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FROM THE ELEGY ON SHAKESPEARE.

- Soul of the age ! The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage! My Shakespeare rise !

Triumph my Britain, thou hast one to show,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not for an age, but for all time!
And all the muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or, like a Mercury, to charm.
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his lines.

Sweet Swan of Avon, what a sight it were
To see thee in our water yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That did so take Eliza and our James.
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there.
Shine forth, thou star of poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide, or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.

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The brothers Fletcher belong to a family eminently poetical. Their father, Dr Giles Fletcher, was a poet, and their cousin, John Fletcher, one of the most eminent dramatists of the age of James I. Both of them were clergymen, and were of amiable character. “ The two Fletchers," says Southey, " are the best poets of the school of Spencer.” “ The Purple Island" of Phineas is an allegorical ex position of the anatomy and physiology of the human body, and of the mental constitution of man. The subject is unhappy; the first cantos are tiresome, and often disgustingly minute; the latter portion of the poem rises to eloquence and beauty of allegory. He publi hed also “ Piscatory Eclogues," and miscellaneous poems. The poem of Giles, “ Christ's Victory and Triumph,” is “ rich and picturesque in the highFROM THE PURPLE ISLAND.

145

est degree,” distinguished by “ energy of style, sublimity of sentiment, opulence of description, and harmony of numbers.” Milton has borrowed a feather or two from this work.

FROM "THE PURPLE ISLAND."

CANTO X.
Encrates. 1-Agneia. 2-Parthenia.3
“By him the stout Encrates boldly went,

Assailed oft by mighty enemies,
Which all on him alone their spite mispent;
For he whole armies, single, bold defies;

With him nor might nor cunning slights prevail ;

All force on him they try, all forces fail ;
Yet still assail him fresh, yet vainly still assail.

“ His body full of vigour, full of health ;

His table feeds not lust, but strength and need ;
Full stor'd with plenty, not by heaping wealth,
But topping rank desires, which vain exceed.

On 's shield an hand from Heaven an orchard dressing,

Pruning superfluous boughs the trees oppressing ;
So adding fruit: his word, 4 By lessening increasing.'

“ His settled mind was written in his face :

For on his forehead cheerful gravity
False joys and apish vanities doth chase :
And watchful care did wake in either eye.

His heritance he would not lavish sell,

Nor yet his treasure hide by neighbouring Hell:
But well he ever spent, what he had gotten well.

" A lovely pair of twins closed either side :

Not those in Heav'n, the flow'ry Geminies,
Are half so lovely bright; the one his bride,
Agneia chaste, was joined in Hymen's ties,

And love, as pure as Heav'n's conjunction :

Thus she was his, and he her flesh and bone :
So were they two in sight,-in truth entirely one.

"Upon her arched brow, unarméd love

Triumphing sat in peaceful victory;
And in her eyes thousand chaste graces move,
Checking vain thoughts with awful majesty :

Ten thousand more her fairer breast contains ;

Where quiet meekness every ill restrains, And humbly subject spirit by willing service reigns. ! Temperance. ? Chastity in the married 3 Chastity in the unmarried. • Each virtue is characterised by armorial bearings and devices.

N

" Her sky-like arms glittered in golden beams,

And brightly seemed to flame with burning hearts :
The scalding ray with his reflected streams
Fire to their flames, but heavenly fire, imparts :
Upon her shield a pair of turtles shone ;

A loving pair, still coupled, ne'er alone;
Her word, •Though one when two, yet either two, or none.'

" With her, her sister went, a warlike maid,

Parthenia, all in steel, and gilded arms;
In needle's stead, a mighty spear she swayed,
With which in bloody fields and fierce alarms,

The boldest champion she down would bear,

And like a thunderbolt wide passage tear,
Flinging all to the earth with her enchanted spear.

“Her goodly armour seemed a garden green,

Where thousand spotless lilies freshly blew ;
And on her shield the 'lone bird might be seen,
Th’ Arabian bird, shining in colours new :

Itself unto itself was only mate;

Ever the same, but new in newer date:
And underneath was writ, .Such is chaste single state.'

* Thus hid in arms, she seem'd a goodly knight,

And fit for any warlike exercise ;
But when she list lay down her armour bright,
And back resume her peaceful maiden's guise :

The fairest maid she was, that ever yet

Prison'd her locks within a golden net,
Or let them waving hang, with roses fair beset.

