Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ Hail, universal Lord! Be bounteous still To give us only good; and, if the night Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed, Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.”

So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.

On to their morning's rural work they haste, Among sweet dews and flowers.

41

A. MARVELL-Born, 1620 ; Died, 1678.

Marvell was Assistant to Milton as Latin Secretary of Cromwell. He sat in Parliament after the Restoration. He was a man of great integrity. His fame as a wit, satirist, and poet has never equalled his real merit.

THE GIRL DESCRIBES HER FAWN.

WITH sweetest milk and sugar

first
I it at my own fingers nursed ;
And as it grew, so, every day,
It wax'd more white and sweet than they :-
It had so sweet a breath! and oft
I blush'd to see its foot more soft
And white,-shall I say,—than my hand ?
Nay, any lady's of the land !

It is a wondrous thing how fleet 'Twas on those little silver feet;

G

a

With what a pretty skipping grace
It oft would challenge me the race :-
And when 't had left me far away
'Twould stay, and run again, and stay:
For it was nimbler far than hinds,
And trod as if on the four winds.
I have a garden of my own,
But so with roses overgrown
And lilies, that you would it guess
To be a little wilderness :
And all the spring-time of the year
It only loved to be there.
Among the beds of lilies I
Have sought it oft, where it should lie;
Yet could not, till itself would rise,
Find it, although before mine eyes :-
For in the flaxen lilies' shade
It like a bank of lilies laid.1
Upon the roses it would feed,
Until its lips e'en seem'd to bleed :
And then to me 'twould boldly trip,
And print those roses on my lip.
But all its chief delight was still
On roses thus itself to fill,
And its pure virgir limbs to fold
In whitest sheets of lilies cold :-
Had it lived long, it would have been
Lilies without;-roses within.

We would now say lay.

HENRY VAUGHAN.-Born, 1621; Died, 1695.

Vaughan was born in Wales; studied at Oxford, and then in London. Thence, he removed to Wales, when the civil war broke out, and studied medicine, of which he became an eminent practitioner in his native place. He did not write much, and the piece here quoted is, perhaps, his best. The image in the sixth verse is especially beautiful.

FRIENDS DEPARTED.

They are all gone into the world of light !

And I alone sit lingering here!
Their very memory is fair and bright,

And my sad thoughts doth clear.
It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast

Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest

After the Sun's remove.
I see them walking in an air of glory,

Whose light doth trample on my days;
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,

Mere glimmerings and decays.
O holy hope ! and high humility!

High as the Heavens above! These are your walks, and

you

have show'd them me To kindle

my

cold love. Dear, beauteous Death; the jewel of the just

Shining nowhere but in the dark; What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,

Could man outlook that mark !

IIe that hath found some fledg’d bird's nest may know

At first sight if the bird be flown;
But what fair dell or grove he sings in now,

That is to him unknown.
And yet, as Angels in some brighter dreams

Call to the soul when man doth sleep,
So, some strange thoughts transcend our wonted

themes,

And into glory peep.

[blocks in formation]

Dryden ranks as, perhaps, the first English poet of the second rank. His satires are exquisite, and there is no finer English than his prose. He wrote a number of tragedies, &c., but they were in rhyme, and followed the vicious taste of the day in their construction, so that they have fallen into neglect. The ode that follows is in praise of music, and describes its effects on the mind at a banquet supposed to have been given by Alexander the Great.

ALEXANDER'S FEAST.

'Twas at the royal feast, for Persia won

By Philip's warlike son ;'
Aloft in awful state,
The god-like hero sate

On his imperial throne :
His valiant peers were placed around;
Their brows with roses and with myrtle bound:
So should desertz in arms be crown'd.

1 Alexander the Great.

2 desert, merit.

3

The lovely Thais, by his side,
Sat like a blooming eastern bride,
In flower of youth, and beauty's pride.
Happy, happy, happy pair!

None but the brave,

None but the brave,
None but the brave, deserves the fair.

4

Timotheus, placed on high,

Amid the tuneful choir,

With flying fingers touch'd the lyre:
The trembling notes ascend the sky,

And heavenly joys inspire.
The song began from Jove,5
Who left his blissful seat above-
Such is the power of mighty love ! -
A dragon's fiery form belied the god :
Sublime on radiant spheres he rode,

When he to fair Olympia® press'd,
And stamp'd an image of himself—a sovereign of the

world.

The listening crowd admire the lofty sound:
“A present deity!" they shout around;
“A present deity!” the vaulted roofs rebound.?

With ravish'd ears
The monarch hears,

3 Thais, a lovely Athenian who ac

companied Alexander to the East. 4 Timotheus, a famous musician

and poet who lived in Alexander's day.

6 It flattered Alexander by tracing

his parentage from Jupiter.
6 Olympias was the mother of

Alexander.
7 rebound, echo bad

« PreviousContinue »