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charms of poetical composition, most read its containing something worth locking up ers, and especially those in the slightest This sagacious “concetto" our sonnet-wri. degree acquainted with the writings of the ters have not attended to. Unable to obancients, will not deny. But that origin- tain a sufficiency of simple originality, they ality is, at least, of equal consequence, the have too often, in their fear of quaintness, same judges will as readily allow. In fact, either contented themselves with simple the call for originality is coeval with, and common-place, or else endeavoured to dishas accompanied, every age of poetry it- guise it under unintelligible mystery. To self. Its whole composition, its language, artificial value they have preferred even no thoughts, exaggeration of colouring and of value at all : and, when we expect a Juno, circumstances, its metaphors, its similes, we are sometimes deceived with a cloud, its sentiments, and its lessons, are all in and sometimes insulted with a drab. The compliance with this grand object of ex. sum of consequences is, that the bulk of cellence. Both the feelings and the prac. English sonnets, compared with an equal tice of all readers of poetry may be safely quantity of other short composition, conappealed to in decision of the question, tains probably about as much less originwhether simplicity without originality, or al thinking as it ought to contain more. originality without simplicity, is to be pre- Elegiac, pastoral, and amatory Sonnets, ferred. If that which in itself is beautiful, innumerable, have been written with ne. but which is already known, will please more glect, or in contempt of that originality of than that which is somewhat less so, but idea which by their writers would have which is new, the composition of poetry, in- been admitted to impart merit to an elegy, stead of increasing in difficulty, must be- a pastoral, or a madrigal. That compacome every day a more and more easy task. rative failure and disrepute should follow This argument it is needless to pursue any this inconsistency is not surprising, nor further. The gems of simple and pure that the fine specimens of Sonnet to be sentiment, which lay near the surface, found scattered throughout the works of have been already collected. He who wishes our poets should have been insufficient to to deal in such valuables must, for the rescue the species from contempt. That most part, by tastefully and newly setting even those specimens, excellent as many those which are common to him with others, of them are, partake in the ill consequences substitute a collateral merit in the place of of the prejudice they have
failed to remove, that which belongs only to a first discover- and are the least read of the works of their er. To add even a few perfectly new ac- respective authors, is as little to be wonquisitions to the stock already acquired, dered at." the search must be deep and laborious. Let us now see how he who knows
** To deny that these remarks apply to so perfectly well what Sonnets ought poetry in general, would seem, to the au
to be, writes them—for theory and thor, to be the same as denying the inferiority of what is trite to what is not. His practice are very different. We have remaining business is to shew why this
no hesitation in saying, that, next to principle, instead of being disregarded,
Wordsworth and Bowles, this anonyshould be particularly attended to by the
mous poet, for he is a poet, is the framer of a sonnet. This he is diffident best writer of Sonnets in our day. Are in doing, from the delicacy, more than not the thirteen following Sonnets, tafrom the difficulty of the office.
ken at random here and there, all “ It will easily be admitted that, in the very beautiful, and all very different, course of a narrative, or in any diffusive shewing both great and various powcollection of thoughts, each ogle idea, ers? simple or complex, escapes that complete attention and exposure which one unsup
Son of the earth, whatever thy degree, ported thought, exhibited in the pretension Placed in this changeable and troublous sphere, of individuality, and pervading an entire, Fix not thy heart on aught that passes here ; though short composition, must draw up
Neither permit thou unenjoy'd
The few propitious minutes as they flee ; on itself. The necessity of such a thought Pleasure, because it will be quickly gone, being good, is in the ratio of the chance of Must still be promptly
seized, or left alone. its being discovered to be bad. That
Despair shall lay his iron hand on thee!
Smile when thou may'st, but hope not it can last. which professes to have been sedulously The northern Empress, as the storm drew on, selected and prepared, ought to be worth Amid the snows her icy palace placed, the pains of preparation and selection.
A work perfected but to be undone,
Nor let the thought her glory overcast The artfully cut and adorned avenue is That it must sink before the coming sun. expected to lead to something ; and that which emulates the minute regularity of How vain is human pride! Not stone and lime, the brilliant should partake a little in its Or brass, or marble (though the founder's name rarity and value.
