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Christian" than any of their opponents, certainly than any of the violent among them; and it will be to their immortal honour, and not to their shame, if any future improvement receive the sanction of their voices in the same wise and truly Christian spirit. We were strolling the other day with a friend from village to village on the borders of Middlesex, admiring those beautiful old churches, seated upon tranquil meadows, and having church-yards by them, in which it seemed but a step out of the cottage windows into another bed near one's home and one's family; and we thought how well, under any change of opinion, provided the true faith of Christian benevolence were kept up, those preachers of peace in the House of Lords would look in the pulpits of those other houses, inculcating the great ends of religion amidst the kind and happy faces of the village family. Some of the greatest innovators (so thought) are the least, if all were known. They would get rid of evil or ignorance; but not a single good would they lose, if possible; no, nor a form of it, if the foolish evil could be cast Give us a village with its old trees and its old church; let the clergyman come down the avenue, if he will, drest in his old habiliments, for the children to pluck as he goes, and get a smile of him; let us hear the glorious church organ, opening the portals of space and time, and mingling with the winds of another world; and only let there be no such things as all leisure with some, and all poverty with others, and not a hair of the sacred head of antiquity should be touched. We would but give it the benefit of our experience, and of what it first helped us to learn; would but deliver it from what itself lamented in the old system of things; and enable it to recognize the real spirit of its own belief and its own liberated knowledge, walking forth beautifully in the new.
POETRY OF BRITISH LADIES.
We have long owed a notice to the Specimens of British Poetesses, edited by the Rev. Alexander Dyce, and published by Mr Rodd of
Newport street: but the truth is, they pleased us so much, we wish the Editor had pleased us more; we mean, had taken more pains to render the volume complete, and what it ought to be. He seems an impartial man, duly alive to the amenities of his office; but the company of so many ladies appears to have been too much for him. He is so charmed to hear them speak, that he says little or nothing himself; and is so willing to think the best of what they say, that he does not always put down the best things they have said, but the poorest. The selections, for instance, from Anne Killigrew, might have been a great deal better. Mr Dyce says of Mrs Sheridan (mother of the dramatist) that "her Sidney Biddulph was once a popular novel, and her romance Nourjahad still finds readers." So does Sidney Biddulph.* Speaking of Mrs Brooke, he says, that with the exception of her "sweet and simple afterpiece Rosina" (which, by the way, is well said) " her various other works, novels included, are forgotten." This is a mistake. Her Lady Julia Mandeville, for example, is well known, and collected among the popular novels. Mrs Inchbald has put it in her collection. Of Mrs Greville, who wrote the Prayer for Indifference, some account might surely be found. We have met with one somewhere. Mr Dyce has been idle; which is a thing the ladies will not tolerate, even in a good listener. However, there is a pleasing spirit in what little he has done; and we think that all ladies who can afford it, and all their admirers who would see honour done them, are bound to hasten and buy up the first edition of this work, in order that their friend may give us a better. We should think that no intelligent woman, who prides herself on having a graceful set of books, and can afford to add this to the number, ought in honour to be without it. It is the only selection of the kind that has appeared for many years; is of course completer than any former one; and contains some beautiful flowers, brought from various quarters, field, park-ground, and cottage. We proceed to behave like proper critical rakes, and rifle the sweetest of the sweet.
*It was after reading this novel that Johnson said to the authoress," he did not know whether she had a right to make her readers suffer so much."
Some verses attributed to poor Anne Boleyn are very touching, especially the second and last verses, and the burden; but our attention is drawn by the stately bluntness of Queen Elizabeth, who writes in the same high style that she acted, and seems ready to knock us on the head if we do not admire;-which luckily we do. The conclusion of her verses on Mary Queen of Scots (whom Mr Dyce has well designated as "that lovely, unfortunate, but surely not guiltless woman") are very characteristic.
"No foreign banish'd wight
Shall anchor in this port;
Our realm it brooks no stranger's force;
Shall first his edge employ,
A politician thoughtlessly gaping for joy, and having his head shaved off like a turnip by the sword of the Maiden Queen, presents an example considerably to be eschewed. Hear however the same woman in love.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low :
Signed, "Finis, Eliza. Regina, upon Moun ....'s depar ture," Ashmol. Mus. MSS. 6969. (781) p. 142.
Mountjoy," of whose
Moun.... is probably Blount Lord "
family is the present Earl of Blessington. Elizabeth pinched his cheek when he first came to court, and made him blush.
Lady Elizabeth Carew, who "is understood to be the authoress of The Tragedy of Mariam the fair Queen of Jewry, written by that learned, virtuous, and truly noble lady E. C. 1613," was truly noble indeed, if she wrote the following stanzas in one of the chorusses of that work:
"We say our hearts are great, and cannot yield;
"A noble heart doth teach a virtuous scorn;
To scorn to lie, to scorn to do a wrong;
To scorn to bear an injury in mind,
To scorn a free-born heart slave-like to bind."
Lady Mary Wroth, a Sidney, niece of Sir Philip, has the follow
ing beautiful passage, in a song with a pretty burden to it.
"Love in chaos did appear;
When nothing was, yet he seem'd clear;
To his crown a light was tied.
"Love is truth, &c.
"Could I my past time begin
I would not commit such sin,
If the reader wishes to know what sort of a thing the shadow of an angel is, he cannot learn it better than from the verses of an anonymous Authoress to her Husband, published in the year 1652. She bids him not to wear mourning for her, not even a black ring;
"But this bright diamond, let it be
Some of the verses of Katharine Philips, who was praised by the
poets of her time under the title of "the matchless Orinda," and who called her husband, a plain country gentleman, Antenor, have an easy though antithetical style, like the lighter ones of Cowley, or the verses of Sheffield and the Frenchmen. One might suppose the following to have been written in order to assist the addresses of some young courtier.
TO LADY ELIZABETH BOYLE, SINGING A SONG OF WHICH ORINDA WAS THE AUTHOR.
"Subduing fair! what will you win,
To use a needless dart?
Why then so many to take in
"I came expos'd to all your charms,
"How can you choose but win the day?
And so on, for four more stanzas. a very dandy tone.*
The following are in the same epigrammatical taste, and pleasing.
They are part of a poem "On a Country Life."
"To vanquish and obleege" has
"Then welcome, dearest solitude,
Though some are pleas'd to call thee rude,
"Opinion is the rate of things;
From hence our peace doth flow;
"Silence and innocence are safe :-
* Chesterfield, in this word, is for using the English pronunciation of the letter i; which we believe is now the general custom. The late Mr Kemble in the course of an affable conversation with which his present Majesty indulged him, when Prince of Wales, is said to have begged as a favour that his illustrious interlocutor would be pleased to extend his royal jaws, and say oblige, instead of obleege." Nevertheless all authority is in favour of the latter pronunciation, French, Italian, and Latin. But it is a pity to lose the noble sound of our i, the finest in the language, and peculiar to the Teutonic.