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and are not easily damped by page after page of frigid hyperbole, or perverse conceit. In the dullest writers, a spark of brighter intelligence is sometimes visible; and in the authors, whose chief fault or rather misfortune it is that they lived in an age when false principles and bad taste ruled the fashion, it is hard if the natural genius of the man does not now and then break out into strains worth recording. And in the worst case, when a rhymester has little to recommend him but long practice with his pen, we consider ourselves unfortunate indeed, if we do not find his verse run sometimes with ease, and occasionally mount to elegance. Such perhaps, if not greater, is the merit of the following stanzas, being the three first of the verses entitled, 'What is Love?'
"Tis a child of phansie's getting,
Brought up between hope and fear,
It is a soft magnetick stone,
Attracting hearts by sympathie,
Both discoursing secretlie:
Yet ne'r unbinds,
Fixing thus two lovers' eies
As wel as minds.
'Tis the spheres' heavenly harmonie
Where two skilful hands do strike;
Marries sweetly with the like:
That all things ti'd,
The following song, also, possesses similar merit, perhaps in a higher degree.
"Invest my head with fragrant rose
Thus crown'd with Paphian myrtle, I
In Cyprian shades wil bathing lie,
Whose snow if too much cooling, then
Bacchus shal warm my blood agen.
Life's short, and winged pleasures flie;
Who mourning live, do living die:
On down and flouds then swan-like I
Wil stretch my limbs, and singing die.
The stanzas to Clarastella, which we shall next extract, are of a higher order of poetry, and combine with exquisite ease of versification considerable moral beauty.
"'Tis not your beautie I admire,
Nor do I from their beams take fire
No: 'tis a glorie more divine
Kindles my tapour at your shrine.
Your comly presence takes not me,
Nor your sweet looks; tho' graces be,
No: 'tis your soul to which I bow,
Tis none of these I love, but you.
How blind is that philosophie
Doth onely nat'ral bodies know 1
But sees not him that made it so.
In the following lines, which commence The Farewell to Clarastella, the reader will see how the poet endeavours to cast himself into a huge fit of melancholy—but in vain.—He threatens a storm, but produces only a drizzling shower. The lines, however, are not unworthy of quotation.
“Passion o'me! why melt I thus with griefe
This beginning of a Protest of Love by Damon to Stella, is also pretty.
“When I thee all o'r do view,
The stanzas called Clarastella's Indictment, though founded on a conceit, are ingenious, and we wish all the rest of the volume had been as amusing:
"My heart was slain when none was by
But only you and I:
Durst itself do this act?
Which pierc'd so deep my heart,
Nor could I do the fact.
The guilt must lie on you;
I wil enquire no further;
Hid in your cruel eies,
Did do this wicked murther.
Witness your lips all stain'd with red,
They speak who did the deed,
The crimson bloud sticks there,
(For they dare do no less)
And cry we guiltie are.
As soon as ere he strook
Proclaim'd you accessorie:
Your ful assent did show,
To make my death a storie.
In your heart's trembling doth appear
Your more than guilty fear:
You'r by your tongue bewraid,
That 'twas by you, none els,
My heart was first betraid.
Though it lie long conceal'd:
This doom I wish you then,
May each man prove, when ere
You love, unkind agen."
Out of the verses To Clarastella on Valentine's Day, some may be selected of more than ordinary elegance. The lover steals to the couch of the unconscious fair one, and, while gazing on her reposing beauty, exclaims:
"Behold where Innocence herself doth lie
I'l onely print upon her dewy lip
Shee wakes, and blushes on each cheek
So red, that I may say
The dawning of the day.
Startle not, fairest! It is I am come
• * • * * •
Tis I am come, who but a friend before
To our dear Valentine;
Large hecatombs of kisses I wil lay
On th' altar of thy lips, that men may say
By their continuance we are true,
The season too invites;
How sweet shee breaths! the zephyre wind that blows
Sends forth not half so pure a smel
Could fix eternally,
He thus describes his mistress, dancing:
"Robes loosly flowing, and aspect as free,
A smiling look, but yet severe:
Such comely graces 'bout her were.
Whilst her silk sailes displaied, shee
Swam like a ship with majestic"