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And can there be a room for others here?
Should I disfigure such a piece, and blot
The perfect'st workmanship that Love e'er wrought ?
Palæmon, no; ah, no, it cost too dear,
It must remain entire whilst life remains,
The monument of her and of my pains.”
The Ode at the end of this drama, is both harmonious in versification and poetical in imagery.
Now each creature joys the other,
Passing happy days and hours,
One bird reports unto another,
In the fall of silver showers,
Whilst the earth (our common mother)
Hath her bosom deck'd with flowers.
Whilst the greatest torch of heaven,
With bright rays warms Flora's lap,
Making nights and days both even,
Cheering plants with fresher sap:
My field of flowers quite bereaven,
Wants refresh of better hap.
Echo, daughter of the air,
(Babbling guest of rocks and hills,)
Knows the name of my fierce fair,
And sounds the accents of my ills.
Each thing pities my despair,
Whilst that she her lover kills.
Whilst that she (O cruel maid)
Doth me and my love despise,
My life's flourish is decay'd,
That depended on her eyes :
But her will must be obey'd,
And well he ends, for love who dies.” The dedication to the Countess of Pembroke, prefixed to Cleopatra, is written in Daniel's best style. A portion of it we shall quote, partly because it is personal, and partly for the burst of enthusiasm on the prospect of our language being diffused over other lands.
" And now must I, with that poor strength I have,
Resist so foul a foe in what I may:
And arm against oblivion and the grave,
That else in darkness carries all away,
And makes of all an universal prey;
So that if by my pen procure I shall,
But to defend me, and my name to save,
Then tho'I die, I cannot yet die all.
But still the better part of me will live,
And in that part will live thy rev'rend name,
Altho' thyself dost far more glory give
Unto thyself, than I can by the same,
Who dost, with thine own hand, a bulwark frame
Against these monsters, (enemies of honour)
Which evermore shall so defend thy fame,
As time or they shall never prey upon her.
Those hymns which thou dost consecrate to heav'n,*
Which Israel's singer to his God did frame,
Unto thy voice eternity hath given,
And makes thee dear to him from whence they came;
In them must rest thy venerable name,
So long as Sion's God remaineth honoured ;
And till confusion hath all zeal bereaven,
And murther'd faith, and temples ruined.
By this (great lady) thou must then be known,
When Wilton lies low levell’d with the ground :
And this is that which thou may'st call thine own,
Which sacrilegious time cannot confound.
Here thou surviv'st thyself, here thou art found
Of late, succeeding ages, fresh in fame:
This monument cannot be overthrown,
Where, in eternal brass, remains thy name.
O that the ocean did not bound our stile
Within these strict and narrow limits so ;
But that the melody of our sweet isle
Might now be heard to Tyber, Arne, and Po:
That they might know how far Thames doth outgo
The music of declined Italy;
And list’ning to our songs another while,
Might learn of thee their notes to purify.
O why may not some after-coming hand
Unlock these limits, open our confines,
* An allusion to the metrical version of the Psalms by the Countess, which has been lately printed.
And break asunder this imprisoning band,
T'' enlarge our spirits, and publish our designs ;
Planting our roses on the Appenines ?
And to reach Rhine, to Loire, and Rhodanus,
Our accents, and the wonders of our land,
That they might all admire and honour us.
Whereby Great Sidney and our Spenser might,
With those Po singers being equalled,
Enchant the world with such a sweet delight,
That their eternal songs (for ever read)
May show what great Eliza's reign hath bred.
What music in the kingdom of her peace
Hath now been made to her, and by her might,
Whereby her glorious fame shall never cease.
But if that Fortune doth deny us this,
Then Neptune lock up with thy ocean key,
This treasure to ourselves, and let them miss
Of so sweet riches: as unworthy they
To taste the great delights that we enjoy.
And let our harmony, so pleasing grown,
Content ourselves, whose error ever is
Strange notes to like, and dis-esteem our own.
But whither do my vows transport me now,
Without the compass of my course enjoin'd?
Alas! what honour can a voice so low
As this of mine expect hereby to find ?
But (madam) this doth animate my mind,
That yet I shall be read among the rest,
And tho' I do not to perfection grow,
Yet something shall I be, tho' not the best.”
