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about all his writings, and it does not desert him even in the Sonnets. Be they familiar or patriotic-Do they address the nightingale, or invoke the clemency of heaven-Do they call upon Cromwell or Vane, or warn the soldier from defacing the poet's home, they are equally and severely beautiful. There is a strength, a majesty, an air about them, which no other Sonnets possess. They seem (we make one exception) consecrated to a high design, and to come up fully to the intent of the poet. There is no weakness, or quaintness, or want of purpose in them : but they are engines in the poet's hand, and seem to accomplish whatsoever he wills. We will venture to extract two :—the first, “ When the Assault was intended the City,” is sufficient, we should think, to deter any one from profaning the home of the Muses.
“ Captain, or colonel, or knight in arms,
The second sounds like an inspiration. Milton was a religious enthusiast, as well as a grand poet. He was a partizan as well as a sectarian. His creed did not consist wholly in the milder virtues (though he had a fine resignation) nor in passive endurance, when the wound was from the hands of men. He fought with the Bible and the sword. He punished as well as convinced. In this case the wrath of the poet seems to be wide awake, and thus he utters his passionate anathema.
“ On the late Massacre in Piedmont.
“Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that rolld
The next Sonnet is from Warton. He was an elegant writer, too much praised perhaps in his own day, and too much neglected now. There is a pensive air about most of his writings, and even a fine spirit when he touches upon the “olden time,” to which he was more than ordinarily attached. He spent his life among colleges and black-letter books, and left some pleasant and useful records behind him. The following is addressed “ To the River Lodon.”
“Ah! what a weary race my feet have run,
From youth's gay dawn to manhood's prime mature, .Nor with the Muse's laurel unbestow'd.”
We will select two more Sonnets, and then return to bid farewell to our great author The first is from the pen of Mr. Wordsworth, and is entitled, “ Venice.”
“ Once did she hold the gorgeous East in fee;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid,
The next is by the late Mr. Keats, and was written on the subject of his first reading Chapman's Homer. It is as follows:
“Much have I travelld in the realms of gold,
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.” There still remain to be noticed two poems of Shakespeare: the one called, The Passionate Pilgrim, (being a collection of irregular pieces); and the other, The Lover's Complaint. From the first of these only, we shall make a couple of extracts. The first will speak for itself.
“ As it fell upon a day,
For her griefs, so lively shown,
Whilst as fickle fortune smil'd,
If he be addict to vice,
The other consists of a dirge over the turtle and the phoenix. The poem from which the extract is taken, is sufficiently mysterious ; but this is the sweet and melancholy conclusion :
“ Beauty, truth, and rarity,
Death is now the phonix' nest;
Leaving no posterity :
Truth may seem, but cannot be;
To this urn let those repair
With these extracts, we shall leave Shakespeare and his poems to the gradual admiration of the reader. Like most writers of sterling excellence, he disdains to take us by a coup de main ; but winds his way slowly and surely to the heart.-This great poet was beyond all others the master of the affections. Inferior writers have assailed our sympathies with perhaps as much success. The Germans have excited our terror, the moderns have drawn forth our compassion, equally with (and, it may be, more than) Shakespeare. But, to use a very hacknied word, his sway is more legitimate than theirs. It is founded upon a firmer basis, a better principle. It is an easy thing to drag forth the plain horrors of the hospital or the grave; but to throw round shapes that fine halo with which true poetry invests and illuminates its creations, is altogether a different task. In the first case, the violence of the feeling tends necessarily to hasten its destruction. We are startled into undue pity or apprehension, are afterwards fatigued, and at last disgusted. But in the bright atmosphere of poetry, its figures live for ever: it envelopes them, as the spices and cerements of the east preserved the bodies of Egyptian kings; save that the limit of the poets' offspring is not known to time, nor are they liable to be rifled or destroyed. They exist,