« ForrigeFortsæt »
If faithful souls be alike glorified
As angels, then my father's soul doth see,
And adds this even to full felicity,
By circumstances and by signs that be
Apparent in us—not immediately –
They see idolatrous lovers weep and mourn,
Dissemblers feign devotiön. Then turn,
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow;
And soonest? our best men with thee do go,
Thou’rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st3 thou then ?
And death shall be no more : Death, thou shalt die. In a poem called The Cross, full of fantastic conceits, we find the following remarkable lines, embodying the profoundest truth.
As perchance carvers do not faces make,
If they know us not by intuition, but by judging from circumstances and signs.” 2 “With most willingness.”
3 “Art proud.”
One more, and we shall take our leave of Dr. Donne. It is called a fragment; but it seems to me complete. It will serve as a specimen of his best and at the same time of his most characteristic mode of presenting fine thoughts grotesquely attired.
Sleep, sleep, old sun; thou canst not have re-past 1
What a strange mode of saying that he is our head, the captain of our salvation, the perfect humanity in which our life is hid! Yet it has its dignity. When one has got over the oddity of these
1 A strange use of the word; but it evidently means recovered, and has some analogy with the French repasser.
last six lines, the figure contained in them shows itself almost grand.
As an individual specimen of the grotesque form holding a fine sense, regard for a moment the words,
He was all gold when he lay down, but rose
which means, that, entirely good when he died, he was something yet greater when he rose, for he had gained the power of making others good: the tincture intended here was a substance whose touch would turn the basest metal into gold.
Through his poems are scattered many fine passages; but not even his large influence on the better poets who followed is sufficient to justify our listening to him longer now.
BISHOP HALL AND GEORGE SANDYS.
JOSEPH HALL, born in 1574, a year after Dr. Donne, bishop, first of Exeter, next of Norwich, is best known by his satires. It is not for such that I can mention him : the most honest satire can claim no place amongst religious poems. It is doubtful if satire ever did any good. Its very language is that of the halfbrute from which it is well named.
Here are three poems, however, which the bishop wrote for his choir.
ANTHEM FOR THE CATHEDRAL OF EXETER.
Lord, what am I? A worm, dust, vapour, nothing !
What is my life? A dream, a daily dying !
My time, my flesh, my life, and I,
Where am I, Lord ? Down in a vale of death.
What is my trade? Sin, my dear God offending ;
My way, my trade, sport, stay, and place,
Lord, what art thou? Pure life, power, beauty, bliss.
Where dwell'st thou ? Up above in perfect light.
Thyself, thy place, thy days, thy state
Pass all the thoughts of powers create.
Ambitious soul. But which way should I fly?
Oh, let these wings, that way alone
Immortal babe, who this dear day
Leave, O my soul, this baser world below;
Lo, there the Godhead's radiant throne,