Abbildungen der Seite

Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equall'd with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old :
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move

| Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works, to me expunged and rased,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her

Irradiate ; there plant eyes; all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.


Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek ;
Sport that wrinkled care derides,
And laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it, as you go,
On the light fantastic toe ;
And in thy right hand lead with thee
The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty;
And, if I give thee hon ordue,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreprovéd pleasures free.
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull Night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled Dawn doth rise ;
Then to come in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good morrow,
Through the sweet-brier or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine :
While the cock, with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack or the barn door
Stoutly struts his dames before.


From betwixt two aged oaks

Where Corydon and Thyrsis met."-L'Allegro.

And ever, against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse;
Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed and giddy cunning ;
The melting voice through mazes running,

ASTE thee, Nymph, and bring with thee I 1.

Jest and youthful Jollity,

Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles, Nods and Becks, and wreathéd Smiles,

Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heaped Elysian flowers, and hear

Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regained Eurydicé.

These delights if thou cans't give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.




DENY not but that it is of the greatest | were, in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to
concernment in the church and common- the earth, but a good book is the precious life-

wealth to have a vigilant eye how books blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured
demean themselves, as well as men ; and there- up on purpose to a life beyond life. It is true no
after to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice age can restore a life whereof, perhaps, there is no
on them as malefactors. For books are not abso- | great loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft re-
lutely dead things, but do contain a progeny cover the loss of a rejected truth, for the want of
of life in them to be as active as that soul was which whole nations fare the worse.
whose progeny they are. Nay, they do preserve, We should be wary, therefore, what persecution
as in a vial, the purest efficacy and extraction of we raise against the living labors of public men;
that intellect that bred them. I know they are as how we spill that seasoned life of man preserved
lively and as vigorously productive as those fab- and stored up in books, since we see a kind of
ulous dragon's teeth; and, being sown up and homicide may be thus committed—sometimes a
down, may chance to spring up armed men. And martyrdom ; and if it extend to a whole impres-
yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, sion, a kind of massacre, whereof the execution
as good almost kill a man as kill a good book. ends not in the slaying of an elemental life,
Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature- but strikes at the ethereal essence, the breath of
God's image ; but he who destroys a good book reason itself-slays an immortality rather than
kills reason itself-kills the image of God, as it

a life.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

T was the winter wild,

And kings sat still with awful eve,
While the heaven-born child

As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger by.

Nature, in awe to him,
Had doff'd her gaudy trim,

But peaceful was the night,

Wherein the Prince of Light
With her great Master so to sympathize;

His reign of peace upon the earth began :
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.

The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,

Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
No war or battle's sound
Was heard the world around,

While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed
The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The hooked chariot stood
Unstain'd with hostile blood ;

The stars, with deep amaze, The trumpet spake not to the armed throng; Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,


Bending one way their precious influence;

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. And will not take their flight,

No mighty trance, or breathed spell, For all the morning light,

Inspires the pale eyed priest from the prophetic Or Lucifer, that often warn’d them thence;

cell. But in their glimmering orbs did glow, Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them

The lonely mountains o'er go.

And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;

From haunted spring and dale, The shepherds on the lawn,

Edged with poplar pale, Or e'er the point of dawn,

The parting Genius is with sighing sent: Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;

With flower-inwoven tresses torn, Full little thought they, than

The Nymphs, in twilight shade of tangled thickets, That the mighty Pan

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy And

on the holy hearth,

In consecrated earth, keep.

The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight

plaint. When such music sweet

In urns and altars round, Their hearts and ears did greet,

A drear and dying sound As never was by mortal finger strook ;

Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint;

And the chill marble seems to sweat,
Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,

While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted

As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
The air, such pleasures loathe to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly | But see, the Virgin bless'd

Hath laid her Babe to rest;
Time is, our tedious song should here have

ending: The oracles are dumb,

Heaven's youngest teemed star No voice or hideous hum

Hath fix'd her polish'd car, Runs through the arched roof in words deceiv- Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending.

ing, Apollo from his shrine

And all about the courtly stable Can no more divine,

Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.

