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Sleep, Silence* child, sweet father of soft rest,
Prince, whose approach peace to all mortals brings,
Indifferent host to shepherds and to kings,
Lo, by thy charming rod, all breathing things
And yet o'er me to spread thy drowsy wings
Since I am thine, O come, but with that face
Or if, deaf god, thou do deny that grace,
The lady to whom lie was engaged to be married was suddenly snatched awny by death, and the sonnets which dwell on his own afflictions are as full of true feeling as poetic merit.
Sweet Spring, thou turn'st1 with all thy goodly train,
The zephyrs curl the green locks of the plain,
And happy days, with thee come not again;
The sad memorials only of my pain
Thou art the same which still thou wast before,
Is gone; nor gold nor gems her can restore.
What doth it serve to see sun's burning face?
And all the glory of that starry place?
The mountain's pride, the meadow's fluwcry grace;
The sport of floods which would themselves embrace?
The wanton merle, the nightingale's sad strains,
For what doth serve all that this world contains,
TO HIS LUTE.
My lute, be as thou wast, when thou didst grow
When immelodious winds but made thee move,
Sitli that dear voice which did thy sounds approve,
la reft from earth to tune those spheres above,
Thy pleasing notes be pleasing notes no more,
Be therefore silent as in woods before:
TO THE NIGHTINGALE.
Sweet bird, that sing'st away the early hours,
Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers
To rocks, to springs, to rills, from leafy bowers
A stain to human sense in sin that lowers.
(Attired in sweetness) sweetly is not driven
And lift a reverent eye and thought to heaven?
RICHARD CRASHAW. Died 1650.1
Richard Crashaw, a religious poet, an accomplished scholar, and a power ful and popular preacher, was born in London, but the date of his birth is unknown. His father was an author, and a preacher of the Temple church, London. He took his degree at Cambridge, where he published his sacred poems of " Steps to the Temple." In the year 1044 he was ejected from his living on refusing to subscribe to the Covenant, and soon afterwards he professed his faith in the Roman Church. Through the influence of his friend Cowley, the poet, he was introduced to the exiled Queen Henrietta, who obtained lor him a small office at Rome, where he died alK>ut the year 1G50.
The poems of Crashaw are not much known, but they "display delicate fancy, great tenderness, and singular beauty of diction." "He has," says Headlcy, "originality in many parts, and as a translator is entitled to the highest praise* To his attainments, which were numerous and elegant, all his biographers have borne witness." The lines on a prayer-book, Coleridge considers one of the best poems in our language.
1 Poet and Saint I to thee alone are given The two most sacred names of earth and heaven.—Cowlii. I Pope, in his "Eloisa to Aoclard, has borrowed largely from this poet.
LINES ON A PRAYER-BOOK SENT TO MRS. R.
Lo! here a little volume, but large book,
(Fear it not, sweet.
It is no hypocrite,)
It is love's great artillery,
Which here contracts itself, and comes to lie
Close couch'd in your white bosom, and from thence.
As from a snowy fortress of defence,
Against the ghostly foe to take your part,
And fortify the hold of your chaste heart.
It is the armory of light:
Let constant use but keep it bright,
You'll find it yields
More swords and shields
Only be sure
The hands bo pure
Those of turtles, chaste and true,
Here is a friend shall fight for you.
Dear soul, be strong,
Mercy will come ere long,
Flowers of never-fading graces,
For worthy souls whose wise embraces
But if the noble Bridegroom, when He come,
Leaving her chaste abode
To gad abroad
To take her pleasure and to play,
And keep the devil's holiday;
To dance in the sunshine of some smiling
Of all this hidden store
Doubtless he will unload
And pour abroad
O fair! 0 fortunate! O rich! 0 dear!
01 happy, and thrice happy she,
Makes haste to meet her morning spouse,
To improve that precious hour;
Dropping with a balmy shower,
At once ten thousand paradises:
The rich and rosal spring of those rare sweets,
The following is a portion of his version of the twenty-third Psalm: " Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." It is highly spirited and beautiful.
Come now all ye terrors, sally,
PHINEAS FLETCHER. 10S4—1050.
Fbisias Flktcheh was the brother of Giles Fletcher, ami born alxiut tlie year 3 084. He took his degree at Cambridge, anil after completing Ms studies for the ministry, was presented w ith the living of Hilgay, in Norfolk, in 1621, which he held for twenty-nine years; unci it is supposed that he died there in 1G50.
His chief poem is entitled "The Purple Island," which title, on being first heard, would suggest ideas totally different from what is its real subject. The truth is, it is a sort of anatomical poem, the u Purplo Island" being nothing leas than the human body, the veins and arteries of which are filled with the purple fluid coursing up and down; so that the first part of the poem, which is anatomically descriptive, is not a little dry and uninteresting. Bat after describing the body, he proceeds to personify the passions and intellectual faculties. «Here," says Headley, "fatigued attention is not merely relieved, but fascinated and enraptured; there is a boldness of outline, a majesty of manner, a brilliancy of coloring, and an air of life, that we look for in vain in modern productions, and that rival, if not surpass, what we meet with of the kind even in Spenser, from whom our author caught his inspiration." This is rather extravagant, and yet a few passages can be selected from Phineas Fletcher, that, for beauty, are scarcely exceeded by any poetry in the language.
THE SHEPHERD'S LIFE.1
Thrice, oh thrice happy, shepherd's life and stale,
When courts are happiness' unhappy pawns!
His cottage low, and safely humble gate
Shuts out proud Fortune, with her scorns and fawns:
No feared treason breaks his quiet sleep:
Singing all day, his fiocks he learns to keep;
No Serian worms he knows, that with their thread
No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright;
Nor begging wants his middle fortune bite:
Instead of music and base flattering tongues,
In country plays is all the strife he uses,
Or sing, or dance unto the rural Muses;
1 These beautiful lines seem to have suggested the plan of that most exquisite Utile piece called rm# AnM by Thomas Warton, which contains a selection of beautiful rural Images, such as perhaps no other poem of equal length In our language presents us wlUi. See It In the selections from