« PreviousContinue »
A beam ethereal, sullied and absorpt!
One more passage, for the sake of its striking metaphor :
Hearts wounded, like the wounded air,
Our last selection is from his Love of Fame, which Johnson so highly eulogizes—
What will not men attempt for sacred praise?
O'er globes and sceptres, now on thrones it swells-
It aids the dancer's heel, the writer's head,
Thus conclude we our second evening's entertainment with the Minstrels; and since it has been questioned, from his gravity, whether the author of The Night Thoughts was ever Young, we shall regard him as the last of the old poets. With regret we bid adieu,
then, to these great masters of the lyre, whose magnificent melodies, quaint imagery, and rich cadences, fall upon the ear like a benediction
"Or like those maiden showers
Which, by the peep of day, do strew
Justly has it been said, that with them "the imaginative ruled and reigned; poetry lived much in the upper air, and, like the lark, sang best as it soared to heaven." A high, chivalrous spirit marked the Elizabethan age of song; its pomp of diction and stateliness of measure often challenging the curious interest of the reader, by the subtle obscurity and inversion of its style, as well as by its rich cadences. What a galaxy of illustrious names then shed lustre upon literature and life! It was, indeed, the golden age of letters, with its registered glories in philosophy, science, and song. It was the age of contemplation and devotion to study, as ours is of action. Although poets are mortal, poetry is immortal; the muse's priesthood still lives in a line of illustrious succession, "to enrich her galleries with glowing and beautiful creations, embodied in deathless and glorified forms:" and the noble inheritance is ours to stimulate us in the highways of wisdom and virtue. We need not, therefore,
Sigh the old heroic ages back;
Jones. Berkeley, Irving, Allston,
Dana Percival, Sigourney, Pierpont, Dake,
Spraguo, Brooks, Payne, Burgoyne, Darwin, Woodworth, Goldsmith, Cowper, Burns, Darley, Sheridan,
Logan, Leyden, Beattie, Chatterton,
Wolfe, Wilde. Halleck.
GRAY, who was "sat
urated with the finest essence of the Attic muse," has given us some grand stanzas, in his Ode founded
upon the Welsh tradition, that when Edward the First conquered Wales, he ordered the bards to be put to death.
These are the
Confusion on thy banners wait;
Though fann'd by Conquest's crimson wing,