網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

OF MEMORY.

It is the treasure-house of the mind, wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved. Plato makes it the mother of the Muses. Aristotle sets it in one degree further, making experience the mother of arts, memory the parent of experience. Philosophers place it in the rear of the head; and it seems the mine of memory lies there, because there men naturally dig for it, scratching it when they are at a loss. This again is two-fold; one, the simple retention of things; the other, a regaining them when forgotten.

Artificial memory is rather a trick than an art, and more for the gain of the teacher than profit of the learners. Like the tossing of a pike, which is no part of the postures and motions thereof, and is rather for ostentation than use, to show the strength and nimbleness of the arm, and is often used by wandering soldiers, as an introduction to beg. Understand it of the artificial rules which at this day are delivered by memory mountebanks; for sure an art thereof may be made, (wherein as yet the world is defective,) and that no more destructive to natural memory than spectacles are to eyes, which girls in Holland wear from twelve years of age. But till this be found out, let us observe these plain rules.

First, soundly infix in thy mind what thou desirest to remember. What wonder is it if agitation of business jog that cut of thy head which was there rather tacked than fastened? It is best knocking in the nail over night, and clinching it the next morning.

Overburden not thy memory to make so faithful a servant a slave. Remember, Atlas was weary. Have as much reason as a camel, to rise when thou hast thy full load. Memory, like a purse, if it be over full that it cannot shut, all will drop out of it; take heed of a gluttonous curiosity to feed on many things, lest the greediness of the appetite of thy memory spoil the digestion thereof.

Marshal thy notions into a handsome method. One will carry twice more weight trussed and packed up in bundles, than when it lies untoward, flapping and hanging about his shoulders. Things orderly fardled up under heads are most portable.

Adventure not all thy learning in one bottom, but divide it betwixt thy memory and thy note-books. He that with Bias carries all his learning about him in his head, will utterly be beggared and bankrupt, if a violent disease, a merciless thief, should rob and strip him. I know some have a common-place against commonplace-books, and yet perchance will privately make use of what they publicly declaim against. A common-place-book contains many notions in garrison, whence the owner may draw out an nrmy into the field on competent warning.

RORERT HERRICK. 1591—1G62.

Oxe of the most exquisite of the early English lyric poets, was Robert Herrick. But little 13 known of his life. His father was a goldsmith of Lontlon, and he was born in that city in 1591. He studied at Cambridge, and took orders in the established church, and obtained a place to preach in, in Devonshire, which he lost at the commencement of the civil wars. At the Restoration he was re-appointed to his vicarage, but died soon afterwards, in 1662.

Abating some of the impurities of Herrick, we can fully join with an able critic in the Retrospective Review1 in pronouncing him one of the best of English lyric poets. "He is the most joyous and gladsome of bards; singing like the grasshopper, as if he would never grow old. He is as fresh as the Spring, as blithe as the Summer, and as ripe as the Autumn. . . . His poems resemble a luxuriant meadow, full of king-cups and wild flowers, or a July firmament, sparkling with a myriad of stars. His fancy fed upon all the fair and sweet things of nature: it is redolent of roses and jessamine; it is as light and airy as the thistle down, or the bubbles which laughing boys blow into the air, where they float in a waving line of beauty."

TO DAFFODILS.
Fair daffodils, we weep to see

You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon:
Stay, stay,
Until the hastening day

Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along!

We have short lime to stay, as you;

We have as short a spring,
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or any thing:
We die,
As your hours do; and dry
Away

Liko to the summer's rain,
Or as the pearls of morning dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

TO PRIMROSES, FILLED WITH MORNING DEW.

Why do ye weep, sweet babes? Can tears
Speak grief in you,
Who were but born
Just as the modest mom
Teera'd her refreshing dew 1
Alas! you have not known that shower
That mars a flower;

[ocr errors]

Nor felt th' unkind
Breath of a blasting wind;
Nor are ye worn with years;

Or warp'd, as we,
Who think it strange to see
Such pretty flowers, like to orphans young,
To speak by tears before ye have a tongue.

Speak, whimpering younglings; and make known
The reason why
Ye droop, and weep.
Is it for want of sleep;
Or childish lullaby?
Or, that ye have not seen as yet
The violet?
Or brought a kiss
From that sweetheart to this?
No, no; this sorrow, shown

By your tears shed,
Would have this lecture read,
"That things of greatest, so of meanest worth,
Conceived with grief are, and with tears brought forth."

TO BLOSSOMS.

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,

Why do ye fall so fast?

Your date is not so past,
But you may stay yet hero awhile

To blush and gently smile,
And go at last.

What, were ye born to be

An hour or half's delight,
And so to bid good-night?

Tis pity nature brought ye forth
Merely to show your worth,
And lose you quite.

But you are lovely leaves, where we
May read how soon things have
Their end, though ne'er so brave:

And after they have shown their pride,
Like you, awhile, they glide
Into the grave.

HOW THE HEART'S-EASE FIRST CAME.

Frolic virgins once these were,

Over-loving, living here;

Being here their ends denied,

Ran for sweethearts mad, and died.

Love, in pity of their tears,

And their loss of blooming years.

For their restless here-spent hours,

fjave them heart's-ease turn'd to flowers.

THE CAPTIVE BEE, OR THE LlTl'LE FILCHEH.

As Julia once a slumbering lay,

It chanced a bee did fly that way,

After a dew, or dew-like shower,

To tipple freely in a flower;

For some rich flower he took the lip

Of Julia, and began to sip:

But when he felt he suck'd from thence

Honey, and in the quintessence,

He drank so much he scarce could stir;

So Julia took the pilferer:

And thus surprised, as filchers use,

He thus began himself t' excuse ^

Sweet lady-flower! I never brought

Hither the least one thieving thought;

But taking those rare lips of yours

For some fresh, fragrant, luscious flowers,

I thought I might there take a taste,

Where so much syrup ran at waste:

Besides, know this, I never sting

The flower that gives me nourishing;

But with a kiss, or thanks, do pay

For honey that I bear away.

This said, he laid his little scrip

Of honey 'fore her ladyship;

And told her, as some tears did fall,

That, that he took, and that was all.

At which site smiled; and bade him go

And take his bag; but thus much know

When next he came a pilfering so,

He should from her full lips derive

Honey enough to fill his hive.

THE NIGHT PIECE. TO JULIA.

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee,

And the elves also,

Whose little eyes glow
Like sparks of fire, befriend thee!
No will-o'-th'-wisp mislight thee,
Nor snake nor slow-worm bite thee;

But on, on thy way,

Not making a stay,
Since ghost there's none to affright thee!
Let not the dark thee cumber;
What though the moon does slumber,

The stars of the night

Will lend thee their light,
Like tapers clear without number 1

Then Julia, let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me:

And, when I shall meet

Thy silvery feet
My soul I'll pour into thee!

THE PRIMROSE.

Ask me why I send you here

This sweet infanta of the year?

Ask me why I send to you

This primrose, thus bepearl"d with dew!

I will whisper to your ears,

The sweets of love are mix'd with tears.

Ask me why this flower does show
So yellow green, and sickly too?
Ask me why the stalk is weak
And bending, yet it doth not break?
I will answer, tliese discover
What fainting hopes are in a lover.

UPON A CHILD THAT DIED.

Here she lies, a pretty bud,
Lately made of flesh and blood;
Who as soon foil fast asleep
As her little eyes did peep.
Give her strewings, but not stir
The earth that lightly covers her!

EPITAPH UPON A CHILD.

Virgins promised, when I died,
That they would, each primrose-tide.
Duly morn and evening come,
And with flowers dress my tomb:
Having promised, pay your debts,
Maids, and here strew violets.

UPON A MAID.

Here she lies, in beds of spice,
Fair as Kve in paradise;
For her beauty it was such,
Poets could not praise too much.
Virgins, come, and in a ring
Her supremest requiem sing;
Then depart, but see ye tread
Lightly, lightly o'er the dead.

CATHERINE PHILIPS. 1631—1064.

Mrs. Cathihikb Philips was the daughter of John Fowler, a London merchant, and married, when quite young, James Philips, a gentleman of Cardiganshire. Her devotion to die Muses showed itself at a very early age, and she wrote under the fictitious name of Orinda. She continued to write after her marriage; though diis did not prevent her from discharging, in a most exemplary manner, the duties of domestic life. Her poems, which had been dispersed among her friends in manuscript, were first printed without her knowledge or consent She was very much esteemed by her con

« 上一頁繼續 »