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No comfort to our griefs: from which to be
Exempted, is in death to follow thee.
Castara, by W. Habington.
TWO CHILDREN DYING OF ONE DISEASE,
BROUGHT forth in sorrow, and bred up in care,
Two tender children here entombed are:
One place, one sire, one womb their being gave,
They had one mortal sickness, and one grave;
And though they cannot number many years
In their account, yet with their parents' tears
This comfort mingles; though their days were few
They scarcely sin, but never sorrow knew* :
. though their days were few They scarcely sin, but never sorrow knew.) A consolation of the game nature we find in the following exquisite Epigram of Lucian:
Παϊδά με πενιαίτηρον, ακηδέα Θυμών έχοντα,
Νηλειής Αιδης ήρπασε Καλλίμαχος.
'Αλλά με μή Kλαίοις, και γάρ Βίοτοιο μετέσχον
Παύρε, και παύρων των Βιότοιο κακών. Anth.
Puerum me quinquennem curarum expers pectus habentem
Immitis Orcus rapuit Callimachum:
At ne me lugeas, etenim vitæ particeps fui
Modicæ, et paucorum vitæ malorum.
So that they well might boast, they carried hence
What riper ages lose, their innocence.
You pretty losses, that revive the fate
Which in your mother Death did antedate,
O let my high-swoln grief distil on you
The saddest drops of a parental dew:
You ask no other dower than what my eyes
Lay out on your untimely exequies:
When once I have discharg'd that mournful score,
Heav'n hath decreed you ne'er shall cost me more,
release and quit my borrow'd trust, By taking this inheritance of dust.
Dr. King's Poems, p. 60.
ATHER of poets, though thine own great day,
Struck from thyself, scorns that a weaker ray
Should twine in lustre with it, yet my flame,
Kindled from thine, flies upward towards thy name:
For in the acclamation of the less
There's piety, though from it no access:
And though my ruder thoughts make me of those
Who hide and cover what they should disclose,
Yet where the lustre's such, he makes it seen
Better to some that draws the veil between.
And what can more be hop'd, since that divine
Free filling spirit takes its flight with thine ?
Men may have fury, but no raptures now,
Like witches charm, yet not know whence, nor how,
And through distemper grown not strong, but fierce,
Instead of writing, only rave in verse *;
Which when by thy laws judg’d, 'twill be confess’d
Twas not to be inspir'd, but be possess'd.
Where shall we find a Muse like thine, that can
So well present, and show man unto man,
That each one finds his twin, and thinks thy art
Extends not to the gestures, but the heart?
Where one so showing life to life, that we
Think thou taught'st custom, and not custom thee;
Manners were themes, and to thy scenes still flow
In the same stream, and are their comments now;
These times thus living o'er thy models, we
Think them not so much wit, as prophecy;
And though we know the character, nay and swear
A sybil's finger bath been busy there.
Things common thou speak’st propert, which though known
For public, stamp'd by thee, grow thence thine own;
Thy thought's so ordered, so express'd, that we
Conclude that thou didst not discourse, but see:
Language so master'd that thy numerous feet
Laden with genuine words do always meet
Each in his art, nothing unfit doth fall,
Showing the poet, like the wise men, all.
* Instead of writing, only rave in verse.] This is what Pope callo rhyming with all the rage of impotence.” Essay on Criticism, 1. 612.
+ Things common thou speak’st proper.] A very difficult branch of the art to manage with dexterity, which Horace has remarked :
Difficile est propriè communia dicere. De Art. Poet. 128
Thine equal skill thus wresting nothing, made
Thy pen seem not so much to write, as trade.
That life, that Venus of all things *, which we
Conceive or show, proportion'd decency,
Is not found scatter'd in thee here or there,
But like the soul is wholly every where;
No strange perplexed maze doth pass for plot,
Thou always dost untie, not cut the knot:
Thy labyrinth's doors are open'd by one thread,
Which ties and runs through all that's done or said;
No power comes down with learned hat or rod,
Wit only and contrivance is thy god.
"Tis easy to gild gold, there's small skill spent
Where e'en the first rude mass is ornament;
Thy Muse took harder metals, purg'd and boild,
Labour'd and try'd, heated and beat, and toil'd,
Sifted the dross, fild roughness, then gave dress,
Vexing rude subjects into comeliness;
Be it thy glory then that we may say,
Thou run'st where the foot was hind'red by the way.
Nor dost thou pour out, but dispense thy vein,
Skill'd when to spare, and when to entertain;
Not like our wits, who into one piece do
Throw all that they can say and their friends too:
Pumping themselves for one term's noise so dry
As if they made their wills in poetry.
And such spruce compositions press the stage
When men transcribe themselves, and not the age;
Both sorts of plays are thus like pictures shown,
Thine of the common life, theirs of their own.
* That life, that Venus of all things.] Probably immediately takon from Horace :
Ordinis hæc virtus erit et Venus. De Art. Poet. 42.
Thy models yet are not so fram'd as we
May call them libels, and not imag’ry;
No name on any basis; 'tis thy skill
To strike the vice, but spare
As he who, when he saw the serpent wreath'd *
About his sleeping son, and as he breath'd,
Drink in his soul, did so the shoot contrive,
To kill the beast, but keep the child alive;
So dost thou aim thy darts, which even when
They kill the poisons, do but wake the men.
Thy thunders thus but purge, and we endure
Thy lancings better than another's cure;
And justly too, for th' age grows more unsound
From the fool's balsam, than the wise man's wound t.
No rotten talk breaks for a laugh; no page
Commenc'd man by th' instructions of thy stage;
No bargaining line there; no provoc'tive verse;
Nothing but what Lucretia might rehearse;
No need to make good count'nance ill, and use
The plea of strict life for a looser Muse;
No woman ruld thy quill: we can descry
No verse born under any Cynthia's eye ;
** As he who, when he saw the serpent wreath'd, &c.] The name of the archer here allud-d to is Alcon. The following is Servius's note in a folio edition of Virgil, printed at Paris, 1500. See Eclogie xi. 5. “ Alcon is Cretensis est Sagittarius : et cum draco ejus p erum complexus est, adeo suâ arte temperavit ictuin sagittæ, ut in dricone transfixo consisteret, n que ad puerum p rv nir t." According to the common Delphin.edition, the child's na:ne was Phaleris. But this story cannot, without the utmost absurdity, be applied to the shepherd in Virgil, called Alcon, which, without doubt, was a common-place proper narre for a pasto al charactor. See an Epigram on this story in Brunck's Analecta, Vol. I. p. 167. +
the age grows more unsound From the fool's balsam, than the_wise man's wound.) See Pope's Essay on Criticism, from line 575 to 580.