Or sculptor's, oft, is lost before the fame “ The inventor, whoever he was, of the
Of what he builded,) sooner stoop to time,
Than do those structures of the mind, sublime,' Portuguese aphorism, that “ a sonnet Whence once, perchance, a nation's wisdom ought to be shut with a golden key,” must . have been well convinced of the propriety of Upon the tripod of immortal rhyme !
Or where undying glory seem'd to flame
Ye lights of the olden time ! now dimly seen,
Muslo, high maid, at first, essaying, drew
Rude sketches for the ear, till, with skill'd hand, The lonely chasm, with whiten'a
She traced the flowing outline, simply grand, Shews where the sometime mighty stream hath
In varied groups to grace and nature true;
And this was Melody.--Hler knowledge grew, been!
And, more to finish, as her powers expand, IX.
Those beauteous draughts, a noble scheme she
plann'd; Clelia, the pillar'd form, supremely made, And o'er the whole a glow of colouring threw,
A marble structure, with those lamps of pride Evening's rich painting on a pencilrd sky,
Tints that with sweet accord bewitch the sense, The polish'd hardness in their light allay'd,
'Twas Harmony: the common crowd, that press What boots it, if, unseemly to degrade
Around, prefer the charms these hues dispense, Such loveliness, a soul shall there reside, As they, chance-mingled, on the palate lie, Foul as the worshipp'd reptiles that abide
To her white forms of undeck'd loveliness.
Days of my childhood, when, where wild-flow'rs
grew, Its rites the black-robed, impious passions stain; And can'st thou think too, that my wish aspires
From morn I've stray'd till twilight gloom'd
again, To join thy madly idolizing train?
When I recall my long since pleasures, then
So sweet, so pure, so simple, and so true,
Mine eyes grow misty with regretful dew,
To think that like a dream they're gone ;-I Or, virgin-like, with blushing charms half seen,
yearn Or when in dazzling splendour like a queen, And sigh for bliss that never can return, All her magnificence of state she shows;
So loved when lost-and so unprized when new! No, nor that nun-like lily, which but blows And well may I weep o'er the joys that smiled
Beneath the valley's cool and shady screen; Long past-well linger'mid the times that were,
Nor yet the sun-flower that with warrior mien, I who retain the weakness of the child
Without the simpleness ;-—iny moments are But thou, neglected wall-flower, to iny breast As wayward, and as wasteful, and as wild,
And inuse art dearest, wildest, sweetest flower, -But oh! not innocent, nor void of care.
Surely the mighty Ocean here has led
Some nyinph beloved, and, all to please her, XXIV.
spread Where yonder lilacs wanton with the air,
These gorgeous carpets of the golden sand ; And no autumnal blasts have blown to fade, Bright, watery mirrors; sea-plants green and red,
If flowers thou seek'st a festive wreath to braid, lú hues beyond the rose's flower or leaf, Bend thy search thither, thou wilt find them Has gemm'd these walls, these deep recesses there ;
planu'd ; Not in the arches of the forest, where
To hide his secret joys; perhaps her grief : The branching oaks extend unmoving shade; These are not brine-drops trickling, but her tears, Of spring's minuter verdure disarray'd
Nor could the wind so deep a sigh afford:
Some stems arnidst the forest chiefs that tower: For one still fickler to increase her fears.
Her heart broke not; but had it for her weal XXVI.
"Twere best. She breathes, and so do they who
lie France, in thy bosom place some mountain flower, Tranced in obliviousness; whom pharmacy
Whose unprotecting and unshrinking form Can hurt no further if it cannot heal
Can breast the sunshine or endure the storm, Oh! see, how Sorrow bath the art to steal Still arm'd against the change of every hour; The essence that to life it value gives, And whether suns shall smile or clouds shall lour, Yet, as in mockery, still the victim lives, O may the favouring goddess Liberty
Like those, in restless sleep who move and feel ; Breathe on its hallowed leaf, and doom to be Poor earthly ghost whose soul is in the grave; Imperishable by the blasts of power.
Whose eye no ray of hope e'er more ean view; Let not thine eyelids waste their poble dew Thou mind'st me, when I look on thy distress, Upon the cold and purple violet,
of flowers that spring within a darksome cave, Nor by th' avenging whirlwind prostrate, yet Sickly, devoid of odour or of hue, The stained lily pity, whose changed hue
The forms of sweetness, faint and colourless ! (Tis with the blood of thine own children wet) E'en from thy breast its regal crimson drew.
A drowsy mist hangs heavy on the soul
During her short and mournful sojourn here; Ear off the rook, tired by the mid-day beam, Yet sometimes her dull vision turns so clear Caws lazily this summer afternoon ;
As if a glimpse of future life she stole : The butterflies, with wand'ring up and down Had e'en our hopes by word or haly scroll O'er flower-bright marsh and meadow, wearied Still unconfirm'd remain'd, need we to fear seem;
But that our race must reach some blissful goal With vacant gaze, lost in a waking dream,
Which shines beyond the tomb's confinements We, listless, on the busy insects pore,
drear. In rapid dance uncertain, darting o'er The smooth-spread surface of the tepid stream;
Our frames seem heaven-design'd; waked by the
touch The air is slothful, and will scarce convey
of Fancy's wand in Feeling's high-wrought Soft sounds of idle waters to the ear;
hour, In brightly-dim obscurity appear The distant hills which skirt the landscape gay;
Or 'mid wild visions in Sleep's shadowy bower,
Who but hath felt his carth-freed mind was such? While restless fancy owns th' unnerving sway In visions often changed, but nothing clear.
And is it probable, an all-wise Power,
Denying more, would ever graut so much? VOL. XII.
and still inore, if our notice should From the unbarring to the shut of day, Ay, oft'times restless in the midnight blind,
excite the author of it to come before 'His loss I mourn; it lies upon my mind the public again in a bolder manner. Like a thick mist, that will not clear away, But bodes and brings grief's showers.
His was a
He has great natural endowments, and sway
they are richly cultivated.. Every of soul so gentle, we alone might find,
Not see its strength: a wit that, ever kind, page bespeaks the scholar; and perWould spare the humbled in its freest play. A silent, boastless stream, smooth, clear, but deep the light and frivolous tone of the ar
haps we owe him some apology for They drew no worship though they won the ticle in which we have introduced him
heart: Now he is gone, we waken from the sleep,
to our readers. But in some of his But, as of visiting Gods the poets feign,
Sonnets and little poems, he himself We knew him not till turning to depart.
shews a lively and merry vein ; and The last forty pages of this little happening to be in our absurd mood volume are filled with anacreontiques, when we took up his “ Sixty-five songs, and elegies--all of them ele- Sonnets,” we have written absurdly, gant, and not a few exceedingly pa- which, in the present state of criticism, thetic. We never saw a single copy is excusable--for “pale cant and fat of this book except our own; and we humbug” infest all our periodicals, should
suppose it not at all known. and better surely sincere mirth than It will gratify us if we are the means affected wisdom. So, sweet Sonnetteer, of drawing it forth from its obscurity, for the present, euge et vale.
TIE ENCHANTER FAUSTUS AND QUEEN ELIZABETH.
“ I do not say it is possible-I only say it is true." Elizabeth was a wonderful princess into her cabinet at the close of the for wisdom, learning, magnificence, ceremony, and sent for the Doctor. and grandeur of soul. All this was After having gazed at herself in all the fine,—but she was as envious as a de- mirrors in the room, and seeming very cayed beauty-jealous and cruel-and well pleased with their reflection,---for that spoiled all. However, be her de- her roses and lilies were as good as tects what they may, her fame had gold could buy-her petticoat high pierced even to the depths of Germany, enough to shew her ankle, and her whence the Enchanter Faustus set off frill low to expose her bosom,-she for her court, that great magician wish- sat down en attitude, in her great ing to ascertain by his own wits, whe- chair. It was thus the Enchanter ther Elizabeth was as gifted with good Faustus found her. He was the most qualities as she was with bad. No one adroit courtier that you could find, could judge this for him so well as though you searched the world over. himself—who read the stars like his For though there are good reasons A, B, C, and whom Satan obeyed like why a courtier may not be a conjuror, his dog-yet, withal, who was not there are none why a conjuror may above a thousand pleasant tricks, that not be a courtier ; and Faustus, both make people laugh, and hurt no one. in one—knowing the Queen's foible Such, for instance, as turning an old as to her imaginary beauty_took care lord into an old lady, to elope with his not to let slip so fine an opportunity cook-maid-exchanging a handsome of paying his court. He was wondera wife for an ugly one, &c. &c. struck, thunderstruck, at such a blaze
The Queen, charmed with the pret- of perfection. Elizabeth knew how ty things which she heard of him; to appreciate the moment of surwished much to see him-and from prise. She drew a magnificent ruby the moment that she did, became quite from her finger, which the Doctor, fascinated. On his side, he found her without making difficulties about it, better than he had expected, not but drew on his. that he perceived she thought a great “ You find me then passable for a cleal too inuch of her wit-though she Queen,” said she, smiling. On this had a tolerable share of it, and still he wished himself at the devil, (his inore of her beauty-of which she had old resting-place,) if, not alone that rather less.
