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confine judgments on Poetry to 'the selected few of many generations.' Not many appear to have gained reputation without some gift or performance that, in due degree, deserved it: and if no verses by certain writers who show less strength than sweetness, or more thought than mastery in expression, are printed in this volume, it should not be imagined that they have been excluded without much hesitation and regret, far less that they have been slighted. Throughout this vast and pathetic array of Singers now silent, few have been honoured with the name Poet, and have not possessed a skill in words, a sympathy with beauty, a tenderness of feeling, or seriousness in reflection, which render their works, although never perhaps attaining that loftier and finer excellence here required, better worth reading than much of what fills the scanty hours that most men spare for self-improvement, or for pleasure in any of its more elevated and permanent forms. - And if this be true of even mediocre poetry, for how much more are we indebted to the best! Like the fabled fountain of the Azores, but with a more various power, the magic of this Art can confer on each period of life its appropriate blessing on early years Experience, on maturity Calm, on age, Youthfulness. Poetry gives treasures 'more golden than gold,' leading us in higher and healthier ways than those of the world, and interpreting to us the lessons of Nature. But she speaks best for herself. Her true accents, if the plan has been executed with success, may be heard throughout the following pages: wherever the Poets of England are honoured, wherever the dominant language of the world is spoken, it is hoped that they will find fit audience.
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
The palm and may make country houses gay,
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
SUMMONS TO LOVE
HOEBUS, arise !
the sable skies
With azure, white, and red:
Rouse Memnon's mother from her Tithon's bed
That she may thy career with roses spread :
Give life to this dark world which lieth dead;
In larger locks than thou wast wont before,
And emperor-like decore
With diadem of pearl thy temples fair :
Chase hence the ugly night
Which serves but to make dear thy glorious light
- This is that happy morn,
That day, long-wished day
Of all my life so dark,
(If cruel stars have not my ruin sworn
And fates my hopes betray,)
Which, purely white, deserves
An everlasting diamond should it mark.
This is the morn should bring unto this grove
My Love, to hear and recompense my love.
Fair King, who all preserves,
But show thy blushing beams,
And thou two sweeter eyes
Shalt see than those which by Penéus' streams
Did once thy heart surprise.
Now, Flora, deck thyself in fairest guise :
A voice surpassing far Amphion's lyre,
Let Zephyr only breathe,
The winds all silent are,
Beyond the hills, to shun his flaming wheels: The fields with flowers are deck'd in every hue, The clouds with orient gold spangle their blue ; Here is the pleasant place —
And nothing wanting is, save She, alas!
W. Drummond of Hawthornden
TIME AND LOVE
HEN I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate –
That Time will come and take my Love away: