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confirm, we have a very striking instance in the present work, in which iwo entire pages of Book I. of Britannia's Pastorals were omitted '.
Few poets, however, of his age, have a better claim to be added to a collection like the present, than Browne. His works exhibit abundant specimens of true inspiration, and had his judgment been equal to his powers of invention, or had he yielded less to the bad taste of his age, or occasionally met with a critic instead of a flatterer, he would have been entitled to a much higher rank in the class of genuine poets. His Pastorals form a vast store-house of rural imagery and description, and in personifying the passions and affections, he exhibits pictures that are not only faithful but striking, just to nature and to feeling, and frequently heightened by original touches of the pathetic and sublime, and by many of those wild graces which true genius only can exhibit. It is not improbable that he studied Spenser, as well as the Italian poets. To the latter he owes something of elegance and something of extravagance. From the former he appears to have caught the idea of a story like the Faery Queene, although it wants regularity of plan; and be follows his great model in a profusion of allegorical description and romantic landscape *.
His versification, which is so generally harmonious that where he fails, it may be imputed to carelessness, is at the same time so various as to relax the imagination with specimens of every kind, and be seems to pass from the one to the other with an ease that we do not often find among the writers of lengthened poems. Those, however, who are in search of faulty rhimes, of foolish conceits, of vulgar ideas and of degrading imagery, will not lose their pains. He was, among other qualities, a man of buipour, and his humour is often exceedingly extravagant. So mixed, indeed, is his style, and so whimsical his flights, that we are sometimes reminded of Swift in all bis grossness, and sometimes of Milton in the plenitude of his inspiration.
The obligations Milton owes to this poet might alone justify his admission into a more fastidious collection than the presen' can pretend to be. Mr. Warton has remarked that the morning landscape of the L'Allegro is an assemblage of the same objects which Browne had before collected in his Britannia’s Pastorals, B. IV. Song IV. beginning,
" By this had chanticlere,” &c. It has already been noticed that Philarele was the precursor of Lycidas, but what Mr. Warton asserts of Comus deserves some consideration. After copying the exquisite Ode which Circe, in the Inner Temple Mask, sings as a charm to drive away sleep from Ulysses, Mr. Warton adds," In praise of this song it will be sufficient to say, that it reminds us of some favourite touches in Milton's Comus, to which it perhaps gave birth. Indeed one cannot help observing here in general, although the observation more properly belongs to another place, that a masque thus recently
The first notice of this egregious blunder was reserved for Mr. Waldron, in his Miscellanies on the English Stage, p. 49. C.
• He studied also our earliest poets, having incorporated in his Shepherd's Pipe a poem written by Moccleve, translated from Gesta Romanorum, and entitled the story of Ionathas. See Mr. George Mason's splenetic republication of some of the poems of that very indifferent writer. Preface, p. 2. C.
Warton's Milton, p. 46, 47.
exhibited on the story of Circe, which there is reason to think had acquired some popularity, suggested to Milton the hint of a masque on the story of Comus. It would be superfluous to point out minutely the absolute similiarity of the two characters : they both deal in incantations conducted by the same mode of operation, and producing effects exactly parallel.”
Without offering any objection to these remarks, it may still be necessary to remind the reader of a circumstance to which this excellent critic has not adverted namely, that the Inner Temple Mask appears to have been exhibited about the year 1620, when Milton was a boy of only twelve years old, and remained in manuscript until Dr. Farmer procured a copy for the edition of 1772; and that Milton produced his Comus at the age of twenty-six. It remains, therefore, for some future conjecture to determine on the probability of Milton's having seen Browne's manuscript in the interim
Prince informs us, that as he had honoured his country with his sweet and elegant Pastorals, so it was expected, and he also entreated a little farther to grace it by bis drawing out the line of his poetic ancestors, beginning in Joseph Iscanus, and ending in himself. A noble design if it had been effected.” Josephus Iscanus was Joseph of Exeter, who flourished in the thirteenth century, and wrote iwo epic poems in Latin heroics. Had Browne begun much later he would have conferred a very high obligation on posterityCollections of poetry are of very ancient date, but very little is known with certainty of the lives of English poets, and that hittle must now be recovered with great difficulty.
It yet remains to be noticed, that some poems of Browne are supposed to exist in manuscript. Mr. Nichols? thinks that Warburton the herald had some which were sold with the rest of his library about the year 1759 or 1760.
• Those who are fond of coincidences may be probably amused by comparing the account of a concert among the birds in Britannia's Pastorals, Book I. Song 3. beginning,
“ Two nights thus past: the filly-handed niorne, &c.” with some ingenious poems lately written for the use of children, under the titles of the Butterfly's Bally. Iko Peacock at home, &c. C.