he had ever seen, but if any body One day that she was dressed with else had ever seen, either queen or subcxtraordinary splendour, to give audio ject to equal her. cnce to some ambassadors, she retired “Oh, Faustus, my friend," replied
she, “ could the beauties of antiquity the Doctor, in a voice of anger, called
“ Daughter of fair Leda, hear ! “I dare the proof,” returned the From thy far Elysian sphere ; Doctor. “ If your Majesty will it Lovely as when, for his fee, but speak, and they are here.”
To Paris Venus promised thee. Faustus, of course, never expected
Appear-appear-appear !" to be taken at his word; but whether Accustomed to command, rather Elizabeth wished to see if magic could than to be commanded, the fair Heperform the miracle, or to satisfy a len lingered to the last possible mocuriosity that had often tormented ment; but when the last moment came, her, she expressed herself amazingly so did she, and so suddenly, that no pleased at the idea, and begged it one knew how she got there. She was might be immediately realised. habited a la Grecque,-her hair orna
Faustus then requested her Majesty mented with pearls and a superb aigto pass into a little gallery near the rette. The figure passed slowly onapartment, while he went for his book, wards—stopped for an instant directly his ring, and his large black mantle. opposite the Queen, as if to gratify her
All this was done nearly as soon as curiosity, took leave of her with a masaid. There was a door at each end of licious smile, and vanished. She had the gallery, and it was decided that scarcely disappeared when her Majesthe beauties should come in at one, ty exclaimed-“ What! that the fair and go out at the other, so that the Helen! I don't pique myself on beauQueen might have a fair view of them. ty, but may I die if I would change Only two of the courtiers were admite faces with her !” ted to this exhibition ; these were the “I told your Majesty how it would Earl of Essex and Sir Philip Syılney. be,” remarked the enchanter ; “ and
Her Majesty was seated in the mid- yet there she is, as she was in her best dle of the gallery, with the Earl and days." the Knight standing to the right and
«She has, however, very fine eyes," left of her chair. The enchanter did observed Essex. not forget to trace round them and “ Yes,” said Sidney, “ they are their mistress certain mysterious cir- large, dark, and brilliant--but after cles, with all the grimaces and contor- all, what do they say?" added he, cortions of the time. He then drew an, recting himself. other opposite to it, within which he “Nothing," replied the favourite. took his own station, leaving a space
The Queen, who was this day, exbetween for the actors.
travagantly rouged, asked if they did When this was finished, he begged not think Helen's tint too Chinathe Queen not to speak a word while white. they should be on the stage ; and,
“ China !” cried the Earl; “ Delf above all, not to appear frightened, let rather." her see what she might.
“ Perhaps,” continued the Queen, The latter precaution was needless; “ it was the fashion of her time, but for the good Queen feared neither an- you must confess that such turned-in gel nor devil. And now the Doctor toes would have been endured in inquired what belle of antiquity she no other woman. I don't dislike her would first see.
style of dress, however, and probably “ To follow the order of time,” she I may bring it round again, in place answered, “ they should commence of these troublesome hoops, which with Helen."
have their inconveniences.' The magician, with a changing “0, as to the dress,” chimed in countenance, now exclaimed, « Sit the favourite“ let it pass, it is well still !”
enough, which is more than can be Sidney's heart beat quick. The said for the wearer.' brave Essex turned pale. As to the A conclusion, in which Sidney heartQueen, not the slightest emotion was ily joined, rhapsodyingperceptible.
