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and not as himself here, upon scriptures, divine graces, martyrs, and angels."
He appears to have been a man of a warm and enthusiastic temperament, which he carried into every thing, and most especially into his religion. No lover ever depicted the charms of his fair enslaver with greater warmth and animation, than fill the verses addressed to St. Theresa, "founder of the discalced Carmelites, both men and women; a woman, who for angelical height of speculation, for masculine courage of performance, more than a woman, who, yet a child, out-ran maturity, and durst plot a martyrdom."
In the very spirit of mystical devotion, he thus speaks of the only " dart" which should have power to " rase her breasts' chaste cabinet."
0, how oft shalt thou complain
Of a sweet and subtile pain!
Of intolerable joys!
Of a death, in which who dies
Loves his death, and dies again,
And would for ever so be slain;
And lives and dies, and knows not why
To live, but that he still may die."
In some verses on " the assumption of the blessed virgin," he feigns " the immortal dove thus sighing to his silver mate," the mother of Jesus Christ.
"Come away, my love,
Cast off delay.
Come away, come away."
In a most ingenious poem, " on a praye.r-book sent to a female friend," he thus speaks of the "sacred store, hidden sweets, and holy joys," which the soul feels, when the noble bridegroom comes, "who is alone the spouse of virgins, and the virgin's son."
"Amorous languishments, luminous trances,
Sights which are not seen with eyes;
Whose pure and subtle lightning flies
Yet doth not stay
Delicious deaths, soft exhalations
Of soul; dear and divine annihilations;
A thousand unknown rites
Of joys, and rarified delights.
An hundred thousand loves and graces,
And many a mystick thing,
Which the divine embraces
For which it is no shame,
Besides the religious poetry, among which is a large collection of sacred epigrams, completely worthless, are numerous translations and paraphrases; together with a number of original poems, chiefly on occasional subjects, from which we hope to extract some passages, well worthy of perusal. The first division of his poems is entitled " Steps to the Temple," so called, says the before-mentioned author of the preface, from his passing the greater part of his time in St. Mary's church, Cambridge.—" There he lodged under Tertullian's roof of angels; there he made his nest, more gladly than David's swallow near the house of God; where, like a primitive saint, he offered more prayers in the night, than others usually offer in the day;" there he penned these poems, " Steps for happy souls to climb Heav'n by." The first step we meet with is a poem, called the "Weeper," which, had we room to quote, Would very completely illustrate the few remarks we have above made on the conceits of this writer, and of the taste of his age. Take the first verse only.
"Hail, sister springs, Parents of silver-forded rills! Ever bubbling things!
Thawing crystal! snowy hills'.
Nevertheless, there are some tender images and expressions to be found even here; and we quote the following verses, as possessing great beauty in their kind.
"The dew no more will weep,
The dew no more will sleep,
Not the soft gold which
Makes sorrow half so rich,
When sorrow would be seen
(For she is a queen)
Not in the evening's eyes
For the sun that dies,
Some verses, called "the Tear," then occur, wherein the author asks, " "What bright soft thing is this," and conjectures it to be a " moist spark," a "wat'ry diamond," a " star about to drop," or any thing else to which it bears any the least fanciful resemblance: when he is satisfied that it is in truth a tear, he says:
"Such a pearl as this is
Such the maiden gem
By the wanton spring put on,
Peeps from her parent stem,
And blushes on the wat'ry sun."
After catching the said tear on a pillow,
"Stuffed with down of angel's wing;"
and carrying it to be an eye in Heav'n, he finishes, by doubting, with ineffable conceit, whether it had
"rather there have shone An eye of Heav'n, or still shine here, In the heav'n of Mary's eye, a tear."
The " Divine Epigrams" follow next in order—and are, to say the least, utterly worthless—we will give a single specimen "upon the infant martyrs."
"To see both blended in one flood,
During the composition of the greater part of the religious poems, it must be confessed, that the genius of Crashaw suffered an eclipse—the nature of his subject is frequently such, that the poet can shew nothing but his piety, and even when the ingenuity of his fancy engrafts life and animation on a most unpromising stock, he dresses up a sacred topic in a painted vest, so gaudy and flowery, as to be disgusting to the simpler taste of a good protestant. No one ought to write poems " on the bleeding wounds of our crucified Lord," or " on our Lord, naked and bloody," much less speak of the lacerations of the crucifixion in terms like these: addressing Mary Magdalen, our converted poet says:
"This foot hath got a mouth and lips,
To pay thy tears, an eye that weeps,
The difference only this appears,
Nor can the change offend,
Which thou in pearls did lend."
In a poem on " the Nativity," which contains some ingenious, though misplaced, verses, we can excuse the following lines for the sake of their beauty. He is addressing the infant Saviour.
To many a rarely temper'd kiss,
That breathes at once both maid and mother;
She sings thy tears asleep, and dips
Her kisses in thy weeping eye;
That in their buds yet blushing lie."
In the " Delights of the Muses," where the poet descends from his lofty contemplations to the humbler topics of the " profane" muse, there are two or three poems on the deaths of some friends, that possess many more charms, and beauties of a higher order, than we expect to meet with in verses of an occasional kind. Though here sometimes the fancy of our author frequently runs wild, and insinuates itself into winding and sequestered paths, forbidden to the dignity of poetry. The following extract, from the verses on the death of Mr. Herrys, may, perhaps, incur the charge of diffuseness; we, however, do not think the poet has weaved "the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument."
"I've seen, indeed, the hopeful bud
Of a ruddy rose, that stood
Blushing to behold the ray
Of the new saluted day;
His tender top not fully spread;
The sweet dash of a shower now shed,
Invited him no more to hide
Within himself the purple pride
Of his forward flower, when lo,
While he sweetly 'gan to show
His swelling glories, Auster spied him,
Cruel Auster thither hied him,
And with the rush of one rude blast,
Sham'd not spitefully to waste
All his leaves, so fresh, so sweet,
And lay them trembling at his feet.
I've seen the morning's lovely ray
Hover o'er the new-born day,
With rosie wings so richly bright,
As if he scorn'd to think of night,
When a ruddy storm, whose scowl
Made Heaven's radiant face look foul,
VOL. I. PART II. R