ePub 版

To threaten bold presumptuous kings with war,
And answer her afflicted neighbours' pray'r.
The Dane and Swede rous'd up by fierce alarms,
Bless the wise conduct of her pious arms :
Soon as her fleets appear their terrors cease,
And all the northern world lies hush'd in peace.


[From The Campaign.)

Behold, in awful march and dread array The long extended squadrons shape their way! Death, in approaching terrible, imparts An anxious horror to the bravest hearts ; Yet do their beating breasts demand the strife, And thirst of glory quells the love of life. No vulgar fears can British minds control : Heat of revenge, and noble pride of soul, O'erlook the foe, advantag'd by his post, Lessen his numbers, and contract his host : Though fens and floods possess'd the middle space, That unprovok'd they would have fear'd to pass, Nor fens nor floods can stop Britannia's bands, When her proud foe rang'd on their borders stands.

But O, my muse, what numbers wilt thou find To sing the furious troops in battle join'd ! Methinks I hear the drum's tumultuous sound, The victor's shouts and dying groans confound, The dreadful burst of cannon rend the skies, And all the thunder of the battle rise. 'Twas then great Marlbro's mighty soul was prov'd, That, in the shock of charging hosts unmovid, Amidst confusion, horror, and despair, Examin'd all the dreadful scenes of war; In peaceful thought the field of death survey'd, To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid,

Inspir'd repuls'd battalions to engage,
And taught the doubtful battle where to rage.
So when an angel by divine command
With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,
Such as of late o'er pale Britannia past,
Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;
And pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm


(William Walsh was born at Aberley in Worcestershire, in 1663. He died in 1708. His principal works are A Defence of the Fair Sex, 1690, and Poems, 1691.]

The praise of Dryden first recommended to the public a poet who has since his death been solely immortalised by the praise of Pope. The lines of the latter, written in 1709, are familiar to most readers, but may be quoted here :

• To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
And every author's merit, but his own;
Such late was Walsh—the Muse's judge and friend,
Who justly knew to blame or to commend ;
To failings mild, but zealous to desert,
The clearest head and the sincerest heart.'

The qualities which Pope attributes to the person of Walsh are found in his writings, which have certainly been unduly neglected. The Propertius of the Restoration, he alone among the writers of his age understood the passion of love in an honourable and chivalric sense. Dryden, however, was almost the only person who perceived the moral beauty of Walsh’s verse, and certainly was alone in praising his very remarkable Defence of the Fair Sex, in which the young poet, in an age given up to selfish gallantry, recommended the honourable equality of the sexes and the views now understood as the extension of women's rights. He possessed little versatility, but much sweetness in the use of the heroic measure, and a certain delicate insight into emotion. His poem entitled “Jealousy' cannot be quoted here ; but it is by far the most powerful of his productions, and a marvellously true picture of a heart tossed in an agony of jealousy and love. In studying the versification of Pope, the influence of Walsh upon the style of the younger and greater man should not be overlooked, and there will be found in Walsh couplets such as this

‘Embalmed in verse, through distant times they come,
Preserved, like bees within an amber tomb,'

which Pope did not disdain to re-work on his own anvil into brighter shapes. It should be noted that Walsh is the author of the only sonnet written in English between Milton's, in 1658, and Warton's, about 1750.

EDMUND W. Gosse.

[merged small][ocr errors]

TO HIS BOOK (1691).
Go, little Book, and to the world impart
The faithful image of an amorous heart ;
Those who love's dear, deluding pains have known,
May in my fatal stories read their own;
Those who have lived from all its torments free,
May find the thing they never felt, from me ;
Perhaps, advised, avoid the gilded bait,
And, warned by my example, shun my fate :
While with calm joy, safe landed on the coast,
I view the waves on which I once was tost.
Love is a medley of endearments, jars,
Suspicions, quarrels, reconcilements, wars,
Then peace again. O would it not be best
To chase the fatal passion from our breast?
But since so few can live from passion free,
Happy the man, and only happy he,
Who with such lucky stars begins his love,
That his cool judgment does his choice approve.
Ill-grounded passione quickly wear away;
What's built upon esteem, can ne'er decay.


What has this bugbear death that's worth our care ?

After a life of pain and sorrow past, After deluding hopes and dire despair,

Death only gives us quiet at the last ;

How strangely are our love and hate misplaced ! Freedom we seek, and yet from freedom flee,

Courting those tyrant-sins that chain us fast, And shunning death that only sets us free. 'Tis not a foolish fear of future pains,Why should they fear who keep their souls from stains ?

That makes me dread thy terrors, Death, to see ; 'Tis not the loss of riches or of fame, Or the vain toys the vulgar pleasures name,

'Tis nothing, Celia, but the losing thee !

« 上一頁繼續 »