“O Paris, fatal was the hour, Faustus soon commenced some mut- When, victim to the blind God's power, tered incantations and strange evolu- Within your native walks you bore tions, such as were the fashion of the That firebrand from a foreign shore; day for conjurors. Anon the gallery Who-ah so little worth the strife! shook, so did the two courtiers, and Was fit for nothing, but a wife."
“Od's my life now,” said her Ma- Her Majesty looked grate. jesty," but I think she looks fitter “ Fye, fye,” returned Essex, “ it for any thing else, Sidney !
-My Lord was haughtiness—her manner is full of Essex, how think you?”
of presumption,--aye, and even her “ As your Majesty does,” return- height." ed he;" there is a meaning in that The Queen having approved of eye.”
Essex's decision-on her own part, “And a minute past they said there condemned the Princess for ber averwas none,” thought Faustus.
sion to her spouse, which, though the This liberal critique on the fair He- world alleged to have been caused by len being concluded, the Queen desi- his being the cut-throat of her fared to see the beautiful and hopeless mily, she saw nothing to justify, whatMariamne.
ever a husband might be. A wife was The enchanter did not wait to be a wife ; and Herod had done quite twice asked ; but he did not chuse to right in cutting off the heads of the invoke a Princess who had worship- offenders. ped at holy altars in the same manner Faustus, who affected universal as he had summoned the fair Pagan. knowledge, assured her Majesty that It was then, by way of ceremony, that all the historians were in error on that turning four times to the east, three point; for he had had it himself from to the south, two to the west, and on- a living witness, that the true cause of ly once to the north, he uttered, with Herod's vengeance was his spiteful oldgreat suavity, in Hebrew
maid of a sister-Salome's overhear“ Lovely Mariamne, come !
ing Mariamne—one day at prayersThough thou sleepest far away, beg of Heaven to rid her of her worthRegal spirit ! leave thy tomb!
less husband. Let the splendours round thee play, After a moment of thought, the Silken robe and diamond stone,
Queen, with the same indifference Such as, on thy bridal-day,
with which she would have called for Flash'd from proud Judea's throne.”
her waiting-maid-desired to see CleoScarcely had he concluded, when patra ; for the Egyptian queen not hathe spouse of Herod made her appear- ving been quite as comme il fuut as the ance, and gravely advanced into the British,
the latter treated her accordcentre of the gallery, where she halte ingly. The beautiful Cleopatra quicked, as her predecessor had done. She ly made her appearance at the extrewas robed nearly like the high-priest mity of the gallery,--and Elizabeth of the Jews, except that instead of the expected that this apparition would Tiara, a veil, descending from the fully make up for the disappointment crown of the head, and slightly at which the others had occasioned. tached to the cincture, fell far behind Scarcely had she entered, when the her. Those graceful and flowing dra- air was loaded with the rich perfumes peries, threw over the whole figure of of Arabia. the lovely Hebrew an air of indes- Her bosom (that had been melting cribable dignity. After having stop- as charity) was open as day,-a loop ped for several minutes before the of diamonds and rubies gathered the company, she pursued her way,—but drapery as much above the left knee, without paying the slightest parting as it might as well have been below it, compliment to the haughty Elizabeth. —and a woven wind of transparent
“Is it possible," said the Queen, be- gauze, softened the figure which it fore she had well disappeared—“is it did not conceal. possible that Mariamne was such a In this gay and gallant costume, the figure as that?—such a tall, pale, mistress of Antony glided through the meagre, melancholy-looking affair, to gallery, making a similar panse as the have passed for a beauty through so others. No sooner was her back turnmany centuries !”
ed, than the courtiers began to tear “'By my honour,” quoth Essex, her person and frippery to pieces,—the “had I been in Herod's place, I should Queen calling out, like one possessed, never have been angry at her keeping for paper to burn under her nose, to her distance."
drive away the vapours occasioned by “ Yet I perceived,” said Sydney, the gums with which the mummy was “ a certain touching languor in the filled, - declared her insupportable in countenance-an air of dignified sim- every sense, and far beneath even the plicity."
wife of Herod, or the daughter of Le