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Whence will Cupid get his darts
Feather'd now to pierce our hearts ?

A wound he may,

Not love convey,
Now this faithful bird is gone;
O let mournful turtles join
With loving redbreasts*, and combine
To sing dirges o'er his stone.

Cartwright's Plays and Poems.

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* With loving redbreasts.] This bird has justly been a favourite with some of our most distinguished poets, and has received due attention from them in their writings. I will set before the reader a few instances, out of many which I have collected, perhaps rather too idly and unnecessarily. In a concert of birds by Browne, B. I. Song üi. the redbreast is thus distinguished :

The mountain lark, day's herald, got on wing,
Bidding each bird choose out his bough and sing.
The lofty treble sung the little wren ;
Robin, the mean, that best of all loves men.

Thompson's Edit. In Niccols's Cuckow, p. 12, Edit. 1607, in a collection of birds we meet with

The redbreast sweet, that loves the looks of men. Drayton, in his Owl:

Covering with moss the dead's unclosed eye,

The little redbreast teacheth charity. Collins, in his Dirge :

The redbreast oft at evening hours

Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss and gather'd flowers,

To deck the ground where thou art laid. But above all others on this subject, Thomson is entitled to superlative praise:

one alone,
The redbreast, sacred to the household gods,
Wisely regardful of th' embroiling sky,
In joyless fields, and thorny thickets, leave
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man
His annual visit. Half afraid, he first

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MADRIGAL.

My thoughts hold mortal strife,
I do detest my life,
And with lamenting cries
Peace to my soul to bring,
Oft call that prince, which here doth monarchize;
But he, grim-grinning king*,
Who caitiffs scorns, and doth the blest surprise,

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Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is ;
Till more familiar grown, the table-crumbs
Attract bis slender feet.

Winter, 246. See likewise a stanza published by Mr. Mason, and originally intended by Gray to have been introduced into his Elegy:

There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year,

By hands unseen are show'rs of violets found;
The redbreast loves to build and warble there,
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.

grim-grinning king.] Milton, I believe, has been justly and universally considered as unrivalled, where he says of Death that he

Grinn'd horribly a ghastly smile. I cannot resist the opportunity of setting before my readers a passage, which, though dissimilar in its subject, and inferior in its merit, yet eminently well expresses that mixture of contrary passions which is frequently sublime. I have always considered this instance as approaching nearer to the manner of Milton than any thing I have met met with in the whole course of my poetical reading. In the Masque of the Gods, introduced in the Argalus and Parthenia of Quarles, the goddess of the night is thus fancifully habited :

her body was confin'd Within a coal-black mantle, thorough lin'd

Late having deck'd with beauty's rose his tomb,
Disdains to crop a weed, and will not come.

Drummond, Edinb. 1711. Fol.

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With sable* furs; her tresses were of hue
Like ebony, on which a pearly dew
Hung, like a spider's web; her face did shroud
A swarth complexion, underneath a cloud
Of black curl'd cypress : on her head she wore
A crown of burnish'd gold, beshaded o'er
With fogs and roryt mist; her hand did bear
A sceptre and a sable hemisphere;
She sternly shook her dewy locks, and brake
A melancholy smile......

B. III. p. 112. For this mixture of opposite passions, see Spence on the Odyssey, p. 77, a truly classical work, by no means so popular as it should be, and to which we may well apply what Dr. Johnson has asserted of Watts's Improvement of the Mind : “ Whoever has the care of instructing others, may be charged with deficience in his duty, if this book is not recommended.” See also Dr. Henry More's Mist. of Godliness, B. VI. Ch. v. who compares the pleasures of this life to the grinning laughter of Ghosts, &c.

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* Milton has arrayed night in sables :

with him enthron'd Sat sable-vested night.

P. Lost, II. 962. + Rory.] This word seems very undeservedly disused. Fairfax has it in his Tasso :

And shook his wings with roary May-dews wet.

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SONNETS.

TO

SIR WILLIAM ALEXANDER*.

THOUGH I have twice been at the doors of Death,
And twice found shut those gates which ever mourn;
This but a light’ning is : truce ta’en to breathe,
For late-born sorrows augur fleet return.
Amid thy sacred cares, and courtly toils,
Alexis, when thou shalt hear wand'ring Fame
Tell, Death hath triumph'd o'er my mortal spoils,
And that on earth I am but a sad name:
If thou e'er held me dear, by all our love,
By all that bliss, those joys, heaven here us gave;
I conjure thee, and by the maids of Jove,
To 'grave this short remembrance on my grave;
· Here Damon lies, whose

songs

did sometime grace The murmuring Esk-may roses shade the place.'

DRUMMOND.

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* The Sir W. Alexander to whom this sonnet is addressed was afterwards created Earl of Stirling. He wrote poetry, a list of which is given by Mr. Pinkerton, in his Ancient Scotish Poems, p. 121. He was a particular friend of our Drayton's, as should seem from the verses of the latter on Poets and Poesy. He there styles him,

That man whose name I ever would have known

To stand by mine, &c. There is a sensible little tract of his, entitled “ A Censure of some Poets, Ancient and Modern,” and addressed to Druminond of Hawthornden, his intimate friend, preserved in the Edinburgh edition of the latter,

159.

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