[ocr errors]


“ PARADISE Lost." Book XII. O spake our mother Eve, and Adam heard, In either hand the hastening angel caught Well pleased, but answered not; for now Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate too nigh

Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast The Archangel stood, and from the other hill To the subjected plain ; then disappeared. To their fixed station all in bright array

They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld The Cherubim descended ; on the ground Of Paradise, so late their happy seat, Gliding meteorus, as the evening mist

Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate Risen from a river o'er the marish glides,

With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms. And gathers ground fast at the laborer's heel Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them Homeward returning. High in front advanced

soon : The brandished sword of God before them blazed The world was all before them, where to choose Fierce as a comet ; which with torrid heat, Their place of rest, and Providence their guide. And vapor as the Libyan air adust,

They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, Began to parch that temperate clime. Whereat Through Eden took their solitary way.



[ocr errors]

“ If Pope must yield to other poets in point of fertility of fancy, yet in point of propriety, closeness, and elegance of diction he can yield to none."— Joseph Warton.

HE merits of Pope's works have long been a fertile subject of critical

discussion. If his "rhymes too often supply the defects of his reasons," it is nevertheless true that few poets have furnished so many well-known lines which express in apt and concise language an elevating, philosophic thought.

He was so deformed that he was known by the nickname of

“ The Interrogation Point," and so small that he used a high chair at table; so weak and sickly that he must be continually tied up in bandages; and so sensitive to cold that he was always wrapped in furs and flannels, and encased his feet in three pairs of stockings. But his dress was fastidious and his manners elegant, though he must continually bear the coarse jests about his afflictions which the rude manners of the time allowed to pass as wit.

Pope's sickly youth prevented his being educated like other boys, and his training was received at home and was very irregular. Before he was twelve years old he had written a number of poems, most of which he afterward destroyed.

“As yet a child, and all unknown to fame,

I lisped in numbers and the numbers came." He had already published his “ Pastorals” and “Messiah," and the “Essay on Criticism,” when, in 1713, he took up the study of painting in his native city of London. His eyes failed, however, and he abandoned his purpose of becoming an artist.

He now issued proposals for publishing a translation of Homer's “Iliad,” in six volumes, at a guinea a volume. The project was favorably received, and a large number of copies were subscribed for. The volumes appeared at various times, from 1715 to 1720, and yielded the author a magnificent return, equal to about ninety thousand dollars of our money. He was thus enabled to purchase the lease of an attractive villa at Twickenham, which was his home during his remaining years. He died in 1744, at the age of fifty-six.

Beside those already mentioned, his principal works are an “Epistle of Eloise to Abelard,” an edition of Shakespeare, a translation of the “ Odyssey,” “The Dunciad,” and the “ Essay on Man."


“ The Dunciad” is a sarcastic reply to a host of critics who had attacked him, and of most of whom the only remembrance is their names preserved in this work, which was said to have fallen among his opponents like an exterminating thunderbolt.


FROM THE “ ESSAY ON MAN.” OME, then, my Friend, my Genius, come Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale ? along;

When statesmen, heroes, kings, in dust repose, O master of the poet and the song ! Whose sons shall blush their fathers were thy And while the Muse now stoops, or now ascends, foes, To Man's low passions, or their glorious ends, Shall then this verse to future age pretend Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise, Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend? To fall with dignity, with temper rise;

That, urged by thee, I turn’d the tuneful art Form’d by thy converse, happily to steer

From sounds to things, from fancy to the heart; From grave to gay, from lively to severe;

For wit's false mirror held up nature's light; Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease,

Show'd erring pride, whatever is, is right? Intent to reason, or polite to please,

That reason, passion, answer one great aim; O! while, along the stream of time, thy name That true and social are the same; Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame,

That Virtue only makes our bliss below; Say, shall my little bark attendant sail,

And all our knowledge is, ourselves to know !




EAVEN from all creatures hides the book Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, of fate,

A hero perish, or a sparrow fall; All but the page prescribed-their present Atoms or systems into ruin hurled, state ;

And now a bubble burst, and now a world. From brutes what men, from men what spirits, Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions know;

soar; Or who could suffer, being here below?

Wait the great teacher, Death, and God adore. The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,

What future bliss, He gives thee not to know, Had he thy reason, would he skip and play? But gives that hope to be thy blessing now. Pleased to the last, he crops the Aowery food, Hope springs eternal in the human breast; And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood. Man never is but always to be blest. O blindness to the future! kindly given,

The soul (uneasy, and confined) from home, That each may fill the circle marked by Heaven ; Rests and expatiates in a life to come.


F all the causes which conspire to blind Whatever Nature has in worth denied,
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the She gives in large recruits of needful Pride!

For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find
What the weak head with strongest bias rules, What wants in blood and spirits, swell’d with
Is Pride, the never-failing vice of fools.


« ZurückWeiter »