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only the eighth and the twenty-first are entitled to this slender commendation.” The blindness or prejudice of this decision is absolutely amazing. We turn to the pages of Milton, and take almost at random, a couple of his Sonnets. These (the 18th and 19th) are amongst those excluded from the honor of Dr. Johnson's “slender commendation.” According to him, therefore, they are positively bad | ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIE MONT. Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold ; E’en them who kept thy truth so pure of old, When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones, Forget not: in thy book record their groans Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold Slain by the bloody Piemontese that rolled Mother with infant down the rocks. The moans The vales redoubled to the hills, and they To heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who, having learned the way,
ON HIS BLIN DNESS.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
That any man setting himself up as a critic should be utterly insensible to the poetical and impassioned spirit, the masculine
tone, and the severe beauty of Milton's sonnets, is indeed surprising. Johnson's contemptuous notice of them is only equalled in absurdity and injustice by the flippant insolence of Steevens respecting those of Shakespeare, which he had the audacity to assert were “written in the highest strain of affectation, pedantry, circumlocution and nonsense.” I shall now give a few specimens of Drummond's genius in this class of compositions. I dare say that they will be “as good as manuscript” to some of my readers; and those who have perused them before, will assuredly have no objection to meet with them again. The following is elegant and compact, and does not read as if it had been written about two hundred years ago. HUMAN FRAILTY.
A good that never satisfies the mind,
Almost every poet may echo the sentiment of the next sonnet.
I know that all beneath the moon decays,
I know frail beauty's like the purple flow'r
The smart antithetic style of the ensuing, shews great facility and power of versification.
Fair is my yoke, though grievous be my pains,
The line in italics has been often imitated. Milton is amongst
There is infinite grace and beauty in the following address to Sleep.
Sleep, Silence’ child, sweet father of soft rest,
WOL. II. S
With feigned solace ease a true felt woe;
Or if, deaf god, thou do deny that grace,
This sonnet seems to have been suggested by Sir Phillip Sidney's on the same subject. The third line of Drummond’s sonnet is like the fourth of Sidney's. “Come Sleep–0 Sleep, the certain knot of peace The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe, The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release, Th' indifferent judge between the high and low !" Sir Philip Sidney. Mr. Cunningham's new edition of Drummond's Poems is enriched with several of his sonnets never before published, procured from the Antiquarian Society of Edinburgh, and illustrated with notes by David Laing.
THE DESERTED MAID. SHE once was beautiful—but secret shame, Despairing love, and unavailing woe, Have wrought a fearful change . The ceaseless flow Of unregarded tears hath worn her frame, And made her heart a ruin. Still the flame Of quenchless passion lights her pallid brow With fierce unnatural radiance. Wildly now, She haunts the scenes where first the false youth came With music-breathing vows. The forest bowers, The sheltered valleys, and sequestered streams, The mossy caves, and ivy-mantled towers, Oft soothe awhile the Maiden's calmer dreams; But, ah! too soon, o'er Reason's fitful gleams, The murky cloud of maddening frenzy lours!
Life's fairest blossoms wither and decay—