ePub 版

But ah! no more; this must not be foretold:
For women grieve to think they must be old."

The next is in a nobler spirit.

"And yet I cannot reprehend the flight,

Or blame th' attempt presuming so to soar;

The mounting venture for a high delight,

Did make the honour of the fall the more.
For who gets wealth, that puts not from the shore?

Danger hath honour; great designs their fame:

Glory doth follow; courage goes before.

And tho' th' event oft answers not the same,

Suffice that high attempts have never shame.
The mean observer, whom base safety keeps,

Lives without honour, dies without a name,

And in eternal darkness ever sleeps.
And therefore, Delia, 'tis to me no blot,
To have attempted, tho' attain'd thee not."

Nothing can be more delicately tender than the sentiment in the following sonnet, which is also exquisitely mellifluous.


"I must not grieve, my love, whose eyes would read

Lines of delight, whereon her youth might smile;

Flowers have time before they come to seed,

And she is young, and now must sport the while.
And sport, sweet maid, in season of these years,

And learn to gather flow'rs before they wither;

And where the sweetest blossom first appears,

Let love and youth conduct thy pleasures thither.
Lighten forth smiles to clear the clouded air,

And calm the tempest which my sighs do raise:

Pity and smiles do best become the fair;

Pity and smiles must only yield thee praise.
Make me to say, when all my griefs are gone,
Happy the heart that sigh'd for such a one."

We should be guilty of an injustice to Daniel, if, after what we have said, we should omit to give an extract from his Civil War; and we shall select a favorable one—one which is characterized by an earnestness of feeling not very usual with him. It occurs in the part which relates to the civil wars in the reign of Richard the Second, and is the deprecation of the " grave religious fathers" against these broils.

"And O! what do you now prepare, said they;

Another conquest, by these fatal ways?

What, must your own hands'make yourselves a prey

To desolation, which these tumults raise?

What Dane, what Norman, shall prepare his way,

To triumph on the spoil of your decays?

That which nor France, nor all the world could do,

In union, shall your discord bring you to?

Conspire against us, neighbour-nations all,
That envy at the height whereto V are grown:
Conjure the barb'rous North, and let them call
Strange fury from far distant shores unknown;
And let them all together on us fall,
So to divert the ruin of our own;
That we, forgetting what doth so incense,
May turn the hand of malice to defence.

Calm these tempestuous spirits, mighty Lord;
This threat'ning storm, that over-hangs the land:
Make them consider, e'er they unsheath the sword,
How vain is th' earth, this point whereon they stand;
And with what sad calamities is stor'd
The best of that, for which th' ambitious band
'Labour the end of labour, strife of strife,
Terror in death, and horror after life.'

Thus they in zeal, whose humbl'd thoughts were good,
Whilst in this wide-spread volume of the skies,
The book of Providence disclosed stood,
Warnings of wrath, foregoing miseries,
In lines of fire, and characters of blood;
There fearful forms in dreadful flames arise,
Amazing comets, threat'ning monarchs' might,
And new-seen stars, unknown unto the night."

Our next extracts will be from The Complaint of Rosamond, whose ghost appears to the poet, and giving him to understand that Charon denies her a passage to the Elysian fields, "Till lovers' sighs on earth shall it deliver," prevails upon him to write the sto.y of her wrongs and the ruin of her youth, in order to propitiate the surly boatman. This he has done in the form of a complaint. Beauty, the springe which caught the king, and caused Rosamond's ruin, is thus apostrophized:

"Ah Beauty! Syren, fair enchanting good,
Sweet silent rhetoric of persuading eyes;
Dumb eloquence, whose power doth move the blood,
More than the words or wisdom of the wise;

Still, harmony, whose diapason lies
Within a brow; the key which passions move
To ravish sense, and play a world in love.

What might I then not do, whose power is such 1

What cannot women do that know their power?

What women know it not (I fear too much)

How bliss or bale lies in their laugh or lour?

Whilst they enjoy their happy blooming flower,
Whilst Nature decks them in their best attires
Of youth and beauty, which the world admires.

Such once was I,—my beauty was mine own;
No borrowed blush, which bankrupt beauties seek,
That new-found shame, a sin to us unknown;
Th' adulterate beauty of a falsed cheek,
Vile stain to honour and to women eke;

Seeing that time our fading must detect,

Thus with defect to cover our defect.

Far was that sin from us, whose age was pure,

When simple beauty was accounted best;

The time when women had no other lure

But modesty, pure cheeks, a virtuous breast,

This was the pomp wherewith my youth was blest:
These were the weapons which mine honour won,
In all the conflicts which mine eyes begun."

Daniel has shewn more judgement in the management of his pathetic powers in the following extract, than perhaps in any of his poems. The king meets the funeral procession of the fair Rosamond, whom his jealous queen had poisoned.

"Judge those whom chance deprives of sweetest treasure,

What 'tis to lose a thing we hold so dear?

The best delight wherein our soul takes pleasure,

The sweet of life, that penetrates so near.

What passions feels that heart, inforc'd to bear
The deep impression of so strange a sight,
That overwhelms us, or confounds us quite?

Amaz'd he stands, nor voice nor body stirs;
Words had no passage, tears no issue found,
For sorrow shut up words, wrath kept in tears;
Confus'd effects each other do confound;
Opprest with grief, his passions had no bound.

Striving to tell his woes, words would not come;

For light cares speak, when mighty griefs are dumb.

At length extremity breaks out a way,

Thro' which, th' imprison'd voice with tears attended,

Wails out a sound that sorrows do bewray;

With arms across, and eyes to heaven bended,

Vapouring out sighs that to the skies ascended;

Sighs (the poor ease calamity affords)

Which serve for speech, when sorrow wanteth words.

O heavens! (quoth he) why do mine eyes behold
The hateful rays of this unhappy sun 1
Why have I light to see my sins controll'd,
With blood of mine own shame thus wildly done?
How can my sight endure to look thereon?
Why doth not black eternal darkness hide
That from mine eyes, my heart cannot abide?

What saw my life wherein my soul might joy?

What had my days, whom troubles still afflicted,

But only this, to counterpoise annoy?

This joy, this hope, which death hath interdicted;

This sweet, whose loss hath all distress inflicted;
This, that did season all my sour of life,
Vex'd still at home with broils, abroad in strife.

Vex'd still at home with broils, abroad in strife;

Dissension in my blood, jars in my bed;

Distrust at board, suspecting still my life,

Spending the night in horror, days in dread;

(Such life hath tyrants, and this life I led.)
These miseries go mask'd in glittering shows,
Which wise men see, the vulgar little knows.

Thus, as these passions do him overwhelm,
He draws him near my body to behold it;
And as the vine married unto the elm,
With strict embraces, so doth he enfold it:
And as he in his careful arms doth hold it,
Viewing the face that even death commends,
On senseless lips, millions of kisses spends.

Pitiful mouth (saith he) that living gavest
The sweetest comfort that my soul could wish:
O be it lawful now, that dead thou havest
This sorrowing farewell of a dying kiss.
And you fair eyes, containers of my bliss,
Motives of love, born to be matched never,
Entomb'd in your sweet circles, sleep for ever.

Ah! how, methinks I see death dallying seeks,

To entertain itself in Love's sweet place;

Decayed roses of discoloured cheeks,

Do yet retain dear notes of former grace:

And ugly death sits fair within her face;
Sweet remnants resting of vermillion red,
That death itself doubts whether she be dead."

This passage from Hymen's Triumph, descriptive of early love, is worth a place here:

"Ah, I remember well (and bow can I
But evermore remember well) when first
Our flame began, when scarce we knew what was
The flame we felt; when as we sat and sigh'd
And look'd upon each other, and conceiv'd
Not what we ail'd, yet something we did ail;
And yet were well, and yet we were not well,
And what was our disease we could not tell.
Then would we kiss, then sigh, then look: And thus
In that first garden of our simpleness
We spent our childhood: But when years began
To reap the fruit of knowledge; ah, how then
Would she with graver looks, with sweet stern brow,
Check my presumption and my forwardness;
Yet still would give me flowers, still would me show
What she would have me, yet not have me know."

And there is something of passion in the answer which Thirsis returns to Palaemon's consolatory advice, that it is a shame to waste his youth in mourning his lost Silvia, when there are other nymphs as fair as she, from whom he may make his choice.

"As fair and sweet as she? Palaemon, peace:
Ah, what can pictures be unto the life?
What sweetness can be found in images?
Which all nymphs else besides her seem to me.
She only was a real creature, she,
Whose memory must take up all of me.
Should I another love, then must I have
Another heart, for this is full of her,
And evermore shall be: Here is she drawn
At length, and whole; and more, this table is
A story, and is all of her; and all
Wrought in the liveliest colours of my blood;

« 上一頁繼續 »