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Ah! sweet Content, where doth thine harbour hold?
The last couplet is sweetly pathetic.
I cannot refrain from adding one more sonnet; to all, save the antiquarian in poetical literature, Barnes will be a new poet.
Unto my spirit lend an angel's wing,
A passing notice may be given of HENRY Constable, another poet belonging to this period, and as little known as the preceding. His Spiritual Sonnets to the Honour of his God and his Saints, were first printed in the Heliconia, from a MS. in the Harleian collection. Of Constable himself little is known. Sir John Harrington calls him “a well-learned gentleman, and noted sonnet-writer.” Malone thinks he was of St. John's College, Cambridge, and took his degree of B.A. in 1579; and Dr. Birch supposes him to have been a zealous Roman Catholic, and compelled, by his religious tenets, to reside abroad during
a considerable portion of the reign of Elizabeth. This
To SAINT MARY MAGDALEN.
Such as retired from sight of men like thee,
Constable occasionally indulges in allusions more applicable to his “vainer hours," than these specimens of his “calmer thought.” The concluding couplet of this sonnet affords an instance of this ill-taste. Among the Harleian MSS., 6930, is a version of selected Psalms by Francis and Christopher Davison, W. Bagmall, Richard Gipps, and J. Bryant. The MS.
• “Noble Henry Constable was a great master in English tongue, nor had any gentleman of our nation a more pure, quick, or higher delivery of conceit.”—Bolton's Hypercritica. Unfortunately, the sonnet instanced by the worthy critic in support of his good opinion, is almost the worst ever written by the author.
t Mr. Todd mentions another MS. of this version in the Bridgewater Library, now in the possession of the Marquess of Stafford.
Shades did on each side enfold Ine,
Dreadless, having Thee for guide,
For thy rod and staff uphold me.
Ponne adopted this metre, with a slight variation, in his version of the 137th Psalm.
The following verse from the 130th Psalm is very
beautifully rendered. The alliteration in the fourth line is the only defect.
My soul base earth despising,
Than rosy morning's rising
I have omitted a few lines in this version of the thirteenth Psalm.
Rock me soon, 'twixt Hope and Fear,
These black clouds will overflow,
And my grief dull'd heart, I know,
Grief-dulled is a very picturesque epithet.
24 FRANCIS DAvison.
That I to Thy name may bear,
Lord my God, thou shalt be praised,
Mighty men with malice endless,
Band" against me helpless, friendless,
Using, without fear of Thee,
Force and fraud to ruin me.
But Thy might their malice passes,
And Thy grace Thy might surpasses,
Swift to mercy, slow to wrath,
Bound nor end Thy goodness hath.
Thy kind look no more deny me,
But with eyes of mercy eye me;
O give me, Thy slave, at length,
Easing aid, or bearing strength.
And some gracious token show me,
That my foes that watch toerthrow me,
Maybe shamed and vex'd to see
Thee to help and comfort me.
The fate of Davison recalls to my memory the accomPlished and unfortunate Sir Walter Raleigh, whom Spenser, in a beautiful sonnet, called the Summer's Nightingale. I think Mr. Tytler has clearly proved, in his recent Life of Raleigh, that the charges of irreligion so frequently brought against him, do not at all affect his later and maturer years. The afflictions of his *hood appear to have obliterated the vain and sceptical feelings of his youth, and to have impressed his "ind with a true sense of the Divine Power. During his long imprisonment, rendered still more melancholy * Unite.