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Of streaming sweetness, which in state doth ride
On the wav'd back of every swelling strain,
Rising and falling in a pompous train.
And while she thus discharges a shrill peal
Of flashing airs, she qualifies their zeal
With the cool e pode of a graver note,
Thus high, thus low, as if her silver throat
Would reach the brazen voice of war's hoarse bird ;
Her little soul is ravish’d: and so pour'd
Into loose ecstasies, that she is plac'd
Above herself, music's enthusiast.
Shame now and anger mix'd a double strain
In the musician's face ; yet once again,
Mistress, I come; now reach a strain, my lute,
Above her mock, or be forever mute.
But tune a song of victory to me ;
As to thyseif, sing thine own obsequy ;
So said, his hands sprightly as fire he flings,
And with a quavering coyness tastes the strings,
The sweet-lip'd sisters musically frighted,
Singing their fears, are fearfully delighted.
Trembling as when Apollo's golden hairs
Are fann's and frizzled in the wanton airs
Of his own breath: which, married to his lyre,
Doth tune the spheres, and make heaven's self look higher.
From this to that, from that to this he flies,
Feels music's pulse in all her arteries,
Caught in a net which there Apollo spreads,
His fingers struggle with the vocal threads,
Following those little rills, he sinks into
A sea of Helicon; his hand does go
Those parts of sweetness which with nectar drop,
Softer than that which pants in Hebe's cup.
The humourous strings expound his learned touch
By various glosses; now they seem to grutch,
And murmur in a buzzing din, then gingle
In"shrill-tongu'd accents, striving to be single.
Every smooth turn, every delicious stroke
Gives life to some new grace; thus doth invoke
Sweetness by all her names; thus, bravely thus
(Fraught with a fury so harmonious)
The lute's light genius now does proudly rise,
Heav'd on the surges of swoln rhapsodies,
Whose flourish (meteor-like) doth curl the air
With flash of high-born fancies; here and there
Dancing in lofty measures, and anon
Creeps on the soft touch of a tender tone:
Whose trembling murmurs melting in wild airs
Run to and fro, complaining his sweet cares;
Because those precious mysteries that dwell
In music's ravish'd soul he dares not tell,
But whisper to the world: thus do they vary,
Each string his note, as if they meant to carry
Their master's blest soul (snatch'd out at his ears
By a strong ecstasy) through all the spheres
Of music's heaven, and seat it there on high
In th' empyreum of pure harmony.
At length, (after so long, so loud a strife
Of all the strings, still breathing the best life
Of blest variety, attending on
His fingers' fairest revolution,
In many a sweet rise, many as sweet a fall)
A full-mouth'd diapason swallows all.
This done, he lists what she would say to this,
And she, although her breath's late exercise
Had dealt too roughly with her tender throat,
Yet summons all her sweet powers for a note.
Alas ! in vain ! for while (sweet soul) she tries
To measure all those wild diversities
Of chatt'ring strings, by the small size of one
Poor simple voice, rais'd in a natural tone;
She fails, and failing grieves, and grieving dies.
She dies; and leaves her life the victor's prize,
Falling upon his lute; O fit to have
(That liv'd so sweetly) dead, so sweet a grave !
This exquisite story has had another relator in Ford, the dramatist, and according to a great authority, a finer one.* The passage is very beautiful, certainly, especially in the outset about Greece; and if the story is to be taken
* Charles Lamb; who says, in one of the notes to his “Specimens of English Dramatic Poets,” “This story, which is originally to be met with in ‘Strada's Prolusions,' has been paraphrased in rhyme by Crashaw, Ambrose
as a sentiment, it must be allowed to surpass the other ; but as an account of the Duel itself, it is assuredly as different as playing is from no playing. Sentiment, however, completes everything, and we hope our readers will enjoy with us the concluding from Ford :
Menaphon. Passing from Italy to Greece, the tales
Which poets of an elder time have feign'd
To glorify their Tempe, bred in me
Desire of visiting that paradise.
To Thessaly I came, and living private,
Without acquaintance of more sweet companions
Than the old inmates to my love, my thoughts,
I day by day frequented silent groves
And solitary walks. One morning early
This accident encounter'd me: I heard
The sweetest and most ravishing contention
That art and nature ever were at strife in.
