« EelmineJätka »
rer life he appears to have relinquished every vice, and to have closed his days with the composure of a christian, supported by faith and hope. Denham's works have been frequently collected and published. The 6th edition appeared in 1719. His reputation seems, at present, to rest almost entirely on Cooper's Hill, a production which has conferred on him the rank and dignity of an original author. "He seems
to have been," says Dr. Johnson," at least among us, the author of a species of composition that may be denominated LOCAL POETRY, of which the fundamendal subject is some particular landscape, to be poetically described, with the addition of such embellishments as may be supplied by historical retrospection, or incidental meditation; and that he is one of the writers that improved our taste, and advanced our language; whom therefore we ought to read with gratitude, tho' having done much, he left much to do."
Bear me, oh! bear me to sequester'd scenes, the bow'ry mazes, and surrounding greens; to Thames's banks, which fragrant breezes fill, or where the Muses sport on Cooper's Hill. (On Cooper's Hill eternal wreaths shall grow while lasts the mountain, or while Thames shall flow.) Here his first lays majestic Denham sung;
there the last numbers flow'd from Cowley's tongue. Who now shall charm the shades where Cowley strung his living harp, and lofty Denham sung?
Sure there are poets which did never dream
and as courts make not kings, but kings the court,
and like a mist beneath a hill doth rise,
whose state and wealth, the bus'ness and the crowd, seems at this distance but a darker cloud,
and is, to him who rightly things esteems, no other in effect than what it seems;
where, with like haste, tho' several ways, they run,
* Mr. Waller.
some to undo, and some to be undone;
Windsor the next (where Mars with Venus dwells,
than which a nobler weight no mountain bears, but Atlas only, which supports the spheres. When Nature's hand this ground did thus advance, 't was guided by a wiser pow'r than chance; mark'd out for such an use, as if t'were meant ť invite the builder, and his choice prevent. Nor can we call it choice, when what we choose folly or blindness only could refuse.
A crown of such majestic towers doth grace the god's great mother, when her heav'nly race do homage to her; yet she cannot boast, among that num'rous and celestial host,
more heroes than can Windsor; nor doth Fame's immortal book record more noble names. Not to look back so far, to whom this isle
owes the first glory of so brave a pile,
and brought that son which did the second ‡ bring; then didst thou found that Order (whether love or victory thy royal thoughts did move :) each was a noble cause, and nothing less than the design has been the great success, which foreign kings and emperors esteem the second honour to their diadem.
Had thy great Destiny but given thee skill to know, as well as pow'r to act her will, that from those kings, who then thy captives were, in after-times should spring a royal pair who should possess all that thy mighty pow'r, or thy desires more mighty, did devour; to whom their better fate reserves whate'er the victor hopes for or the vanquish'd fear;
that blood which thou and thy great grandsire shed,
Edward 3, and the Black Prince.
+ Queen Phillippa.
The kings of France and Scotland
and all that since the sister nations bled,'
but to foretel and prophesy of him
who to his realms that azure round hath join'd, which Nature for their bound at first design'd; that bound which to the world's extremest ends, endless itself, it's liquid arms extends.
Nor doth he need those emblems which we paint, but is himself the soldier and the saint.
Here should my wonder dwell, and here my praise; but my fix'd thoughts my wand'ring eye betrays, viewing a neighb'ring hill, whose top of late a chapel crown'd, till in the common fate th' adjoining abbey fell. (May no such storm. fall on our times, where ruin must reform !) Tell me, my Muse! what monstrous dire offence, what crime, could any Christian king incense to such a rage? Was 't luxury or lust? was he so temperate, so chaste, so just?
were these their crimes? they were his own much
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name,