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supplies nothing to the mind. The ideas of Christian theology are too simple for eloquence, too sacred for fiction, and too majestic for ornament: to recoinmend them by tropes and figures, is to magnify by a concave mirror the sidereal hemisphere.

As much of Waller's reputation was owing to the softness and smoothness of his numbers; it is proper to consider those minute particulars to which a versifier must attend.

He certainly very much excelled in smoothness most of the writers who were living when his poetry commenced. The poets of Elizabeth had attained an art of modulation, which was afterward neglected or forgotten. Fairfax was acknowledged by him as his model; and he might have studied with advantage the poem of Davies,* which, though merely philosophical, yet seldom leaves the ear ungratified.

But he was rather smooth than strong: of the full resounding line, which Pope attributes to Dryden, he has given very few examples. The critical decision has given the praise of strength to Denham, and of sweetness to Waller.

His excellence of versification has some abatements. He uses the expletive do very frequently; and, though he lived to see it almost universally ejected, was not more careful to avoid it in his last compositions than in his first. Praise had given him confidence; and, finding the world satisfied, he satisfied himself.

His rhymes are sometimes weak words: so is found to make the rhyme twice in ten lines, and occurs often as a rhyme through his book.

His double rhymes, in heroic verse, have been censured by Mrs. Phillips, who was his rival in the translation of Corneille's Pompey;' and more faults might be found, were not the inquiry below attention.

He sometimes uses the obsolete termination of verbs, as waxeth, affecteth; and sometimes retains the final syllable of the preterite, as amazed, supposed, of which I know not whether it is not to the detriment of our language that we have totally rejected them.

Sir John Davies, entitled, Nosce teipsum. This Oracle expounded in two Elegies: I. Of Humane Knowledge; II. Of the Soule of Man and the Immortalitie thereof, 1599.-R.

Of triplets he is sparing; but he did not wholly forbear them; of an Alexandrine he has given no example.

The general character of his poetry is elegance and gaiety. He is never pathetic, and very rarely sublime. He seems neither to have had a mind much elevated by nature, nor amplified by learning. His thoughts are such as a liberal conversation and large acquaintance with life would easily supply. They had however then, perhaps, that grace of novelty, which they are now often supposed to want by those who, having already found them in later books, do not know or inquire who produced them first. This treatment is unjust. Let not the original author lose by his imitators.

Praise, however, should be due before it is given. The anthor of Waller's Life ascribes to him the first practice of what Erythræus and some late critics call alliteration, of using in the same verse many words beginning with the same letter. But this knack, whatever be its value, was so frequent among early writers, that Gascoigne, a writer of the sixteenth century, warns the young poet against affecting it: Shakspeare, in the Midsummer Night's Dream,' is supposed to ridicule it; and in another play the sonnet of * Holofernes fully displays it.

He borrows too many of his sentiments and illustrations from the old mythology, for which it is vain to plead the example of ancient poets; the deities which they introduced so frequently, were considered as realities, so far as to be received by the imagination, whatever sober reason might even then determine. But of these images time has tarnished the splendour. A fiction, not only detected but despised, can never afford a solid basis to any position, though sometimes it may furnish a transient allusion, or slight illustration. No modern monarch can be much exalted by hearing that, as Hercules had his club, he has his navy.

But of the praise of Waller, though much may be taken away, much will remain; for it cannot be denied, that he added something to our elegance of diction, and something to our propriety of thought; and to him may be applied what Tasso said, with equal spirit and justice, of himself and Guarini, when, having perused the Pastor Fido,' he cried out, If he had not read "Aminta," he had not excelled it

As Waller professed himself to have learned the art of versification from Fairfax, it has been thought proper to subjoin a specimen of his work, which, after Mr. Hoole's translation, will perhaps not be soon reprinted. By knowing the state in which Waller found our poetry, the reader may judge how much he improved it.

Erminia's steed (this while) his mistresse bore
Through forests thicke among the shadie treene,
Her feeble hand the bridle raines forelore,
Halfe in a swoune she was for feare I weene;
But her flit courser spared nere the more,

To beare her through the desart woods unseene
Of her strong foes, that chas'd her through the plaine,
And still pursu'd, but still pursu❜d in vaine.

Like as the wearie hounds at last retire,
Windlesse, displeased, from the fruitlesse chace,
When the slie beast Tapisht in bush and brire,
No art nor pains can rowse out of his place:
The Christian knights so full of shame and ire
Returned backe, with faint and wearie pace!

Yet still the fearfull Dame fled, swift as winde,
Nor euer staid, nor euer lookt behinde.

Through thicke and thinne, all night, all day, she driued,
Withouten comfort, companie, or guide,

Her plaints and teares with euery thought reuiued,
She heard and saw her greefes, but naught beside.
But when the sunne his burning chariot diued
In Thetis waue, and wearie teame vntide,

On Iordans sandie bank her course she staid,
At last, there downe she light, and downe she laid.

