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ture that can have this effect, and please those tastes which are the most unprejudiced, or the most refined. I must, however, beg leave to dissent from so great an authority as that of Sir Philip Sidney, in the judgment which he has passed as to the rude style and evil apparel of this antiquated song; for there are several parts in it, where not only the thought, but the language, is majestic, and the numbers sonorous; at least the apparel is much more gorgeous than many of the poets made use of in Queen Elizabeth's time, as the reader will see in several of the following quotations.
What can be greater than either the thought or the expression in that stanza ?
To drive the deer with hound and horn
Earl Piercy took his way:
The hunting of that day! This way of considering the misfortunes which this battle would bring upon posterity, not only on those who were born immediately after the battle, and lost their fathers in it, but on those also who perished in future battles which took their rise from this quarrel of the two earls, is wonderfully beautiful, and conformable to the way of thinking among the ancient poets.
Audiet pugnas vitio parentum
Hor. What can be more sounding and poetical, or resemble more the majestic simplicity of the ancients, than the following stanzas ?
The stout Earl of Northumberland
A vow to God did make,
Three summer's days to take ;
All chosen men of might,
To aim their shafts aright.
The nimble deer to take,
An echo shrill did make.
Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come,
Full twenty hundred Scottish spears,
All marching in our sight;
Fast by the river Tweed, &c. The country of the Scotch warriors, described in these two last verses, has a fine romantic situation, and affords a couple of smooth words for verse. If the reader compares the foregoing six lines of the song with the following Latin verses, he will see how much they are written in the spirit of Virgil.
Adversi campo apparent, hastasque reductis
Qui Tiberim Fabarimque bibunt.-
Earl Douglas, on a milk-white steed,
Most like a baron bold,
Whose armour shone like gold.
Our English archers bent their bows,
Their hearts were good and true;
Full threescore Scots they slew.
No slackness there was found;
Lay gasping on the ground.
Out of an English bow,
A deep and deadly blow. Æneas was wounded after the same manner by an unknown hand in the midst of a parley.
Has inter voces, media inter talia verba,
Incertum quâ pulsa manuBut of all the descriptive parts of this song, there are none more beautiful than the four following stanzas, which have a great force and spirit in them, and are filled with very natural circumstances. The thought in the third stanza was
never touched by any other poet, and is such an one as would have shined in Homer or in Virgil.
So thus did both these nobles die,
Whose courage none could stain :
The noble Earl was slain.
Made of a trusty tree,
Unto the head drew he.
So right his shaft he set,
In his heart-blood was wet.
Till setting of the sun ;
The battle scarce was done. One may observe likewise, that in the catalogue of the slain, the author has followed the example of the greatest ancient poets, not only in giving a long list of the dead, but by diversifying it with little characters of particular persons.
And with Earl Douglas there was slain
Sir Hugh Montgomery;
One foot would never fly;
His sister's son was he;
Yet saved could not be. The familiar sound in these names destroys the majesty of the description: for this reason I do not mention this part of the poem but to show the natural cast of thought which
appears in it, as the two last verses look almost like a translation of Virgil.
-Cadit et Ripheus justissimus unus
Diis aliter visum est.
, Witherington's behaviour is in the same manner particularized very artfully, as the reader is prepared for it by that account which is given of him in the beginning of the battle; though I am satisfied
little buffoon readers (who have seen that passage ridiculed in Hudibras) will not be able to take the beauty of it: for which reason I dare not so much as quote it.
Then stept a gallant squire forth,
Witherington was his name,
To Henry, our King, for shame,
And I stood looking on.
Non pudet, O Rutuli, cunctis pro talibus unam
Non sumus-? What can be more natural, or more moving, than the circumstances in which he describes the behaviour of those womeu who had lost their husbands on this fatal day?
Next day did many widows come,
Their husbands to bewail :
But all would not prevail.
They bore with them away:
When they were clad in clay. Thus we see how the thoughts of this poem, which naturally arise from the subject, are always simple, and sometimes exquisitely noble; that the language is often very sounding, and that the whole is written with a true poetical spirit.
If this song had been written in the Gothic manner, which is the delight of all our little wits, whether writers or readers, it would not have hit the taste of so many ages, and have pleased the readers of all ranks and conditions. I shall only beg pardon for such a profusion of Latin quotations ; which I should not have made use of, but that I feared my own judgment would have looked too singular on such a subject, had not I supported it by the practice and authority of Virgil.
" It may be proper to observe, once for all, that Mr. Addison's critical papers discover his own good taste, and are calculated to improve that of his reader; but otherwise have no great merit. He rarely makes a wrong judgment of the passages he quotes, but does not tell us on what grounds (or at least in too general terms) that judgment was, or ought to have been, founded.
No. 81. SATURDAY, JUNE 2.
Qualis ubi audito venantum murmure tigris
STATIUS. About the middle of last winter I went to see an opera at the theatre in the Haymarket, where I could not but take notice of two parties of very fine women, that had placed themselves in the opposite side boxes, and seemed drawn up in a kind of battle-array one against another. After a short survey of them, I found they were patched differently, the faces, on one hand, being spotted on the right side of the forehead, and those upon the other on the left: I quickly perceived that they cast hostile glances upon one another; and that their patches were placed in those different situations, as party-signals to distinguish friends from foes. In the middle boxes, between these two opposite bodies, were several ladies who patched indifferently on both sides of their faces, and seemed to sit there with no other intention but to see the opera. Upon inquiry I found, that the body of Amazons on my right hand were Whigs, and those on my left, Tories ; and that those who bad placed themselves in the middle boxes were a neutral party, whose faces had not yet declared themselves. These last, however, as I afterwards found, diminished daily, and took their party with one side or the other; insomuch that I observed in several of them, the patches, which were before dispersed equally, are now all gone over to the Whig or the Tory side of the face. The censorious
that the men whose hearts are aimed at, are very often the occasions that one part of the face is thus dishonoured, and lies under a kind of disgrace, while the other is so much set off and adorned by the owner; and that the patches turn to the right or to the left, according to the principles of the man wbo is most in favour. But whatever may be the motives of a few fantastical coquettes, who do not patch for the public good so much as for their own private advantage, it is certain, that there are several women of honour who patch out of principle, and with an eye to the interest of their country. Nay, I am informed that some of them adhere so stedfastly to their party, and are so far from sacrificing their zeal for the public to their passions for any particular person, that in
that in a late draught of marriage-articles