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but faithless'light' of his love, we cannot tell. He thus celebrates the dancing and singing of Gratiana.
"See! with what constant motion,"
Gratiana steers that noble frame,
And swifter than the wings of fame.
Each step trod out a lover's thought
Chain'd to her brave feet with such arts;
In an epitaph on Mrs. Elizabeth Filmer, there are some fine lines, which shew that the vices of the court had not destroyed his relish for the beauty of virtue.
"You that shall live awhile before
White thoughts, though out of fashion;
Thus chaste as th' air whither she's fled,
Such an everlasting grace,
Incloisters here this narrow floor
In the lines to his "worthy friend, Mr. Peter Lilly," on a picture of his majesty by that artist, we have a fine description of the expression of King Charles's face, admirably conveying that mixture of sweetness and sorrow, pride and goodnature, which distinguish all the portraits of that unfortunate monarch.
"See! what an humble bravery doth shine,
So sacred a contempt! that others shew
The poet, soon after, goes on to celebrate the improvement which the artist had made in the art of painting, in some bold lines, well worthy of a quotation.
"Not as of old, when a rough hand did speak
One of these poems, the song of Althea, from prison, is well known, and has been long celebrated, both for its exquisite versification, and the beauty and nobleness of the thoughts. We cannot help thinking the second and third stanzas far inferior to the others; though, from the spirit of devoted loyalty, which the latter of the two breathes, they have doubtless contributed to the popularity of this little piece. As these verses are to be found in almost every collection of poetry, we shall content ourselves with quoting the first and last stanza, and omit the other two, which we cannot bring ourselves to admire.
"When love with unconfined wings
To whisper at the grates;
Stone walls do not a prison make,
And in my soul am free;
The song called the Scrutiny is a most delightful piece of male coquetry. It is written in the happiest vein of the times. A declaration of infidelity so impudent, yet so ingenious, so cruel yet so easy and good humoured, so saucy and vain yet with such apparent good grounds for confidence, that even the deserted lady would instantly resign herself to the conviction that no chains however binding, no charms however powerful, could detain so inconstant a gallant.
We extract the sonnet to "Elinda's Glove" as a very favorable specimen of the fanciful tributes in which the gallantry of Lovelace paid its homage to the fair sex. We cannot help being so heretical as to think the felicity of the verse and the happiness of some of the expressions too good even for the
"ten white nuns" of Elinda, as he elsewhere terms the fingers of a beauty.
"Thou snowy farm with thy five tenements!
That call'd to pay his daily rents:
But she a gathering flow'rs and hearts is gone,
But grieve not, pretty Ermin cabinet,
Thy alabaster lady will come home;
The slender turnings of thy narrow room,
Then give me leave to leave my rent with thee;
For though the lute's too high for me,
Yet servants, knowing minikin nor base,
Lovelace, whether he had experienced disappointment in his person or in that of some friend, writes with warm indignation against "the love of great ones." We quote some parts of rather a long poem on this subject, which are not without spirit and fire.
"The love of great ones! "Tis a love
The gyre of his eternal wheel;
Nor would he now exchange his pain
For clouds and goddesses again.
Would'st thou with tempests lie? Then bow
To the rougher furrows of her brow;
He thus represents the woman of quality addressing her humble wooer.
"But we (defend us !) are divine
Female, but madam-born, and come
Far worse than they; whilst, like whipp'd boys,
The concluding stanza of a song, supposed to be sung by Orpheus lamenting the death of his wife, is very beautiful.
"Sweet, serene, sky-like flower,
The following little ode, entitled The Rose, addressed to Lucasta, at least as much of it as we think worth extracting, possesses some elegance of diction, if nothing particularly new or beautiful in sentiment.
"The light of love, the purity of grace,
The mind, the music breathing from her face;
The heart, whose softness harmonized the whole, &c."
Bride of Abydos.