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deny the existence of all principles, and of all poetry too; and, perhaps, vote his high-born predecessor a coxcomb at best, if not a pretender and a bore.
In order that our notices of Sir Philip Sidney's works may not be incomplete, we shall append to this paper a few specimens of his poetry; for we do not conceive that it is, upon the whole, of a nature to call for a separate and formal essay. We shall endeavour to characterise the various examples as we present them; merely premising, that our author's poetry is nearly all devoted to the subject of love; and that it consists of a collection of short pieces, entitled, "Astrophel and Stella;" and another collection, of a similar nature, entitled, "Songs and Sonnets."
The following will form an appropriate introduction to our extracts from this author; because it seems to announce his own notion of one of the principles on which poetry should be written. It must not be concealed, however, that few were ever less disposed to follow their own rule than he was in the present instance. If he really had looked into his own noble heart, and written directly from that, instead of from his somewhat too metaphysico-philosophical head, his poetry would have been as fine as his "Defence" of it.
"Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to shew,
That she, dear she! might take some pleasure in my pain-
The following are examples of the manner in which he occasionally obeys the dictate of his muse. We might have chosen others that more strikingly exemplify the faults of his style: but our object is to give a characteristic notion of that style, without shewing it in its worst possible point of view :
"Not at first sight, nor with a dribbed shot,
Love gave the wound which, while I breathe, will bleed;
But known worth did in mine of time proceed,
Now e'en that footstep of lost liberty
And now employ the remnant of my wit
To make myself believe that all is well;
The reader will perceive that, notwithstanding its laboured coldness, this is full of ideas, and is in parts expressed with a certain skilful simplicity. What follows has the same faults and good qualities, and nearly in the same relative proportion. It cannot be read, however, without considerable interest :
"It is most true that eyes are formed to serve
Whereof this beauty can but be a shade
We now willingly, and indeed delightedly turn to examples of a different character from the above: for nothing is less grateful to us than to point out the failures of high intellects, and nothing more so than to assist in disseminating the knowledge and the love of their beauties. If Sidney had written nothing but the following exquisite sonnet, he would still deserve to rank among the poets of his country; for none but a really poetical spirit could have conceived it, and none but a poetical hand, practically speaking, could have executed it: and it is these two joint powers which confer the name of a poet. A man may have all the mental qualities of a poet, as it regards himself, without being one. To be a poet, he must be
such for others, as well as for himself. We are disposed to suspect, that some critics would call the conception of the following sonnet forced and unnatural; but to us it is nothing less. In fact, it is the invariable tendency of intellects of a certain class and character, to transfer, by a strong effort of the imagination, the colour of their own thoughts and sentiments to the external objects of nature, and thus escape from that which oppresses and disturbs them, by sharing it with other things. This is what the poet is doing in the instance we are about to adduce; and nothing of the kind was ever done with more truth of feeling, and in more appropriate terms.-How exquisite are the two first lines!
"With how sad steps, O moon! thou climb'st the skies!
This is some what in the manner of Shakspeare, both in the conception and expression.-The following song is delightfully simple; though a certain class of critics, who require a man to be a sage and a lover at the same time, will perhaps think that it is somewhat silly sooth," and dallies with the innocence of the subject a little too childishly.
"Sleep, baby mine, Desire!-nurse Beauty singeth.
Lully, lully, my babe-hope cradle bringeth,
Since, baby mine, from me thy watching springeth,
Nothing can be more natural than the following exposition of the effects of passion onthe human mind and its perceptions.
"In wonted walks since wonted fancies change,
The rocks, which were of constant mind the mark,
The restful caves now restless visions give;
Like late mown meads, late cut from joy I live;
Rocks, woods, hills, caves, dales, meads, brooks answer me :
The following is the romance of true passion; not a spurious imitation or affectation of it.
"Stella-think not that I by verse seek fame
Who seek, who hope, who love, who live but thee;
If thou praise not, all other praise is shame.
A nest for my young praise in laurel tree;
We must now take a final leave of Sir Philip Sidney, by expressing a respect for his character amounting to love, and an admiration of his talents amounting to reverence; and by advising all those who are not equally impressed with these feelings by our notices of him, to peruse and study his works themselves, and then think otherwise of him if they can.
ART. V.-Chronica Juridicialia; or, an Abridgement and Continuation of Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales; containing a Calendar of the Years of our Lord God and the Kings of England, &c. from William the Conqueror to the year 1739. With Chronological Tables of the names of all the Lord Chancellors, Judges, Serjeants, &c. shewing the times of their several promotions, &c. opposite to the years in the said Calendar. Second edit. 8vo. 1739.
There is, perhaps, no class of men who live more immediately within the observation of the public eye, than the judges of our courts of justice. The importance of the functions which they are appointed to perform, the private interests which are affected by their decisions, their high station in a liberal and much regarded profession, and the rank accorded to them in society, all contribute to render their character and conduct the object of personal attention. The display and pomp too which attend all their movements, as the great administrators of public justice, allure the eyes of the crowd. The entry of a judge into an assize town, escorted by the sheriff and his attendants, and surrounded by his javelin-men, as they are termed, is, to the provincial spectators, a very awful and imposing ceremonial. A variety of little arts have been invented to keep alive this feeling of veneration. Ermine and scarlet, and full-bottomed wigs on the judgment-seat, and shovel hats and scratches off it, distinguish the administrators of our laws, whose time of life in general prevents these usages from appearing ridiculous. They are addressed by a title peculiar to the nobility; and nothing is omitted which can contribute to render them honoured and respected.
It would have been well if at every period of our history the judges had contented themselves with the professional distinctions thus freely bestowed upon them, but unfortunately this has not been the case. The eminent station assigned them necessarily brings them into occasional contact with the government and the court; and how dangerous this approximation is to the interests of the public, we learn from history. The biography of many of our judges is, on this account, by no
It was only, however, during the last century that the puisne judges began to be addressed by the title of "your lordship." In the year-books they are constantly addressed by the title of "sir," "sir, vous voyez bien," &c. The late Serjeant Hill was, we believe, the last who persisted in the ancient fashion."