Imágenes de páginas

Envy the next, Envy with squinted eyes;

Sick of a strange disease, his neighbour's health ;
Best lives he then, when any better dies;
Is never poor, but in another's wealth:
On best men's harms and griefs he feeds his fill;

Else his own maw doth eat with spiteful will:
Ill must the temper be, where diet is so ill.

Each eye through divers optics slily leers,

Which both his sight and object's self bely;
So greatest virtue ás a moat appears,
And molehill faults to mountains multiply.

When needs he must, yet faintly, then he praises ;

Somewhat the deed, much more the means he raises :
So marreth what he makes, and praising, most dispraises.

The poem is supposed to be sung by a Shepherd, which gives the poet an opportunity of introducing several interesting descriptions of rural scenery.

The following stanzas are pretty and fanciful.

The flow'rs that, frighten'd with sharp winter's dread,

Retire into their mother Tellus' womb,
Yet in the spring in troops new mustered
Peep out again from their unfrozen tomb :

The early violet will fresh arise,

Spreading his flower'd purple to the skies;
Boldly the little elf the winter's spite defies.
The hedge, green satin pink'd and cut, arrays;

The heliotrope to cloth of gold aspires ;
In hundred-colour'd silks the tulip plays;
Th’ imperial flow'r, his neck with pearl attires ;

The lily, high her silver grogram rears;

The pansy, her wrought velvet garment bears ;
The red-rose, scarlet, and the provence, damask wears.

The introduction to the ninth canto is poetical, and worth quoting.

The bridegroom Sun, who late the earth espous’d,

Leaves his star-chamber; early in the east
He shook his sparkling locks, head lively rous'd,
While Morn his couch with blushing roses drest;

His shines the Earth soon latch'd to gild her flow'rs :

Phosphor his gold-fleec'd drove folds in their bow'rs,
Which all the night had graz'd about th’ Olympic tow'rs.

The cheerful lark, mounting from early bed,

With sweet salutes awakes the drowsy light;
The Earth she left, and up to Heav'n is filed;
There chants her Maker's praises out of sight.

Earth seems a mole-hill, men but ants to be;

Teaching the proud, that soar to high degree,
The further up they climb, the less they seem and see.

The lines which succeed on the decay of human greatness, and the ruin of principalities and powers, are some of the finest and most spiritedin the poem, and for which the author has our unqualified praise.

“ Fond man, that looks on Earth for happiness,

And here long seeks what here is never found!
For all our good we hold from Heav'n by lease,
With many forfeits and conditions bound;

Nor can we pay the fine, and rentage due:

Though now but writ, and seal’d, and giv'n anew,
Yet daily we it break, then daily must renew.
Why shouldst thou here look for perpetual good,

At ev'ry loss 'gainst heav'n's face repining?
Do but behold where glorious cities stood,
With gilded tops and silver turrets shining;

There now the hart fearless of greyhound feeds,

And loving pelican in fancy breeds:
There screeching satyrs fill the people's empty stedes.*
Where is the Assyrian lion's golden hide,

That all the east once grasp'd in lordly paw?
Where that great Persian bear, whose swelling pride
The lion's self tore out with rav’nous jaw?

Or he which 'twixt a lion and a pard,

Through all the world with nimble pinions far'd,
And to his greedy whelps his conquer'd kingdoms shar'd.
Hardly the place of such antiquity,

Or note of these great monarchies we find :
Only a fading verbal memory,
And empty name in writ is left behind:

But when this second life and glory fades,

And sinks at length in time's obscurer shades,
A second fall succeeds, and double death invades.

[ocr errors]

That monstrous beast, which, nursd in Tiber's fen,

Did all the world with hideous shape affray ; That fill’d with costly spoil his gaping den, · And trode down all the rest to dust and clay:

His battring horns, pullid out by civil hands

And iron teeth, lie scatter'd on the sands;
Back’d, bridled by a monk, with seven heads yoked stands.
And that black* vulture, which with deathful wing

O'ershadows half the Earth, whose dismal sight
Frighten'd the Muses from their native spring,
Already stoops, and flags with weary flight:

Who then shall look for happiness beneath ?

Where each new day proclaims chance, change, and death, And life itself's as fit as is the air we breathe. Fletcher's description of fear is as follows:Still did he look for some ensuing cross,

Fearing such hap as never man befel : No mean he knows, but dreads each little loss (With tyranny of fear distraught) as Hell.

