« PreviousContinue »
Love then to us did new souls give,
And in those souls did plant new pow'rs;
Since when another life we live,
The breath we breathe is his, not ours :
Love makes those young, whom age doth chill,
And whom he finds young, keeps young still.
Love, like that angel that shall call
Our bodies from the silent grave,
Unto one age doth raise us all,
None too much, none too little have;
Nay, that the difference may be none,
He makes two not alike, but one.
And now since you
and I are such,
Tell me what's yours, and what is mine?
Our eyes, our ears, our taste, smell, touch,
Do (like our souls) in one combine ;
So by this, I as well may
Too old for you, as you for me.”
We now come to a graver style, in which Cartwright is even more at home than in the sprightly specimens we have already given. “ Consideration” is a fit subject for our beginning.
“ Fool that I was, that little of my span,
Which I have sinn'd until it stiles me man,
I counted life till now,
henceforth I'll say
'Twas but a drowsy ling’ring, or delay :
Let it forgotten perish, let none tell
That I then was, to live is to live well.
Off then, thou old man, and give place unto
The ancient of days; let him renew
Mine age like to the eagle's, and endow
My breast with innocence, that he whom thou
Hast made a man of sin, and subt’ly sworn
A vassal to thy tyranny, may turn
Infant again, and having all of child,
Want wit hereafter to be so beguild ;
O thou that art the way, direct me still
In this long tedious pilgrimage, and till
Thy voice be born, lock up my looser tongue,
He only is best grown that's thus turn'd young."
The following is sensible, feeling, and concise.
An Epitaph on Mr. Poultney.
“ True to himself and others, with whom both
Did bind alike a promise and an oath :
Free without art, or project; giving still
With no more snare, or hope, than in his will :
Whose mast'ring even mind so balanc'd all
His thoughts, that they could neither rise nor fall :
Whose train’d desires ne'er tempted simple health,
Taught not to vex but manage compos'd wealth ;
A season'd friend, not tainted with design,
Who made these words grow useless, Mine and Thine;
An equal master, whose sincere intents
Ne'er chang'd good servants to bad instruments :
A constant husband not divorc'd by Fate,
Loving, and lov'd, happy in either state,
To whom the grateful wife hath sadly drest
One monument here, another in her breast;
Poultney in both doth lye, who hitherto
To others liv'd, to himself only now.”
We shall conclude our quotations with the best part of a piece to the memory of Ben Jonson, and we doubt not our readers will agree with us in thinking our best very excellent. It is in a strong and nervous style, and is such praise as a man might be proud either to write or receive.
“ No rotten talk breaks for a laugh; no page
Commenc'd man by th' instructions of thy stage;
No bargaining line there; no provoc'tive verse;
Nothing but what Lucretia might rehearse;
No need to make good count'nance ill, and use
The plea of strict life for a looser muse;
No woman rul'd thy quill; we can descry
No verse born under any Cynthia's eye;
Thy star was judgement only and right sense,
Thyself being to thyself an influence:
Stout beauty is thy grace; stern pleasures do
Present delights, but mingle horrors too:
Thy muse doth thus like Jove's fierce girl appear,
With a fair hand, but grasping of a spear.
Where are they now that cry thy lamp did drink
More oil than th' author wine while he did think?
We do embrace their slander; thou hast writ
Not for dispatch, but fame; no market wit;
'Twas not thy care that it might pass and sell,
But that it might endure, and be done well;
Nor would'st thou venture it unto the ear,
Until the file would not make smooth, but wear :
Thy verse came season'd hence, and would not give;
Born not to feed the author, but to live:
Whence 'mong the choicer judges rose a strife,
To make thee read a classic in thy life.
Those that do hence applause and suffrage beg,
'Cause they can, poems form upon one leg,
Write not to time, but to the poet's day;
There's difference between fame and sudden pay:
These men sing kingdoms' falls, as if that fate
Us’d the same force to a village and a state;
These serve Thyestes' bloody supper in,
As if it only had a sallad been ;
Their Catilines are but fencers, whose fights rise
Not to the fame of battle, but of prize.
But thou still puts true passions on; dost write
With the same courage that try'd captains fight;
Giv'st the right blush and colour unto things;
Low without creeping, high without loss of wings ;-
Smooth, yet not weak, and by a thorough care,
Big without swelling, without painting fair :
They, wretches, while they cannot stand to fit,
Are not wits, but materials of wit.
