« 上一頁繼續 »
Tentare victurasque mentes,
VOL. I. PART I. K
Quern fata disjungunt dolentem,
Pectore constituas amicum.
Quem posteri discent, nee uno
Fama loquax celebrabit asvo.
Infunde craterae capaci
Dulcis amicitias liquorem."
The preceding ode, in praise of Venice, begins majestically.
"Diva, quam coelo generatus alto
The following description of Hugo Grotius's first love may amuse the reader.
"Ille inscius ora,
Et form* subeunt fastidia. Vota relinquunt
We conclude with a short " elegia," and a copy of Greek verses on a whimsical subject.
"Divini saltus, & saltibus aemula ripa,
Fessarum sedes humida Nai'adum,
Solis oberrantes excipitis radios
Innocuo serpis nnirmure, lenis aqua;
Exuvias vestris pendit ab arboribus,
Quam mea lux manibus texuit ipsa suis,
Arbore, jucundis compositam violis
Et nunquam tacitae gar nil us humor aquae.
Et tepidis tingat humida nox lachrymis,
Lucifer Eoo fulgurat in thalamo.
Atque iterum vestris occubet in foliis,
Depositum praesto sentiat esse suum.
Perfidiae testes non decet esse JJeos."
"In pulices &s culices a se interfectos, cum ab Us totam noctem Swindrechti exagitatus esset.
'EvSaJs wtwirttrtni o\>i\ Tmv mwra, waXat'uy
AJraif dvirapsvos rvyifris *? op&jio; evtHs,
Tligmtyitn, crv St tfs'ifai otvagam $JXa xotytovrvy,
Art. V. Poems, by the Rev. James Hurdis, D.D. late Felloio
of Magdalen College, and Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford *.
The appearance of Cowper in English poetry, was one of those literary phenomena which betoken the approach of a new age. The taste of the public mind, and the employment of the poetical talent of Britain, had for some time been gradually, and almost unconsciously, from causes upon which we will not here speculate, assuming a new direction; old tastes and prepossessions were melting away; and a poet of eminent abilities only was wanting, to break down formally the barriers of prejudice, and to sign, as it were, the warrant by which coming geniuses might be authorised to develope themselves in a different manner from their predecessors. Cowper has perhaps as good a title as any other writer to the distinction mentioned. His great contemporary Burns may have had much more eventual influence on the poetry of the succeeding generation; but that of Cowper was more ostensible, and, if we may so speak, more palpable. He was not the originator of the present age of poetry; but he was the morning-star which preceded its rising. The delightful freedom of his manner, so acceptable to those who had long been accustomed to a poetical school of which the radical fault was constraint; his noble and tender morality; his fervent piety; his glowing and well expressed patriotism; his descriptions, unparalleled in vividness and accuracy since Thomson; his playful humour, and his powerful satire; the skilful construction of his verse, at least in The Task, and the refreshing variety of that fascinating poem,—all together conspired to render him highly popular, both among the multitude of common readers, and among those who, possessed of poetical powers themselves, were capable of more intimately appreciating those of a real poet. Even his faults were not, perhaps, without effect; the somewhat tasteless manner in which he occasionally introduces theological discussion, might gratify a few worthy religionists, who, pleased to see the truths which they perhaps justly hold dear, occupying an honorable place in a collection of fashionable poetry, overlooked the unseasonableness of their introduction: his partial asperity, and coarseness of satire, possessed a recommendation for some minds, which the writer never intended; and the slight human tinge of party-politics, which
* Our extracts are made from a collected edition of his works, published at the Oxfotd University Press in J 808.
mingled itself with his noble common-places of patriotism, and his sketches of existing manners, was exactly accommodated to the prevailing opinions of the day. His more obvious and his more recondite merits, conspired alike to make him popular; and thus recommended, it is not wonderful that his writings became the text-book of the patriot, as well as the Christian, and the precursors of a new aera of poetry.
It was natural that success like his should attract imitators; and there was something in the freshness and apparent ease of his manner, which tempted imitation. Among the most successful of his followers, is to be enumerated the subject of the present article; a poet resembling him partially in genius, and more in disposition; and who, though not a mere imitator of his illustrious friend (no man of genius was ever a mere imitator), had yet imbibed so much of his manner and spirit, as to entitle him, without much inaccuracy, to the title of a disciple of Cowper.
The poem by which he is best known, and which is among the most characteristic of his talents and his manner, his beauties and defects, is The Village Curate. This piece embraces a description of the pursuits and amusements of the retired pastor throughout the year. It is in fact a portrait of his own life, in his happy seclusion as a curate, surrounded by the beauties of nature, and blessed in the society of an amiable family of sisters. The matter is composed of lively description, and animated sentiment; the style, with much wilful and fore-purposed prose, contains a sufficiency of vigour, and a frequent "curiosa felicitas," which has a pleasing effect. His resemblances to Cowper, are more visible here than in some of his other works. Far inferior to his master in genius, he yet has some of his power, and much of his accuracy of painting, together with a playfulness resembling his, and an elevation, and a kindliness of sentiment, which reminds us irresistibly of The Task. The constitutional melancholy, which, though it seldom or never taints Cowper's feelings, as expressed in his poetry, frequently shews itself through them, finds no place in Hurdis; there is a gentle and cheerful, as well as courteous spirit, diffused through his poem, which is unfailingly agreeable. On the other hand, his religion is less defined, and his piety (if we may say so without unkindness toward so benevolent a spirit) apparently less Christian; and we can fancy that we see a certain want of seriousness and grandeur in his sentiments, when'compared to those of the remarkable writer with whom we have associated him.
Of The Village Curate, as it is better known than any of his other productions, we will only give one or two specimens. The following is the exordium of the second part.