« PreviousContinue »
Of sense and outward things,
Blank misgivings of a creature
But for those first affections,
Which, be they what they may,
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
To perish never ;
Nor man nor boy
Though inland far we be,
Which brought us hither ;
Can in a moment travel thither-
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound !
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Feel the gladness of the May !
Though nothing can bring back the hour
We will grieve not, rather find
In the soothing thoughts that spring
In the faith that looks through death,
Is lovely yet ; The clouds that gather round the setting sun Do take a sober colouring from an eye That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality ; Another race hath been, and other palms are won. Thanks to the human heart by which we live, Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, To me the meanest flower that blows can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
Music, when soft voices die,
P. B. Shelley
End of the Golden Treasurg
Summary of Book First
THE Elizabethan Poetry, as it is rather vaguely termed, forms the substance of this Book, which contains pieces from Wyat under Henry VIII to Shakespeare midway through the reign of James I, and Drummond who carried on the early manner to a still later period. There is here a wide range of style;-from simplicity expressed in a language hardly yet broken-in to verse,-through the pastoral fancies and Italian conceits of the strictly Elizabethan time,-to the passionate reality of Shakespeare: yet a general uniformity of tone prevails. Few readers can fail to observe the natural sweetness of the verse, the single-hearted straightforwardness of the thoughts-nor less, the limitation of subject to the many phases of one passion, which then characterized our lyrical poetry,-unless when, as in especial with Shakespeare, the
purple light of Love' is tempered by a spirit of sterner reflection. For the didactic verse of the century, although lyrical in form, yet very rarely rises to the pervading emotion, the golden cadence, proper to the lyric.
It should be observed that this and the following Summaries apply in the main to the Collection here presented, in which (besides its restriction to Lyrical Poetry) a strictly representative or historical Anthology has not been aimed at. Great excellence, in human art as in human character, has from the beginning of things been even more uniform than mediocrity, by virtue of the closeness of its approach to Nature :-and so far as the standard of Excellence kept in view has been attained in this volume, a comparative absence of extreme or temporary phases in style, a similarity of tone and manner, will be found throughout:-something neither modern nor ancient, but true and speaking to the heart of man alike throughout all ages.