Page images



The fnappifh cur (the paffengers annoy)
Close at my heel with yelping treble flies;
The whimp'ring girl, and hoarfer-fcreaming boy,
Join to the yelping treble, fhrilling cries;
The fcolding Quean to louder notes doth rise,
And her full pipes thofe fhrilling cries confound;
To her full pipes the grunting hog replies;
The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round,
And curs, girls, boys, and fcolds, in the deep base
are drown'd.



Hard by a Sty, beneath a roof of thatch,

Dwelt Obloquy, who in her early days

Baskets of fish at Billingfgate did watch,


Cod, whiting, oyfter, mackrel, fprat, or plaice:
There learn'd fhe fpeech from tongues that never cease.
Slander befide her, like a Magpie, chatters,

With Envy, (fpitting Cat) dread foe to peace;
Like a curs'd Cur, Malice before her clatters,
And vexing ev'ry wight, tears clothes and all to tatters.


Her dugs were mark'd by ev'ry Collier's hand,

Her mouth was black as bull-dogs at the stall:




VER. 30. Baskets of fifb] How different from thofe enchanting imitations of Spenfer, The Castle of Indolence and the Minstrel !



She scratched, bit, and spar'd ne lace ne band,
And bitch and rogue her answer was to all;
Nay, e'en the parts of fhame by name would call :
Yea, when fhe paffes by or lane or nook,
Would greet the man who turn'd him to the wall,
And by his hand obfcene the porter took,
Nor ever did afkance like modest Virgin look.


Such place hath Deptford, navy-building town,
Woolwich and Wapping, fmelling ftrong of pitch;
Such Lambeth, envy of each band and gown,
And Twick'nam fuch, which fairer scenes enrich,
Grots, ftatues, urns, and Jo-n's Dog and Bitch,
Ne village is without, on either fide,

All up the filver Thames, or all adown;

[merged small][ocr errors]

Ne Richmond's felf, from whofe tall front are ey'd Vales, fpires, meand'ring ftreams, and Windfor's tow'ry pride.



POPE has imitated Waller with elegance, efpecially in the verses on a Fan of his own defign; for he defigned with dexterity and taste.

The application of the ftory of Cephalus and Procris is as ingenious as Waller's Phoebus and Daphne. Waller abounds, perhaps to excefs, in allufions to mythology and the ancient claffics. The French, as may be imagined, complain that he is too learned for the ladies. The following twelve lines contain three allufions, delicate indeed; but fome may deem them to be too far-fetched, too much crouded, and not obvious to the lady to whom they were addreffed, on her finging a fong of his compofing:

"Chloris, yourself you so excell,

When you vouchsafe to breathe my thought,
That like a spirit with this fpell
Of my own teaching I am caught.
That eagle's fate and mine are one,
Which on the shaft that made him die,
Efpy'd a feather of his own
Wherewith he wont to foar fo high.
Had Echo with fo fweet a grace
Narciffus' loud complaints return'd,
Not for reflection of his face,

But of his voice, the boy had burn'd."

Here is matter enough compreffed together for Voiture to have fpun out into fifty lines. Were I to name my favourite among Waller's fmaller pieces, it should be his Apology for having loved before. He begins by faying, "That they who never had been used to the surprising juice of the grape, render up their reason to


the first delicious cup." This is fufficiently gallant; but what he adds has much of the fublime, and is like a thought of Milton's: "To man that was i' th' evening made,

Stars gave the first delight;
Admiring in the gloomy shade
Thofe little drops of light.

Then at Aurora, whose fair hand
Remov'd them from the skies,

He gazing tow'rds the Eaft did ftand,
She entertain'd his eyes.

But when the bright Sun did appear,
All thofe he 'gan defpife;

His wonder was determin'd there,

And could no higher rife."

The English verfification was much fmoothed by Waller; who ufed to own, that he derived the harmony of his numbers from Fairfax's Taffo, who well-vowelled his lines, though Sandys was a melodious verfifier, and Spenfer has perhaps more variety of mufic than either of them. A poet who addreffes his pieces to living characters, and confines himself to the subjects and anecdotes of his own times, like this courtly author, bids fairer to become popular, than he that is employed in higher fcenes of poetry and fiction, which are more remote from common manners. It may be remarked laftly of Waller, that there is no paffion in his love-verses; and that one elegy of Tibullus, fo well imitated by Hammond, and fo unjustly cenfured by Johnfon, excels a volume of the most refined panegyric. It is remarkable that Waller never mentions Milton, whose Comus, and smaller poems, preceded his own; but were unsuitable to the French tafte, on which Waller was formed.





FAIR Charmer, cease, nor make

your voice's prize

A heart refign'd the conqueft of your eyes:
Well might, alas! that threat'ned veffel fail,
Which winds and light'ning both at once affail.

We were too bleft with these inchanting lays, 5
Which must be heav'nly when an Angel plays:
But killing charms your lover's death contrive,
Left heav'nly mufic fhould be heard alive.
Orpheus could charm the trees; but thus a tree,
Taught by your hand, can charm no less than he :
A poet made the filent wood pursue,

This vocal wood had drawn the Poet too.

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »