網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Our two souls therefore, which are one,

Tho’I must go, endure not yet A breach, but an expansion, in

Like gold to airy thinness beat. If they be two, they are two fo

As ftiff twin-compasses are two, Thy soul the fixt foot, makes no show . To move, but doth, if th’other do. And tho'it in the centre fit, .

Yet when the other far doth roam, It leans, and hearkens after it,

Andgrows erect, as that comes home. Such wilt thou be to me, who must

Like th’other foot, obliquely run. Thy firmness makes my circle just, And makes me end, where I begun,

DONNE. In all these examples it is apparént, that whatever is improper or vitious; is produced by a voluntary deviation from nature in pursuit of something new and strange; and that the writers fait to give delight, by their defire of exciting admiration. . . .' .

HAving thus endeavoured to exhibit E a general representation of the file and sentiments of the metaphysical poets, it is now proper to examine particularly the works of Cowley, who was almost the laft of that race, and undoubtedly the best,' ':

His Miscellanies contain a collection of short compofitions, written fome as they were dictated by a mind at leisure,

and

and some as they were called forth by different occafions; with great variety of stile and sentiment, from burlesque levity to awful grandeur. Such an afsemblage of diversified excellence no other poet, has hitherto afforded. To choose the best, among many good, is one of the most hazardous attempts of criticism. I know not whether Scaliger himself has persuaded many readers to join with him in his preference of the - two favourite odes, which he estimates · in his raptures at the value of a kingdom. I will however venture to recommend Cowley's first piece, which ought to be inscribed To my Mufe, for want of which the second couplet is without reference. When the title is added, there will still remain a defect; for every piece ought to contain in itself whatever is necessary to make it intelligible. Pope has some epitaphs without names, which are therefore epitaphs to be bet, occupied indeed for the present, bụt hardly appropriated. '. The ode on Wit is almost without a rival. It was about the time of Cowley that Wit, which had been till then used for Intelletion, in contradistinction to Will, took the meaning, whatever it be, which it now bears., Dr.

there

Of all the passages in which poets have exemplified their own precepts, none will eafily be found of greater excellence than that iir which Cowley condemns exuberance of Wit :

Yet

Yet ’tis not to adorn and gild each part, ... That shews more coft than art. - Jewels at nose and lips but ill appear; ... Rather than all things wit, let none .. be there. '

Several lights will not be seen,

If there be nothing else between. Men doubt, because they stand so thick ... i'th' sky., ... . · If those be stars which paint the galaxy.

In his verses to lord Falkland, whom every man of his .time was proud to « prajse, there are, as there must be in

all Cowley's.compositions, some striking - thoughts ; but they are not wellwrought. His elegy on Sir Henry Wotton is vigorous and happy, the

series

« 上一頁繼續 »