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defends them from vulgar approach. It became vulgar
as well as absurd, and so died a sudden and natural death. That Lylly could write a natural and easy style is shewn by
the following specimens of his verse.
FROM ALEXANDER AND CAMPASPE.
Cupid and my Campaspe play'd
At cards for kisses ; Cupid paid :
He stakes his quiver, bow and arrows,
His mother's doves, and team of sparrows;
Loses them too : then down he throws
The coral of his lip, the rose
Growing on's cheek (but none knows how),
With these the chrystal of his brow,
And then the dimple of his chin ;
All these did my Campaspe win.
At last he set her both his eyes ;
She won, and Cupid blind did rise.
O love! has she done this to thee?
What shall, alas ! become of me!
What bird so sings, yet so does wail !
Oh 'tis the ravish'd nightingale.
Jug, jug, jug, jug, tereu, she cries,
And still her woes at midnight rise.
Brave prick song! who is't now we hear ?
None but the lark so shrill and clear ;
Now at heaven's gates she claps her wings,
The morn not waking till she sings.
Hark, hark, with what a pretty throat,
Poor Robin Red-breast tunes his note ;
Hark how the jolly cuckoos sing
“ Cuckoo,” to welcome in the spring.
BORN ABOUT 1553-Died 1599.
“ Axong the numerous poets,” says Mr Campbell, “ belong
ing exclusively to Elizabeth's reign, Spenser stands without a class and without a rival.” He might have extended this affirmation to the reign of George IV. No one has attempted to class the most purely poetical of all poets ; nor has he, in his own chosen field, ever been rivalled. “ In Spenser,” says that modern critic who beyond all others, has caught the fire, and formed himself on the catholic taste of our elder poets, we wander in another world among ideal beings. The poet takes us and lays us in the lap of a lovelier nature, by the sound of softer streams, among greener hills and fairer valleys. He paints nature, not as we find it, but as we expected to find it, and fulfils the delightful promise of our youth. He waves his wand of enchantment, and at once embodies airy beings, and throws a delicious veil over all actual objects. The two worlds of reality and fiction are poized on the wings of his imagination. His ideas seem more distinct than his perceptions." With equal felicity another of his modern critics has said,-“ Much of his expression has now become antiquated, though it is beautiful in its antiquity, and, like the moss and ivy on some majestic building, covers the fabric of his language with romantic and venerable associations."
The structure, the music of Spenser's peculiar verse, is not
less admirable. It combines the stately suspense and sweeping magnificence of blank verse with the melody, the sweetness, and varied cadences of rhyme. His stanza is that which the greatest among the modern poets have talked of as monotonous and cumbrous, and adopted when they would excel themselves. It is the very air, the native melody to which his thoughts and fancies should be set.
In her faire eyes two living lamps did flame,
Kindled above at th' heavenly Maker's light,
And darted fyrie beames out of the same,
So passing persant, and so wondrous bright,
That quite bereav'd the rash beholders sight :
In them the blinded god his lustfull fyre
To kindle oft assayd, but had no might ;
For, with dredd majestie and awfull yre,
She broke his wanton darts, and quenched base
Her yvorie forhead, full of bountie brave,
Like a broad table did itselfe dispred,
For Love his loftie triumphes to engrave,
And write the battailes of his great godhed:
All good and honour might therein be red ;
For there their dwelling was. And, when she
Sweete wordes, like dropping honey, she did shed ;
And twixt the perles and rubins softly brake
A silver sound, that heavenly musicke seemd to
Upon her eyelids many Graces sate,
Under the shadow of her even browes,
Working belgardes and amorous retrate ;
And everie one her with a grace epdowes,
And everie one with meekenesse to her bowes :
So glorious mirrhour of celestiall grace,
And soveraine moniment of mortall vowes,
How shall frayle pen descrive her heavenly face,
For feare, through want of skill, her beauty to
So faire, and thousand thousand times more faire,
She seemd, when she presented was to sight;
And was yclad, for heat of scorching aire,
All in a silken Camus lily white,
Purfled upon with many a folded plight,
Which all above besprinckled was throughout
With golden aygulets, that glistred bright,
Like twinckling starres ; and all the skirt about
Was hemd with golden fringe.
And in her hand a sharpe bore-speare she held,
And at her backe a bow, and quiver gay
Stuft with steel-headed dartes, wherewith she queld
The salvage beastes in her victorious play,
Knit with a golden bauldricke which forelay
Athwart her snowy brest, and did divide
Her daintie paps; which, like young fruit in May,
Now little gan to swell, and being tide
Through her thin weed their places only signifide.
Her yellow lockes, crisped like golden wyre,
About her shoulders weren loosely shed,
And, when the winde emongst them did inspyre,
They waved like a penon wyde despred,
And low behinde her backe were scattered :
And, whether art it were or heedlesse hap,
As through the flouring forrest rash she fed,
In her rude heares sweet flowres themselves did lap,
And flourishing fresh leaves and blossomes did
Such as Diana by the sandy shore
Of swift Eurotas, or on Cynthus greene,
Where all the nymphes have her unwares forlore,
Wandreth alone with bow and arrowes keene,
To seeke her game: or as that famous queene
Of Amazons, whom Pyrrhus did destroy,
The day that first of Priame she was seene,
Did shew herselfe in great triumphant joy,
To succour the weake state of sad afflicted Troy.
[From the Faerie Queene.)
EFTSOONES they heard a most melodious sound,
Of all that mote delight a daintie eare,
Such as attonce might not on living ground,
Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere :
Right hard it was for wight which did it heare,
To read what manner musicke that mote bee;
For all that pleasing is to living eare
Was there consorted in one harmonee;
Birdes, voices, instruments, windes, waters, all