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vivid, and picturesque-a mode of expression terse, simple, and condensed-and a wit admirable, as well for its caustic severity, as for its playful quickness -and as only wanting sufficient sensibility and taste to preserve him from the vices of style which seem
Monumental Effigy of Dr Donne.
to have beset him. Donne is usually considered as the first of a series of poets of the seventeenth century, who, under the name of the Metaphysical Poets, fill a conspicuous place in Erglish literary nistory. The directness of thought, the naturalness of description, the rich abundance of genuine poetical feeling and imagery, which distinguish the poets of Elizabeth's reign, now begin to give way to cold and forced conceits, mere vain workings of the intellect, a kind of poetry as unlike the former as punning is unlike genuine wit. To give an idea of these conceits-Donne writes a poem on a familiar popular subject, a broken heart. Here he does not advert to the miseries or distractions which are presumed to be the causes of broken hearts, but starts off into a play of conceit upon the phrase. He entered a room, he says, where his mistress was present, and
At one first blow did shiver it [his heart] as glass.
Then, forcing on his mind to discover by what means the idea of a heart broken to pieces, like glass, can be turned to account in making out something that will gingle on the reader's imagination, he proceeds thus:
Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
Nor any place be empty quite,
Therefore I think my breast hath all
Those pieces still, though they do not unite:
And now, as broken glasses show
A hundred lesser faces, so
My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore, But after one such love can love no more.
it is a mere conceit. Perhaps we should not be far from the truth, if we were to represent this style as the natural symptoms of the decline of the brilliant school of Sackville, Spenser, and Shakspeare. All the recognised modes, subjects, and phrases of poetry, introduced by them and their contemporaries, were now in some degree exhausted, and it was necessary to seek for something new. This was found, not in a new vein of equally rich ore, but in a continuation of the workings through adjoining veins of spurious metal.
It is at the same time to be borne in mind, that the quality above described did not characterise the whole of the writings of Donne and his followers. These men are often direct, natural, and truly poetical-in spite, as it were, of themselves. Donne, it may be here stated, is usually considered as the first writer of that kind of satire which Pope and Churchill carried to such perfection. But his satires, to use the words of a writer already quoted, are rough and rugged as the unhewn stones that have just been blasted from the quarry.
The specimens which follow are designed only to exemplify the merits of Donne, not his defects:
There is here, certainly, analogy, but then it is. an analogy which altogether fails to please or move:
Address to Bishop Valentine, on the day of the marriage
of the Elector Palatine to the Princess Elizabeth.
Hail Bishop Valentine! whose day this is,
All the air is thy diocese,
And all the chirping choristers
And other birds are thy parishioners:
Thou marryest, every year,
The lyric lark and the grave whispering dove;
The sparrow that neglects his life for love,
The household bird with his red stomacher;
Thou mak'st the blackbird speed as soon,
This day more cheerfully than ever shine;
As doth the goldfinch or the halcyon;
This day which might inflame thyself, old Valentine!
As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go;
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
The breath goes now-and some say, no;
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.
Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.
Dull, sublunary lover's love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which alimented it.
But we're by love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is;1
Inter-assured of the mind,
Careless eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Our two souls, therefore (which are one)
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show.
To move, but doth, if th' other do.
1 That is, absence.
And though it in the centre sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circles just,
And makes me end where I begun.
Before I sigh my last gasp, let me breathe,
Great Love, some legacies: I here bequeath
Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see;
If they be blind, then, Love, I give them thee;
My tongue to Fame; to ambassadors mine ears;
To women, or the sea, my tears;
Thou, Love, hast taught me heretofore,
By making me serve her who had twenty more,
That I should give to none but such as had too much
I give my reputation to those
Which were my friends; mine industry to foes;
To schoolmen I bequeath my doubtfulness;
My sickness to physicians, or excess;
To Nature all that I in rhyme have writ!
Stranger than seven antiquaries' studies-
Than Afric monsters-Guiana's rarities-
Stranger than strangers. One who for a Dane
In the Danes' massacre had sure been slain,
If he had lived then; and without help dies
When next the 'prentices 'gainst strangers rise.
