Page images
PDF
EPUB

RICHARD CRASHAW.

Creeds change as ages come and go; We see by faith, but little know: Perchance the sense was not so dim, To her who “strove to follow Him."

ICHARD CRASHAW, now nearly two and a

RIGHT. The hours are growing shorter for the millions who

are toiling, And the homes are growing better for the mil

lions yet to be; And the poor shall learn the lesson, how that waste

and sin are spoiling The fairest and the finest of a grand humanity. It is coming! it is coming! and men's thoughts are

growing deeper; They are giving of their millions as they never

gave before; They are learning the new Gospel; man must be

his brother's keeper, And right, not might, shall triumph, and the selfish rule no more.

- The New Era.
GIRLHOOD.
A day in June; a fair and girlish face,

Fresh as the roses which she sits among,
Bending, half listless, o'er a bit of lace,
With all life's song unsung.

- A Picture.

CLOUDS. Ah! life is changeful as summer clouds; Some black for mourning, some white for shrouds; Yet tenderly, often God's face shines through 'The stormy sky, like a bit of blue.

- A Bit of Blue Sky.

SORROW.
He only sings for coming years
Who mixes, with his gladness, tears.

- The Human Harp.

AMBITION.
Look beyond, and cease repining,
For the sun is always shining
On the heights.

-On the Heights.
AFTERGLOW.
When lo! the west grew red again,

With tender sunlight overflow;
And mantled every hill and plain

With the sweet, dreamy afterglow,
And joy came back; that peaceful thought

That fills the soul at soft twilight;
That hour when God from chaos wrought
The miracle of day and night.

The Afterglow.

general readers of poetry until the middle of the present century, when in a few anthologies he was appreciatively, but inadequately, represented. His poems ran through several editions during his lifetime, and were reprinted in 1652 and 1670, after which no issue appeared until they were included in the bulky collections of Chalmers and Anderson (1793-1810), with the exception of the selection made by Peregrine Phillips, published in 1785. Dr. Johnson did not include Crashaw in his “ Lives of the Poets,” though he included the lives of much inferior poets in that work. Pope appreciated Crashaw, but his higher qualities seem to have been unperceived or ignored by the author of " The Dunciad." He said of him that “he was none of the worst versificators;” and considered his best pieces to be “

the paraphrase of Psalm xxiii, On Lessius, Epitaph on Mr. Ashton, Wishes to his supposed Mistress, and Dies Iræ.” What can be said of such judgment in the face of such glorious poems as “ Music's Duel," "Sospetto d' Herode,"

To the Name above every name,” “ Hymn to St. Teresa," "" Psalm cxxxvii," “ To the Morning," etc.?

Crashaw's verse is marked by some of the highest qualities of poetry. He has strong affinities to two of our great nineteenth-century poets; he has the rich imagination and sensuousness of Keats, and the subtlety of thought and exquisite lyrical flow of Shelley.

Crashaw is essentially a sacred poet, and, compared with George Herbert, is his superior, judged from the purely poetic standpoint. Herbert is, in a limited degree, a popular poet; Crashaw is not, and has never been so. One of the reasons for this is (probably) the taste for artificial poetry of the school of Waller, Dryden, Pope, etc., during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The fact of his being a Catholic would also deter many readers from studying his works; but, poetical thought now being wider, and religious intolerance almost a thing of the past, it may be hoped that Crashaw will soon receive the recognition which is his due.

The text of the following selections follows that adopted and amended from original sources by Rev. A. B. Grosart in his complete edition of Crashaw's Works in “The Fuller Worthies' Library," but the spelling has been modernized.

J. R. T.

MUSIC'S DUEL.

Now Westward Sol had spent the richest beams Of Noon's high glory, when hard by the streams

Of Tiber, on the scene of a green plat,
Under protection of an oak, there sat
A sweet Lute's-master, in whose gentle airs
He lost the day's heat, and his own hot cares.

Close in the covert of the leaves there stood
A Nightingale, come from the neighboring wood:
( The sweet inhabitant of each glad tree,
Their Muse, their Syren — harmless Syren she!)
There stood she list’ning, and did entertain
The music's soft report, and mould the same
In her own murmurs, that whatever mood
His curious fingers lent, her voice made good:
The man perceived his rival, and her art;
Disposed to give the light-foot lady sport,
Awakes his lute, and 'gainst the fight to come
Informs it in a sweet præludium
Of closer strains, and ere the war begin,
He lightly skirmishes on every string,
Charged with a flying touch: and straightway she
Carves out her dainty voice as readily,
Into a thousand sweet distinguish'd tones,
And reckons up in soft divisions,
Quick volumes of wild notes; to let him know
By that shrill taste, she could do something too.
His nimble hands' instinct then taught each

string A cap'ring cheerfulness; and made them sing To their own dance; now negligently rash He throws his arm, and with a long drawn dash Blends all together; then distinctly trips From this to that; then quick returning skips And snatches this again, and pauses there. She measures every measure, everywhere Meets art with art; sometimes as if in doubt Not perfect yet, and fearing to be out, Trails her plain ditty in one long-spun note, Through the sleek passage of her open throat, A clear unwrinkled song; then doth she point it With tender accents, and severely joint it By short diminutives, that being rear'd In controverting warbles evenly shared, With her sweet self she wrangles. He amazed That from so small a channel should be raised The torrent of a voice, whose melody Could melt into such sweet variety, Strains higher yet; that tickled with rare art The tattling strings (each breathing in his part) Most kindly do fall out; the grumbling base In surly groans disdains the treble's grace; The high-perch'd treble chirps at this, and chides, Until his finger (Moderator) hides And closes the sweet quarrel, rousing all, Hoarse, shrill at once; as when the trumpets call Hot Mars to th' harvest of Death's field, and woo Men's hearts into their hands: this lesson too

She gives him back; her supple breast thrills out
Sharp airs, and staggers in a warbling doubt
Of dallying sweetness, hovers o'er her skill,
And folds in wav'd notes with a trembling bill
The pliant series of her slippery song;
Then starts she suddenly into a throng
Of short, thick sobs, whose thund'ring volleys

float,
And roll themselves over her lubric throat
In panting murmurs, 'still'd out of her breast,
That ever-bubbling spring; the sugar'd nest
Of her delicious soul, that there does lie,
Bathing in streams.of liquid melody;
Music's best seed-plot, whence in ripen'd airs
A golden-headed harvest fairly rears
His honey-dropping tops, plough'd by her breath,
Which there reciprocally laboreth
In that sweet soil; it seems a holy quire
Founded to the name of great Apollo's lyre,
Whose silver roof rings with the sprightly notes
Of sweet-lipp'd angel-imps, that swill their throats
In cream of morning Helicon, and then
Prefer soft-anthems to the ears of men,
To woo them from their beds, still murmuring
That men can sleep while they their matins sing:
(Most divine service) whose so early lay,
Prevents the eyelids of the blushing Day!
There might you hear her kindle her soft voice,
In the close murmur of a sparkling noise,
And lay the ground-work of her hopeful song,
Still keeping in the forward stream, so long,
Till a sweet whirlwind (striving to get out)
Heaves her soft bosom, wanders round about,
And makes a pretty earthquake in her breast,
Till the fledged notes at length forsake their nest,
Fluttering in wanton shoals, and to the sky,
Wing'd with their own wild echoes, prattling fly.
She opes the floodgate, and lets loose a tide
Of streaming sweetness, which in state doth ride
On the wav'd back of every swelling strain,
Rising and falling in a pompous train.
And while she thus discharges a shrill peal
Of flashing airs, she qualifies their zeal
With the cool epode of a graver note,
Thus high, thus low, as if her silver throat
Would reach the brazen voice of War's hoarse

bird;
Her little soul is ravish'd: and so pour'd
Into loose ecstasies, that she is piaced
Above herself, Music's Enthusiast.

Shame now and anger mixed a double stain
In the Musician's face; yet once again
(Mistress) I come; now reach a strain my lute,
Above her mock, or be for ever mute;
Or tune a song of victory to me,

Poor simple voice, raised in a natural tone;
She fails, and failing grieves, and grieving dies.
She dies: and leaves her life the Victor's prize,
Falling upon his lute; O, fit to have
(That lived so sweetly) dead, so sweet a grave!

Or to thyself, sing thine own obsequy:
So said, his hands sprightly as fire, he flings
And with a quavering coyness tastes the strings.
The sweet-lipp'd sisters, musically frighted,
Singing their fears, are fearfully delighted,
Trembling as when Apollo's golden hairs
Are fann'd and frizzled in the wanton airs
Of his own breath: which married to his lyre
Doth tune the spheres, and make Heaven's self

look higher.
From this to that, from that to this he flies.
Feels Music's pulse in all her arteries;
Caught in a net which there Apollo spreads,
His fingers struggle with the vocal threads.
Following those little rills, he sinks into
A sea of Helicon; his hand does go
Those paths of sweetness which with nectar drop,
Softer than that which pants in Hebe's cup.
The humorous strings expound his learned touch,
By various glosses; now they seem to grutch,
And murmur in a buzzing din, then gingle
In shrill-tongued accents: striving to be single.
Every smooth turn, every delicious stroke
Gives life to some new grace; thus doth h' invoke
Sweetness by all her names; thus, bravely thus,
(Fraught with a fury so harmonious)
The lute's light genius now does proudly rise,
Heaved on the surges of swollen rhapsodies,
Whose flourish (meteor-like) doth curl the air
With flash of high-born fancies: here and there
Dancing in lofty measures, and anon
Creeps on the soft touch of a tender tone;
Whose trembling murmurs melting in wild airs
Runs to and fro, complaining his sweet cares,
Because those precious mysteries that dwell
In Music's ravish'd soul, he dare not tell,
But whisper to the world: thus do they vary
Each string his note, as if they meant to carry
Their Master's blest soul (snatch'd out at his ears
By a strong ecstasy) through all the spheres
Of Music's heaven; and seat it there on high
In the empyrean of pure harmony.
At length (after so long, so loud a strife
Of all the strings, still breathing the best life
Of blest variety, attending on
His fingers' fairest revolution
In many a sweet rise, many as sweet a fall)
A full-mouth'd diapason swallows all.

This done, he lists what she would say to this, And she, (although her breath's late exercise Had dealt too roughly with her tender throat) Yet summons all her sweet powers for a note. Alas! in vain! for while (sweet soul!) she tries To measure all those wild diversities Of chatt'ring strings, by the small size of one

AN EPITAPH UPON MR. ASHTON, A

CONFORMABLE CITIZEN. The modest front of this small floor, Believe me, Reader, can say more Than many a braver marble can; Here lies a truly honest man. One whose conscience was a thing, That troubled neither Church nor King. One of those few that in this town, Honor all Preachers, hear their own. Sermons he heard, yet not so many As left no time to practice any. He heard them rev'rently, and then His practice preach'd them o'er again. His Parlor-Sermons rather were Those to the eye, than to the ear. His prayers took their price and strength, Not from the loudness, nor the length. He was a Protestant at home, Not only in despite of Rome. He loved his Father; yet his zeal Tore not off his Mother's veil. To th' Church he did allow her dress, True Beauty, to true Holiness. Peace, which he loved in life, did lend Her hand to bring him to his end. When Age and Death call'd for the score No surfeits were to reckon for. Death tore not — therefore — but sans strife Gently untwined his thread of life. What remains then, but that thou Write these lines, Reader, in thy brow, And by his fair example's light, Burn in thy imitation bright. So while these lines can but bequeath A life perhaps unto his death; His better Epitaph shall be, His life still kept alive in thee.

TWO WENT UP INTO THE TEMPLE TO PKAY.

Two went to pray! O, rather say,
One went to brag, th' other to pray.
One stands up close, and treads on high,
Where th' other dares not send his eye.
One nearer to God's altar trod;
The other to the altar's God.

-- Divine Epigrams.

CHRIST.

UPON THE SEPULCHRE OF OUR LORD.

He saw how, in that blest Day-bearing Night,

The Heaven-rebuked shades made haste away; How bright a dawn of angels with new light

Amazed the midnight world, and made a Day Of which the Morning knew not. Mad with spite He mark'd how the poor shepherds ran to pay

Their simple tribute to the Babe, Whose birth
Was the great business both of Heaven and
Earth.

- Satan. CRUELTY.

Here, where our Lord once laid His head,
Now the grave lies buried.

- Divine Epigrams.
THE WIDOW'S MITES.
Two mites, two drops ( yet all her house and land)
Fall from a steady heart, though trembling hand:
The other's wanton wealth foams high and brave.
The other cast away; she only gave.

- lbid.

BUT NOW THEY HAVE SEEN AND HATED.

Fourth of the cursed knot of hags is she,

Or rather all the other three in one; Hell's shop of slaughter she does oversee,

And still assist the execution. But chiefly there does she delight to be, Where Hell's capacious cauldron is set on: And while the black souls boil in their own

gore, To hold them down, and look that none seethe o'er.

- Sospetto d' Herode.

SLEEP.

Now had the Night's companion from her den,

Where all the busy day she close doth lie,
With her soft wing wiped from the brows of men

Day's sweat; and by a gentle tyranny
And sweet oppression, kindly cheating them
Of all their cares, tamed the rebellious eye

Of Sorrow, with a soft and downy hand.
Sealing all breasts in a Lethæan band.

-Ibid.

Seen ? and yet hated Thee ? they did not see,
They saw Thee not, that saw and hated Thee:
No, no, they saw Thee not, O Life, O Love,
Who saw aught in Thee that their hate could move.

- Ibid.
DESTINY.
Whoe'er she be,
That not impossible she
That shall command my heart and me.

Wishes.
AURORA.
O in that morning of my shame! when I
Lay folded up in Sleep's captivity,
How at the sight didst thou draw back thine eyes
Into thy modest veil! how didst thou rise
Twice dyed in thine own blushes! and didst run
To draw the curtains, and awake the Sun!

To The Morning.
MORN.

I'm born
Again a fresh child of the buxom Morn,
Heir of the Sun's first beams.

- Ibid.
HAPPINESS.
A happy soul, that all the way
To Heaven, hath a Summer's day?

In Praise of Lessius's Rule of Health.

MAGDALENE.

O cheeks! Beds of chaste loves, By your own showers seasonably dashed. Eyes! Nests of milky doves,

In your own wells decently washed. O wit of Love! that thus could place Fountain and garden in one face.

St. Mary Magdalene, or The W’eeper.

[blocks in formation]

HOPE.

Sweet Hope! kind cheat! fair fallacy! by thee

We are not where nor what we be, But what and where we would be. Thus art thou Our absent presence, and our future now. Faith's sister! nurse of fair desire! Fear's antidote! a wise and well-stay'd fire! Temper 'twixt chill Despair, and torrid Joy! Queen regent in young Love's minority!

Hope.

GIVE TO CÆSAR - AND TO GOD.
All we have is God's, and yet
Cæsar challenges a debt;
Nor hath God a thinner share,
Whatever Cæsar's payments are.
All is God's; and yet 'tis true
All we have is Cæsar's too.
All is Cæsar's: and what odds,
So long as Cæsar's self is God's ?

CLINTON SCOLLARD.

T

A SNOWFLAKE IN MAY. I saw a snowflake in the air

When smiling May had decked the year, And then 't was gone, I knew not where, I saw a snowflake in the air, And thought perchance an angel's prayer

Had fallen from some starry sphere; I saw a snowflake in the air

When smiling May had decked the year.

HE year 1860 is notable as the birth-year of at

least three of the younger poets of America, all of whom are now familiarly known to readers of the verse of our day, and who gained the public ear at not far from the same time: Charles G. D. Roberts, Dempster Sherman and Clinton Scollard. Clinton Scollard, the youngest of the trio by a few months was born in the village of Clinton, Oneida County, New York, September 18, 1860. His father, Dr. James J. Scollard, has been for many years a physician of note in that locality and still in middle life remains in the active practice of his profession besides being connected with many of the leading business interests in that region. Clinton, his only son, was educated at private schools in his native town and after passing four years successfully at Hamilton College in the same place, was graduated from that institution in 1881. Like most boys with literary leanings, he wrote more or less indifferent verse and prose during his later years at school and in his college course. His father seems hardly to have approved of these early efforts, but his mother encouraged him by her intelligent sympathy, criticising freely and praising where praise could fairly be given. "Little of this first work has been preserved. A certain ease of rhyming was its most noteworthy characteristic as it is a pronounced feature of his later work.

For a year or two after leaving college Mr. Scollard was engaged as a teacher of elocution in a school in Brooklyn, New York, and then, his health becoming uncertain, he spent some time in travel in California and Florida. During these few years he wrote much in verse, and in December, 1884, published a collection of a number of his poems with the title, “ Pictures in Song." This book could not be called a strong one, but showed promise and was pleasantly noticed by the reviewers.

In October, 1884, Mr. Scollard removed to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was for two years a graduate student at Harvard University, devoting his attention while there mainly to purely literary courses of study. During these years he wrote largely and his verse appeared in periodical literature with increasing frequency. " With Reed and Lyre,” his second book, was published in September, 1886, and met with favorable attention in many quarters. The latter half of 1886 was spent by Mr. Scollard in European travel, and returning in January, 1887, he conducted classes in literature in Boston and Cambridge. A second trip to Europe was made by him in July of the same year. In September, 1888, he was appointed assistant professor of rhetoric and literature at Hamilton College, a position he now holds. “Old and New World Lyrics," his third volume, appeared in November. 1888.

O. F. A.

A TWILIGHT PIECE. I STRAYED from the bower of the roses as the dusk

of the day drew on, From the purple palm-tree closes where the crim

son cactus shone; Along the sycamore alley and up through the town

I strode, Nor paused where the gay groups dally at curves

of the wide white road. And I came to a pathway climbing through an

olive orchard gray, As the last faint bells were chiming in a chapel far

away. Only the stir of the lizard in the long sparse grass

I heard, And the wind, like an unseen wizard, with its

mystical whispered word. But at last I broke from the glooming of boughs,

and the darkling place, And beheld tall warders looming o'er a wide and

lonely space; Old cypress trees intoning a chant that was weird

and low, And as sad as the ghostly moaning from the lips

of the Long-ago. Here many a time at the margin of day, ere the

bats grew brave, Had I seen the low sun sink large in the dip of

the western wave; Seen the hues of the magical painter Aush half of

the sky's broad zone, And then grow fainter and fainter till the flowers

of the night were blown, Enwrapt by the drowsy quiet, I sank on the turf,

and long I yearned for the rhythmic riot of the night-bird's

soaring song; A song that should pulse and thrill me, and tides

of the heart unbar, A song that should surge and fill me with thoughts

of a clime afar; For I felt the passionate sadness of the mourner

who may not weep,

« PreviousContinue »