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a benighted wanderer, whom the apparition of that cherished deceiver meets amid the darkness and allures from afar, under the semblance of a stream of light from a cottage window, brightening as he approaches; while we, who fear the illusion may prove an ignis fatuus, are prepared to see him suddenly ingulfed in a morass. Poetry is the shorthand of thought: how much is expressed here in less than threescore syllables:

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OF 1745.

"How sleep the brave, who sink to rest
With all their country's wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.

"By Fairy hands their knell is rung,

By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall a while repair
To dwell, a weeping hermit there."


Again; what a quantity of thought is here condensed in the compass of twelve lines, like a cluster of rock crystals, sparkling and distinct, yet receiving and reflecting lustre by their combination. The stanzas themselves are almost unrivalled in the association of poetry with picture, pathos with fancy, grandeur with simplicity, and romance with reality. The melody of the verse leaves nothing for the ear to desire, except a continuance of the strain, or, rather, the repetition of a strain which cannot tire by repetition. The imagery is of the most delicate and exquisite character,-Spring decking the turfy sod; Fancy's feet treading upon the flowers there; Fairy hands ringing the knell; unseen forms sing.

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ing the dirge of the glorious dead; but, above all, and never to be surpassed in picturesque and imaginative beauty, Honour, as an old and broken soldier, coming on far pilgrimage to visit the shrine where his companions in arms are laid to rest; and Freedom, in whose cause they fought and fell,leaving the mountains and fields, the hamlets and the unwalled cities of England delivered by their valour, hastening to the spot, and dwelling (but only for "a while") "a weeping hermit there." The sentiment, too, is profound :66 How sleep the brave!"-not how sweetly, soundly, happily! for all these are included in the simple apostrophe, "How sleep the brave!" Then, in that lovely line,

"By all their country's wishes blest,"

is implied every circumstance of loss and lamenta tion, of solemnity at the interment, and posthumous homage to their memory, by the threefold personages of the scene,-living, shadowy, and preternatural beings. As for thought, he who can hear this little dirge "sung," as it is, by the ". unseen form" of the author himself, who cannot die in itwithout having thoughts, "as thick as motes that people the sunbeams," thronging through his mind, must have a brain as impervious to the former as the umbrage of a South American forest to the latter. There are in its associations of war, peace, glory, suffering, life, death, immortality, which might furnish food for a midsummer day's meditation, and a midwinter night's dream afterward, could June and December be made to meet in a poet's revery.


(By Henry King, Bishop of Chichester; born 1591, died 1669.)

"Sleep on, my love, in thy cold bed
Never to be disquieted:

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My last 'good night!' thou wilt not wake
Till I thy fate shall overtake;
Till age, or grief, or sickness, must
Marry my body to that dust

It so much loves; and fill the room
My heart keeps empty in thy tomb.

"Stay for me there; I will not faile
To meet thee in that hollow vale ;
And think not much of my delay,
I am already on the way,
And follow thee with all the speed
Desire can make, or sorrows breed.
Each minute is a short degree,
And every houre a step towards thee;
At night, when I betake to rest,
Next morn I rise nearer my West
Of life, almost by eight houres' sail,
Than when sleep breathed his drowsie gale!"

What a "last good night!" is this! and oh! what a one "good morrow!" to last for eternity, when such partners awake from the same bed, in the resurrection of the just! Is there the "man born of a woman," who has loved a woman, and lost whom he loved, and lamented whom he has lost, that will not feel in the depth of his spirit all the tenderness and truth of these old-fashioned couplets? I dare not offer a comment upon them, lest I should disturb the sanctity of repose which they are calculated to inspire. Nature speaks all languages; and no style is too quaint or pedantic, in which she may not utter heart-sentiments in terms that cannot be misunderstood, or understood be resisted.

Gray is one of the few, the very few, of our greatest poets, who deserves to be studied in every line for the apprehension of that wonderful sweetness, power, and splendour of versification which has made him (scholastic and difficult as he is) one of the most popular of writers, though his rhymes are occasionally flat, and his phrases heathen Greek to ordinary readers. The secret of his supremacy

consists principally in the consummate art with which his diction is elaborated into the most melodious concatenation of syllables to form lines; and those lines so to implicate and evolve in progression, that the strain of one of Handel's Overtures is not more consecutively ordered to carry the mind onward, through every bar, to the march at the conclusion, when (as in the instance of the Occasional Oratorio) the hearer has been wrought to such a state of exaltation that he feels as though he could mount the scaffold to the beaten time of such music.

"The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,

The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed
The cock's shrill clarion, and the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed."
GRAY'S Elegy.

This is one of the most striking stanzas in Gray's Elegy, which owes much of its celebrity to the concordance of numbers expressly tuned to the subjects, and felicity of language both in the sound and the significance of words employed. Yet in the first line of the verse above quoted, the far-sought elegance of characteristic description in "the breezy call of incense-breathing morn" is spoiled utterly by the disagreeable clash between "breezy" and "breathing," within a few syllables of each other. Contrast this with the corresponding line, and the dullest ear will distinguish the clear, full harmony of

"The cock's shrill clarion, and the echoing horn,”

from the asthmatical wheezing of the breeze and the breathing of the incense. This has been mentioned, not for the sake of petty criticism, but to render more emphatical the stress which I lay upon the pre-eminence of this author in the management of English rhythm.

"Oh, lyre divine! what daring spirit
Wakes thee now? though he inherit
Not the pride, nor ample pinion,

Which the Theban eagle bare,
Sailing with supreme dominion
Through the azure deep of air."
Progress of Poesy.

Where can measures more noble than the foregoing be found in any modern tongue ?

"Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
While, proudly riding o'er the azure realm,
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes,—

Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm,
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway,
That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey.'
The Bard.

It would be idle to descant on the diction or imagery of verses like these. I will only advert to the prophetic intimation of the catastrophe in the last clause. Had the poet described the tempest itself with the power of Virgil in the first book of his Eneid, it would have failed in this instance to produce the effect of sublime and ineffable horror, of which a glimpse appears in the background, while the gallant vessel is sailing with wind, and tide, and sunshine on a sea of glory. All the sweeping fury of the whirlwind, awake and ravening over "his evening prey," would have been less terrible than his "grim repose ;" and the shrieks and struggles of drowning mariners less affecting than the sight of

"Youth on the prow, and 'easure at the helm,"

"regardless" of the inevitable doom on which they were already verging.

Dryden's "Alexander's Feast" is undoubtedly the lyric masterpiece of English poetry, in respect to versification; exemplifying, as it does, all the capa

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