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Following these 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 Hebes cup.
The humourous strings expound bis learned touch
By various glosses; now they seem to grutch,
And murmur in a buzzing din, then gingle
In shrill-tongued accents, striving to be single:
Every smooth turn, every delicious stroke
Gives life to some new grace; thus doth he invoke
Sweetness by all her names; thus, bravely thus

The lute's light genius now does proudly rise,
Heav'd on the surges of swoll'n 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.

Vibrat acuta sonum, modulisque interplicat æquis;
Ex inopinato gravis intonat, et leve murmur
Turbinat introrsus, alternantique sonore
Clarat, et infuscat ceu martia classica pulset.
Scilicet erubuit Fidicen, -
Non imitabilibus plectrum concentibus urget.
Namque manu per fila volat, simul hos, simul illos
Explorat numeros, chordâque laborat in omni,
Et strepit, et tinnit, crescitque superbius, et se
Multiplicat religens, plenoque choreumate plaudit.

We might seek in vain in the Latin text for the vigour, the fancy, and the grandeur of these lines. These remain with Crashaw, of whose obligations to Strada we may say, as Hayley remarked of Pope's debt to Crashaw, that if he borrowed anything from him in this article, it was only as the sun borrows from the earth, when drawing from thence a mere vapour, he makes it the delight of every eye, by giving it all the tender and gorgeous colouring of heaven.

Crashaw is one of a class of poets who have obtained the appellation of the metaphysical school, though for what reason it is difficult to determine. It was, I believe, first bestowed on them by Dryden, who desired to charac

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terize by the epithet a style directly opposed to the freedom of his own. Petrarch and Marino were the founders of this sect, which in the reigns of James and Charles the First, boasted some of the most illustrious names. The poetry of Crashaw offers an admirable exemplification of this corrupt system. Writing in his native tongue, his manner is evidently foreign. He is not descriptive, but picturesque; we look in vain for images of rural simplicity, and touches of domestic feeling. He contemplates nature, as it were, through a painted window, from which | every object takes its particular hue. Thus, the rose he describes is not the rose of our gardens, or our hedges; his flowers have never cheered our eyes in the field-paths; they are natives of a land visited only by the poet's imagination. He fails in arousing our sympathy, because he addresses our memory instead of our heart. We have also to object to these writers the want of symmetry in their compositions ; their richest colouring often darkens into a daub; their choicest music closes in discord. When reading them we think of the Centaur of Zeuxis, which began in loveliness and ended in deformity.

“ Crashaw, in his poems," is the observation of Coleridge, “ seems to have given the first ebullience of his imagination unshapen into form, or much of what we now term sweetness. In the poem, Hope, by way of question and answer, his superiority to Cowley is self-evident. In that on the name of Jesus, equally so; but his lines on St. Theresa, are the finest; where he does combine richness of thought and diction, as in the lines you so much admire; these verses were present to my mind whilst writing the second part of Christabel; if, indeed, by some subtle process of the mind, they did not suggest the first thought of the whole poem*.” The exceeding richness and vivacity of Crashaw's versification could not have escaped the

* Letters and Conversations of Coleridge, vol. i. 196.

notice of so great a master of harmony. Read the Paraphrase of the 23rd Psalm.

Pleasure sings my soul to rest,
Plenty wears me at her breast-

Come now all ye terrors, sally,
Muster forth into the valley,
Where triumphant darkness hovers..
With a sable wing that covers
Brooding horror. Come, thou Death,
Let the damps of thy dull breath
Overshadow even the shade,
And make Darkness' self afraid.
There my feet, even there, shall find
Way for a resolved mind;
Still my shepherd, still my God,
Thou art with me.
How my head in ointment swims!
How my cup o'erlooks her brims !
Still may thy sweet mercy spread

A shady arm above my head. The faults of Crashaw are those of his school; and it has been truly said *, that the strength of his thoughts sometimes appears in their distortion. When released from his self-imposed fetters, he uttered his lays with a softness, that, like the melody of the nightingale he sang, seems to come from a silver throat. How full of pastoral sweetness is the “Hymn of the Nativity, sung by the shepherds !"