Her teares, her drink; her foode, her sorrowings;
This was her diet that vnhappie night:
But sleepe (that sweet repose and quiet brings)
To ease the greefes of discontented wight,
Spred foorth bis tender, soft, and nimble wings,
In his dull armes foulding the virgin bright:
And loue, his mother, and the graces kept

Strong watch and warde, while this faire Ladie slept.
The birds awakte her with their morning song,
Their warbling musicke pearst her tender care,
The murmuring brookes and whistling windes among
The rattling boughes, and leaues, their parts did beare;
Her eles vnclos'd beheld the groues along,

Of swaines and shepherd groomes that dwellings weare;
And that sweet noise, birds, winds, and waters sent,
Prouokt again the virgin to lament.

Her plaints were interrupted with a sound,
That seem'd from thickest bushes to proceed,
Some iolly shepherd sung a lustie round,
And to his voice had tun'd his oaten reed;
Thither she went, an old man there she found
(At whose right hand his little flock did feed)
Sat making baskets, his three sonnes among
That learn'd their father's art, and learn'd his song.

Beholding one in shining armes appeare,
The seelle man and his were sore dismaid;
But sweet Erminia comforted their feare,
Her ventall vp, her visage open laid,
You happy folke, of heau'n beloued deare,
Work on (quoth she) upon your harmlesse traid,
These dreadfull armes I beare no warfare bring

To your sweet toile, nor those sweet tunes you sing.
But father, since this land, these townes and towres,
Destroied are with sword, with fire and spoile,
How may it be, unhurt that you and yours
In safetie thus, applie your harmlesse toile?
My sonne (quoth he) this pore estate of ours
Is euer safe from storm of warlike broile;

This wilderness doth vs in saftie keepe,

No thundering drum, no trumpet breakes our sleepe. Haply just beau'ns defence and shield of right, Doth loue the innocence of simple swains. The thunderbolts on highest mountains light, And seld or never strike the lower plaines : So kings have cause to feare Bellonaes might, Not they whose sweat and toile their dinner gaines, Nor ever greedie soldier was entised

By pouertie, neglected and despised.

O Pouertie, chefe of the heau'nly brood,
Dearer to me than wealth or kingly crowne!
No wish for honour, thirst of others good,
Can moue my heart, contented with my owne:
We quench our thirst with water of this flood,
Nor fear we poison should therein be throwne;
These little flocks of sheepe and tender goates
Giue milk for food, and wool to make us coates.

We little wish, we need but little wealth,
From cold and hunger vs to cloath and feed;

These are my sonnes, their care presernes from stealth
Their fathers flocks, nor servants moe I need:
Amid these groues I walke oft for my health,
And to the fishes, birds, and beastes giue heed,
How they are fed, in forrest, spring and lake,
And their contentment for ensample take.
Time was (for each one hath his doating time,
These siluer locks were golden tresses than)
That countrie life I hated as a crime,

And from the forrests sweet contentment ran,
To Memphis' stately pallace would I elime,"
And there became the mighty Caliphes man,
And though I but a simple gardner weare,
Yet could I marke abuses, see and heare."

Entised on with hope of future gaine,

I suffred long what did my soule displease;
But when my youth was spent, my hope was vaine,
I felt my native strength at last decrease;

1 gan my losse of lustle yeeres complaine,

And wisht I had enjoy'd the countries peace;
I bod the court farewell, and with content
My later age here have I quiet spent.


While thus he spake, Erminia husht and still
His wise discourses heard, with great attention,
His speeches graue those idle fancies kill,
Which in her troubled soule bred such dissention:
After much thought reformed was her will,
Within those woods to dwell was her intention,
Till fortune should occasion new afford,
To turn her home to her desired Lord,

She said therefore, O shepherd fortunate!
That troubles some didst whilom feele and proue,
Yet liuest now in this contented state,

Let my mishap thy thoughts to pity moue,
To entertaine me as a willing mate

In shepherds life, which I admire and loue:
Within these pleasant groues perchance my hart,
Of her discomforts, may vnload some part.

If gold or wealth of most esteemed deare,
If fewels rich, thou diddest hold in prise,"
Such store thereof, such plentie haue I seen,
As to a greedie mind might well suffice:
With that downe trickled many a siluer teare,
Two christall streames fell from her watrie eíes
Part of her sad misfortunes than she told,

And wept, and with her wept that shepherd old.
With speeches kinde, he gan the virgin deare
Towards his cottage gently home to guide;
His aged wife there made her homely cheare,
Yet welcomde her, and plast her by her side.
The Princesse dond a poore pastoraes geare,
A kerchiefe course vpon her head she tide;

But yet her gestures and her lookes (I gesse)
Were such, as ill beseem'd a shepherdesse.
Not those rude garments could obscure, and hide
The heav'nly beautie of her angels face,
Nor was her princely ofspring damnifide,
Or ought disparag'de, by those labours baee;
Her little flocks to pasture would she guide,

And milke her goates, and in their folds them place,
Both cheese and butter could she make, and frame
Herself to please the shepherd and his dame.


OF Mr. JOHN POMFRET nothing is known but from a slight and confused account prefixed to his poems by a nameless friend; who relates, that he was the son of the Rev. Mr. Pomfret, rector of Luton, in Bedfordshire; that he was bred at Cambridge; entered into orders, and was rector of Malden, in Bedfordshire, and might have risen in the church; but that, when he applied to Dr. Compton,

He was of Queen's College there, and, by the Universityregister, appears to have taken his bachelor's degree in 1684, and his master's 1698.-H. His father was of Trinity.-C.

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