
But if the noble Bridegroom, when he comes,
Shall find the wandering heart from home,
Leaving her chaste abode
To gad abroad
Among the gay mates of the god of fics ;*
To take her pleasures, and to play,
And keep the Devil's holiday-
Doubtless some other heart
Will get the start,
And stepping in before,
Will take possession of the sacred store
Of hidden sweets, and holy joys,
Words which are not heard with ears,
Those tumultuous shops of noise,
Effectual whispers, whose still voice
The soul itself more feels than hears;
Sights which are not seen with eyes,
Spiritual and soul-piercing glances,
Whose pure and subtile lightring flies
Home to the heart;
Yet doth not stay
To ask the windows leave to pass that way;
Delicious deaths, soft exhalations
Of soul, dear and divine annihilations ;
A thousand unknown rites
Of joys, and raritied delights,
An hundred thousand loves and graces,
And many a mystic thing,
For which it is no shame,
That dull mortality must not know a name. In these selections, I have kept out of view, as much as might be, the allegory running through the piece, under which our Saviour is conceived of as a bridegroom or spouse. Though it is managed with delicacy by Crashaw, it is intrinsically unfit for poetry. It is associated, however, with some beautiful expres. sions in the following lines.
O fair! O fortunate! O rich! O dear!
O happy and thrice happy she !
Dear silver-breasted dove! The name Beelzebul, (the final letter in the original being properly l not b,) has been derived from two Hebrew words, according to which it would denote god of flies,
Whoe'er she be,
Whose early love,
With winged vows,
Makes haste to meet her morning spouse.
Happy soul, who never misses
To improve that precious hour,
And every day
Seize her sweet prey,
All fresh and fragrant as he rises,
Dropping with a balmy shower,
A delicious dew of spices. The other poem before referred to, is similar in its character to the last quoted. It is in honour of St. Teresa. She, while a child, is said to have had a passionate desire for martyrdom; and to have plotted means for its accomplishment. But she died without attaining this glory,
Since 'tis not to be had at home,
She'll travel to a martyrdom.
No home for her confesses she,
But where she may a martyr be,
She'll to the Moors, and trade with them
For this unvalued diadem :
She offers them her dearest breath,
With Christ's pame in't, in change for death:
She'll bargain with them, and will give
Them God, and teach them how to live
In bim; or if they this deny,
For him she 'll teach them how to die.*
But she was not ordained for martyrdom.
Wise Heaven will never have it so :
Thou art love's victim, and must die
A death more mystical and high.
She is to die by the dart of love.
A dart thrice dipt in that rich flame,
Which writes thy spouse's radiant name
Upon the roof of Heaven, where ay
It shines, and with a sovereign ray
Beats bright upon the burning faces
Of souls, which in that name's sweet graces
Find everlasting smiles.