GLOOMY night embraced the place

Where the noble Infant lay;
The Babe look'd up and show'd his face-

In spite of darkness it was day.
We saw thee in thy balmy nest,

Bright dawn of our eternal day!
We saw thine eyes break from the east,

And chase the trembling shades away :
We saw thee, and we blest the sight,
We saw thee by thine own sweet light.

* By Mr. Campbell.

She sings thy tears asleep, and dips

Her kisses in thy weeping eye;
She spreads the red leaves of thy lips,

That in their buds yet blushing lie.
Yet when young April's husband-showers

Shall bless the fruitful Maia's bed,
We'll bring the first-born of her flowers

To kiss thy feet and crown thy head.
To thee, dread Lamb! whose love must keep
The shepherds, while they feed their sheep.
To Thee, meek Majesty! soft King

Of simple graces and sweet loves ;
Each of us his lamb will bring,

Each his pair of silver doves *. And what a bright vein of imagination runs through his Hymn to the Morning :

..... 0 Thou
Bright Lady of the morn! pity doth lie
So warm in thy soft breast, it cannot die-
Have mercy then, and when he next shall rise,
O meet the angry God, invade his eyes.

- So my wakeful lay shall knock
At th’ oriental gates, and duly mock
The early lark's shrill orisons, to be
An anthem at the day's nativity.
And the same rosy-fingered hand of thine,
That shuts night's dying eyes, shall open mine;
But thou faint God of sleep, forget that I
Was ever known to be thy votary.
No more my pillow shall thine altar be,
Nor will I offer any more to thee,
Myself a melting sacrifice: I'm born
Again a fresh child of the buxom morn.
Heir of the Sun's first beams, why threat'st thou so ?
Why dost thou shake thy leaden sceptre? Go,
Bestow thy poppy upon wakeful woe,
Sickness and sorrow, whose pale lids ne'er know
Thy downy finger; dwell upon their eyes,
Shut in their tears, shut out their miseries!

* Several lines are omitted.

I have already extracted largely from Crashaw's poetry, or it would be easy to multiply instances of new and pleasing similes, and metaphors most ingeniously constructed. He was not always the stringer of pretty beads. His character of true poetic genius, contrasted with his own, is very noble:

-No rapture makes it live
Drest in the glorious madness of a muse,
Whose feet can walk the milky way,
Her starry throne, and hold up an exalted arm
To lift me from my lazy urn, and climb
Upon the stooped shoulders of old time,

And trace eternity Between his Latin and English poems there is very little difference. In the versification he appears to have imitated the epigrammatic turns of Martial :

Cui sacra sidereâ volucris suspenditur alâ ? "

Hunc nive plus niveum cui dabit illa pedem?
Christe, tuo capiti totis se destinat auris,

Quà ludit densæ blandior umbra comæ-
Illic arcano quid non tibi murmure narrat ? :

(Murmure mortales non imitante sonos-)"
Sola avis hæc nido hoc non est indigna cubare;

Solus nidus hic est hac bene dignus ave. TO THE SACRED DOVE ALIGHTING ON THE HEAD OF CHRIST*.

On whom doth this blest bird its wings outspread ?

Where will it suffer its white feet to rest ?
0 Jesus, hovering o'er thy hallowed head,

Within thy hair's sweet shade, it seeks a nest.
There does it breathe a mystic song to Thee,

A melody unlike all earthly sound;
That bird alone to this pure nest may flee,
This nest alone worthy the bird is found.

Felices animæ ! quas cælo debita virtus

Jam potuit vestris inseruisse polis.
Hoc dedit egregii non parcus sanguinis usus,

Spesque per obstantes expatiata vias. * In these translations I have endeavoured to be as litera as possible.

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