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STUDIES

IN

ENGLISH POETRY.

PART I.

Miscellaneous Poems and Extracts.

PRAYER FOR DIVINE AID.

AUTHOR of Good! to thee I turn:
Thy ever-wakeful eye
Alone can all my wants discern,
Thy hand alone supply.

Oh let thy fear within me dwell,
Thy love my footsteps guide!
That love shall meaner loves expel,
That fear all fears beside.2

And oh! by Error's force subdued,
Since oft my stubborn will,3
Preposterous, shuns the latent good,
And grasps the specious ill;*

Not to my wish, but to my want,

Do thou thy gifts apply;

Unasked, what good thou knowest, grant;

What ill, though asked, deny.

Merrick.

(1) Thy love, &c.-let my love towards thee (not thy love towards me) guide my

ootsteps, i. e. influence my actions.

(2) The line in Racine's "Athalie " in which Joad says, " Je crains Dieu, cher Abner, et n'ai point d'autre crainte," has been deservedly admired, but the above expression conveys the same sentiment with at least equal force.

(3) And oh! &c.-i. e. and oh! since my stubborn will, subdued by the force o error, often preposterously shuns, &c.

(4) Specious-from the Latin species, an appearance; hence specious ill is evil which has the appearance of good.

B

BOADICEA.

WHEN the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country's gods;

Sage, beneath the spreading oak,
Sat the Druid, hoary chief!
Every burning word he spoke
Full of rage, and full of grief:-

"Princess! if our aged eyes

Weep upon thy matchless wrongs,
'Tis because resentment ties
All the terrors of our tongues.1

"Rome shall perish-write that word
In the blood that she has spilt ;2
Perish, hopeless and abhorred,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.

"Rome, for empire far renowned,
Tramples on a thousand states;
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground-
Hark! the Gaul3 is at her gates!

"Other Romans shall arise,

Heedless of a soldier's name;

(1) This passage is somewhat obscure. The Druid's "burning words" which follow seem inconsistent with the assertion that the "terrors of his tongue" were "tied" or restrained. The meaning may perhaps be thus represented :-Princess, you find us weeping over your wrongs in private, instead of denouncing the perpetrators in public, blame us not, for our silence hitherto has arisen from the very intensity of our indignation.-Your personal appeal, however, demands that we should now give utterance to it :-Rome shall perish, &c.-This interpretation is based on the conjecture that "ties" is used for "has hitherto tied." Another explanation may be found in the Appendix, Note A.

(2) In the blood-that is, with the blood, as we say, to write in ink.

(3) Gaul-It does not appear that the Gauls were among the nations that swept over the Roman empire in the fifth century.-Perhaps "Goth" should be real for "Gaul."

Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize;
Harmony the path to fame.1

"Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,2
Armed with thunder, clad with wings,
Shall a wider world command.

"Regions Cæsar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway;
Where his eagles never flew-
None invincible as they.' "3

Such the bard's prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending, as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.

She, with all a monarch's pride,
Felt them in her bosom glow;
Rushed to battle, fought, and died ;*.
Dying, hurled them at the foe:-

"Ruffians! pitiless as proud,

Heaven awards the vengeance due;

Empire is on us bestowed,

Shame and ruin wait for you."

Cowper.

THE STARTLED STAG.

THE stag at eve had drunk his fill,

Where danced the moon on Monan's5 rill,

(1) In allusion to the love of the Italians for music. As a striking indication of the change in character above referred to, it may be mentioned that the word virtus, which among the ancient Romans meant "active courage," is used by the modern Romans in the softened form of virtù, to signify "a taste for the fine arts."

(2) Progeny, &c.-the ships of England.

(3) They-the British, not the Romans.

(4) According to Tacitus, Boadicea poisoned herself.

(5) Monan-a spring in the district of Menteith, Perthshire, Scotland.

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