« IndietroContinua »
the guilty Mortimer reposed. It was in a little nook at the extremity of the cottage garden, unnoticed by epitaph or elegy. A wild rose was blooming on the sod, and a few withered leaves of hanging cypress were strewed upon his grave. Never had I thought of the perfect wretchedness of vice till I looked on the narrow spot that enclosed the remains of the seducer of Rosalie De Voisin.
By Richard Crashaw, 1646.
NOW Westward Sol had spent the richest Beames
Of Noons high Glory, when hard by the streams
Of Tiber on the sceane of a greene plat,
Vnder protection of an Oake; there sate
A sweet Lutes-master in whose gentle aires
Hee lost the dayes heat, and his owne hot cares.
Close in the covert of the leaves there stood
A Nightingale, come from the neighbouring wood :
(The sweet inhabitant of each glad Tree,
Their Muse, their Syren, harmless Syren shee)
There stood she listning, and did entertaine
The Musicks soft report: and mold the same
In her owne murmures, that what ever mood
His curious fingers lent, her voyce made good :
The man perceiv'd his Rivall, and her Art,
Dispos'd to give the light-foot Lady sport,
Awakes his Lute, and 'gainst the fight to come,
Informes it, in a sweet Præludium
Of closer straines, and ere the warre begin.
Hee lightly skirmishes on every string,
Charg’d with a flying touch : and staightway shee
Carves out her dainty voyce as readily,
Into a thousand sweet distinguish'd Tones,
And reckons up in soft divisions,
Quicke volumes of wild Notes ; to let him know
By that shrill taste, shee could doe something too.
-His nimble hands instinct, then taught each string
A capring cheerefulnesse ; and made them sing
To their owne dance : now negligently rash
Hee throwes his Arme, and with a long-drawne dash
Blends all together : then distinctly tripps .
From this to that ; then quicke returning skipps
And snatches this againe, and pauses there.
Shee measures every measure, every where
Meets art with art; sometimes as if in doubt
Not perfect yet, and fearing to bee out,
Trayles her playne Ditty in one long-spun note,
Througb the sleeke passage of her open throat :
A cleare unwrinkled song, then doth shee point it
With tender accents, and severely joynt it,
By short diminutives, that being rear'd
In controverting, warbles evenly shar'd,
With her sweet selfe shee wrangles ; Hee amazed
That from so small a channell should be rais'd
The torrent of a voyce, whose melody
Could melt into such sweet variety
Straines higher yet ; that tickled with rare art
The tatling strings (each breathing in his part)
Most kindly doe fall out; the grumbling Base
In surly groanes disdaines the Trebles Grace.
The high-percht treble chirps at this, and chides,
Untill his finger (Moderatour) hides
And closes the sweet quarrell, rowsing all
Hoarce, shrill, at once ; as when the Trumpets call
Hot Mars to th’ Harvest of Deaths field, and woo
Men's hearts into their hands ; this lesson too
Shee gives him backe; her supple Brest thrills out
Sharpe Aires, and staggers in a warbling doubt
Of dallying sweetnesse, hovers ore her skill,
And folds in wav'd notes with a trembling bill,
The plyant Series of her slippery song.
Then starts shee suddenly into a Throng.
Of short thicke sobs, whose thundering volleyes float,
And roule themselves over her lubricke throat
In panting murmurs, still'd out of her Breast,
That ever-bubling spring ; the sugred Nest
Of her delicious soule, that there does lye
Bathing in streames of liquid Melodie;
Musicks best seed-plot, when in ripend Aires.
A Golden-headed Harvest fairely reares
His Honey-dropping tops, plow'd by her breath
Which there reciprocally laboureth.
In that sweet soyle it seemes a holy quire,
Founded to th' Name of great Apollo's lyre.
Whose sylver-roofe rings with the sprightly notes
Of sweet lipp'd Angell-Imps, that swill their throats
In creame of Morning Helicon, and then
Preferre soft Anthems to the Eares of men,
To woo them from their Beds, still murmuring
That men can sleepe while they their Mattens sing :
(Most divine service) whose so early lay,
Prevents the Eye-lidds of the blushing day.
There might you heare her kindle her soft voyce,
In the close murmur of a sparkling noyse,
And lay the ground-worke of her hopefull song,
Still keeping in the forward streame, so long
Till a sweet whirle-wind (striving to gett out)
Heaves her soft Bosome, wanders round about,
And makes a pretty Earthquake in her Breast,
Till the fledg’d Notes at length forsake their Nest;
Fluttering in wanton shoales, and to the Sky
Wing'd with their owne wild Eccho's pratling fly.
Shee opes the floodgate, and lets loose a Tide
Of streaming sweetnesse, which in state doth ride
On the wav'd backe of every swelling straine,
Rising and falling in a pompous traine.
And while shee thus discharges a shrill peale
Of flashing Aires ; shee qualifies their zeale
With the coole Epode of a grave Noat,
Thus high, thus low, as if her silver throat
Would reach the brasen voyce of warr's hoarce Bird ;
Her little soule is ravisht : and so pour'd
Into loose extasies, that she is plac't
Above her selfe, Musicks Enthusiast,
Shame now and anger mixt, a double staine
In the Musitians face ; yet once againe
(Mistresse) I come ; now reach a straine my Lute
Above her mocke, or bee for ever mute;
Or tune a song of victory to mee,
Or to thy selfe sing thine own Obsequie;
So said, his hands sprightly as fire hee Alings,
And with a quavering coynesse tasts the strings.
The sweet-lip’t sisters musically frighted,
Singing their feares are fearfully delighted.
Trembling as when Appollo's golden haires
Are fan’d and frizled in the wanton ayres
Of his owne breath : which marryed to his lyre
Doth tune the Sphæares, and make Heavens selfe looke higher.
From this to that, from that to this hee flyes,
Feeles Musick's pulse in all her Arteryes;
Caught in a net which there Appollo spreads,
His fingers struggle with the vocall threads.
Following those little rills, hee sinkes into
A Sea of Helicon ; his hand does goe
Those parts of sweetnesse which with Nectar drop,
Softer than that which pants in Hebe's cup;
The humourous strings expound his learned touch,
By various Glosses : now they seem to grutch,
And murmur in a buzzing dinne, then gingle
In shrill tongu'd accents : striving to bee single.
Every smooth turne, every delicious stroake
Gives life to some new Grace : thus doth h’invoke
Sweetnesse by all her names ; thus, bravely thus,
(Fraught with a fury so harmonious)
The lute's light Genius now does proudly rise,
Heav'd on the surges of swolne Rapsodycs.
Whose flourish (Meteor-like) doth curle the aire
With flash of high-borne fancyes : here and there
Dancing in lofty measures, and anon
Creeps on the soft touch of a tender tone:
Whose trembling murmurs melting in wild aires
Runs to and fro, complaining his sweet cares,
Because those pretious mysteryes that dwell
In musick’s ravish't soule, hee dare not tell,
But whisper to the world : thus doe they vary
Each string his Note, as if they meant to carry
Their Master's blest soule (snatcht out at his Eares
By a strong Extasy,) through all the sphæares
Of Musicks heaven; and seat it there on high
In th’ Empyræum of pure Harmony.
At length, (after so long, so loud a strife
Of all the strings, still breathing the best life
Of blest variety attending on
His finger's fairest revolution
In many a sweet rise, many as sweet a fall)
A full-mouth Diapason swallowes all
This done, hee lists what shee would say to this,
And shee, although her Breath's late exercise
Had dealt too roughly with her tender throate,
Yet summons all her sweet powers for a Noate,
Alas! in vaine! for while (sweet soule) shee tryes
To measure all those wild diversities
Of chatt'ring, stringes, by the small size of one
Poore simple voyce, rais'd in a Naturall Tone ;
Shee failes, and failing grieves, and grieving dyes.
Shee dyes : and leaves her life the Victors prise,
Falling upon his Lute ; ô fit to have
(That liv'd so sweetly) dead, so sweet a Grave !
“ Non eadem est ætas, non mens." HORACE.
HE whose life has not been one continued monotony; he who has been susceptible of different passions, opposite in their origins and ef. fects, needs not to be told, that the same objects, the same scenes, the same incidents, strike us in a variety of lights, according to the temper and inclination with which we survey them. To borrow an illustration from external senses,-if we are situated in the centre of a sha. dow valley, our view is confined and our prospect bounded; but if we ascend to the topmost heights of the mountain by which that valley is overshadowed, the eye wanders luxuriantly over a perpetual succession of beautiful objects, until the mental faculties appear to catch new free. dom from the extension of the sight; we breath a purer air, and are inspired with purer emotions.
Thus it is with men who differ from each other in their tastes, their studies, or their professions. They look on the same external objects with a different internal perception; and the view which they take of surrounding scenes is beautified or distorted, according to their predominant pursuit, or their prevailing inclination.
We were led into this train of ideas by à visit which we lately paid to an old friend, who, from a strong taste of agricultural pursuits, has abandoned the splendour and absurdity of a town life, and devoted to the cultivation of a large farming establishment, in a picturesque part of England, all the advantages of a strong judgment and a good education. His brother, on the contrary, who was a resident at the farm during our visit, has less of sound understanding than of ardent genius, and is more remarkable for the warmth of his heart than the soundness of his head. In short, to describe them in a word, Jonathan sees with the eye of a merchant, and Charles with that of an enthusiast: Jonathan is a man of business, and Charles is a poet. The con. trast between their tempers is frequently the theme of conversation at the social meetings of the neighbourhood ; and it is always found that the old and the grave shake their heads at the almost boyish enthusiasm of Charles ; while the young and the imprudent indulge in severe sarcasms at the mercenary and uninspired moderation of his brother. All parties, however, concur in admiring the uninterrupted cordiality which subsists between them, and in laughing good-humouredly at the various whims and foibles of these opposite characters, who are known throughout the country by the titles of « Rhyme” and “ Reason."
We arrived at the farm as Jonathan was sitting down to his substantial breakfast : We were delighted to see our old friend, now in the decline of life, answering so exactly the description of Cowper,
6 An honest man close buttoned to the chin,
Broad cloth without and a warm heart within.” We felt an inward satisfaction in contemplating his frieze coat, whose debut we remember to have witnessed five years ago, and in speculating upon the snows which five additional winters had left upon his head, since our last interview. It was some time before we recovered sufficient. ly from our reverie to inquire after the well-being of our younger companion, who had not yet made his appearance at the board. Oh !” said Jonathan, “ Charles is in his heyday years ; you must indulge him for the present; we can't expect such regularity from five-and-twenty, as from six-and-fifty.” He had hardly done speaking when a loud halloo sounded as the avant-courier of Charles approached, and in less than a minute he presented himself before us..". Ten thousand par. dons !” he cried. *** One is enough,” said his brother. 6 I've seen