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Herbert's poems are, as might be expected, almost entirely on the graver realities of this life, or the weighty concerns of another. He probably destroyed the productions of his courtly days. Of them, at least, none have reached us. He alludes to the devotional turn of his poetry in the following piece entitled "Jordan," which commences with a very fantastical stanza.

Who says that fictions only and false hair
Become a verse? Is there in Truth no beauty?
Is all good structure in a winding stair?
May no lines pass, except they do their duty,

Not to a true, but painted chair?

Is it not verse, except enchanted groves
And sudden arbours shadow coarse-spun lines?
Must purling streams refresh a lover's loves?
Must all be veil'd, while he that reads, divines

Catching the sense at two removes.

Shepherds are honest people—let them sing—
Riddle who list, for me, and pull for prime;
I envy no man's nightingale or spring—
Nor let them punish me with loss of rhyme,

Who only plainly say, "My God, my king."—

This is more in the style of Waller, and is worth quoting.

Employment.

If, as a flow'r doth spread and die,
Thou would'st extend to me some good,
Before I were, by frost's extremity,

Nipt in the bud:

The sweetness and the praise were thine;
But the extension and the room,
Which in thy garland I should fill, were mine,
At thy great doom.

For, as thou dost impart thy grace,

The greater shall our glory be:

The measure of our joys is in this place,

The stuff with thee.

Let me not languish, then, and spend
A life, as barren to thy praise
As is the dust, to which that life doth tend,

But with delays.

All things are busy: only I
Neither bring honey with the bees,
Nor flow'rs to make that, nor the husbandry

To water these.

I am no link of thy great chain,
But all my company is as a weed.—
Lord! place me in thy concert: give one strain

To my poor reed.

*

Some of the stanzas in the devotional pieces are neatly finished, and have much point—as these:

"All may of thee partake,

Nothing can be so mean,
Which, with this tincture, For Thy Sake

Will not grow bright and clean.
This is the famous stone

That turneth all to gold.
For that, which God doth touch and own,

Cannot for less be told.—

His longest poem, "The Church Porch," is for the most part written in an uncouth and ungraceful style—yet, though we smile at its quaintness, who but must admire the good sense of the exhortation in the following stanzas on conversation?

If thou be master-gunner, spend not all

That thou canst speak at once;—but husband it,

And give men turns of speech. Do not forestall,

By lavishness, thine own and other's wit:
As if thou mad'st thy will—A civil guest
Will no more talk all, than eat all the feast.

Be calm in arguing—for fierceness makes

Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.

Why should I feel another man's mistakes,

More than his sicknesses or poverty ?—
In love I should, but anger is not love,
Nor wisdom neither: therefore gently move.

Calmness is great advantage—he that lets

Another chafe, may warm him at his fire,

Mark all his wanderings, and enjoy his frets,

As cunning fencers suffer heat to tire.

Truth dwells not in the clouds: the bow that's there
Doth often aim at, never hit the sphere.—

Lastly—let the reader take the following as a specimen of something rather more fanciful than the poems we have hitherto transcribed.

Peace.

"Sweet Peace, where dost thou dwell? I humbly crave

Let me once know.
I sought thee in a secret cave,

And ask'd, if Peace were there.
A hollow wind did seem to answer,' No—

'Go, seek elsewhere.'

I did—and going did a rainbow note:

'Surely,' thought I,
'This is the lace of Peace's coat

I will search out the matter;'
But, as I look'd, the clouds immediately

Did break and scatter.

Then went I to a garden, and did spy

A gallant flow'r,
The crown imperial. 'Sure,' said I,

'Peace at the root must dwell.'
But, when I digg'd, I saw a worm devour

What show'd so well.

At length I met a rev'rend, good old man:

Whom, when for Peace
I did demand, he thus began :—

'There was a prince of old,
At Salem dwelt, who liv'd with good increase

Of flock and fold.

'He sweetly liv'd: yet sweetness did not save

His life from foes.
But, after death, out of his grave

There sprang twelve stalks of wheat:
Which many wondering at, got some of those

To plant and set.

'It prosper'd strangely, and did soon disperse

Through all the earth.
For they that taste it do rehearse

That virtue lies therein;
A secret virtue, bringing peace and mirth

By flight from sin.

'Take of this grain, which in my garden grows,

And grows for you—
Make bread of it; and that repose

And peace, which every where
With so much earnestness you do pursue,

Is only there.'"

To speak of the faults of these poems, faults which abound in a far greater degree in the pieces which remain, than in those we have selected, would be useless to the purposes of our Review. It is our aim to pick out a few flowers which, in this case as in some others, are almost lost amid weeds—yet let it not be inferred that we have done this so completely in the present case, as that nothing but rubbish remains. On the contrary, we think that those who have a real relish for devotional poetry will find passages in Herbert that may refresh and delight them: at the same time, no reader of taste, and rational views of religion, but must lament and wonder at the strange and almost incomprehensible turn of some of the poems. What are we to make of the following?

The Quiddity.

"My God, a verse is not a crown:

No point of honour or gay suit;
No hawk, or banquet, or renown;

Nor a good sword, nor yet a lute.

It cannot vault, or dance, or play,

It never was in France or Spain,
Nor can it entertain the day

With my great stable or domain.

It is no office, art, or news;

Nor the exchange, or busy hall—
But it is that, which while I use,

I am with thee, and—most take all."

The quaintness and oddity of the following are, however, compensated for by some excellent lines.

The Pulley.

"When God at first made man,

Having a glass of blessings standing by,
'Let us,' said he,'pour on him all we can;

Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.'

So strength first made away;

Then beauty flow'd; then wisdom, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay;

Perceiving that alone, of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

'For if I should,' said he,

'Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,

And rest in nature, not the God of nature,—
So both should losers be.

'Yet let him keep the rest—

But keep them, with repining restlessness—
Let him be rich and weary; that, at least,

If goodness lead him not, yet weariness

May toss him to my breast.'"

Art. III. The instructive and entertaining Fables of Pilpay, an Ancient Indian Philosopher. The fifth edition. London, 1775.

The Fables of Pilpay have been long since translated into most of the European languages; but, after enjoying a temporary popularity, which is attested by the number of editions that have been published in different countries, they have sunk into unmerited neglect. The cause of this may be easily traced. The great success of the Arabian Nights Entertainments, that mine of oriental imagery and invention, produced a series of imitations, which, under the titles of Chinese, Persian, Turkish, and other Tales, must have sickened the appetites which they were intended to delight; and as Pilpay shared with them the applause of the reading public of that day, he was, also, doomed to partake in the indifference which succeeded the interest they at first excited. Literature has as many changes of fashion as are found in the minor departments of taste; and this alone might explain sufficiently why any book should, after a certain period, cease to entertain; but in the present case we may discover a more obvious reason for the obscurity into which our Indian philosopher has fallen, in the inelegant version of the French translation which was made for the use of English readers. Under this disadvantage, it could hardly be expected that Pilpay should maintain his ground against the hosts of writers who have, in turn, been the admiration of this novel-reading age and country. Even his claim

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