One whom the watch at noon scarce lets go by;
One to whom th' examining justice sure would cry,
'Sir, by your priesthood, tell me what you are?'
His clothes were strange, though coarse-and black,
Sleeveless his jerkin was, and it had been
Velvet, but 'twas now (so much ground was seen)
Become tuff-taffety; and our children shall
See it plain rash awhile, then not at all.
The thing hath travell'd, and saith, speaks all tongues;
And only knoweth what to all states belongs.
Made of the accents and best phrase of these,
Art can deceive, or hunger force my taste;
He speaks one language. If strange meats displease,
[A Character from Donne's Satires.]
Towards me did run
A thing more strange than on Nile's slime the sun
Eer bred, or all which into Noah's ark came;
A thing which would have posed Adam to name.
But pedants' motley tongue, soldiers' bombast,
Mountebanks' drug-tongue, nor the terms of law,
Are strong enough preparatives to draw
Me to bear this. Yet I must be content
With his tongue, in his tongue called compliment.
He names me, and comes to me. I whisper, God!
How have I sinn'd, that thy wrath's furious rod,
(This fellow) chooseth me? He saith, Sir,
I love your judgment-whom do you prefer.
For the best linguist? And I sillily"
Said, that I thought, Calepine's Dictionary.
'Nay, but of men, most sweet sir ?'-Beza then,
Some Jesuits, and two reverend men
Of our two academies, I named.
He stopt me, and said- Nay, your apostles were
Pretty good linguists, and so Panurge was,
Yet a poor gentleman. All these may pass
By travel.' Then, as if he would have sold
His tongue, he prais'd it, and such wonders told,
That I was fain to say- If you had liv'd, Sir,
Time enough to have been interpreter
To Babel's bricklayers, sure the tower had stood.'
He adds, "If of court-life you knew the good,
You would leave loneness.' I said, 'Not alone
My loneness is, but Spartans' fashion.
And to my company my wit:
Thou, Love, by making me adore
Her who begot this love in me before,
To teach by painting drunkards doth not last
Now; Aretine's pictures have made few chaste;
Taught'st me to make as though I gave, when I do but No more can prince's courts (though there be few
Better pictures of vice) teach me virtue.'
He, like a high-stretch'd lutestring, squeak'd, 'O, Sir,
'Tis sweet to talk of kings!' At Westminster,
(Said I) the man that keeps the Abbey-tombs,
And, for his price, doth, with whoever comes,
Of all our Harrys and our Edwards talk,
From king to king, and all their kin can walk.
Your ears shall hear nought but kings-your eyes meet
Kings only-the way to it is King street?'
He smack'd and cry'd- He's base, mechanic, coarse,
So are all your Englishmen in their discourse.
Are not your Frenchmen neat? Mine?-as you sec,
I have but one, Sir-look, he follows me.
Certes, they are neatly cloth'd. I of this mind am,
Your only wearing is your grogoram.'
'Not so, Sir. I have more.' Under this pitch
He would not fly. I chaf'd him. But as itch
Scratch'd into smart-and as blunt iron ground
Into an edge hurts worse-so I (fool!) found
To him for whom the passing bell next tolls
I give my physic books; my written rolls
Of moral counsels I to Bedlam give;
My brazen medals, unto them which live
In want of bread; to them which pass among
All foreigners, my English tongue :
Thou, Love, by making me love one
Who thinks her friendship a fit portion
For younger lovers, dost my gifts thus disproportion.
Therefore I'll give no more, but I'll undo
The world by dying, because love dies too.
Then all your beauties will be no more worth
Than gold in mines, where none doth draw it forth,
And all your graces no more use shall have
Than a sun-dial in a grave.
Thou, Love, taught'st me, by making me
Love her who doth neglect both me and thee,
To invent and practise this one way to annihilate all Crossing hurt me. To fit my sullenness
He to another key his style doth dress,
And asks, What news? I tell him of new plays;
He takes my hands, and as a still which stays
A semibreve 'twixt each drop, he (niggardly,
As loath to enrich me so) tells many a lie-
More than ten Holinsheds, or Halls, or Stowe
Of trivial household trash he knows. He knows
When the queen frown'd or smil'd, and he knows what
A subtle statesman may gather from that.