There is little in this tragedy to attract attention, still less admiration. The only passage which presents itself to our notice as worth transplanting, is part of the relation which Proculeius makes to Octavius Cæsar, of the attempt to obtain possession of the queen's person.
“ Ah! what hath Cæsar here to do, said she,
In confines of the dead, in darkness lying?
Will he not grant our sepulchres be free,
But violate the privilege of dying?
What, must he stretch forth his ambitious hand
Into the right of death, and force us here?
Hath misery no covert where to stand
Free from the storm of pride, is't safe no where?
Cannot my land, my gold, my crown suffice,
And all what I held dear, to him made common;
But that he must in this sort tyrannize
Th' afflicted body of a woeful woman?
Tell him my frailty, and the gods have given
Sufficient glory, could he be content:
And let him now with his desires make even,
And leave me to this horror, to lament.
Now he hath taken all away from me,
What must he take me from myself by force ?
Ah, let him yet (in mercy) leave me free
The kingdom of this poor distressed corse."
We now come to the minor poems, the best of which is an Epistle to The Lady Margaret, Countess of Cumberland. It is written in a high tone of didactic moralization, and is pregnant with the spirit of philosophy and humanity. We prefer this poem to any thing Daniel has written. It shews more judgement in the selection of topics-is more free, spirited, and disengaged than any other. We should have been glad if he had written more of the same kind.
“ He that of such a height hath built his mind,
And rear'd the dwelling of his thoughts so strong,
As neither fear nor hope can shake the frame
Of his resolved pow'rs; nor all the wind
Of vanity or malice pierce to wrong
His settled peace, or to disturb the same:
What a fair seat hath he, from whence he may
The boundless wastes and wilds of man survey?
And with how free an eye doth he look down
Upon those lower regions of turmoil ?
Where all the storms of passions mainly beat
On flesh and blood: where honour, pow'r, renown,
Are only gay afflictions, golden toil;
Where greatness stands upon as feeble feet,
As frailty doth; and only great doth seem
To little minds, who do it so esteem.
He looks upon the mighti'st monarchs' wars
But only as on stately robberies;
Where evermore the fortune that prevails
Must be the right: the ill-succeeding mars
The fairest and the best-fac'd enterprize.
Great pirate Pompey lesser pirates quails :
Justice, he sees, (as if seduced) still
Conspires with pow'r, whose cause must not be ill.
He sees the face of right t'appear as manifold
As are the passions of uncertain man;
Who puts it in all colours, all attires,
To serve his ends, and make his courses hold.
He sees, that let deceit work what it can,
Plot and contrive base ways to high desires,
That the all.guiding Providence doth yet
All disappoint, and mocks this smoke of wit.
Nor is he mov'd with all the thunder-cracks
Of tyrants’ threats, or with the surly brow
Of pow'r, that proudly sits on others' crimes ;
Charg'd with more crying sins than those he checks,
The storms of sad confusion, that may grow
Up in the present for the coming times,
Appal not him; that hath no side at all,
But of himself, and knows the worst can fall.
Altho' his heart (so near ally'd to earth)
Cannot but pity the perplexed state
Of troublous and distress?d mortality,
That thus make way unto the ugly birth
Of their own sorrows, and do still beget
Affliction upon imbecility :
Yet seeing thus the course of things must run,
He looks thereon not strange, but as fore-done.
And whilst distraught ambition compasses,
And is encompass'd; whilst as craft deceives,
And is deceiv'd; whilst man doth ransack man,
And builds on blood, and rises by distress;
And th' inheritance of desolation leaves
To great-expecting hopes : he looks thereon
As from the shore of peace, with unwet eye,
And bears no venture in impiety.
Thus, madam, fares that man, that hath prepar'a
A rest for his desires ; and sees all things
Beneath him; and hath learn'd this book of man,
Full of the notes of frailty; and compar'd
The best of glory with her sufferings :
By whom, I see, you labour all you can
To plant your heart; and set your thoughts as near
His glorious mansion as your pow'rs can bear.
Which, madam, are so soundly fashioned
By that clear judgement, that hath carry'd you
Beyond the feeble limits of your kind,