Page images
PDF
EPUB

think of subduing or setting bounds to those that are within you ? What advantage have you by your reason, which enables you to overcome lions, if, after all, you yourself are overcome by anger? To what purpose do you rule over the birds, and catch them with gins, if you yourself, with the inconstancy of a bird, or hurried hither and thither, and sometimes flying high, are ensnared by pride, sometimes brought down and caught by pleasure? But, as it is shameful for him who rules over nations to be a slave at home, will it not be, in like manner, disgraceful for you, who exercise dominion over the beasts that are without you, to be subject to a great many, and those of the worst sort, that roar and domineer in your distempered mind?

ALL CHRISTIANS, PREACHERS. What the apostles were in an extraordinary way befitting the first annunciation of a religion for all mankind, this all teachers of moral truth, who aim to prepare for its reception by calling the attention of men to the law in their own hearts, may, without presumption, consider themselves to be, under ordinary gifts and circumstances : namely, ambassadors for the Greatest of Kings, and upon no mean employment, the great Treaty of Peace and Reconcilement betwixt Him and Mankind.

TEMPERANCE. As excessive eating or drinking both makes the body sickly and lazy, fit for nothing but sleep, and besots the mind, as it clogs up with crudities the way through which the spirits should pass, bemiring them, and making them move heavily, as a coach in a deep way; thus doth all immoderate use of the world and its delights wrong the soul in its spiritual condition, makes it sickly and feeble, full of spiritual distempers and inactivity, benumbs the graces of the Spirit, and fills the soul with sleepy-vapors, makes it grow secure and heavy in spiritual exercises, and obstructs the way and motion of the Spirit of God, in the soul. Therefore, if you would be spiritual, healthful, and vigorous, and enjoy much of the consolations of Heaven, be sparing and sober in those of the earth; and what you abate of the one, shall be certainly made up in the other.

THE HEART THE GREAT REGULATOR. To set the outward actions right, though with an honest intention, and not so to regard and find out the inward disorder of the heart, whence that in the actions flows, is but to be still putting the index of a clock right with your finger, while it is foul, or out of order within, which is a continual business, and does no good. Oh! but a purified conscience, a soul renewed and refined in its

temper and affections, will make things go right without, in all the duties and acts of our callings.

A CONTRACTED SPHERE NO SECURITY AGAINST WORLDLINESS.

The heart may be engaged in a little business as much, if thou watch it not, as in many and great affairs. A man may drown in a little brook or pool, as well as in a great river, if he be down and plunge himself into it, and put his head under water. Some care thou must have, that thou mayest not care. Those things that are thorns indeed, thou must make a hedge of them, to keep out those temptations that accompany sloth, and extreme want that waits on it; but let them be the hedge: suffer them not to grow within the garden.

ANNE KILLEGREW. Died 1685. This very accomplished young woman, whom Dryden has immortalized, was the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Henry Killegrew, one of the prebendaries of Westminster. She gave strong indications of genius at a very early age, and became equally eminent in the sister arts of poetry and painting, as well as distinguished for her unblemished virtue and exemplary piety, amid the seductions of a licentious court. She was one of the maids of honor to the Duchess of York, but was cut off in the midst of her usefulness and fame, falling a victim to the small-pox in the summer of 1685, in her twenty-fifth year.

THE DISCONTENT.

I.

HERE take no care, take here no care, my Muse,

Nor aught of art or labor use:
But let thy lines rude and unpolish'd go,
Nor equal be their feet, nor numerous let them flow.

The ruggeder my measures run when read,
They'll livelier paint th' unequal paths fond mortals tread.
Who when th' are tempted by the smooth ascents

Which flattering hope presents,
Briskly they climb, and great things undertake;
But fatal voyages, alas! they make :

For 'tis not long before their feet
Inextricable mazes meet;
Perplexing doubts obstruct their way;
Mountains withstand them of dismay;
Or to the brink of black despair them lead,

Where's nought their rnin to impede:
In vain for aid they then to reason call,
Their senses dazzle, and their heads turn round,

The sight does all their powers confound,
And headlong down the horrid precipice they fall:

Where storms of sighs for ever blow,
Where rapid streams of tears do flow,

Which drown them in a briny flood.
My Muse, pronounce aloud, there's nothing good,

Nought that the world can show,
Nought that it can bestow.

II.
Not boundless heaps of its admired clay,

Ah! too successful to betray,

When spread in our frail virtue's way:
For few do run with so resolved a pace,
That for the golden apple will not lose the race.
And yet not all the gold the vain would spend,

Or greedy avarice would wish to save,
Which on the earth refulgent beams doth send,

Or in the sea has found a grave,
Join'd in one mass, can bribe sufficient be,
The body from a stern disease to free,

Or purchase for the mind's relief
One moment's sweet repose, when restless made by grief,
But what may laughter more than pity move:
When some the price of what they dearest love
Are masters of, and hold it in their hand,
To part with it their hearts they can't command :
But choose to miss, what miss'd does them torment,
And that to hug affords them no content.
Wise fools, to do them right, we these must hold,
Who Love depose, and homage pay to Gold.

