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The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
O joy! that in our embers
What was so fugitive !
- Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise ;
Blank misgivings of a creature
But for those first affections,
Which, be they what they may,
Uphold us cherish — and have power to make Our noisy years seem moments in the being Of the eternal silence : truths that wake
To perish never ;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour
Nor man nor boy
Though inland far we be,
Which brought us hither;
Can in a moment travel thither -
Then, sing ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound !
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Feel the gladness of the May !
Though nothing can bring back the hour
We will grieve not, rather find
In the faith that looks through death,
And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves, Forebode not any severing of our loves !
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
Is lovely yet ;
MUSIC, when soft voices die,
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
P. B. Shelley
Summary of Book First THE Elizabethan Poetry, as it is rather vaguely
termed, forms the substance of this Book, which contains pieces from Wyat under Henry VIII to Shakespeare midway through the reign of James I, and Drummond who carried on the early manner to a still later period. There is here a wide range of style ; – from simplicity expressed in a language hardly yet broken in to verse, — through the pastoral fancies and Italian conceits of the strictly Elizabethan time, — to the passionate reality of Shakespeare : yet a general uniformity of tone prevails. Few readers can fail to observe the natural sweetness of the verse, the single-hearted straightforwardness of the thoughts : - nor less, the limitation of subject to the many phases of one passion, which then characterized our lyrical poetry, - unless when, as with Drummond and Shakespeare, the “purple light of Love'is tempered by a spirit of sterner reflection.
It should be observed that this and the following Summaries apply in the main to the Collection here presented, in which (besides its restriction to Lyrical Poetry) a strictly representative or historical Anthology has not been aimed at. Great Excellence, in human art as in human character, has from the beginning of things been even more uniform than Mediocrity, by virtue of the closeness of its approach to Nature : -and so far as the standard of Excellence kept in view has been attained in this volume, a comparative absence of extreme or temporary phases in style, a similarity of tone and manner, will be found throughout :- something neither modern nor ancient, but true in all ages, and like the works of Creation, perfect as on the