? Nichols's Miscellany Poems, vol. i. p. 262. 6.
TO THE NO LESSE ENOBLED BY VIRTUE, THAN ANCIENT IN NOBILITIE,
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
EDWARD LORD ZOUCH,
ST. MAURE AND CANTELUPE, AND ONE OF HIS MAJESTIE'S MOST HONOURABLE
HONOR's bright ray
In shepheards giay,
Such choiser eares,
A thought upreares,
Hath taught her straines,
(In lines whose raignes
The vales shall ring
TO THE READER,
The times are swolne so big with nicer wits,
Hence grows the want of ever-living songs, That nought sounds good, but what opinion strikes, With which our ile was whilome bravely stor'd. Censure with judgment seld together sits;
If such a basiliske dart downe his eye, And now the man more than the matter likes. (Impoyson’d with the dregs of utmost bate) The great rewardresse of a poet's penne,
To kill the first bloomes of my poesie, Fame, is by those so clogg'd she seldome fiyes,
It is his worst, and makes me fortunate. The Muses sitting on the graves of men,
Kinde wits I vaile to, but to fooles precise Singing that vertue lives and never dyes,
I am as confident as they are nice. Are chas'd away by the malignant tongues
From the Inner Temple, Of such, by whom detraction iş ador'd :
June the 18, 1613,
BY THE SAME.
IN BUCOLICA G. BROUN,
Conturbet tremulze libido linguæ,
Ne quis basia fascinare possit 3! QUOD, PER SECESSUS RUSTICI OTIA, LICUIT AD AMIC. Morsus mutua temperet voluptas ! & BON. LIT. AMANTIST.
Dormitis, nimiumque defuistis
Procis, atque adamantinis puellis.
Istbæc prospiciens tibi, Cupido,
Audax admonui. Tuas Apollo,
Deusque, Arcadir, Minerva, & Herines
Supplantant Veneres. Murinus arcum
Tendit, quin jaculis tna pharetra
Surrepuis putiinur. Camena texit
Canto dælala, blandulum Aphrodites
Cestum, & insidias plicat. Minervæ
Buxus, Mercurii Chelys, Cicuta
Fauni, dulce melos canunt. Erota
En, olim docuit', plagas Eroti
Jam tendit, juvenis, poeta, pastor,
Isthac prospiciens tibi, Cupido,
Audax adınonui. Fave Cupido.
So much a stranger my severer Muse
Of Pan, of Pallas, and hir sister's meed.
Read and commend, she durst these tun'd essaies Quin vostrum Paphie, Anteros, Erosque,
Of him that loves her (she hath ever found Ut regnum capiat mali quid, absit !
Hir studies as one circle.) Next she prayes. Venus, per Syrium nimis venustu o !
His readers be with rose and myrtle crown'd! Amplexus teneros, pares, suaves
No willow touch them! As his baies' are free Psyches, per, tibi, basiationum,
Prom wrong of bolts, so may their chaplets be! Eros quantum erai ! & por Anterotis
J. SELDEN, JURIS C. Fælices avimas ! periclitanti Obtestor, dubiæque consulatis Rei vostræ! Miserûin magis farete
TO HIS FRIEND THE AUTHOR". Languori, miserûm favete amantum,
Drive forth thy flocke, young pastor, to that plaine, Divi, cordolio! Quod est amatum Ietu propitii ferite pectus !
Where our old shepeards wont their flocks to feed :
To those cleare walkes, where many a skilfull swaine Ictus quin sit ab auica sagitta !
To’ards the calme ev’ning, tun'd his pleasant reede. Ortas spe placita fovete flammas! Ortis quin similes parate fammas!
3 Ne scilicet quis pernumeret. Finitus n. & Suas gnaviter ambiant Noxras!! Et cautim laciant suos Neæræ !
notus numerus fascino, apud veteres, obnoxius. Dextras sternuite adprobationes !
Idque in Basiis observatum habes ap. Catul. Carm.
5. & 7. Adjuctis detur osculum labellis ! Et junctis detur osculum salivis !
* Amor a pastore omne genus Musices olim edoTui nectaris adde, diva, quinctam?
ctus, Bion Idyll. 3.
5 Bajes (faire readers) being the materials of
poet's ghirlands (as myrtle and roses are for en"Amica, domina (nostro idiornate amatorio, joying lovers, and the fruitlesse willow for them MISTRESSE) & Neæra sunt uti synonyma Pruden- which your unconstancie, too oft, makes most untio, ante alios, Peri Steph. hymo. 12. & alicubi. happy) are supposed not subject to any hurt of v. si placet & Jos. Scalig. ad 3. Tibulli,
Jupiter's thunderbolts, as other trecs are. Horat. Carm. 1. od. 13.
6 See Canto 5. and B. 2. S. 2.