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now he makes me feel his wrath, not as an individual sinner, but as a transgressor

Sacred Specimens selected from the against him and the whole family of his

Early English Poets ; with precreatures, whose wrong I have ever sought, fatory Verses. By the Rev. J. when I supposed it might be for my pri- MITFORD. London. 1827.8s. 6d. vate advantage. Why should I expect mercy who have never shewn it? I have The taste and the productions of trampled upon mercy; and now slighted, abused, rejected mercy calls incessantly the present age, in the article of for vengeance.'

poetry, are, we presume, to say the « After a short pause, which no one attempted to interrupt, as the horror which very least, quite equal to those of his last expressions, uttered with terrible any former period of English hisenergy and evident distress, had silenced tory. During the latter part of every one, he turned to the doctor, and the last half century, poetry was began, Why do you thus plead with me? at a deplorably low ebb amongst I tell you, I have been the enemy of the

those of our poets, who human race; and would have plundered you or the best friend I have upon earth. brightened our literary horizon from Why do you not join to torment me? the days of Charles the Second Ah! you already have a powerful avenger; to those of George the First, had your God has declared himself on your side. He has taken up your cause, and passed off the stage of life ; and, pours down his fury upon me.

If this is with a few exceptions, had left only the anticipation, what will be the no successors to share their rereality? O misery without end, and suf,

What our national poetry fering interminable.'

pp. 234-237. “ The physician having interrupted him,

was even in the boyhood of the to remind him that length of time was present generation, may be inferred not necessary for repentance, and that the from the fact, that such a versiblood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all fier as Hayley was at the head sin,' he replied,

" " I have trodden that blood under foot; of the profession, and few of the if it is found upon me, it must be as a professors aspired to any higher excurse, not a blessing. I have had the be- cellence than to imitate with sucnefit of it offered me, but I have rejected

cess the Popes and Drydens of a it with unceasing hardness and impeni. tence. Oh, the golden opportunity that has been refused, and is now lost for ever! But a most hopeful revolution Is not that hell enough of itself? What has since taken place; the mere need be added to it? Then to bear the metrical jingle of versification is no wrath of God for ever!a fire burning; longer considered as constituting but not consuming; to be the sport companion of devils—to dwell with ever- poetry; and one prominent quality, lasting buruings !!

in particular, has been introduced “ The debility which had gradually, in- into our productions in this line-a creased upon him for several preceding months, and by which he had been quality which is good or bad as brought to a state bordering upon dissolu. respects its object, we mean emotion, seemed overcome by the impulse tion, which raises our best modern which the agitation of his mind communi- poetry far above the level of that cated to his body. He experienced a tem

of the last age. porary increase of strength, a morbid revi

Cowper, and val; under which he displayed an energy and Southey, and Scott, and Byron, activity of thought equal to what he had ex- and Moore, differing as they do in erted at any former period of his life. all other respects, have yet all been The effect of this was only to exhaust the little corporeal power that remained, and

more or less, some of them preemiaccelerate his death.” pp. 239, 240.

nently, poets of emotion; and this “ In the delirium which prevailed during is the great secret by which two at the last few hours of his temporal existence, least of them have obtained a popuharassed his disturbed mind, and heallarity of no hopeful character for luded with fearful dismay to many circum- morals, or the happiness of manstances, besides those before referred to, kind. but particularly to the widow and orphans. The earlier ages of English verse had During one of these, he suddenly raised also their respective schools. Such himself upon his bed, and, uttering a piercing shreik, he fell backward and ex

individuals, indeed, as Shakspeare pired." pp. 243, 214.

and Milton were of no school : they

former age.

were cast in their own moulds, and general writings were very far from had no equals in their own, or in being “sacred." It is a high tribute subsequent times; but the mass of which the men of this world have their predecessors, contemporaries, been constrained to pay to religion, and successors belonged to well de- that some even of its most licenfined schools of poetry; of which the tious writers have occasionally Cowley school, the school of con- written poems of a religious kind, ceits and jejune witticisms, was which have cast into the shade some for many years the most applauded. of their other productions as much But a better school had preceded it; by their literary as-by their moral for in some of the poets of the days preeminence. Our own age has of Elizabeth, there is to be found not been destitute of illustrations of a tenderness and simplicity which this remark. are the true language of nature, and It would be impracticable, and therefore will still find an echo in not very interesting if practicable, the human breast, when the pecu- to attempt an analytical review of liarities of any particular school of a work consisting of detached poems art have ceased to be admired. from numerous authors; we think

