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plies); and that Petrarch could have celebrated his Laura in three hundred of those uniform Sonnets, without being himself disgusted with the labour, or tiring the patience of his readers. We shall give one of his amourous productions, with an English anonymous translation, as a specimen of the arrangement of the verses :

Quel vago impallidir, che'l dolce riso
D'un' amorosa nebbia ricoperse,
Con tanta maestade al cor s' offerse,

Che li si fece incontri a mezzo 'l viso.
Conobbi allor, siccome in paradiso

Vede l'un l'altro; in tal guisa s'aperse
Quel pietoso pensier, ch'altri non scerse :

Ma vidi l'io, ch' altrove non m'affiso.
Ogni angelica vista, ogn'atto umile

Che giammai in donna ov' amor fosse, apparve,

Fora uno sdegno a lato a quel ch' i' dico.
Chinava a terra il bel guardo gentile;

E tacendo dicea (come a me parve)
Chi m' allontana il mio fedele amico?

That charming paleness, that o'erclouding threw,
O’er her bewitching smiles a love-sick sbade,
Came with such winning majesty arrayed,

That forth my ravish'd heart to meet it flew.
How saints greet saints in paradise I knew

From that blest hour, so freely was displayed
That tender sentiment none other read :
But I, who still from her my being drew.

Each angel look, each condescending grace

That can on ladies' cheeks, when kindest, play,

Compar'd to this, would cold disdain appear.
She bent to earth her gentle beauteous face,

And in expressive silence seem'd to say,
Who from my side my faithful friend would tear?

Of the English Sonnet thus fettered, it is sufficient to say that it was unsuccessful in the hands of Shakspeare and of Milton; but, with other forms of stanza, there have been many beautiful fourteen-lined poems under the name of Sonnets. Daniel, at the close of the sixteenth century, wrote fifty-seven addressed to Delia, as Petrarch did to his Laura. Although possessing a little of the conceit of the age, they are generally so excellent as to put to shame our modern Sonneteers :-One we extract:

Beautie (sweet Loue) is like the morning dew,

Whose short refresh vpon the tender greene,
Cheers for a time but til the Sun doth shew,

And straight tis gone as it had neuer beene.
Soope doth it fade that makes the fairest florish,

Short is the glorie of the blushing Rose:
The hew which thou so carefully dost norish,

Yet which at length thou must be forc'd to lose,
When thou surcharg'd with burthen of thy yeeres,

Shalt bend thy wrinkles homward to the earth,
And that in Beauties lease expird, appeares
The date of Age, the Kalends of our death,

But ah no more, this must not be foretold,
For women grieue to think they must be old.

Drummond, of Hawthornden, who lived at the same period, was also a successful writer of Sonnets, of which the following is a proof.


Dear Chorister, who from these shadows sends,

Ere that the blushing morn dare shew her light, Such sad lamenting strains, that night attends,

(Become all ear),-stars stay to hear thy plight; If one whose grief even reach of thought transcends,

Who ne'er, not in a dream, did taste delight May thee importune, who like ease pretends

And seems to joy in woe, in woe's despight; Tell me (so may thou milder fortune try

And long, long sing !) for what thou thus complains, Since winter's gone, and sun in dappled sky

Enamoured smiles on woods and flowery plains ? The bird, as if my questions did her move, With trembling wings sighed forth,—“I love, I love!"

The French Rondeau, like their Sonnet, is confined to a peculiar form of Stanza and of Rhyme. It consists of thirteen ten-syllable lines divided into two portions (eight and five), each portion terminating with three or more of the words that begin the Poem; but which make an agreeable and spirited meaning with the words


that precede them. An example will shew the trammels of its rhyme: it is by Voiture.

Ma foi, c'est fait de moi, car Isabeau
M'a conjuré de lui faire un Rondeau:
Cela me met en une peine extrême.
Quoi! treize vers, huit in eau, cinq en ème!
Je lui ferois aussitôt un bateau.
En voilà cinq pourtant en un monceau:
Faisons-en huit, en invoquant Brodeau,
Et puis mettons, par quelque stratagème,

Ma foi, c'est fait.

Si je pouvois encore de mon cerveau
Tirer cinq vers, l'ouvrage seroit beau ;
Mais cependant, me voilà dans l'onzième,
Et si je crois que je fais le douzième :
En voilà treize ajustés au niveau,

Mo foi, c'est fait.

This play of Rhymes was not adopted by our poets. The old English Roundels were short lyrical poems, of which the first verse, couplet, or quatrain, was repeated, at the end of every Stanza, to the same air ; making what was called the burden of the Song. Roundelay and Virelay (French virer, to turn round) were other old names for the same species of composition. All kinds of Poetry were formerly termed Lays ; but the French lai is distinguished from the other Lyrics; and designates a short song, having only two rhymes, as the following:

Sur l'appui du monde
Que faut-il qu'on fonde

D'espoir ?
Cette mer profonde
En débris féconde

Fait voir,
Calme au matin l'onde ;
Et l'orage y gronde

Le soir,

The Greek epigramma signified an Inscription; and, originally referred to the verses that were inscribed on tombs, on temples and other public monuments. The name was afterwards retained to denominate any short poem characteristic of some particular persons, or event.

Its essence is, that it consists of a simple subject, rendered interesting by terminating with an unexpected but pointed thought or expression. The point of the modern Epigram often rests on a witticism, or on a verbal pun*; but the higher species, – that which only deserves to be called a poem,should be marked by fineness and delicacy rather than by smartness or repartee. Pope's couplet, written on a glass with a diamond pencil, lent

* See page 150.

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