A methus. I cannot yet conceive what you infer
By art and nature.
I shall soon resolve ye.
A sound of music touch'd mine ears, or rather
Indeed entranc'd my soul; as I stole nearer,
Invited by the melody, I saw
This youth, this fair-fac'd youth, upon his lute,
With strains of strange variety and harmony,
Proclaiming, as it seem'd, so bold a challenge
To the clear choristers of the woods, the birds,
That as they flock'd about him, all stood silent,
Wond'ring at what they heard. I wonder'd too.
A met. And so do I; good, on!
Nature's best skill'd musician, undertakes
The challenge, and for ev'ry several strain
The well-shap'd youth could touch, she sung her down ;
He could not run division with more art
Upon his quaking instrument, than she,
Phillips, and others; but none of these versions can at all compare for harmony and grace with this blank verse of Ford's; it is as fine as anything in Beaumont and Fletcher; and almost equals the strife it celebrates." — Ed.
The nightingale, did with her various notes
Reply to. For a voice, and for a sound,
Amethus, 'tis much easier to believe
That such they were, than hope to hear again.
A met. How did the rivals part?
You term them rightly,
For they were rivals, and their mistress harmony.
Some time thus spent, the young man grew at last
Into a pretty anger, that a bird
Whom art had never taught clefs, moods, or notes,
Should vie with him for mastery, whose study
Had busied many hours to perfect practice:
To end the controversy, in a rapture
Upon his instrument he plays so swiftly,
So many voluntaries, and so quick,
That there was curiosity and cunning,
Concord in discord, lines of diff'ring method
Meeting in one full centre of delight.
Amet. Now for the bird.
The bird, ordain'd to be
Music's first martyr, strove to imitate
These several sounds : which, when her warbling throat
Fail'd in, for grief down dropp'd she on his lute
And brake her heart. It was the quaintest sadness,
To see the conqueror upon her hearse,
To weep a funeral elegy of tears,
That, trust me, my Amethus, I could chide
Mine own unmanly weakness, that made me
A fellow-mourner with him.
I believe thee. Men. He look'd upon the trophies of his art, Then sigh'd, then wip'd his eyes, then sigh'd and cried, “ Alas, poor creature ! I will soon revenge This cruelty upon the author of it; Henceforth this lute, guilty of innocent blood, Shall never more betray a harmless peace To an untimely end : " and in that sorrow, As he was dashing it against a tree, I suddenly stept in.
A STORY OF A WINTER'S NIGHT.
HE hero of the following sketch is a real per
son, and the main points in it, the pump and the refuge in the cellar, are recorded as facts. The latter took place in the house of Sir John
Trevor, the Master of the Rolls, a kinsman of Mr. Lloyd's, who was a proud and irritable Welshman.
TIME. The Beginning of the Last Century.
SCENE. A Fog in Holborn towards Daum. Enter Two Middle-aged
Gentlemen, of the names of LANE and LLOYD, coming towards an old
Lane. You're so quarrelsome, when you drink.
Lloyd. (Hiccuping.) No, I ain't.
Lane. Always contradicting everybody.
Lloyd. (Hiccuping.) No, I ain't.
Lane. So eager to say No, merely because other people say Yes.
Lloyd. (Hiccuping.) No, I ain't.
Lane. Why, you do it this very instant.
Lloyd. No, I don't.
Lane. You can't say Yes, if you would.
Lloyd. (Hiccuping.) Yes, I can.
Lane. No, you can't. Your very Yes is a No. You merely say it to contradict.
Lloyd. No, I don't.
Lane. Pooh, nonsense! And then you must draw your sword, forsooth, and add fury to folly. You'll get some tremendous lesson some day, and you really need it. I should like to give it you.
Lloyd. (Violently.) Take care, George Lane. (LLOYD stumbles.)
Lane. Take you care, of the gutter. I shan't pick you up. I shall leave you to cool yourself.
Lloyd. (Hiccuping.) No, you won't.
Lane. Oh, what, you remember my carrying you home last Thursday, do you? And this is your gratitude.