Much attention has of late been therefore we shall best consult the devoted by the literary public to the wishes of our readers, and do the writings of some of our almost ob- best justice to the volume before solete poets; but unhappily those us, by devoting a few pages to whose writings were chiefly of a simple extracts; which will present sacred cast have not hitherto re- a general view of the character of ceived their due share of attention, the sacred poetry of a variety of our Nor is this to be wondered at ; for older writers, many of whose names though there are many admirable are scarcely known even to the specimens of poetry to be found reading part of the public. A few among them, few of them would pages will serve to give to our merit to be reprinted in detail, and readers, by Mr. Mitford's assistance, the surviving copies of their works some specimens of their writings, are so extremely rare, that even in and thus save them the labour and our best public libraries it is diffi- difficulty of consulting numerous vocult to find a respectable collection. lumes, some of which are of very rare Mr. Mitford, who, in the work be. and costly occurrence. We will not fore us, has given “ sacred speci- undertake to say that every extract mens” from more than fifty poets, is after the highest order of poetry ; beginning with Barnabe Googe in though some of them merit a share 1565, and ending with the Countess even of this praise; and the less of Winchelsea in 1713, states, that polished specimens present, from no where but in the library of Mr. their rarity and curiosity, sufficient Heber, which, as respects ancient of interest to entitle them to a few English poetry, is matchless, could columns of a religious miscellany. he find a collection of writers suited We shall find the best reward for to his purpose. In selecting from

In selecting from our pains in selecting them, if our almost innumerable volumes the readers, by these “ sacred specigems before us, he has done good ser- mens,” shall feel their hearts more vice to the lovers both of old English elevated in praise and gratitude to literature and sacred poetry; and es- Him from whom springs all that is pecially to the latter, who will find truly beautiful or sublime, as well in bis little volume a large number of as good; who gave to his rational specimens of this species of literature, creatures an imagination to be pufreed from the incumbrance of “baserrified, exalted, and devoted to his matter," and many of them gleaned service, as well as an intellect to from the pages of authors whose' understand what that service is, and CHRIST. Osserv. No. 305.


ed way?


affections of soul to render our sub. He nought demands, but that we loving be mission to it " perfect freedom;" As he himself hath loved us afore-hand, and who, in his own inspired records, Him first to love, that was so dearly

And bound thereto with an eternal band ; has shewn us, that it is not only bought, innocent, but laudable, to conse- And next, our brethren to bis image crate the powers of taste and fancy wrought.” to His glory, by himself condescend

“ Then shalt thou feel thy spirit so possest, ing to use the language of poetry, of his dear self, that shall

thy feeble breast

And ravish'st with devouring great desire and the most splendid and impres- Inflame with love, and set thee all on fire sive imagery, in his revelation of With burning zeal, through every part mercy to a sinful world.

entire "From the Psalms of David, translated But in his sweet and amiable sight.

That in no earthly thing thou shalt delight, into Verse, by Sir Philip Sidney, born 1554, died 1586, and finished by his Thenceforth all world's desire will in thee sister the Countess of Pembroke.


And all earth's glory, on which men do
Part of Psalm cxix.

gaze, “By what correcting line

Seem dirt and dross in thy pure-sighted May a young man make straight his crook

eye ;

Compared to that celestial beauty's blaze, By level of thy lore divine.

Whose glorious beams all fleshly sense Sith then with such good cause

doth daze My heart thee seeks, O Lord, I seeking With admiration of their passing light, pray

Blinding the eyes, and lumining the sprite. Let me not wander from thy laws.

Then shall thy ravisht soul inspired be
Thy speeches have I hid

With heavenly thoughts, far above human
Close locked up in the casket of my heart; skill;
Fearing to do what they forbid.

And thy bright radiant eyes shall plainly
But this cannot suffice :
Thou wisest Lord, who ever blessed art, Th’ idea of his pure glory, present still
Yet make me in thy statutes wise.

Before thy face, that all thy spirits shall
Then shall my lips declare

fill The sacred laws that from thy mouth With sweet enragement of celestial love, proceed,

Kindled through sight of those fair things
And teach all nations what they are : above." pp. 19–22.

For what thou dost decree
To my conceit far more delight doth

“ From the Poems of Sir Walter Raleigh,

born 1552, died 1618." Than worlds of wealth, if worlds might

Hymn. be." pp. 6, 9, 10.

Rise, oh my soul, with thy desires to heau From the Works of Edward Spenser, And with divinest contemplation use:

ven, 1553_1598.

