« AnteriorContinuar »
AS Waller professed himself to have learned the art of versification from Fairfax, it has been thought proper to subjoin a specimen of his work, which, after Mr. Hoole's translation, will perhaps not be soon reprinted. By knowing the state in which Waller found our poetry, the reader may judge how much he improved it.
Erminia's stced (this while) his mistresse bore
Through forrests thicke among the thadie treene,
Her feeble hand the bridle raines forelore,
Halfe in a swoune she was for feare I weene ;
But her fit courser spared nere the more,
To beare her through the desart woods unseene
Of her strong foes, that chas'd her through the plaine, · And still pursu'd, but still pursu'd in vaine. .. .
Like as the wearie hounds at last retire,
Windlesse, displeased, from the fruitlesse chace,
When the sie beast Tapisht in bush and brire,
No art nor pains can rowse out of his place :
The Chriftian knights so full of shame and ire
Returned backe, with faint and wearie pace !
Yet still the fearfull Dame fied, swift as winde,
Nor euer staid, nor euer lookt behinde.
Through thicke and thinne, all night, all day, the driued,
Withouten comfort, companie, or guide,
Her plaints and teares with euery thought reuiued,
She heard and Saw her greefes, but nought beside.
But when the sunne his burning chariot diued
In Thetis waue, and wearie teame vntide,
On Iordans sandie banks her course the staid,
At last, there downe the light, and downe she laid.
Her tearcs, her drinke; her food, her forrowings,
This was her diet that vnhappie night:
But sleepe (that sweet repose and quiet brings)
To ease the greefes of discontented wight,
Spred foorth his tender, soft, and nimble wings,
In his dull armes foulding the virgin bright;
And loue, his mother, and the graces kept
Strong watch and warde, while this faire Ladie slept.
The birds awakte her with their morning song,
Their warbling musicke pearst her tender care,
The murmuring brookes and whistling windes among
The ratling boughes, and leaues, their parts did beare ;
Her eies vnclos'd beheld the groues along
Of swaines and shepherd groomes, that dwellings weare ;
And that sweet noise, birds, winds, and waters sent,
Prouokt again the virgin to lament.
Her plaints were interrupted with a sound,
That seem'd from thickest bushes to proceed,
Some iolly Thepherd sung a luftie round,
And to his voice had tun’d his oaten reed;
Thither she went, an old man there the found
(At whose right hand his little flock did feed)
Sat making baskets, his three sonnes among
That learn'd their fathers art, and learn'd his song.
Beholding one in shining armes appeare
The feelie man and his were sore dismaid;
But sweet Erminia comforted their feare,
Her ventall vp, hier visage open laid,
You happy folke, of heau’n beloued deare,
Work on (quoth The) upon your harmlesse traid,
These dreadfull armes I beare no warfare bring
To your sweet toile, nor those sweet tuncs you ring.
But father, since this land, these townes and towres,
Destroied are with sword, with fire and spoile,
How may it be unhurt, that you and yours
In safetie thus, applie your harmlesse toile ?
My sonne (quoth he) this pore estate of ours
Is euer safe from storm of warlike broile ;
This wildernesse doth vs in saftie keepe,
No thundring drum, no trumpet breakes our sleepe.
Haply iuft heau'ns defence and shield of right,
Doth loue the innocence of simple swains,
The thunderbolts on highest mountains light,
And seld or neuer strike the lower plaines :
So kings have cause to feare Bellonaes might,
Not they whose sweat and toile their dinner gaines,
Nor ever greedie soldier was entised
By pouertie, neglected and despised.
O Povertie, chefe of the heau’nly brood,
Dearer to me than wealth or kingly crowne !
No wish for honour, thirst of others good,
Can moue my heart, contented with mine owne:
We quench our thirst with water of this flood,
Nor fear we poison should therein be throwne :
These little flocks of theepe and tender goatcs
. Giue milke for food, and wool to make us coates,
We little wish, we need but litile wealth,
From cold and hunger vs to cloathi and feed;
These are my sonnes, their care preferues from stealtlı
Their fathers flocks, nor servants moc I need :
Amid these groues I walke oft for my health,
And to the fishes, birds, and beaftes giue hecd,
How they are fid, in forreit, spring and lake,
And their contentment for ensample take,
Time was (or each one hath his doting time,
These filuer locks were golden tresses than)
That countrie life I hated as a crime,
And from the forrests sweet contentment ran,
To Memphis' stately pallace would I cliine,
And there became the mightie Caliphes man,
And though I but a simple gardner weare,
Yet could I marke abuses, see and heare.
Entised on with hope of future gaine,
I suffred long what did my foule displease ;
But when my youth was spent, my hope was vaine,
I felt my native strength at last decrease ;
I gan my losse of luslie yeeres complaine,
And wisht I had enjoy'd the countries peace;
I bod the court farewell, and with content
My later age here have I quiet spent.
While thus he spake, Erminia husht and still
His wise discourses heard, with great attention,
His speeches graue those idle fancies kill,
Which in her troubled foule bred such dissention;
After much thought reformed was her will,
Within those woods to dwell was her intention,
Till fortune should occasion new afford,
To turne her home to her desired Lord.
She said therefore, O fhepherd fortunate!
That troubles some didft whilom feele and proue,
Yet liuest now in this contented state,
Let my mishap thy thoughts to pitie moue,
To entertaine me as a willing mate
In shepherds life, which I admire and love;
Within these pleasant groues perchance my hart, Of her discomforts, may ynload some part.
If gold or wealth of most esteemed deare,
If iewels rich, thou diddest hold in prise,
Such store thereof, such plenrie haue I seen,
As to a grcedie minde might well suffice:
With that downe trickled many a filuer teare,
Two christall streames fell from her watrie eies;
Part of her fad misfortunes than the told,
And wept, and with her wept that shepherd old.
With speeches kinde, he gan the virgin deare
Towards his cottage gently home to guide ;
His aged wife there made her homely cheare,
Yet welcomde her, and plast her by her side.
The Princesse dond a poore pastoraes geare,
A kerchiefe course vpon her head the tide ;
But yet her gestures and her lookes (i gesse)
Were such, as ill beseem'd a shepherdesse.
Not those rude garments could obscure, and hide
The heau'nly beautie of her angels face,
Nor was her princely ofspring damnifide,
Or ought disparag'de, by those labours bace ;
Her little flocks to pasture would she guide,
And milk her goates, and in their folds them place,
Both cheese and butter could she make, and frame
Her selfe to please the shepherd and his dame.