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BOOK II.

Here on this verdant spot, where Nature kind, With double blessings crowns the farmer's hopes ; Where flowers autumnal spring, and the rank mead Affords the wand'ring hares a rich repast; Throw off thy ready pack. See, where they spread And range around, and dash the glitt'ring dew. If some staunch hound, with his authentic voice, Avow the recent trail, the justling tribe Attend his call, then with one mutual cry, The welcome news confirm, and echoing hills Repeat the pleasing tale. See how they thread. The brakes, and up yon furrow drive along! But quick they back recoil, and wisely check Their eager haste; then o'er the fallowed ground How leisurely they work, and many a pause Th' harmonious concert breaks; till more assured With joy redoubled the low valleys ring. What artful labyrinths perplex their way!

Ah! there she lies; how close! she pants, she doubts
If now she lives; she trembles as she sits,

With horror seized. The withered grass that clings
Around her head, of the same russet hue
Almost deceived my sight, had not her eyes
With life full-beaming her vain wiles betrayed.
At distance draw thy pack, let all be hushed,
No clamour loud, no frantic joy be heard,
Lest the wild hound run gadding o'er the plain
Untractable, nor hear thy chiding voice.

Now gently put her off; see how direct

To her known Muse she flies! Here, huntsman, bring (But without hurry) all thy jolly hounds,

And calmly lay them in. How low they stoop,

And seem to plough the ground! then all at once
With greedy nostrils snuff the fuming steam
That glads their flutt'ring hearts. As winds let loose
From the dark caverns of the blustering God,
They burst away, and sweep the dewy lawn.

VOL. III.

The

Hope gives them wings while she's spurred on by fear.
The welkin rings, men, dogs, hills, rocks, and woods
In the full concert join. Now, my brave youths,
Stripped or the chace, give all your souls to joy!
See how their coursers, than the mountain roe
More fleet, the verdant carpet skim, thick clouds
Snorting they breathe, their shining hoofs scarce print
grass unbruised; with emulation fired
They strain to lead the field, top the barred gate,
O'er the deep ditch exulting bound, and brush
The thorny-twining hedge; the riders bend
O'er their arched necks; with steady hands, by turns
Indulge their speed, or moderate their rage.
Where are their sorrows, disappointments, wrongs,
Vexations, sickness, cares? All, all are gone,
And with the panting winds lag far behind.

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MATTHEW GREEN.

[MATTHEW GREEN was born in 1696. He came of a Dissenting family; held a post in the Custom House; and died a bachelor at a lo ́1ging in Nag's Head Court, Gracechurch Street, in 1737. His first poem The Grotto was published in 1732; The Spleen, his chief work, appeared in 1737. In 1796 it was published in a volume with some additional pieces and a preface by Dr. Aikin.]

To most people the name of Matthew Green, if it suggests anything, suggests a line in his longest poem,—the familiar

'Fling but a stone, the giant dies,'

which occurs in his general plea for physical exercise. It would almost appear as if the first discoverer of this happily concise precept, exhausted by the effort, had rested from further enquiry, for it is not often that one hears reference made to any other part of the poem. And yet The Spleen is full of things almost if not quite as good, and marked in all cases by distinct originality and a fresh and unfettered mode of utterance. Now it is a clever simile, as when poetasters are spoken of as those who

'buzz in rhyme, and, like blind flies, Err with their wings for want of eyes';

now a picture-couplet, such as this of the divine

'in whose gay red-lettered face, We read good living more than grace';

now a perfectly poetic line like

'Brown fields their fallow sabbaths keep';

or lastly such a pleasantly ingenious passage as that in which the

effect of blue eyes on the old is compared to the miracle of St.
Januarius:-

'Shine but on age, you melt its snow;
Again fires long-extinguished glow,
And, charmed by witchery of eyes,
Blood long congealed liquefies!
True miracle, and fairly done
By heads which are adored while on.'

many a

But to multiply quotations would be practically to reproduce the entire poem, which is not long. Green suffered really or poetically from the fashionable eighteenth-century disorder which Pope has so well described in The Rape of the Lock, and in this 'motley piece,' as he calls it, he sets forth the various expedients which he employed to evade his enemy. Taken altogether, his precepts constitute a code of philosophy not unlike that advocated in more than one of the Odes of Horace. To observe the religion of the body; to cultivate cheerfulness and calm; to keep a middle course, and possess his soul in quiet; content, as regards the future, to ignore what Heaven withholds, such are the chief features of his plan. But, in developing his principles he takes occasion to deal side-long stroke at imperfect humanity, and not always at those things only which are opposed to his theory of conduct. Female education, faction, law, religious sects, reform, speculation, place-hunting, poetry, ambition,-all these are briefly touched, and seldom left unmarked by some quivering shaft of ridicule. Towards the end of the poem comes an ideal picture of rural retirement, which may be compared with the joint version by Pope and Swift of Horace's sixth satire in the second book; and the whole closes with the writers views upon immortality and a summary of his practice. Regarded as a whole, we can recall few discursive poems which contain so much compact expression and witty illustration. The author was evidently shrewd and observant, and unusually gifted in the detection of grotesque aspects and remote affinities. He must have been more than fairly read, and although at the outset of his task he appears to disclaim scholarship,1 he must have been familiar with classical commonplaces—

School-helps I want, to climb on high
Where all the ancient treasures lie,
And there unseen commit a theft
On wealth in Greek exchequers left.'

witness, for instance, the line 'See better things and do the worst'; although for this and other examples he may have gone no farther than that eighteenth-century repertory of ready-made learning, the mottoes of the Spectator. In his verse, notwithstanding that he occasionally makes use of such hideous Latinisms as 'nefandous' and 'fecundous,' his vocabulary is fresh and exact, and remarkably free from the conventionalism of contemporary poetic diction.

Of Green's remaining pieces, The Grotto, and the lines On Barclay's Apology for the Quakers are the most noteworthy. Both of these are characterised by the same qualities which are exhibited in The Spleen. The Seeker is a humorous little picture of the different professors of religion.

AUSTIN DOBSON.

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