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If with adventurous oar and ready sail,
The dusky people drive before the gale;
Or on frail floats to neighbouring cities ride,
That rise and glitter o'er the ambient tide..
Was born. A.D. 1731, at Pallas, in the county of Longford, Ireland. After having graduated in arts at the Dublin University, he went to Edinburgh for the purpose of studying medicine. After residing there about a year, he undertook a pedestrian tour through Europe, and on his return, came to London, determined to seek support by his pen. His poem of The Traveller at once raised him into notice, and the Deserted Village completely established his fame. For the greater part of his life, Goldsmith worked for the booksellers, as a mere compiler; and the charms of his style compensate for his numerous deficiencies in information.
Grace, elegance, and simplicity, are the characteristics of Goldsmith's style ; and many of his works display a rich vein of comic humour.
Far to the right, where Apennine ascends,
Bright as the summer, Italy extends;
Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side,
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride;
While oft some temple's mouldering tops between,
With memorable grandeur mark the scene.
Could nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
The sons of Italy were surely blest.
Whatever fruits in different climes are found,
That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground;
Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,
Whose bright succession decks the varied year;
Whatever sweets salute the northern sky
With vernal leaves, that blossom but to die;
These, here disporting, own the kindred soil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil ;'
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand,
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,
And sensual bliss is all the nation knows.
In florid beauty groves and fields appear,
Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.
Apennine, a range of mountains extending through the midst of Italy.
Contrasted faults through all his manners reign:
Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain :
Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue:
And e’en in penance planning sins anew.
All evils here contaminate the mind,
That opulence departed leaves behind;
For wealth was theirs, not far removed the date,
When commerce proudly flourished through the state;
At her command the palace learned to rise,
Again the long-fallen column sought the skies;
The canvass glowed beyond e'en nature warm,
The pregnant quarry teemed with human form.
Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
Commerce on other shores displayed her sail;
While nought remained of all that riches gave,
But towns unmanned, and lords without a slave:
And late the nation found, with fruitless skill,
Its former strength was but plethoricè ill.
Yet, still the loss of health is here supplied
By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride:
From these the feeble heart and long-fallen mind
An easy compensation seem to find.
Here may be seen in bloodless pomp arrayed,
The pasteboard triumph and the cavalcade;
Processions formed for piety and love,
A mistress or a saint in every grove.
By sports like these are all their cares beguiled,
The sports of children satisfy the child ;
Each nobler aim repressed by long control,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;
While low delights succeeding fast behind,
In happier meanness occupy the mind :
As in those domes where Cæsars once bore sway,
Defaced by time, and tottering in decay,
There, in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed,
And, wondering man could want the larger pile,
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.
My soul, turn from them; turn we to survey,
Where rougher climes a nobler race display.
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
And force the churlish soil for scanty bread;
No product here the barren hills afford,
But man and steel, the soldier and his sword.
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
But winter lingering chills the lap of May;
No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,
But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.
Yet still, e'en here, content can spread a charm,
Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though small,
He sees his little lot the lot of all; .
Sees no contiguous palace rear its head,
To shame the meanness of his humble shed;
No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal,
To make him loathe his vegetable meal;
But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
Each wish contracting, fits him for the soil:
Cheerful at morn, he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his venturous ploughshare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, every labour sped,
He sits him down, the monarch of a shed;
Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze;
While his loved partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays her cleanly platter on the board:
And haply, too, some pilgrim, thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.
Thus every good his native wilds impart
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
And e'en those ills that round his mansion rise,
Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies.
Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,
And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms:
And, as a child, when scaring sounds molest,
Clings close and closer to the mother's breast,
So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar,
But bind him to his native mountains more.
Was born in Ireland, A.D. 1706. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, whence he removed at an early age, for the purpose of studying law at the Temple. In London he became acquainted with Pope, Swift, and other eminent writers; and it is believed that he wrote the poem of Universal Beauty at their suggestion. He was also the author of Gustavus Vasa and the Fool of Quality.
Brooke possesses the talent of exquisite versification, but is deficient in the higher order of poetic powers.
WISDOM OF GOD IN THE CREATION.
LIKE Nature's law, no eloquence persuades,
The mute harangue our every sense invades;
The apparent precepts of the Eternal will,
His every work, and every object fill;
Round with our eyes his revelation wheels,
Our every touch his demonstration feels.
And, O Supreme! whene’er we cease to know
Thee, the sole source whence sense and science flow;
Then must all faculty, all knowledge fail,
And more than monster o’er the man prevail.
Not thus he gave our optics' vital glance,
Amid omniscient art, to search for chance,
Blind to the charms of Nature's beauteous frame;
Nor made our organ vocal to blaspheme:
Nor thus he willed the creatures of his nod,
And made the mortal to unmake his God;
Breathed on the globe, and brooded o'er the wave,
And bid the wide obsequious world conceive;
Spoke into being myriads, myriads rise,
And, with young transport, gaze the novel skies;
Glance from the surge, beneath the surface scud,
Or cleave enormous the reluctant flood;
Or roll vermicular, their wanton maze,
And the bright path with wild meanders glaze;
Frisk in the vale, or o'er the mountains bound,
Or in huge gambols shake the trembling ground;
Swarm in the beam, or spread the plumy sail-
The plume creates, and then directs the gale;
While active gaiety, and aspect bright,
In each expressive, sums up all delight.
Was born in Lichfield, in Staffordshire, A.D. 1709. He was sent to Oxford; but, after a residence of three years, he quitted the university without taking a degree. Having vainly tried to support himself by teaching a school, he came to London, determined to devote himself to literature. His first publication, London, an imitation of the third satire of Juvenal, produced more fame than profit; and he principally maintained himself by writing for the magazines and other periodicals. By degrees his talents became known; and, after the publication of the Rambler, and the great English Dictionary, he found himself indisputably at the head of his literary contemporaries. He died A.D. 1784.
So little of Dr. Johnson's fame rests on his poetry, that it is scarcely noticed in estimating his character; it displays, however, very vigorous conceptions of charactor, and a strong manly power of expression.
THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES.
In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand,
Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand :
To him the church, the realm, their powers consign,
Through him the rays of regal bounty shine;
Turned by his nod the stream of honour flows,
His smile alone security bestows;
Still to new heights his restless wishes tower,
Claim leads to claim, and power advances power;
Till conquest unresisted, ceased to please,
And rights submitted, left him none to seize.
At length his sovereign frowns—the train of state
Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate.
Where'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye,
His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly;
Now drops at once the pride of awful state,
The golden canopy, the glittering plate,
The regal palace, the luxurious board,
The liveried army, and the menial lord.
With age, with cares, with maladies oppressed,
He seeks the refuge of monastic rest :
Grief aids disease, remembered folly stings,
And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.
CHARLES XII.1 On what foundation stands the warrior's pride, How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide; 1 Charles XII. He was king of of Pultowa, and forced to seek refuge in Sweden, and performed many exploits Turkey. He was afterwards killed at of heroic daring. Having invaded Rus- the siege of a little fort in Norway. sia, he was totally defeated at the battle