Page images

The whole unto Him, and remember who

Prevail'd by wrestling ere the sun did shine;
Pour oil upon the stones, weep for thy sin,
Then journey on, and have an eye to heav'n.
Mornings are mysteries; the first, the world's youth,
Man's resurrection, and the future's bud,
Shroud in their births; the crown of life, light, truth,
Is styled their star; the stone and hidden food :
Three blessings wait upon them, one of which
Should move—they make us holy, happy, rich.
When the world's up, and every swarm abroad,
Keep well thy temper, mix not with each clay ;
Despatch necessities ; life hath a load
Which must be carried on, and safely may;
Yet keep those cares without thee; let the heart
Be God's alone, and choose the better part.




(JOHN DRYDEN, the son of Erasmus Dryden, of Tichmersh, was bom at Aldwinkle, in Northamptonshire, in the year 1632. He was educated at Westminster School under the celebrated Dr. Busby, and was elected to one of the Cambridge scholarships. He entered Trinity College in 1650, and, in four years, took his B.A. degree. At the same time, upon the death of his father, he came into possession of property worth about 60l. a year. He soon afterwards began to write poetry and dramatic compositions, and, in 1665, married the Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the first Earl of Berkshire. For many years he supported himself solely by his writings; these were principally for the stage, or satires of men of the day, or translations of the classic authors. His poems “Absalom and Achitophel” and “The Hind and the Panther" gained him great reputation, and he was made Poet Laureate. In his later days he wrote “Alexander's Feast : an Ode to St. Cecilia's Day,” the finest lyric poem in the English language, and his “ Fables.” Dryden died in poverty on the ist of May, 1700, at a small house in Gerrard Street, Soho. He had a public funeral, and was buried with great honour in Westminster Abbey.)

'Twas at the royal feast, for Persia won,

By Philip's warlike son:
Aloft in awful state
The godlike hero sate

On his imperial throne :

His valiant peers were placed around,
Their brows with roses and with myrtle bound;

So should desert in arms be crown'd.
The lovely Thaïs by his side
Sat, like a blooming Eastern bride,
In flower of youth and beauty's pride.

Happy, happy, happy pair ;

None but the brave,
None but the brave,

None but the brave deserve the fair.

Timotheus, placed on high

Amid the tuneful quire,
With flying fingers touch'd the lyre :
The trembling notes ascend the sky,

And heavenly joys inspire.
The song began from Jove,
Who left his blissful seats above,
Such is the power of mighty Love !
A dragon's fiery form belied the god :
Sublime on radiant spheres he rode,

When he to fair Olympia press'd ;
And while he sought her snowy breast,

Then round her slender waist he curl d,
And stamp'd an image of himself, a sov’reign of the world.

The list’ning crowd admire the lofty sound;

A present deity, they shout around ;
A present deity, the vaulted roofs rebound :

With ravish'd ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,

Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.

The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musician sung,

Of Bacchus ever fair, and ever young :

The jolly god in triumph comes;
Sound the trumpets, beat the drums;
Flush'd with a purple grace
He shows his honest face.

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors]

Now, give the hautboys breath ; he comes ! he comes !

Bacchus, ever fair and young,
Drinking joys did first ordain:

Bacchus' blessings are a treasure ;
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure :

Rich the treasure,

Sweet the pleasure ;
Sweet is pleasure after pain.

Sooth'd with the sound, the king grew vain :

Fought all his battles o'er again :
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain.

The master saw the madness rise
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes ;
And, while he heav'n and earth defied,
Changed his hand, and check'd his pride.

He chose a mournful muse,

Soft pity to infuse :
He sung Darius, great and good,

By too severe a fate
Fall'n, fall'n, fall’n, fall’n,

Fall’n from his high estate,
And welt'ring in his blood ;

Deserted at his utmost need

By those his former bounty fed,
On the bare earth exposed he lies,
With not a friend to close his eyes.

With downcast look the joyless victor sate,
Revolving in his alter'd soul

The various turns of fate below;
And now and then a sigh he stole,

.Ind tears began to flow.

« PreviousContinue »