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natural beauty of the language than in novelty of insight into the phenomena described. As examples, I will simply


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With the group on Winter, Spring, and Flowers, S. XCVII-XCIX. Two quotations only will I allow myself. In the first Shakespeare has used Nature as a counterpart to human passion; the second is noteworthy as published when he was only in his forty-fourth year, and probably written some time earlier

The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die ;

But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:

For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,

Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.

This thou perceiv st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

May I allow myself to say,—the world's literature has little to show equalling these lines for their united force and delicacy.

Shakespeare's drama, like the first-class drama at all times, can offer but small scope for landscape. The playwriters of that date fill this blank by imagination; we by scenery. Here, however, we find what was Shakespeare's contribution to Nature in poetry. We might define this as the absolute union between the human emotions of the moment and the landscape, together with the astonishing power of suggesting it at once by "jewels five words long." This union of the figures with the ground, if I may apply to poetry the phrase of Sir J. Reynolds on painting, is one of the rarest of all achievements. It will be enough to recall the respective comments by Lady Macbeth and by Duncan, as the fated king enters the treacherous Thane's castle; the crowing of the cock and the sunrise in the opening scene of Hamlet; the wild storm-beaten heath in Lear; the wounded stag in Arden; the flowers that Proserpina let fall; and those which garlanded Ophelia, as she wandered where the willow grew that showed

his hoar leaves in the glassy stream, When down her weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook.

Longer examples, yet always in strict accord with the situation, are Prospero's narrative of his magical powers: the disastrous summer described by Titania: the orchard scene in Romeo.

Yet the short lyrics gave Shakespeare perhaps the best opportunity for the landscape vignette. We have the rustic songs

When daisies pied and violets blue . . .
It was a lover and his lass . .

And see how the key of each poem (to take a metaphor from music) is given, whilst the landscape is suggested, in the single lines

Under the greenwood tree

Blow, blow, thou winter wind

and similarly how the sea pervades as with its odour the

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Full fathom five thy father lies.

just as the great Webster's

Call for the robin red-breast and the wren

as Charles Lamb said, is "of the earth earthy." Or, lastly, with what magic does Shakespeare transport us to the fairy landscape

Where the bee sucks, there suck I . . .

Come unto these yellow sands.

Over hill, over dale . . .

Thus in Midsummer-Night's Dream—

You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen ;
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
Come not near our fairy queen.
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;

Weaving spiders, come not here:

Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence!
Beetles black, approach not near;

Worm nor snail, do no offence.

Compare this with the clownish realism of Bottom's ditty in the same play—

The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,

The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill,1—

The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,

Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer nay.


These are mere hints-flying, insufficient touches. Shakespeare, of all poets, is most emphatically his own best


1 Song-voice: So, "mine oaten quill."-Colin Clout.

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SOME lesser poets who cross the boundary between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries may now be taken. They show how, as the early Elizabethan impulse waned, new directions gradually opened for landscape treatment.

Ben Jonson, in his Forest, has a really full description, the earliest of the kind known to me, of Penshurst, the garden and the park; in this sense making a real advance. But the treatment is prosaic-the art of selecting and poetising details has not been here attained.

Alexander Hume, a Scotsman of this age, in a volume of Hymns (published in 1599), has left us a picture singularly modern both in its skilful versification and its clearly defined landscape. It is a summer scene, which, in the Latinised Scots diction still prevalent at the time, he calls the Day Estival.1 It opens with early dawn

The shadow of the earth anon
Removes and drawis by,

Syne in the east, when it is gone
Appears a clearer sky. . .

The time so tranquil is and clear,
That nowhere shall ye find,
Save on a high and barren hill,
An air of passing wind.

All trees and simples, great and small,
That balmy leaf do bear,

1 We have had an earlier example of this fancy in Gawin Douglas.


Than they were painted on a wall,
No more they move or steir. . .

What pleasure, then, to walk and see
End-lang a river clear,

The perfect form of every tree
Within the deep appear.

Michael Drayton (1563-1631), one of our most fluently fertile versifiers, has left some Pastorals, so quick and airy in touch, so attractive in feeling, that it is vexing to find how completely the landscape which he saw and must have enjoyed was silenced or exiled from his poetry by the mere conventionalities of pseudo-classicalism. Witness these lines from Sirena

The verdant meads are seen,
When she doth view them,
In fresh and gallant green

Straight to renew them;
And every little grass

Broad itself spreadeth,
Proud that this bonny lass
Upon it treadeth :
Nor flower is so sweet

In this large cincture,
But it upon her feet
Leaveth some tincture.

Presently we find how, when Sirena looks forth at night, the stars stand "fearfully blazing"

As wondering at her eyes,

With their much brightness,
Which so amaze the skies,
Dimming their brightness.

This exaggerated, unreal mode of thought is of too frequent occurrence in our poetry. Can he have felt true passion who thus paints his lady love? or, mayhap, was She pleased by it? Drayton, however, deserves praise for another landscape poem, the plan of which, perhaps, is wholly original and unique

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