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Sir John Denham, geb. 1615, geft. 1668, hat aners
kannte Verdienste um die Verbesserung der englischen Poes
fie. Den gråßten Ruhm erwarb er sich durch das, hier gang
eingerückte, Sedicht, Cooper's Hill, worin er eine reizende
Anhdhe dieses Namens beschreibt, und wodurch er eine in
der Folge von englischen Dichtern oft bearbeitete Dichtungs.
art einführte, die man, wie Dr. Johnson sagt, die Lokals
poesie nennen könnte. Das Gedicht ift, nach dem Urtheile
dieses Stunstrichters, freilich nicht ohne Mängel; es hat zu
lange Abschweifungen zu häufige Moral, und nicht durch
aus &chte Empfindung; indeß gesteht er dem Dichter doch.
das Lob der Originalität, und das Verdienft zu, daß er zur
Verbesserung des Seschmacks und der Sprache seines Vas
terlandes febr viel beigetragen habe. Ueber die vier berühma
teften, höchft glüdlichen, und unzählig oft nachgeahmten
O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is
Though deep, yet clear; tho gentle, yet not dull;
Strong without rage, without o’erflowing full!
findet man eine scharfsinnige Stritik in Denhams Leben von
Dr. Johnson. -- Die großte Schonheit dieses Gedichts
feßt Dr. Warton (Ejay on Pope, Vol. I. p. 31.) in der
Sunft, mit welcher Denham seinen Beschreibungen und
Bildern durchgångig eine moralische Tendenz zu geben, und
ihnen überall lehrreiche Winke einzuweben gewußt hat; faft
gang for wie der wirkliche Anblick sucher Scenen und Auss
fichten der Seele eine gewisse ruhige Fassung mitzutheilen,
und sie zu Gedanken und Betrachtungen, die, mit den Gea
genstånden verwandt find, binjuneigen pflegt.
Sure there are Poets which did never dream
Upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream
Of Helicon; we therefore may suppose
Those made not Poets, but the Poets those.
And as Courts make not Kings, but Kings the
So where the Muses and their Train resort,
Parnassus stands; if I can be to thee
A Poet, thou Parnaljus art to me,
Nor wonder, if (advantag'd in my fight,
By taking wing from thy auspicious height)
Through untrac'd Ways and airy Paths I flie,
More boundless in my Fancy than my Eye:
My Eye, which swift as Thought' contracts the
That lies between, and first salutes the Place
Crown'd with that sacred Pile, so vast, sa high,
That whether 'tis a part of Earth, or Sky,
Uncertain seems, and may be thought a proud
Aspiring Mountain, or descending Cloud,
Paul's, the late Theme of such a *) Muse whose
Has bravely reach'd and loar'd above thy height:
Now shalt thou stand, tho’Sword, or Time, or
Or Zeal more fierce than they, thy Fall conspire,
Secure, whilft thee the best of Poets Gngs,
Preserv’d from Ruin by the best of Kings,
Under his proud survey the City lies,
And like a Mift beneath a Hill doth rise;
Whole State and Wealth, the Business and the
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 likę hafte, tho' sev'ral ways they
Some to undo, and some to be undone ;
While Luxury, and Wealth, like War and Peace,
Denham. , Are each the others ruin, and increase; co
As Rivers loft in Seas, fome secret Vein
Thence reconveys, there to be lost again.
Oh Happiness of sweet retir'd Content!
To be at once secure, and innocent.
Windfor the next (where Mars with Venus dwells,
Beauty with Strength) above the Valley fwells
Into my Eye, and doth itself present
With such and easie and inforc'd Ascent,
That no stupendous Precipice denies
Access, no horror turns away our Eyes:
But such a Rise, as doth at once invite
A pleasure, and a reverence from the fight.
Thy mighty Master's Emblem, in whole Face
Sate Meekness, heighten'd with majestick Grace;
Such seems thy gentle height, made only proud
To be the basis of that pompous load,
Than which, a nobler weight no Mountain bears,
But Atlas only which supports the Sphears.
When Nature's hand this ground did thus advance,
'Twas guided by a wiser Pow'r than Chance;
Mark'd out for such an ule, as if 'twere meant
T' invite the Builder, and his choice prevent.
Nor can we call it choice, when what we chuse,
Folly or Blindness only cou'd refuse.
A Crown of such majestick Tow'rs does grace
The Gods great Mother, when her heav'nly Race
Do Homage to her, yet she cannot boast
Among that num'rous, and Celestial Hoft,
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 fo brave a Pile,
Whether to Caefar, Albanatt, or Brute,
The British Arthur, or the Danish Knute,
(Tho' this of old no less Conrett did move,
Than when for Homer's Birth lev'n Cities (trove)
(Like him in Birth, thou shouldft be like in Fame,
As thine his Fate, if mine had been his Flame)
But whosoe'er it was, Nature design'd
Firft a brave Place, and then as brave a Mind.
Not to 'recount those fev'ral Kings, to whom
It gave a Cradle or to wliom a Toinb;
But thee, great *) Edward, and thy greater fon,
(The Lillies which his Father wore, he won)
And thy **) Bellona, who the Confort came
Not only to thy Bed, but to thy Fame,
She to thy Triumph led one Captive ***) king,
And brought that Son, which did the second bring.
Then didit 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 giv'n thee skill
To know, as well as pow'r to act her will,
Thát 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 Defires more mighty, did devour:
To whom their better Fate reserves what e'er
The Victor hopes for, or the Vanquisht fear;
That Blood, which thou and thy great Grandfire
And all that since thele fister Nations bled,
Had been unspilt, had happy Edward known
That all the Blood he spilt, had been his own.
When he that Patron chose, in whom are join'd
Soldier and Martyr, and his Arms confin'd
Within the azure Circle, he did seem
But to foretell, and prophesie of him
Who to his Realms that azure round hath joind,
Which Nature for their bound at first design d.
That bound, which to the World's extreameft end,
Denham. Endless itself, its liquid Arms extends.
Nor doth he need those Emblems which we paint,
But is himself the Soldier and the Saint,
Here 1hould my Wonder dwell, and here my Praise,
But my fixt Thoughts my wandring Eye betrays,
Viewing a neighb’ring Hill, whose top of late
A Chappel crown'd, till in the Common Fate
Th’ adjoining Abby 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 incenle
To such a Rage? Was 't Luxury, or Lust?
Was he so temperate, so chast, lo just?
Were these their Crimes? They were his own much
But Wealth is Crime enough to him that's poor,
Who having spent the Treasures of his Crown,
Condemns their Luxury to feed his own.
And yet this Act, to varnish o'er the Shame
Of Sacrilege, must bear Devotion's Name.
No Crime 1o bold, but would be understood
A real, or at least a seeming Good:
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the Name,
And free from Conscience, is a Slave to Fame:
Thus he the Church at once protects, and spoils :
But Princes Swords are sharper than their Styles.
And thus to th' Ages past he makes amends,
Their Charity destroys, their Faith defends.
Then did Religion in a lazy Cell,
In empty, airy Contemplations dwell;
And like the Block, unmoved lay: but ours,
As much too active, like the Stork devours.
Is there no temp'rate Region can be known,
Betwixt their frigid, and our torrid Zone?
Cou'd we not wake from that lethargick Dream,
But to be restless in a worse Extream ?
And for that Lethargy was there no cure,
But to be cast into a Calenture ?
Can Knowledge have no bound, but mult advance
So far, to make us wil h for Ignorance?