Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Long did the Muses banish'd slaves abide,
And built vain pyramids to mortal pride :
Like Moses thou (tho’ spells and charms withstand)
Hast brought them nobly home, back to their holy land.

Ah, wretched we, Poets of earth! but thou
Wert living the same Poet which thou’rt now;
Whilst angels sing to thee their airs divine,
And joy in an applause so great as thine.
Equal society with them to hold,
Thou need'st not make new songs, but say the old;
And they (kind spirits!) shall all rejoice to see,
How little less than they, exalted man may be.

Still the old heathen gods in numbers dwell,
The heavenliest thing on earth still keeps up hell :
Nor have we yet quite purg'd the Christian land;
Still idols here, like calves at Bethel stand.
And tho' Pan's death long since all or’cles broke,
Yet still in rhyme the fiend Apollo spoke;
Nay, with the worst of heathen dotage, we
(Vain men !) the monster woman deifie;
Find stars, and tie our fates there in a face,
And Paradise in them, by whom we lost it, place.
What diff'rent faults corrupt our muses thus ?
Wanton as girls, as old wives fabulous.

Thy spotless muse, like Mary, did contain
The boundless Godhead; she did well disdain
That her eternal verse employed should be
On a less subject than eternity;
And for a sacred mistress scorn'd to take
But her whom God himself scorn'd not his spouse to make :
It (in a kind) her miracle did do,
A fruitful mother was, and virgin too.

How well (blest Swan) did fate contrive thy death,
And made thee render up thy tuneful breath
In thy great mistress' arms ? Thou most divine,
And richest offering of Loretto's shrine !
Where, like some holy sacrifice t'expire,
A fever burns thee and love lights the fire.

T

Angels (they say) brought the fam'd chapel there,
And bore the sacred load in triumph thro' the air :
'Tis surer much they brought thee there; and they,
And thou, their charge, went singing all the way.

Pardon, my mother Church, if I consent
That angels led him, when from thee he went;
For ev'n in error, sure no danger is,
When join’d with so much piety as his.
Ah! mighty God, with shame I speak’t, and grief;
Ah! that our greatest faults were in belief!
And our weak reason were ev’n weaker yet,
Rather than thus, our will's too strong for it!
His faith, perhaps, in some nice tenets might
Be
wrong i

his life, I'm sure, was in the right:
And I, myself, a Catholic will be ;
So far at least, great Saint ! to pray to thee.

Hail, Bard triumphant! and some care bestow
On us, the Poets militant below :
Oppos'd by our old enemy, adverse Chance,
Attack'd by Envy and by Ignorance ;
Enchain’d by Beauty, tortured by desires,
Expos’d by Tyrant-love, to savage beasts and fires.
Thou from low earth in nobler flames didst rise,
And like Elijah mount alive the skies.
Elisha like (but with a wish much less,
More fit thy greatness and my littleness ;)
Lo here I beg (I whom thou once didst prove
So humble to esteem, so good to love)
Not that thy spirit might on me doubled be,
I ask but half thy mighty spirit for me :
And when my muse soars with so strong a wing,
'Twill learn of things divine, and first of thee to sing. *

W. B. TURNBULL.
Lincoln's-Inn.

Feb. 1858.

1

[ocr errors]

* In these verses, says Johnson," there are beauties which common authors may justly think not only above their attain. ment, but above their ambition."

b

NOTE.

SINCE the completion of the text, I have been annoyed by discovering that the lines “ On a Treatise of Charity,” at page 77, were originally prefixed to the “ Five Poems and Learned Discourses” of Robert Shelford, Rector of Ringsfield, Suffolk, 4to. Cambridge, 1635; and that the following lines have been left out in the editions of Crashaw's Poems. The reason for such omission is obvious. Should a second impression of this volume be required, they shall be inserted in their proper place; but it must be admitted that, however just the sentiment expressed in them, the subtraction of these lines does not impair the beauty of the poem.

Nor shall our zealous ones still have a fling
At that most horrible and horned thing,
Forsooth the Pope : by which black name they call
The Turk, the Devil, Fairies, Hell and all,
And something more. O he is Antichrist :
Doubt this, and doubt (say they) that Christ is Christ.
Why, 'tis a point of faith. Whate'er it be,
I'm sure it is no point of charity.
In sum, no longer shall our people hope,
To be a true Protestant, 's but to hate the Pope.

PREFACE TO THE ORIGINAL

EDITION.

LEARNED READER,

HE author's friend will not usurp much upon thy eye; this is only for those whom the name of our divine poet hath not yet seized into admiration; I dare under

1 take that what Jamblichus (in vita Pythagorce) affirmeth of his master at his contemplations--these poems can; viz. they shall lift thee, reader, some yards above the ground; and as in Pythagoras' school every temper was first tuned into a height by several portions of music, and spiritualized for one of his weighty lectures, so mayest thou take a poem hence, and tune thy soul by it into a heavenly pitch; and thus refined and borne up upon the wings of meditation, in these poems thou mayest talk freely of God, and of that other state.

Here's Herbert's second, but equal, who hath retrieved poetry of late, and returned it up to its primitive use; let it bound back to Heaven's gates whence it came. Think ye St. Augustine would have stained his graver learning with a book of poetry, had he fancied their dearest

end to be the vanity of love-sonnets and epithalamiums ? No, no! he thought, with this our poet, that every foot in a high-born verse might help to measure the soul into that better world. Divine poetry; I dare hold it, in position against Suarez on the subject, to be the language of the angels; it is the quintessence of phantasy and discourse centred in Heaven ; 'tis the very outgoings of the soul ; 'tis what alone our author is able to tell you, and that in his own verse.

It were profane but to mention here in the preface those under-headed poets, retainers to seven shares and a half; madrigal fellows, whose only business in verse is to rhyme a poor sixpenny soul, a suburb sinner, into hell. May such arrogant pretenders to poetry vanish with their prodigious issue of tumorous heats and flashes

of their adulterate brains; and for ever after may this our poet fill up the better room of man! Oh! when the general arraignment of poets shall be to give an account of their higher souls, with what a triumphant brow shall our divine poet sit above and look down upon poor Homer, Virgil, Horace, Claudian, &c. who had amongst them the ill luck to talk out a great part of their gallant genius upon bees, dung, frogs, and gnats, &c. and not as himself here, upon Scriptures, divine graces, martyrs, and angels !

Reader, we style his Sacred Poems, “ Steps to the Temple," and aptly, for in the Temple of God, under His wing, he led his life in St. Mary's Church, near St. Peter's college; there he lodged under Tertullian's roof of angels; there he made his nest more gladly than David's swallow near the house of God: where,

« AnteriorContinuar »