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edition of it I could procure-viz, that in his Poems, 1605 : it does not contain, however, the Sonnet at p. 33., which I have given from his Works, 4 vols. 1753.
Sonnets by Henry Constable, p. 34—36.] From his Diana, 1594. The pieces of this writer which have descended to our times by no means justify the very high applause bestowed on his poetry by his contemporaries, several examples of which might be cited.
Sonnets by Barnaby Barnes, p. 37—40.] From A Diuine Centurie of Spirituall Sonnets, 1595.
Sonnets by Edmund Spenser, p. 41–52.] From his, Amoretti, 1595.
Sonnets by William Shakespeare, p. 53—90.] From his Sonnets, 1609. I have admitted into the text a few very slight emendations made by Tyrwhitt and Malone, where the old copy seemed corrupt.
The transcendent beauty of Shakespeare's Sonnets is now universally felt and acknowledged; and the insolent contempt with which Steevens presumed to speak of them, is only remembered to the injury of the critic's reputation. They contain such a quantity of profound thought as must astonish every reflecting reader; they are adorned by splendid and delicate imagery ; they are sublime, pathetic, tender, or sweetly playful; while they delight the ear by their fluency, and their varied harmonies of rhythm. Amid so much excellence, their occasional conceits and quaintness are forgotten.
Sonnets by William Drummond, p. 91–107.] Of these Sonnets,-exquisitely tender, picturesque, and harmonious,-the eleven first are from his Poems, 1616; the six last from his Flowers of Sion, 1630, the first ed. of which was in 1623. I have followed the text of the old copies, except in two places, where I have adopted the reading of the edition of his collected Poems, 1656, viz, in the 12th line of Sonnet, p. 96., and in the 10th line of Sonnet,
Sonnet by John Donne, p. 108.] Deep-thoughted, and forcible—from the first edition of his Poems, 1633.
Sonnet by Sir Richard Fanshauce, p. 109.] From his Poems, 1618, appended to his translation of the Pastor Fido.
Sonnets by John Milton, p. 110—126.] The five first appeared originally in the author's Poems, 1645; the others, in the second ed. of his Poems, 1673—with the exception of five, viz. those addressed to H. Lawes, Fairfax, Cromwell, Sir Henry Vane, and the second of the two to Cyriack Skinner: the Sonnet to H. Lawes was prefixed to Choice Psalms put into music by H. and W. Lawes, 1648: it has escaped the observation of Milton's commentators that the Sonnet to Sir Henry Vane was first printed in the Life of that extraordinary man, 1662, p. 93, where we are told, that it was “ composed by a learned gentleman, and sent him (Vane), July 3. 1652" : the Sonnets to Fairfax, Cromwell, and the second of the two to Cyriack Skinner were first published at the end of Phillips's Life of Milton, prefixed to Letters of State, 1694: T, Warton, in a note on the Sonnet to Fairfax, says erroneously (- and Mr. Todd has not noticed the mistake -) that “ the two Sonnets to Cyriack Skinner were not inserted in the edin. tion of 1673.”
These Sonnets-in easy majesty and severe beauty, unequalled by any other compositions of the kind—are now given from Mr. Todd's text, in which several readings from the Cambridge MS. are introduced.
Sonnets by Thomas Edwards, p. 127–131.] From fortyfive Sonnets, appended to The Canons of Criticism, ed. 1765. Thirteen of them (including those at p. p. 127, 128, 129, of the present volume) had previously appeared in different editions of Dodsley's Collection of Poems: the first ed. of that once-popular miscellany, 3 vols. 1748, does not contain them; the second ed. I have not seen ; but they are inserted in vol. ii. of the third ed. 1751, and in all subsequent editions.
Edwards did not possess genius; but he was a man of fine taste and highly-cultivated mind, who, when he attempted poetry, kept his eye on the best models. In the Sonnet On a Family-Picture (p. 128) he rises to pathos and grandeur.
Sonnet by Thomas Gray, p. 132.] From his Poems, appended to his Memoirs by Mason, 1775, where it was first published.
Sonnets by Thomas Warton, p. 133—139.] I find the two first of these Sonnets (differing, and for the worse, from their present text) in the ivth vol. which Dodsley added to his Collection of Poems, in 1755 : the other five originally appeared in the author's Poems, 1777. They are now given from Warton's Poetical Works (edited by Bishop Mant), 2 vols. 1802.
These Sonnets are so rich in imagery, so polished in diction, and so happily turned, that they are among the most pleasing productions of the sort in our language. Mr. Coleridge has characterised them as
severe and masterly likenesses of the style of the Greek επιγραμματα;” but I must be allowed to think that they want the great charm of the ancient epigrams,--simplicity.
Sonnets by John Bampfylde, p. 140-150.] From Sixteen Sonnets, 1778.—Dr. Southey (Specimens of the Later English Poets, vol. iii. 434) observes, that Jackson of Exeter “ designed to republish the little collection of Bampfylde's Sonnets, with what few of his pieces were still unedited, and to prefix to them an account of the author, who was truly a man of genius. From him I heard an interesting and melancholy history, all of which he would not have communicated to the public—what he thought allowable to publish, may, perhaps, exist among his papers.”
Some time after the appearance of the work just quoted, Dr. Southey communicated to Sir Egerton Brydges the particulars concerning Bampfylde which he had learned from Jackson. They have been printed in one of Sir Egerton's recent publications, The Anglo-Genevan Journal, 1831 ; and from it I now extract them :
“ The circumstances which I did not mention concerning him are these. They were related to me by Jackson of Exeter, and minuted down immediately afterwards, when the impression which they made upon me was warm.
“He was the brother of Sir Charles, as you say, and you probably know that there is a disposition to insanity in the family. At the time when Jackson became intimate with him, he was just in his prime, and had no other wish than to live in solitude, and amuse himself with poetry and music. He lodged in a farm house, near Chudleigh, and would oftentimes come to Exeter in a winter morning, ungloved and open-breasted, before Jackson was up, (though he was an early riser), with a pocket-full of music or poems, to know how he liked them. His relations thought this was a sad life for a man of family, and forced bim to London! The tears ran down Jackson's cheeks, when he told me the story,— Poor fellow,' said he, there did not live a purer creature,-and, if they would have let him alone, he might have been alive now. When he was in London, his feelings, having been forced out of their natural and proper channel, took a wrong direction, and he soon began to suffer the punishment of debauchery. The Miss Palmer, to whom he dedicated his Sonnets (afterwards and perhaps still Lady Inchiquin) was niece to Sir Joshua Reynolds. Whether Sir Joshua objected to his addresses on account of his irregularities in London, or of the ily disposition to insanity, I know not: but this was the