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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,
Sweet Swan of Avon, what a sight it were
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.
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."
Assailed oft by mighty enemies,
With him nor might nor cunning slights prevail ;
All force on him they try, all forces fail ;
“ His body full of vigour, full of health ;
His table feeds not lust, but strength and need ;
On 's shield an hand from Heaven an orchard dressing,
Pruning superfluous boughs the trees oppressing ;
“ His settled mind was written in his face :
For on his forehead cheerful gravity
His heritance he would not lavish sell,
Nor yet his treasure hide by neighbouring Hell:
" A lovely pair of twins closed either side :
Not those in Heav'n, the flow'ry Geminies,
And love, as pure as Heav'n's conjunction :
Thus she was his, and he her flesh and bone :
"Upon her arched brow, unarméd love
Triumphing sat in peaceful victory;
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.
" Her sky-like arms glittered in golden beams,
And brightly seemed to flame with burning hearts :
A loving pair, still coupled, ne'er alone;
" With her, her sister went, a warlike maid,
Parthenia, all in steel, and gilded arms;
The boldest champion she down would bear,
And like a thunderbolt wide passage tear,
“Her goodly armour seemed a garden green,
Where thousand spotless lilies freshly blew ;
Itself unto itself was only mate;
Ever the same, but new in newer date:
* Thus hid in arms, she seem'd a goodly knight,
And fit for any warlike exercise ;
The fairest maid she was, that ever yet
Prison'd her locks within a golden net,
“ Choice nymph! the crown of chaste Diana's train,
Thou beauty's lily, set in heav'nly earth;
In thy rare face her own full picture drew;
It is a strong verse here to write, but true,
" Upon her forehead Love his trophies fits,
A thousand spoils in silver arch' displaying;
Upon her brows lies his bent ebon bow,
And ready shafts : deadly those weapons show:
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.
FROM THE " MISCELLANIES."
Our ends and births alike; in this, as I,
My little fills my little wishing mind,
Then this must follow of necessity ;
Whatever man possesses, God has lent;
Little my debt, when little is my store,
But, seeing God himself descended down,
Let me be like my head whom I adore !
FROM “CHRIST'S VICTORY AND TRIUMPH."
THE DEMAND OF JUSTICE,
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,
Witness the thunder that mount Sinai heard,
On this dread Justice, she, the living law,
Bowing herself with a majestic awe,
" Dread Lord of spirits, well thou didst devise
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?
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,
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