Thy time, where time's eternity is given,
Part of an Hymn of heavenly Love. And let vain thoughts no more thy thoughts
"Oblessed well of love! O flower of grace! abuse;
O glorious morning-star! O lamp of light! But down in darkness let them lie:
Most lively image of the Father's face, So live thy better, let thy worse thoughts
Eternal King of glory, Lord of might,

die !
Meek Lamb of God, before all worlds be- And thou, my soul, inspired with holy

flame, How can we thee requite for all this good? View and review with most regardful eye Or who can prize that thy most precious That holy cross, whence thy salvation blood ?

Yet nought thou ask’st in lieu of all this On which thy Saviour and thy sin did die!

For in that sacred object is much pleasure,
But love of us, for guerdon of thy pain : And in that Saviour is my life, my trea-
Aye me! what can us less than that be-
hove ?

To thee, O Jesu! I direct my eye,
Had he required life for us again,

To thee my hands, to thee my humble Had it been wrong to ask his own with gain ?

To thee my heart shall offer sacrifice, He gave us life, he it restored lost;

To thee my thoughts, who my thoughts Then life were least, that us so little cost.

only sees; But he our life hath left unto us free, To thee myself, myself and all, I give; Free that was thrall, and blessed that was To thee I die, to thee I only live!”


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pp. 34, 36.


pp. 37, 47.


“ From Hymns and Songs of the Church, If in the way, a calm the course prolongs, by George Wither. 1588–1677." It holds us but to griefe, resembling joy; Hymn on St. John Baptist's Day.

While pleasure, with her charming syren“ Because the world might not pretend

songs, It knew not of thy coming day,

O'erwhelms us, in the end, in deep anThou didst, oh Christ, before thee send noy." pp. 71, 72 A cryer to prepare thy way:

“From King James's Poems. 1567-1625." Thy kingdom was the bliss he brought,

Sonnet. Repentance was the way he taught. “The azure vault, the crystal circles bright, And that his voice might not alone The gleaming firie torches powder'd there; Inform us what we should believe, The changing round, the shining beamy His life declar'd what must be done,

light, If thee we purpose to receive :

The sad and bearded fires, the monsters His life our pattern therefore make, That we the course he took may take.” The prodigies appearing in the aire,

The rending thunders, and the blust'ring “From the Temple, sacred Poems and pri

winds, vate Ejaculations, by Mr. George The foules in hue, in shape, and nature Herbert. 1633.

rare, The Quip.

The prettie notes the wing'd musician “The merry World did on a day With his train-bands and mates agree.

In earth, the sáv’rie floures, the mettald To meet together where I lay,

mines, And all in sport to jeer at me.

The wholesome herbs, the hautie pleasant

trees, First Beauty crept into a rose;

The silver streams, the beasts of sundry Which when I pluckt not, Sir, said she,

kiuds, Tell me, I pray, whose hands are those ?

The bounded roares and fishes of the seas; But thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.

All these for teaching man the Lord did Then Money came, and chinking still,

frame, What tune is this, poor man? said he :

To do his will whose glorie shines in I heard in musick you had skill:

them." pp. 82, 84. But thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.

“ From Habington's Castara, 1635. Then came brave Glory puffing by

“ Paucitatem dierum meorum nuncia In silks that whistled; who but he ?

mibi.-David. He scarce allow'd me half an eye: But thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.

“ Tell me, O great all-knowing God!

What period Then came quick wit and conversation,

Hast thou unto my days assign'd? And he would needs a comfort be,

Like some old leatíess tree, shall I And, to be short, made an oration :

Wither away; or violently But thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.

Fall by the axe, by lightning, or the wind? Yet when the hour of thy design

Here where I first drew vital breath To answer these fine things shall come,

Shall I meet death? Speak not at large ; say, I am thine;

And find in the same yault a room And then they have their answer home.” Where my forefathers' ashes sleep? Pp. 61, 64, 65.

Or shall I die, where none shall weep «s From Christ's Victory.'

By Giles

My timeless fate, and my cold earth Fletcher. 1610.

entomb?" “ Christ is a path, if any be misled;

“ Therefore, so I prepar'd still be, He is a robe, if any naked be:

My God, for thee;
If any chance to hunger, he is bread; O'th' sudden on my spirits may
If any be a bondman, he is free;

Some killing apoplexy seize;
If any be but weak, how strong is he!