What though thy searching muse did rake the dust
Of time, and purge old metals of their rust?
Is it no art, no labour, think they, to
Snatch shipwrecks from the deep as divers do?
And rescue jewels from the covetous sand,
Making the sea's hid wealth adorn the land ?
What though thy culling muse did rob the store
Of Greek and Latin gardens, to bring o'er
Plants to thy native soil ? their virtues were
Improv'd far more, by being planted here:
If thy still to their essence doth refine
So many drugs, is not the water thine?
Thefts thus become just works; they and their grace
Are wholly thine; thus doth the stamp and face
Make that the king's that's ravish'd from the mine;
In others then 'tis ore, in thee 'tis coin.
Thy thoughts were their own laurel, and did win
That best applause of being crown'd within.
And though th' exacting age, when deeper years
Had interwoven snow among thy hairs,
Would not permit thou should'st grow old, 'cause they
Ne'r by thy writing knew thee young; we may
Say justly, they're ungrateful, when they more
Condemn'd thee, 'cause thou wert so good before :
Thine art was thine act's blur, and they'll confess
Thy strong perfumes made them not smell the less :
But, though to err with thee be no small skill,
And we adore the last draughts of thy quill;
Though those thy thoughts, which the now queasy age
Doth count but clods, and refuse of the stage,
Will come up Porcelaine wit some hundreds hence,
When there will be more manners and more sense ;
'Twas judgement yet to yield, and we afford
Thy silence as much fame as once thy word:
Who like an aged oak, the leaves being gone,
Wast food before, and now religion ;
Thought still more rich, though not so richly stor'd,
View'd and enjoy'd before, but now ador'd.
“ Great soul of numbers, whom we want and boast,
Like curing gold, most valu'd now thou’rt lost;
When we shall feed on refuse offals, when
We shall from corn to acorns turn again ;
Then shall we see that these two names are one,
Jonson and Poetry, which now are gone."
We could present our readers with much more, nearly if not quite equally good, but they have had sufficient to judge of the merits of William Cartwright; and our limits tell us we must close. But, before we lay down our pen, we would remind the reader, that the poetry before us was not the business of Cartwright's life, and that these poems were his amusement in unapplied hours; and, as a friend says of him,
“ Witness thy other poems too, and songs,
Such as turn’d deserts heretofore to throngs,
And tun'd to the music of a Thracian string;
Made wild men tame, and peace from discord spring.
“ But these thy looser raptures must submit
To thy rare sermons, and much holier wit;
In whose rich web such eloquence is seen,
As if the Roman orator had been
Sent forth to preach the gospel: and had stood
In our assemblies pouring out his flood.
Thou wert a poet, but thy sermons do
Shew thee to be the best of preachers too."
It has been said before, and some may now think,that there is not sufficient excellence in Cartwright, to call forth fifty-six complimentary epistles ; but we would answer, that those eulogies were written when Cartwright's excellencies as a man, philosopher, and divine, were green in the memory of his contemporaries : and that we are cool and contemplative judges of the poet alone, nearly a century after his death. We cannot refrain from closing our article with one of the Prefatory Elegies : we might quote many possessing much more poetic excellence; but we choose it for its extreme simplicity : it is by the hand which set many of Cartwright's songs to music.
“To the memory of my most deserving and peculiar friend, Mr.
“ Amidst their very tears they'll smile to see
Me boldly venture at an Elegy
On thee (sweet friend) a subject fit for none
But those that have drunk deep at Helicon :
For how should I thy high-built fame rehearse
Who hardly can distinguish prose from verse ?
'Tis a sad truth
Yet here I must come in, my interest
Will claim as large a sorrow as the best:
For though my grief wants art and words, yet I
Can think aloud to thy dear memory;
And may (while others write) to after times
Sing thy own lasting praise in thy own rhymes."
ART. X.-The Workes of Geffray Chaucer. Printed at London,
by Thomas Godfray. The yere of our Lorde, M.D. xxxii. Cum
privilegio a rege indulto. Fol. bik let. The Works of. Geffray Chaucer, newly printed, with dyvers Workes
, which were never in print before: as in the Table more playnly