“ Choice nymph! the crown of chaste Diana's train,

Thou beauty's lily, set in heav'nly earth;
Thy fairs unpattern'd all perfection stain : 2
Sure Heav'n with curious pencil at thy birth

In thy rare face her own full picture drew;

It is a strong verse here to write, but true,
Hyperboles in others, are but half thy due.

" Upon her forehead Love his trophies fits,

A thousand spoils in silver arch' displaying;
And in the midst himself all proudly sits,
Himself in awful majesty arraying:

Upon her brows lies his bent ebon bow,

And ready shafts : deadly those weapons show:
Yet sweet that death appear'd, lovely that deadly blow."3

I The Phenix.--See note 1, p. 155. ? Thy incomparable beauties throw all per fection into the shade. 3 Compare Parthenia with Spencer's Belphabe. See p. 59. FROM THE MISCELLANIES.

147

FROM THE " MISCELLANIES."
AGAINST A RICH MAN DESPISING POVERTY.
If well thon view'st us with no squinted eye,
No partial judgment, thou wilt quickly rate
Thy wealth no richer than my poverty,
My want no poorer than thy rich estate:

Our ends and births alike; in this, as I,
Poor thou wert born, and poor again shalt die.

My little fills my little wishing mind,
Thou having more than much yet seekest more:
Who seeks, still wishes what he seeks to find ;
Who wishes, wants : and whoso wants is poor ;

Then this must follow of necessity ;
Poor are thy riches, rich my poverty.

Whatever man possesses, God has lent;
And to his audit liable is ever
To reckon how, and where, and when he spent ;
Then thus thou bragg'st thou art a great receiver,

Little my debt, when little is my store,
The more thou hast, thy debt still grows the more.

But, seeing God himself descended down,
To enrich the poor by His rich poverty ;
Ilis meat, his bouse, his grave, were not his own ;
Yet all is his from all eternity :

Let me be like my head whom I adore !
Be thou great, wealthy--I still base and poor!

A HYMN.
Drop, drop, slow tears, and bathe those beauteous feet,
Which brought from heaven the news and Prince of Peace!
Cease not, wet eyes, His mercy to entreat!
To cry for vengeance sin doth never cease.
In your deep floods drown all my faults and fears ;
Nor let his eye see sin but thro' my tears.

FROM “CHRIST'S VICTORY AND TRIUMPH."

THE DEMAND OF JUSTICE,
Upon two stony tables, spread before her,
She lean'd her bosom, more than stony hard,
There slept th' impartial judge, and strict restorer
Of wrong, or right, with pain, or with reward.

There hung the scorel of all our debts, the card

Where good, and bad, and life, and death, were painted :

Was never heart of mortal so untainted,
But when that scroll was read, with thousand terrors fainted.

Witness the thunder that mount Sinai heard,
When all the hill with fiery clouds did flame,
And wand'ring Israel, with the sight afear'd,
Blinded with seeing, durst not touch the same,
But like a wood of shaking leaves became.

On this dread Justice, she, the living law,

Bowing herself with a majestic awe,
All Heav'n, to hear her speech, did into silence draw.

" Dread Lord of spirits, well thou didst devise
To fling the world's rude dunghill and the dross
Of the old chaos, farthest from the skies
And thine own seat, that here the child of loss,
Of all the lower heav'n the curse and cross,

That wretch, beast, captive, monster, man, might spend

(Proud of the mire, in which his soul is pen'd), Clodded in lumps of clay, his weary life to end.

“His body, dust :—where grew such cause of pride?
His soul, thy image :-what could he envy ?
Himself, most happy, if he so would bide :
Now grown most wretched,—who can remedy?
He slew himself, himself the enemy.

That his own soul would her own murder wreak,?

If I were silent, Heav'n and Earth would speak; And if all fail'd, these stones would into clamours break.3

“How many darts made furrows in his side,
When she, that out of his own side was made,
Gave feathers to their flight ?4 where was the pride
Of their new knowledge ? whither did it fade,
When, running from thy voice into the shade,

He fled thy sight, himself of light bereav'd;

And for his shield a heavy armour weav'd, With which, vain man, he thought God's eyes to have deceiv'd ?

“ And well he might delnde those eyes that see, And judge by colours; for who ever saw

I Reckoning : from the custom of chalking a line or score for each item of debt incurred. Allusions to this are innumerable" Here's no scoring but upon the pate," says Falstaff in the battle of Shrewsbury, with a rueful remembrance of the less destructive scoring of tavern bills. * Insisted upon working her own murder.

3 Luke xix. 40. • Compare Byron's lines on Kirke White, in " English Bards:"

"So the struck eagle
Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart,
And winged the shaft that quivered to his heart."

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