His sense, he dare not trust (nor eyes, nor ears);

And when no other cause of fright appears,
Himself he much suspects, and fears his causeless fears.
Harness'd with massy steel, for fence not fight;

His sword unseemly long he ready drew:
At sudden shine of his own armour bright,
He started oft, and star'd with ghastly hue :

His shrieks, at ev'ry danger that appears,

Shaming the knight-like arms he goodly bears :
His word : “Safer, that all, than he that nothing fears.'
Compare this with Spenser's description.

Next him was Feare, all arm’d from top to toe,
· Yet thought himselfe not safe enough thereby,
But fear'd each shadow moving to or froe;
And, his owne armes when glittering he did spy
Or clashing heard, he fast away did fly,
As ashes pale of hew, and winged heeld;
And evermore on Daunger fixt his eye,

Gainst whom he alwayes bent a brasen shield,
Which his right hand unarmed fearefully did wield. +

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

We concur in Mr. Headley's opinion, that

“ There seems to be more nature and real poetry in Fletcher's describing him as but starting at the sight of his arms, than in Spenser, who on the same occasion represents him as absolutely - flying fast aray;" but perhaps Spenser has heightened the image by making him equally terrified with the sound of them as the sight; this is omitted in Fletcher."

To these observations may be added, that there is great propriety in the bewildered air which Spenser gives him in the last line.

The following stanza possesses considerable merit.
But ah! what liveth long in happiness?

Grief, of a heary nature, steady lies,
And cannot be remov'd for weightiness;
But joy, of lighter presence, eas'ly flies,

And seldom comes, and soon away will go:

Some secret pow'r here all things orders so,
That for a sunshine day, follows an age of woe.
These lines are beautiful and harmonious,
So have I often seen a purple flow'r,

Painting through heat, hang down her drooping head,
But soon refreshed with a welcome show'r,
Begins again her lively beauties spread,

And with new pride her silken leaves display;

And, while the sun doth now more gently play,
Lays out her swelling bosom to the smiling day.

The conception of Thumos, or Wrath, is forcible, and his attributes appropriate.

Thumos the fourth, a dire, revengeful swain ;

Whose soul was made of flames, whose flesh of fire,
Wrath in his heart, hate, rage, and fury reign!
Fierce was his look, when clad in sparkling tire;

But when dead paleness in his cheek took seizure,

And all the blood in's boiling heart did treasure,
Then, in his wild revenge, kept he nor mean nor measure.
For in his face, red heat and ashy cold

Strove which should paint revenge in proper colours :
That, like consuming fire, most dreadful rolld;
This, liker death, threatens all deadly dolours :

His trembling hand a dagger still embrac'd,

Which in his friend he rashly oft encas'd:
His shield's device, fresh blood with foulest stain defac'd.

We have omitted the intermediate stanza in the above description, but shall quote it in this place, for the purpose of shewing the singular skill with which the poet has availed himself of a very mean image, and which he has indeed elevated into something like dignity. It is, in plain prose, nothing more than a comparison of the rage of Thumos to a kettle, full of boiling water, on the fire.

Like as when waters, wall’d with brazen wreath,

Are sieg'd with crackling flames, their common foe;
The angry seas 'gin foam and hotly breathe,
Then swell, rise, rave, and still more furious grow;

Nor can be held; but forc'd with fires below,

Tossing their waves, break out, and all o'erflow:
So boil'd his rising blood, and dash'd his angry brow.

Upon the whole, we think we have adduced sufficient specimens to shew that, although Fletcher had not much originality of invention or power of combination, he possessed a luxuriant fancy, and a pleasing vein of poetry.

rom the turning backe, wappen in the herley's Trave

ART. XII. A true discourse of Sir Anthony Sherley's Travele into

Persia, what accidents did happen in the waye, both goeinge thither and returning backe, with the businesse he was employed in, from the Sophie. Written by George Manwaring, gentleman, who attended on Sir Anthony all the jorneye.--MS.

Sir Anthony Sherley, the history of whose singular journey into Persia, the manuscript which stands at the head of this article professes to record, was the second son of Sir Thomas Sherley, of Wiston, in Sussex, and was born in 1565. He had two brothers, Sir Thomas Sherley, his elder, and Mr. Robert Sherley, his younger brother, all distinguished for their adventurous and romantic dispositions. It is, however, with Sir Anthony that we have chiefly to do in this article, although we shall have occasion to notice incidentally his two brothers, and especially Mr. Robert Sherley, his companion in this extraordinary enterprize. On Sir Anthony, his friends bestowed “ those learnings which were fit for a gentleman's ornament;" and after having taken his degree at Oxford, he entered into the service of his sovereign, ,“ in which he ran many courses of divers fortune, according to the condition of the wars.”—He first joined

« AnteriorContinuar »