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THE LOVES OF THE POETS.

CHAPTER I.

CAREW'S CELIA.-LUCY SACHEVEREL.

FROM the reign of Charles the First may be dated that revolution in the spirit and form of our lyric poetry, which led to its subsequent degradation. The first Italian school of poetry, to which we owed our Surreys, our Spensers, and our Miltons, had now declined. The high contemplative tone of passion, the magnanimous and chivalrous homage paid to women, gradually gave way before the French taste and French gallantry, introduced, or at least encouraged and

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rendered fashionable, by Henrietta Maria and her gay household. The muse of amatory poetry (I presume there is such a Muse, though I know not to which of the Nine the title properly applies,) no longer walked the earth star-crowned and vestal-robed, "col dir pien d' intelletti, dolci ed alti,"—" with love upon her lips, and looks commercing with the skies ;"—she suited her garb to the fashion of the times, and tripped along in guise of an Arcadian princess, half regal, half pastoral, trailing a sheep-hook crowned with flowers, and sparkling with foreign ornaments,

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Pale glistering pearls and rainbow-coloured gems.

Then in the "brisk and giddy paced times" of Charles the Second, she flaunted an airy coquette, or an unblushing courtezan, (" unveiled her eyesunclasped her zone;") and when these sinful doings were banished, she took the hue of the new morals -new fashions--new manners,-and we find her a court prude, swimming in a hoop and red-heeled shoes, "conscious of the rich brocade," and ogling

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