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But, oh! what crowds, in every land,
Are wretched and forlorn;
That man was made to mourn.
THE ILLS WE MAKE FOR OURSELVES AND FOR CTHERS.
Many and sharp the numerous ills
Interwoven with our frame !
Regret, remorse, and shame!
The smiles of love adorn,
Makes countless thousands mourn !
JUDGE NOT THY BROTHER.
Decidedly can try us;
Each spring, its various bias :
We never can adjust it;
But know not what's resisted !
GRACE BEFORE DINNER.
For every creature's want!
For all Thy goodness lent:
May never worse be sent;
Lord, bless us with content!
EDWARD YOUNG was born at Upham, in Hampshire, England, in the year 1681. He died in the year 1765. The greater part of his life was spent in the search after literary and political eminence. In this he met no distinguished success. At the age of fifty he took orders in the church, and thenceforth passed his time in comparative retirement. His last literary work, and that on which rests his celebrity, as an author, was the “NIGHT Thoughts,” which appeared in 1742. This poem, though it bears occasional marks of poor taste and poorer judgment, showing the author's too great fondness for ingenious conceits, epigrammatic turns, and affected gloom, is, nevertheless, an admirable monument of poetic genius. “It is impossible," says a good judge, “to open any page of Young without finding something grand, true, and striking: he is full of thoughts that wander through eternity!!!
PIETY AND VIRTUE DISTINGUISHED.
“Is virtue, then, and piety the same ?”
On piety, humanity is built;
A soul in commerce with her God, is Heaven;
- . iy.
Joan Milton was born in London, December 9th, 1608, and died, in too same place, November 8th, 1674. His early education was careful and complete. In 1638 he went to Italy; having previously composed some of his most celebrated pieces. In Italy bis associations were of the choicest kind. On his return to London he opened a school. Meantime, acting upon the feelings and principles which he had early imbibed from his father, and which were now matured and strengthened by travel and study, he entered heartily into the religious disputes of the times. In 1643 he was married : the match proving in the end extremely unfortunate. In 1649 he became Foreign Secretary to Oliver Cromwell; which situation he kept till the time (1658] of Cromwell's death. In 1652 his sight, which had long been failing, gave way entirely : leaving him stone-blind, just after the completion of one of his political productions. The Restoration of the monarchy doomed Milton to concealment till the act of oblivion again brought him forth. But neither blindness nor persecution could crush the creative spirit that dwelt in him, and so we have to record that, among other wonders achieved by this incom. parable genius, his “PARADISE LOST" is the product of this period of physical darkness. It first appeared in 1671, and was followed by the “PARADISE REGAINED" and some other productions of his prolific pen.
DANTE (full foria DURANTE), the most distinguished of Italian poets, was born in Florence, in the year 1265, and died there, September 14th, 1321. His personal history, so far as known, is but a series of bitter griefs and wrongs, both private and public, and these have given a certain tinge to all his writings. His great poem is entitled “DIVINA COMMEDIA” (Divine Comedy), of which there have been many editions and numerous commentators. It is divided into three parts,-Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Why it should be called a comedy, has often exercised the critics; though he himself so called it, it appears, " because it has a fortunate ending."
DANTE AND MILTON COMPARED.
MACAULAY 1. The character of Milton was peculiarly distinguished ly loftiness of thought; that of Dante by intensity of feeling. In every line of the Divine Comedy, we discern the asperity which is produced by pride struggling with misery. There is, perhaps, no work in the world so deeply and uniformly sorrowful.
2. The melancholy of Dante was no fantastic caprice. It was not, as far as at this distance of time can be judged, the effect of external circumstances. It was from within. Neither love nor glory, neither the conflicts of the earth nor the hope of Heaven, could dispel it. It twined every consolation and every pleasure into its own nature. It resembled that noxious Sardinian soil of which the intense bitterness is said to have been percepti. ble even in its honey. His mind was, in the noble language of the Hebrew poet, "a land of darkness, as darkness itself, and where the light was as darkness !”
3. The gloom of his character discolors all the passions of men, and all the face of nature, and tinges with its own livid hue the flowers of Paradise and the glories of the Eternal Throne. All the portraits of him are singularly characteristic. No person can look on the features, noble even to ruggedness, the dark furrows of the cheek, the haggard and woeful stare of the eye, the sullen and contemptuous curve of the lip, and doubt that they belonged to a man too proud and too sensitive to be happy.
4. Milton was, like Dante, a statesman and a lover ; and, like Dante, he had been unfortunate in ambition and in love. He had survived his health and his sight, the comforts of his home
* For a Note on Macaulay, see Exercise CI.
and the prosperity of his party. Of the great men by whom he had been distinguished on his entrance into life, sone had been taken away from the evil to come; some had carried into foreign climates their unconquerable hatred of oppression; some were pining in dungeons; and some had poured forth their blood on scaffolds.
5. That hateful proscription_facetiously termed the act of indemnity and oblivion-had set a mark on the poor, blind, deserted poet, and held him up by name to the hatred of a profligate court and an inconstant people. Venal and licentious scribblers, with just sufficient talent to clothe the thoughts of a pander in the style of a bellman, were now the favorite writers of the sovereign and the public.
6. It was a loathsome herd—which could be compared to nothing, so fitly, as to the rabble of Comus*-grotesque monsters, half bestial, half human,-dropping with wine, bloated with gluttony, and reeling in obscene dances. Amidst these his Muse was placed, like the chaste lady of the Masque, lofty, spotless, and serene—to be chatted at, and pointed at, ani grinned at, by the whole tribe of Satyrs † and Goblins.
7. If ever despondency could be excused in any man, it might have been excused in Milton. But the strength of his mind overcame every calamity. Neither blindness, nor gout, nor penury, nor age, nor domestic afflictions, nor political disappointments, nor abuse, nor proscription, nor neglect, had power to disturb his sedate and majestic patience. His spirits do not seem to have been high, but they were singularly equable. His temper was serious, perhaps, stern; but it was a temper which no sufferings could render sullen or fretful.
8. Such as it was, when on the eve of great events he returned from his travels, in the prime of health and manly beauty, loaded with literary distinctions and glowing with patriotic hopes, such it continued to be — when, after having experienced every calamity which is incident to our nature, old, poor, sightless, and disgraced, he retired to his hovel to die!
* Comus is the name of an exquisite dramatic piece by Milton.