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Well tried through many a varying year,
See Levett to the grave descend Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of every friendless name the friend.

Yet still he fills Affection's eye
Obscurely wise and coarsely kind, Nor lettered arrogance deny
Thy praise to merit undefined. When fainting Nature called for aid,
And hovering Death prepared the blow, His vigorous remedy displayed The power of Art without the show.

In misery's darkest caverns known,

His ready help was ever nigh, Where helpless anguish poured his groan,

And lonely want retired to die.

No summons mocked by chill delay,
No petty gains disdained by pride;The modest wants of every day,
The toil of every day supplied.

His virtues walked their narrow round,
Nor made a pause nor left a void j And sure the Eternal Master found,
His single talent well employed.

The busy day, the peaceful night,

Unfelt, uncounted, glided by; His frame was firm, his powers were bright,

Though now his eightieth year was nigh.

Then with no throbs of fiery pain, No cold gradations of decay,
Death broke at once the vital chain,
And freed his soul the nearest way.

XII.

OLD POETS.

ROBERT HERRICK—GEORGE WITHER.

Nothing seems stranger in the critics of the last century than their ignorance of the charming lyrical poetry of the times of the early Stuarts and the Commonwealth. One should think that the songs of the great dramatists, whose genius they did acknowledge—Shakspeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Ben Jonson— might have prepared them to recognize the kindred melodies of such versifiers as Marlowe, and Raleigh, and Withers, and Marveil. His Jacobite prejudices might have predisposed Dr.Johnson, in particular, to find some harmonious stanzas in the minstrels of the cavaliers, Lovelace and the Marquis of Montrose. But so complete is the silence in which the writers of that day pass over these glorious songsters, that it seems only charitable to suppose that these arbiters of taste had never met with their works. With the honorable exceptions of Thomas Wharton and Bishop Percy, there is not a critic from Johnson downward who does not cite Waller as the first poet who smoothed our rugged tongue into harmonious verse. And the prejudice lingers still in places where one does not expect to find it. The parish clerk of Beaconsfield is by no means the only, although by far the most excusable authority who, standing bare-headed before his pyramidal tomb in the church-yard, assured me with the most honest conviction, that Waller was the earliest and finest versifier in the language.

Herrick is one of the many whose lyrics might be called into court to overturn this verdict. Originally bred to the bar, he took orders at a comparatively late period, and obtained a living in Devonshire, from which he fled during the strict rule of the Lord Protector, concealing himself under a lay habit in London, and returning to his parsonage with the return of the monarch, whose birth had formed the subject of one of his earliest pastorals.

More than any eminent writer of that day, Herrick's collection requires careful sifting; but there is so much fancy, so much delicacy, so much grace, that a good selection would well repay the publisher. Bits there are that are exquisite: as when in enumerating the cates composing " Oberon's Feast," in his "Fairyland," he includes, among a strange farrago of unimaginable dishes,

"The broke heart of a nightingale

O'ercome in music."

Some of his pieces, too, contain curious illustrations of the customs, manners, and prejudices of our ancestors. I shall quote one or two from the division of the Hesperides, that he calls "charms and ceremonies," beginning with the motto:

DIVINATION BY A DAFFODIL.

When a daffodil I see,
Hanging down his head toward me,
Guess I may what I may be:
First, I shall decline my head,
Secondly, I shall be dead;
Lastly, safely buried.

The adorning the houses with evergreens seems then to have been as common as our own habit of decking them with flowers.

CEREMONIES FOR CANDLEMAS EVE.

Down with rosemary and bays, Down with the mistletoe,
Instead of holly now upraise The greener box for show.

The holly hitherto did sway;

Let box now domineer,
Until the dancing Easter day

Or Easter's Eve appear.

Then youthful box, which now has grace

Your houses to renew,
Grown old, surrender must his place

Unto the crisped yew. When yew is out, then hirch comes in

And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kin

To honor Whitsuntide. Green rushes then and sweetest bents,

With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments
To re-adorn the house.
Thus times do shift; each thing his turn does hold,
New things succeed as former things grow old.

THE BELLMAN. From noise of scare-fires rest ye free,
From murders Benedicite;
From all mischances that may fright
Your pleasing slumbers in the night,
Mercy secure ye all, and keep
The goblin from ye while ye sleep.
Past one o'clock, and almost two,
My masters all, good day to you!

The description of a steer in one of his " Bucolics" is graphic and life-like. The herdswoman is lamenting the loss of her favorite

I have lost my lovely steer,
That to me was far more dear
Than these kine that I milk here;Broad of forehead, large of eye,
Party-colored like a pie,
Smooth in each limb as a die;Clear of hoof, and clear of horn,
Sharply pointed as a thorn;With a neck by yoke unworn,
From the which hung down by strings,
Balls of cowslip, daisy rings
Interlaced by ribbonings.
Taultless every way for shape,
Not a straw could him escape,
Ever gamesome as an ape,
But yet harmless as a sheep.
Pardon, Lacon, if I weep.
******

But his real delight was among flowers and bees, and nymphs and cupids; and certainly these graceful subjects were never handled more gracefully.

THE CAPTIVE BEE. As Julia once a slumbering lay, It chanced a bee did fly that way, After a dew or dew-like shower, To tipple freely in a flower.

For some rich flower he took the lip

Of Julia and began to sip;

But when he felt he sucked from thence

Honey, and in the quintessence,

He drank so much he scarce could stir,

So Julia took the pilferer.

And thus surprised, as fllchers use,

He thus began himself to excuse:

"Sweet lady-flower! I never brought

Hither the least one thieving thought;

But, taking those rose-lips of yours

For some fresh fragrant luscious flowers,

I thought I there might take a taste

Where so much syrup ran at waste.

Besides, know this, I never sting

The flower that gives me nourishing;

But with a kiss or thanks do pay

For honey that I bear away."

This said, he laid his little scrip

Of honey 'fore her ladyship ,

And told her, as some tears did fall,

That that he took, and that was all.

At which she smiled, and bade him go

And take his bag; but thus much know,

When next he came a pilfering so,

He should from her full lips derive

Honey enough to fill his hive.

THE BAG OF THE BEE.

About the sweet bag of a bee

Two cupids foil at odds j
And whose the pretty prize should be,

They vowed to ask the gods.

Which, Venus hearing, thither came,
And for their boldness stripped them;

And taking thence from each his flame,
With rods of myrtle whipped them.

Which done, to still their wanton cries
When quiet grown she'd seen them,

She kissed and wiped their dove-like eyes,
And gave the bag between them.
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