He knows who loves whom; and who by poison
Hastes to an office's reversion.
He knows who hath sold his land, and now doth beg
A licence, old iron, boots, shoes, and egg-
Shells to transport. Shortly boys shall not play
At spancounter, or blow point, but shall pay
Toll to some courtier. And (wiser than all us)
He knows what lady is not painted.
JOSEPH HALL, born at Bristow Park, in Leicestershire, in 1574, and who rose through various church preferments to be bishop of Norwich, is more distinguished as a prose writer than as a poet: he is, however, allowed to have been the first to write satirical verse with any degree of elegance. His satires, which were published under the title of Virgidemiarum, in 1597-9, refer to general objects, and present some just pictures of the more remark-As able anomalies in human character: they are also written in a style of greater polish and volubility than most of the compositions of this age. Bishop Hall, of whom a more particular notice is given elsewhere, died in 1656, at the age of eighty-two.
[Selections from Hall's Satires.]
A gentle squire would gladly entertain
Into his house some trencher-chapelain :
Some willing man that might instruct his sons,
And that would stand to good conditions.
First that he lie upon the truckle-bed,
While his young master lieth o'er his head.
Second, that he do, on no default,
Ever presume to sit above the salt.
Third, that he never change his trencher twice.
Fourth, that he use all common courtesies;
Sit bare at meals, and one half rise and wait.
Last, that he never his young master beat,
But he must ask his mother to define,
How many jerks he would his breech should line.
All these observed, he could contented be,
To give five marks and winter livery.
Seest thou how gaily my young master goes,
Vaunting himself upon his rising toes;
And pranks his hand upon his dagger's side;
And picks his glutted teeth since late noon-tide?
"Tis Ruffio: Trow'st thou where he dined to-day!
In sooth I saw him sit with Duke Humphrey.
Many good welcomes, and much gratis cheer,
Keeps he for every straggling cavalier;
An open house, haunted with great resort;
Long service mixt with musical disport.+
Many fair younker with a feather'd crest,
Chooses much rather be his shot-free guest,
To fare so freely with so little cost,
Than stake his twelvepence to a meaner host.
Hadst thou not told me, I should surely say
He touch'd no meat of all this live-long day.
For sure methought, yet that was but a guess,
His eyes seem'd sunk for very hollowness,
But could he have (as I did it mistake)
So little in his purse, so much upon his back!
So nothing in his maw? yet seemeth by his belt,
That his gaunt gut no too much stuffing felt.
Seest thou how sidel it hangs beneath his hip!
Hunger and heavy iron makes girdles slip.
Yet for all that, how stiffly struts he by,
All trapped in the new-found bravery.
The nuns of new-won Calais his bonnet lent,
In lieu of their so kind a conquerment.
What needed he fetch that from farthest Spain,
His grandame could have lent with lesser pain?
Though he perhaps ne'er pass'd the English shore,
Yet fain would counted be a conqueror.
His hair, French-like, stares on his frighted head,
One lock amazon-like dishevelled,
As if he meant to wear a native cord,
If chance his fates should him that bane afford.
All British bare upon the bristled skin,
Close notched is his beard, both lip and chin;
His linen collar labyrinthian set,
Whose thousand double turnings never met:
His sleeves half hid with elbow pinionings,
if he meant to fly with linen wings.
But when I look, and cast mine eyes below,
What monster meets mine eyes in human show!
So slender waist with such an abbot's loin,
Did never sober nature sure conjoin.
Lik'st a strawn scarecrow in the new-sown field,
Rear'd on some stick, the tender corn to shield,
Or, if that semblance suit not every deal,
Like a broad shake-fork with a slender steel.
*This is the portrait of a poor gallant of the days of Elizabeth. In St Paul's Cathedral, then an open public place, there was a tomb erroneously supposed to be that of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, which was the resort of gentlemen upon town in that day, who had occasion to look out for a dinner. When unsuccessful in getting an invitation, they were said to dine with Duke Humphrey.