IV.
But, oh, the laurellid fool! that doats on fame,
Whose hope 's applause, whose fear 's to want a name,

Who can accept for pay

Of what he does, what others say,
Exposes now to hostile arms his breast,
To toilsome study then betrays his rest;
Now to his soul denies a just content,
Then forces on it what it does resent;
And all for praise of fools ! for such are those,
Which most of the admiring crowd compose.
O famish'd soul, which such thin food can feed !
O wretched labor, crown'd with such a meed!
Too loud, O Fame! thy trumpet is, too shrill

To lull a mind to rest,
Or calm a stormy breast,
Which asks a music soft and still.

'Twas not Amalek's vanquish'd cry, Nor Israel's shouts of victory,

That could in Saul the rising passion lay; 'Twas the soft strains of David's lyre the evil spirit chased away

VI.
Is there that earth by human foot ne'er press'd ?
That air which never yet by human breast

Respired, did life supply?

Oh! thither let me fly!
Where from the world at such a distance set,
All that's past, present, and to come, I may forget ;- ..

The lover's sighs, and the afflicted's tears,
Whate'er may wound my eyes or ears;

The grating noise of private jars,
The horrid sound of public wars,
Of babbling fame the idle stories,
The short-lived triumph's noisy glories,
The curious nets the subtle weave,

The word, the look that may deceive.
No mundane care shall more affect my breast,

My profound peace shake or molest:
But stupor, like to death, my senses bind,

That so I may anticipate that rest
Which only in my grave I hope to find.

EDMUND WALLER. 1605_1687. EDMUND WALLER hardly deserves a place among the best names in Eng. lish literature, either as a poet or as a man; and in giving him a small space here, I yield my own judgment to that of Dryden and Pope. He was born in 1605, studied at Cambridge, and was admitted into parliament as early as his eighteenth year. In political life he was a mere time-server, veering from the king to the parliament, and from the parliament to the king, as each might happen for the time to possess the ascendency. As a member of parliament he at first took the popular side, but soon after he joined in a plot to let the king's forces into the city, for which he was tried and sentenced to one year's imprisonment, and to pay a fine of £10,000, and it is said that he spent three times that sum in bribes. He acquired the means to do this from hav. ing married in 1630 a rich heiress of London, who died the same year. After his release from prison he went to France, where it is said he lived on the proceeds of his wife's jewels which he took with him. At the Restoration he returned, and wrote a congratulatory address to Charles II., as he had before done to Cromwell; and when the monarch frankly told him how inferior the verses in his own praise were to those addressed to his predecessor, the hollow-hearted, selfish sycophant replied, “ Poets, sire, succeed better in fiction than in truth."

Of his conduct when in parliament, Bishop Burnet says, “ He never laid the business of the House to heart, being a vain and empty, though a witty man.” On the accession of James II., though eighty years of age, he was elected representative for a borough in Cornwall; but he did not live to witness the glorious Revolution, having died the year before, October 21, 1687.

As a poet, Waller is certainly “smooth," as Pope styles him, and compara tively destitute of that affectation which characterizes most of his contemporaries. “If he rarely sinks, he never rises, very high; and we find much good sense and selection, much skill in the mechanism of language and metre, without ardor and without imagination. In his amorous poetry he has little passion or sensibility; but he is never free and petulant, never tedious, and never absurd. His praise consists much in negations.”i The following is a portion of what I deem his best piece, his Eulogy on Cromwell. “Of these lines,” says Dr. Johnson, “ some are grand, some are graceful, and all are musical.”

1 Hallam's “Introduction to the Literature of Europe," ti. 372, Harper's edition

[graphic]

A PANEGYRIC TO MY LORD PROTECTOR.
While with a strong, and yet a gentle hand,
You bridle faction, and our hearts command;
Protect us from ourselves, and from the foe,
Make us unite, and make us conquer too:
Let partial spirits still aloud complain;
Think themselves injured that they cannot reign;
And own no liberty, but where they may
Without control upon their fellows prey.

nach
Above the waves as Neptune show'd his face
To chide the winds, and save the Trojan race,
So has your Highness, raised above the rest e
Storms of ambition tossing us, represt.
Your drooping country, torn with civil hate,
Restored by you, is made a glorious state;
The seat of empire, where the Irish come,
And the unwilling Scots, to fetch their doom.
The sea's our own: and now, all nations greet,
With bending sails, each vessel of our fleet:
Your power extends as far as winds can blow,
Or swelling sails upon the globe may go.
Heaven (that hath placed this island to give law,
To balance Europe, and her states to awe)
In this conjunction doth on Britain smile;
The greatest Leader, and the greatest Isle ostat
Hither the oppressed shall henceforth resort,
Justice to crave, and succor, at your Court;
And then your Highness, not for ours alone,
But for the world's Protector shall be known,

Things of the noblest kind our own soil breeds;
Stout are our men, and warlike are our steeds: 0
Rome, though her eagle through the world had flown,
Could never make this island all her own.

Your never-failing sword made war to cease;
And now you heal us with the acts of peace: YT
Our minds with bounty and with awe engage,
Invite affection, and restrain our rage.
Less pleasure take brave minds in battles won,
Than in restoring such as are undone:
Tigers have courage, and the rugged bear,
But inan alone can whom he conquers, spare.
To pardon, willing; and to punish, loath;
You strike with one hand, but you heal with both
Lifting up all that prostrate lie, you grieve
You cannot make the dead again to live.

Oft have we wonder'd, how you hid in peace
A mind proportion'd to such things as these;
How such a ruling spirit you could restrain,
And practise first over yourself to reign.

« PreviousContinue »