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To dance their wilder rounds about, And cleave the air with many a shout, As they would hunt poor Echo out Of yonder valley, who doth flout Their rustic noise. To visit whom You shall behold whole bevies come Of gaudy nymphs, whose tender calls
Will tuned unto the many falls Of sweet and several sliding rills, That stream from tops of those less hills, Sound like so many silver quills, When Zephyr them with music fills. For them Favorius here shall blow New flowers, that you shall see to grow, Of which each hand a part shall take, And, for your heads, fresh garlands make Wherewith, while they your temples round, An air of several birds shall sound An Io Paean, that shall drown The acclamations at your crown.
EPITAPH ON THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE.
Underneath this sable hearse
After all we take leave of him, transcribing yet another exquisite song, and echoing our first words, 0 rare Ben Jonson!
FROM THE MASQUE OF "THE GIPSYS METAMORPHOSED."
To the old, long life and treasure;To the young, all health and pleasure;
To the fair, their face
With eternal grace,
To the witty, all clear mirrors;
To the loving sprite
A secure delight;
WILLIAM ROBERT SPENCER.
Grandson of two dukes, nursed in the very lap of fashion, and coming into life at the time of all others when wit and fancy, and the lighter graces of poetry, were most cordially welcomed by the higher circles—at a time when the star of Sheridan was still in the ascendant, and that of Moore just appearing on the horizon—William Spencer may be regarded as much the representative of a class, as John Clare, or Robert Burns. The style of his verse eminently airy, polished, and graceful, as well as his personal qualities, combined to render him the idol of that society which, by common consent, we are content to call the best. His varied accomplishments enlivened a country-house, his brilliant wit formed the delight of a dinner table; while his singular charm of manner, and perhaps of character, gave a permanency to his social success by converting the admirers of an evening into friends for life. With all these genial triumphs, however, we can not look over the little volume of graceful verse which is all that now remains of so splendid a reputation, without feeling that the author was born for better, higher, more enduring purposes; that the charming trifler, whose verses forty years ago every lady knew by heart, and which are now well nigh forgotten, ought not to have wasted his high endowments in wreathing garlands for festivals—ought not, above all, to have gone on from youth to age, leading the melancholy life which is all holyday.
Nevertheless we must accept these verses for such as they are, just as we admire unquestioning the wing of a butterfly, or the petal of a flower; and in their kind they are exquisite. Look at the fancy and the finish of these stanzas!
TO THE LADY ANNE HAMILTON.*
Too late I stayed, forgive the crime,
Unheeded flew the hours;
That only treads on flowers!
What eye with clear account remarks
The ebbing of his glass,
That dazzle as they pass1
Ah! who to sober measurement
Time's happy swiftness brings,
Their plumage for his wings 1
In the next extract there is an unexpected touch of sentiment mixed with its playfulness, that is singularly captivating.
GOOD-BYE AND HOW-D'-YE-DO.
One day Good-bye met How-d'-ye-do,
Too close to shun saluting,
From kissing to disputing.
"Away." says How-d'-ye-do; "your mien
Appalls my cheerful nature,
In sorrow's nomenclature.
"Whene'er I give one sunshine hour,
Your mildew drops to fade it.
"Ere How-d'-ye-do has tuned each tongue
To Hope's delightful measure,
The knell of parting pleasure!
"From sorrows past my chemic skill
Draws smiles of consolation,
The tears of separation."
* Very sweetly mated with one of the sweetest old Irish airs, 8 The Yellow Horse."
Good-bye replied, "Your statement's true,
"Without my prior influence,
And can your hand one flower dispense,
"How oft, if at the court of Love
Concealment be the fashion,
Good-bye reveals the passion!
"How oft, when Cupid's fires decline,
As every heart remembers,
Revives the dying embers!
"Go, bid the timid lover choose,
And I'll resign my charter,
One kind Good-bye would barter!
"From love and friendship's kindred source
We both derive existence,
Without our joint assistance.
"'Tis well the world our merit knows,
Since time, there's no denying,
And t' other in Good-byeing 1"
Nobody has told the tragedy of Beth-Gelert so well as Mr. Spencer, in his simple but elegant ballad. I do not know if many persons partake my feeling respecting those stories of which the animal world are the heroes, but to me they seem more touching than grander histories of men and women. Dumb creatures—to use that phrase of the common people, which makes in its two homely words so true an appeal to our protection, and our pity—dumb creatures are in their love so faithful, so patient in their sufferings, so submissive under wrong, so powerless for remonstrance or for redress, that we take their part against the human brutes, their oppressors, as naturally and almost as vehemently as we do that of Philoctetes against Ulysses, or of Lear against Goneril. I am not sure that I do not carry my sympathy still farther. In the famous story of the Falcon, for instance, in Boccaccio, where a lover, ruined by the charges to which he puts himself in courting an ungrateful mistress, and owing his very existence to the game struck down for him by a favorite hawk, kills the poor bird to furnish forth a dinner for the haughty beauty when she at last comes to visit him, I never could help thinking that the enamored cavalier made a very bad exchange when he lost the falcon, and won the lady. His conscience must have pricked him all his life. He had not even, so far as we hear, the consolation, such as it is, of erecting a monument to the memory of his murdered favorite, on which, like Llewelyn, to "hang his horn and spear."
BETH GELERT; OR, THE GRAVE OF THE GREYHOUND.
The spearmen heard the bugle sound,
And cheerily smiled the morn;
Obeyed Llewelyn's horn.
And still he blew a louder blast
And gave a lustier cheer:
Llewelyn's horn to hear!
"Oh, where does faithful Gelert roam, The flower of all his race;
'Twas only at Llewelyn's board
The faithful Gelert fed;
And sentineled his bed.
In sooth he was a peerless hound,
The gift of royal John;
And all the chase rode on.
And now, as o'er the rocks and dells,
The gallant chidings rise,
The many-mingled cries.