Or let me by a dull disease, To dead men, life he is; to sick men,

Or weaken'd by a feeble age decay. health ; To blind men, sight; and to the needy, And, so I in thy favour die,

No wealth;

memory A pleasure without loss,-a treasure with. For me a well-wrought tomb prepare ;

For if my soul be 'mong the blest, out stealth.” “ From the Muse's Sacrifice, or Divine Though my poor ashes want a chest,

I shall forgive the trespass of my heir.”, Meditations. By John Davies, of

Hereford. 1612.". “ Happy that soul that on a sea of tears

“ From Mel Heliconium; or Poetical Sails in Faith's ship, by Hope's securest Honey gathered out of the Weeds of Cape,

Parnassus; by Alexander Rosse. 1642." Unto the port of Peace; and with her « Sometimes a crown of thorns did sit bears

Upon that sacred head of thine; Good workes that make the worker wracke But sure a rose-crown was more fit escape.

For thee, and thorns for this of mine :

p. 68.

pp. 93, 95.

O God, what love

I see them walking in an air of glory,
Was this in thee,

Whose light doth trample on my days;
That should thee move

Mydays,which are at best but dulland hoary, To die for me!" pp. 115, 120. Mere glimmering and decays. “ From Poems, by Francis Beaumont,

O holy Hope! and high Humility,

High as the heavens above! Gent. 1615.

These are your walks, and you have she wid On the Life of Man.

them me .“ Like to the falling of a star,

To kindle my cold love. Or as the flights of eagles are ;

Dear, beauteous death! the jewel of the just, Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,

Shining no where but in the dark; Or silver drops of morning dew,

What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust, Or like a wind which chafes the flood,

Could man outlook that mark ! Or bubbles that on water stood :

He that hath found some fledged bird's Ev'n such is man, whose borrow'd light

nest, may know Is straight called in and paid to night: At first sight if the bird be flown; The wind blows out, the bubble dies, But what fair well or grove he sings in now, The spring entomb'd in autumn lies:

That is to him unknown. The dew dried up, the star is shot, And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams The flight is past, and man forgot.”p. 162. Call to the soul, when man doth sleep, “ From Poems, by John Cleveland, 1658. So some strange thoughts transcend our

wonted theams, Mount of Olives.

And into glory peep." pp. 173, 174. “ Sweet sacred bill! on whose fair brow “ From Epigrams, by Richard Flecknoe. My Saviour sate, shall I allow

1669. Language to love, And idolize some shade, or grove,

In contemplation of our blessed Saviour

crucified. Neglecting thee? Such ill-plac'd wit,

“ O God! and would'st thou die for me! Conceit, or call it what you please, Is the braines fit,

And shall I nothing do for thee;
And meere disease.

But still continue to offend,

So good a Lord, so dear a Friend? Cotswold and Coopers both have met

Had any prince done this for thee, With learned swaines, and echo yet

What wond'ring at it would there be ! Their pipes and wit;

But since 'tis God that does it, thou But thou sleep'st in a deep neglect, Dost never wonder at it now. Untouch'd by any; and what need

Strange! that one should more esteem The sheepe bleate thee a silly lay

A grace or gift that's given to him
That heard'st both reede

By earthly kings, than what is given
And sheepward play? Unto him by the King of Heaven !" p. 191.
Yet, if poets mind thee well,

“ From the Works of Abraham Cowley. They shall find thou art their hill,

1618-1667. And fountaine too,

Ode on the Shortness of Life Their Lord with thee had most to doe;

“Mark that swift arrow, how it cuts the air; He wept once, walkt whole nights on thee,

Now it outruns thy following eye; And from thence his (sufferings ended) Unto gloorie

Use all persuasions now, and try Was attended.

If thou canst call it back, or stay it there.

That way it went, but thou shalt find Being there, this spacious ball

No track is left behind. Is but his narrow footstoole all,

Fool, 'tis thy life, and the fond archer thou! And what we thinke

Of all the time thou'st shot away Unsearchable, now with one winke

I'll bid thee fetch but yesterday, He doth comprise, but in this aire And it shall be too hard a task to do. When he did stay to beare our ill

Besides repentance, what canst find
And sinne, this hill

That it hath left behind ?
Was then his chaire."

Our life is carried with too strong a tide,

A doubtful cloud our substance bears, Departed Saints.

And is the horse of all our years;

Each day doth on a winged whirlwind ride, “ They are all gone into the world of light! We and our glass run out, and must And I alone sit ling'ring here;

Both render up our dust. Their very memory is fair and bright,

But his past life who without grief can see, And my sad thoughts doth clear.

Who never thinks his end too near, It glows and glitters in my cloudy brest But says to fame, Thou art mine heir,

Like stars upon some gloomy grove, That man extends life's natural brevity : Or those faint beams in which this hill is This is, this is the only way drest,

To out-live Nestor in a day."
After the sun's remove.

pp. 194, 198.

pp. 169, 170.

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