An allusion to the church service to be heard near Duke Humphrey's tomb.
In 1616, BEN JONSON collected the plays he had then written, and published them in one volume, folio, adding, at the same time, a book of epigrams, and a number of poems, which he entitled The Forest, and The Underwood. The whole were comprised in one folio volume, which Jonson digni. fied with the title of his Works, a circumstance which exposed him to the ridicule of some of his contemporaries.* It is only with the minor poetry of Jonson that we have to deal at present, as the dramatic productions of this stern old master of the manly school of English comedy will be afterwards described. There is much delicacy of fancy, fine feeling, and sentiment, in some of Jonson's lyrical and descriptive effusions. He grafted a classic grace and musical expression on parts of his masques and interludes, which could hardly have been expected from his massive and ponderous hand. In some of his songs he equals Carew and Herrick in picturesque images, and in portraying the fascinations of love. A taste for nature is strongly displayed in his fine lines on Penshurst, that ancient seat of the Sidneys. It has been justly remarked by one of his critics, that Jonson's dramas do not lead us to value highly enough his admirable taste and feeling in poetry; and when we consider how many other intellectual excellences distinguished him-wit, observation, judgment, memory, learning-we must acknowledge that the inscription on his tomb, “O rare Ben Jonson !" is not more pithy than it is true.'
I Long, or low.
*An epigram addressed to him on the subject is as follows: Pray tell us, Ben, where does the mystery lurk, What others call a play you call a work?
On behalf of Jonson an answer was returned, which seems to glance at the labour which Jonson bestowed on all his produc
The author's friend thus for the author says-
Ben's plays are works, while others' works are plays.
[From The Forest."]
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst, that from the soul doth rise,
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup, I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honouring thee, As giving it a hope, that there
It could not wither'd be.
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent'st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself, but thee.
The Sweet Neglect.
[From The Silent Woman.]
Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd:
Lady, it is to be presum❜d,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.
Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free;
Such sweet neglect more taketh me
Than all th' adulteries of art:
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.
[From The Forest."]
Oh do not wanton with those eyes, Lest I be sick with seeing;
Nor cast them down, but let them rise, Lest shame destroy their being.
Oh be not angry with those fires,
For then their threats will kill me; Nor look too kind on my desires,
For then my hopes will spill me.
Oh do not steep them in thy tears,
For so will sorrow slay me;
Nor spread them as distraught with fears;
Mine own enough betray me.
[From the same.]
Kiss me, sweet! the wary lover
Can your favours keep and cover,
When the common courting jay
All your bounties will betray.
Kiss again; no creature comes;
Kiss, and score up wealthy sums
On my lips, thus hardly sunder'd
While you breathe. First give a hundred,
Then a thousand, then another
Hundred, then unto the other
Add a thousand, and so more,
Till you equal with the store,
All the grass that Romney yields,
Or the sands in Chelsea fields,
Or the drops in silver Thames,
Or the stars that gild his streams
In the silent summer nights,
When youths ply their stol'n delights;
That the curious may not know
How to tell them as they flow,
And the envious when they find
What their number is, be pined.
Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kine, and calves do feed:
The middle ground thy mares and horses breed.
Each bank doth yield thee conies, and the tops
Fertile of wood. Ashore, and Sidney's copse,
To crown thy open table doth provide
The purpled pheasant, with the speckled side:
The painted partridge lies in every field,
And, for thy mess, is willing to be kill'd.
And if the high-swollen Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds that pay thee tribute fish,
Fat, aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As loath the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously, at first, themselves betray.
Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land,
Before the fisher, or into his hand.
Thou hast thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,
Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours.
The early cherry with the later plum,
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth come:
The blushing apricot and woolly peach
Hang on thy walls that every child may reach.
And though thy walls be of the country stone,
They're rear'd with no man's ruin, no man's groan;
There's none that dwell about them wish them down;
But all come in, the farmer and the clown,
And no one empty handed, to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.
Some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make