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Here I reposed; but scarce well set,
A grove descried

Of stately height, whose branches met
And mixt, on every side;

I enter'd, and once in,

-Amazed to see't

Found all was changed, and a new Spring
Did all my senses greet.

Only a little fountain lent
Some use for ears,

And on the dumb shades' language spent
The music of her tears.

The waterfall, that feature which above all lends life by its flash and its music to mountain lands, he has painted with peculiar loving care—

With what deep murmurs, through Time's silent stealth,
Dost thy transparent, cool, and watery wealth,
Here flowing fall,

And chide1 and call,

As if his liquid, loose retinue 2 stay'd

Lingering, and were of this steep place afraid.

And then the moral intervenes―

The common pass,
As clear as glass,
All must descend
Not to an end,

But quicken'd by this deep and rocky grave,
Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.

And so again

1 Chirp musically.


As this loud brook's incessant fall
In streaming rings restagnates all,
Which reach by course the bank, and then
Are no more seen just so pass men.

2 The moving gauzy body of water. 3 Calms down to a level.

Vaughan had a deep imaginative sympathy with tree and blossom, animal and bird: he goes into his garden in winter to search for some summer flower now withered down to the earth

Then taking up what I could nearest spy,
I digg'd about

That place where I had seen him to grow out;
And by and by

I saw the warm recluse alone to lie,
Where fresh and green
He lived of us unseen.

He questions the Recluse, who

Did there repair

Such losses as befel him in this air,
And would ere long

Come forth most fair and young.

This past, I threw the clothes quite o'er his head;
And stung with fear

Of my own frailty, dropt down many a tear
Upon his bed;

Then sighing whisper'd, "Happy are the dead!
"What peace doth now

"Rock him asleep below!"

So with the life of the bird he had the same inner interest -how refined, how fond!—

Hither thou com'st: the busy wind all night

Blew through thy lodging, where thy own warm wing
Thy pillow was. Many a sullen storm

-For which coarse man seems much the fitter born

Rain'd on thy bed

And harmless head.

And now as fresh and cheerful as the light
Thy little heart in early hymns doth sing
Unto that Providence, Whose unseen arm
Curb'd them, and clothed thee well and warm.

Dante has a sympathetic treatment of bird-life somewhat

like this, which has been already quoted. With that exception I know of nothing similar in literature till we reach Wordsworth.

When Vaughan describes his Bible, he first dwells upon the paper, how it grew as grass; he speculates who wore it as linen when it had been woven; how the tree forming the cover had once flourished

As if it never should be dead

and even the leather sheepskin binding has its life to this most imaginative poet—

Thou knew'st this paper when it was
Mere seed, and after that but grass;
Before 'twas drest or spun, and when
Made linen, who did wear it then :

What were their lives, their thoughts and deeds,
Whether good corn, or fruitless weeds.

Thou knew'st this tree, when a green shade
Cover'd it, since a cover made,

And where it flourish'd, grew, and spread,
As if it never should be dead.

Thou knew'st this harmless beast, when he
Did live and feed by Thy decree

On each green thing; then slept well fed-
Clothed with this skin, which now lies spread
A covering o'er this aged book.

From these lesser points, vivified by Vaughan's intensity of feeling and of insight, I pass to his wider world-landscape, wherein, however, it is probable that the Old Testament rather than the scenery of Wales was what most influenced him-O, he cries, that man

would hear

The world read to him :

All things here show him heaven; waters that fall,
Chide, and fly up; mists and corruptest foam

Quit their first beds and mount; trees, herbs, flowers, all Strive upwards still, and point him the way home.

Or again—

To heighten thy devotions, and keep low

All mutinous thoughts, what business e'er thou hast,
Observe God in His works; here fountains flow,
Birds sing, beasts feed, fish leap, and the Earth stands fast;
Above are restless motions, running lights,

Vast circling azure, giddy clouds, days, nights.
When Seasons change, then lay before thine eyes
His wondrous method; mark the various scenes
In heaven; hail, thunder, rain-bows, snow, and ice,
Calms, tempests, light, and darkness, by His means;

Thou canst not miss His praise; each tree, herb, flower
Are shadows of His wisdom, and His power.

Vaughan's special gifts in poetry, unique in his age, would anyhow have deserved a full notice. But he has been dwelt on here, because this unconscious prophet of our later subtler landscape, as I have said, is hardly more known now than in his own day. Habent sua fata libelli. Yet the hope (perhaps idle) may be expressed, that some of my readers may turn to a writer of so much originality, power, and feeling.1

1 Mr. Lyte, to whom we owe the beautiful Abide with me, issued (1847) an elegant edition of Vaughan's main religious poems, the book named Silex Scintillans, lately corrected and republished by Messrs. Bell.

I have here taken some phrases from a fuller account of Vaughan, which I published in the Welsh Review, Y Cymmrodor, vol. xi, part ii, 1892.



We now reach that well-known period, covering about seventy years after the Restoration, when a style of poetry, admirably clear, yet in regard to Nature and often to Man, superficial or restricted, supplanted earlier truth and simplicity, and the true landscape wellnigh vanished from English verse. Upon the several causes of this change or decline it will be here enough to touch slightly. They will be partly found in the English politics of the day, which brought French writers, in their exactness of style, lucidity, and common sense forwardpartly in the degeneracy to which the Elizabethan style had fallen. The French Renaissance, in fact, had now its moment with us; for the time the Italian impulse was exhausted. It was a critical age; and, as such, essentially antagonistic to an imaginative-an age, broadly speaking, of light without warmth. Poetry now mainly addressed the wealthy, the well-born, and cultivated classes. Man and his works were the chief subject of Dryden's powerful Muse, and although he looked back to Chaucer, his tales were so modernised by Dryden that the old poet becomes almost unrecognisable. The wonderful genius of Pope, who saw what his readers required, narrowing Dryden's range, largely took for the object of his strenuous labour court life and the artificialities of society. Country life as such was to him intolerable dullness; and thus, in an exquisitely finished and humorous letter of condolence to a young lady compelled to quit London, her only pleasure is

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