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mistress and his friend ; as he draws on in life the ascetic element which betrayed itself in him from the first, gains in strength, he throws this life scornfully behind him, and his thoughts fasten themselves more and more exclusively upon death and immortality.
From a purely literary point of view, Habington only rarely reaches high water mark in poetry. There are no glaring faults in his verse, and few conceits. The mass of his work is fluent, ingenious, tolerable poetry. It does not often attain to the inner music which can only proceed from a born singer, or to the flawless expression of a noble thought. Perfect literary tact Habington does not possess ; he will follow up a fine stanza with a lame and halting one, apparently without sense of the incongruity. It takes a strong furor poeticus to uplift him wholly, and keep him at a high level throughout an entire poem, however short. He excels greatly sometimes in single lines or couplets. He now and then surprises us with expressions like the weeping magic of my verse'; or so sonorous a line as
• and keep Strayed honour in the true magnificke way’; or a delicious commencement of a poem which falls off as it proceeds, such as
• Where sleepes the north wind when the south inspires
The scattered nightingales’; or a strange and impressive thought like that comparison of virtue, which, lost to the world by his friend Talbot's death, only lives still in some solitary hermit's cell
• So 'mid the ice of the far northern sea
Serve at the frozen pilot's funeral.' It is quite consistent with this that the couplets which terminate a poem are with him sometimes extraordinarily vigorous and happy. In more than one case this final line or couplet stitutes the entire value of the poem. Take this, for instance :
And thus there will be left no bird to sing
• All her vows religious be
• But virtuous love is one sweet endless fire;' or this
The bad man's death is horror; but the just
Keeps something of his glory in his dust.' But his inadequate sense of poetic form does not allow him often to attain to a perfect whole. He is too fond of awkward elisions, and endeavours to force more into a line than it will fairly hold. His sonnets, one or two of which rank among the best efforts, are formally speaking, not sonnets at all, but strings of seven rhyming couplets. He does not sufficiently know, he has not sufficiently laboured at, the technical business of his art. 'Quoi qu'on en puisse dire, la poésie est un art qui s'apprend, qui a ses méthodes, ses formules, ses arcanes, son contre point et son travail harmonique. L'inspiration doit trouver sous ses mains un clavier parfaitement juste, auquel ne manque aucune corde.' Habington is one of the many English poets whose imperfect realisation of this aspect of the truth has left their achievement inferior to their talent.
W. T. ARNOLD.
To ROSES IN THE BOSOM OF CASTARA.
Ye blushing virgins happy are
To CUPID, UPON A DIMPLE IN CASTARA'S CHEEK.
Nimble boy, in thy warm flight
THE DESCRIPTION OF CASTARA.
Like the violet which alone
For she's to her self untrue,
Such is her beauty as no arts
Folly boasts a glorious blood,
Cautious, she knew never yet
Of her self survey she takes
She obeys with speedy will
Women's feet run still astray
She sails' by that rock, the court,
Virtue safely cannot sit,
She holds that day's pleasure best
O’er that darkness, whence is thrust
Prayer and sleep, oft governs lust.
All her vows religious be,
To CASTARA, IN A TRANCE.
Forsake me not so soon ; Castara, stay,
While Love, the pilot, steers his course so even
To CASTARA, UPON THE DEATH OF A LADY.
Castara weep not, tho’ her tomb appear