Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

GEORGE GASCOIGNE.

This poet, who was born in 1540, is very justly placed among the worthies of our earliest poetical literature. He was bred to the law, but quitted it, and served with distinction against the Spaniards. His principal work is The Fruits of War, which relates to the adventures of his voyage. In his youth he was a profligate, but he lived to amend his ways, and became a wise and good man. He died in a religious, calm, and happy frame of mind, in 1577. The writings of Gascoigne are more the result of observation than of creative genius; for the age in which he lived, the verse is uncommonly smooth, flowing, and unaffected.

DE PROFUNDIS.

From depth of dole, wherein my soul doth dwell,

From heavy heart, which harbours in my breast,

From troubled sprite, which seldom taketh rest,
From hope of heaven, from dread of darksome hell,
O gracious God, to thee I cry and yell:

My God, my Lord, my lovely Lord alone

To thee I call, to thee I make my moan.
And thou, good God, vouchsafe in grace to take

This woful plaint

Wherein I faint;
Oh! hear me, then, for thy great mercy's sake.

Oh! bend thine ears attentively to hear,

Oh! turn thine eyes, behold me how I wail,

Oh! hearken, Lord, give ear for mine avail,
Oh! mark in mind the burdens that I bear;
See how I sink in sorrows every where.

Behold and see what dolours I endure,

Give ear and mark what plaints I put in urel; Bend willing ears; and pity therewithal

My willing voice,

Which hath no choice
But evermore upon thy name to call.

If thou, good Lord, should'st take thy rod in hand,

If thou regard what sins are daily done,

If thou take hold where we our works begun, If thou decree in judgment for to stand, And be extreme to see our 'scuses? scanned ;

If thou take note of every thing amiss,

And write in rolls how frail our nature is, O glorious God, O King, O Prince of power!

What mortal wight

May thus have light
To feel thy power, if thou have list to lower?

But thou art good, and hast of mercy store,

Thou not delight'st to see a sinner fall,

Thou hearkenest first, before we come to call, Thine ears are set wide open evermore, Before we knock thou comest to the door ;

Thou art more prest to hear a sinner cry

Than he is quick to climb to thee on high. Thy mighty name be praised then alway,

Let faith and fear

True witness bear,
How fast they stand which on thy mercy stay.

I look for thee, my lovely Lord, therefore

For thee I wait, for thee I tarry still,

Mine eyes do long to gaze on thee my fill,
For thee I watch, for thee I pry and pore,
My soul for thee attendeth evermore,

My soul doth thirst to take of thee a taste,
My soul desires with thee for to be placed.

1 Use.

2 Excuses.

And to thy words, which can no man deceive,

Mine only trust,

My love and lust,
In confidence continually shall cleave.
Before the break or dawning of the day,

Before the light be seen in lofty skies,

Before the sun appear in pleasant wise, Before the watch, (before the watch, I say,) Before the ward that waits therefore alway,

My soul, my sense, my secret thought, my sprite,

My will, my wish, my joy, and my delight, Unto the Lord, that sits in heaven on high,

With hasty wing

From me doth fling,
And striveth still unto the Lord to fly.
O Israel! O household of the Lord!

O Abraham's sons! O brood of blessed seed!

O chosen sheep, that love the Lord indeed!
O hungry hearts! feed still upon his word,
And put your trust in Him with one accord.

For He hath mercy evermore at hand,

His fountains flow, his springs do never stand; And plenteously He loveth to redeem

Such sinners all

As on Him call,
And faithfully his mercies most esteem.
He will redeem our deadly, drooping state,

He will bring home the sheep that go astray,

He will help them that hope in Him alway,
He will appease our discord and debate,
He will soon save, though we repent us late.

He will be ours, if we continue his,

He will bring bale3 to joy and perfect bliss He will redeem the flock of his elect

From all that is

Or was amiss
Since Abraham's heirs did first his laws reject.

;

3 Misery.

ROBERT SOUTHWELL.

ROBERT SOUTHWELL, one of the least known, but one of the most deserving poets of the age of Elizabeth, was born at St. Faith's, in Norfolk, in 1560. He was partially educated at the English College in Douay, after which he was received into the Society of the Jesuits. He was afterwards attached to the household of the Countess of Arundel, and being convicted of seditious practices, suffered death at Tyburn in 1595.

Though a Jesuit, the poems of Southwell are deserving the attention of every Protestant Christian. They have few adornments to fancy, but they are peculiarly pleasing for the simplicity of their diction, and the truths they contain. “ It is not possible," says Mr. Campbell, “to read his volume without lamenting that its author should have been either the instrument of bigotry, or the object of persecution.”

VALE OF TEARS.

A VALE there is, enwrapped in dismal shades,

Which, thick with mournful pine, shrouds from the sun;
Where hanging cliffs yield short and narrow glades,

And snowy floods with broken streams do run:
Where ears of other sounds can have no choice,

But various blustering of the stubborn wind
In trees, in caves, in straits, with divers noise,

Which now doth hiss, now howl, now roar by kind :
Where waters wrestle with encountering stones

That break their streams and turn them into foams;
The hollow clouds, full fraught with thundering groans,

With hideous cracks discharge their pregnant wombs.
And in the horror of this fearful quire

Consists the music of this doleful place;
All pleasant birds their tunes from thence retire,

Where none but heavy notes have any grace.

[ocr errors]

Resort there is of none but pilgrim-wights

That pass with trembling foot and panting heart,
With terror cast in cold and shuddering frights,

And all the place for terror framed by art.
Yet Nature's work it is, by art untouched;

So strait indeed, so vast unto the eye,
With such disordered order strangely couched,

And so, with pleasing horror, low and high,
That who it views must needs remain aghast,

Much at the work, more at the Maker's might;
And muse how Nature such a plot could cast,

Where nothing seemed wrong, yet nothing right.
A place for mated 1 minds, an only bower

Where every thing doth suit a pensive mood;
Earth is forlorn, the cloudy sky doth lower,

The wind here weeps, here sighs, here cries aloud.
The struggling flood between the marble groans,

Then roaring, beats upon the craggy sides;
A little off, amid the pebble stones,

With bubbling streams a purling noise it glides.
The pines thick set, high grown, and ever green,

Still clothe the place with shade and mourning veil ;
Here gaping cliffs, there moss-grown plain is seen;

Here hope doth spring, and there again doth quail.
All pangs and heavy passions here may find

A thousand motives suited to their griefs,
To feed the sorrows of their troubled mind,

And chase away Dame Pleasure's vain reliefs.
To plaining thoughts this vale a rest may be,

To which from worldly toils they may retire,
Where sorrow springs from water, stone, and tree;

Where every thing with mourers doth conspire.
Sit here, my soul; mourn streams of tears afloat;

Here all thy sinful foils alone recount,
Of solemn tunes make thou the dolefull’st note,

That to thy ditty's dole I may amount.

[ocr errors]

1 Subdued, dejected.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »