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ON THE SONGS CONTAINED IN THE SUPPLEMENT TO MR. EVANS'S PUBLICATION; WITH A POSTSCRIPT ON THE SONGS IN THE
As I conceive it to be necessary to the completion of my plan to examine the Songs contained in Mr. Eyans's Supplement, though you yourself are not farther responsible for them, than as several of them are contained in your volume of Vocal Poetry, I shall in this Letter consider those Songs which have not before come under
notice. The first Song, one of Ariel's in The Tempest, “ Where the bee sucks, there lurk I;" (p. 259.) being a Fairy Song, falls under a former censure. (See p. 62. and 104.)
“When daisies pied and violets blue,”(p. 259.) has been in some measure noticed before, (see p. 26.) and your omission of a vulgar and indecent allusion in quoting it. The introduction of the word 66 smocks”, in these days, at least, is vulgar, as is the manner in which Turtles are
mentioned in the second verse. I introduced this song, with some alterations and an additional verse, into the third volume of my Collection.
The expressions, “ Men were deceivers ever,” and 66 The fraud of men was ever so,” in “ Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,” (p. 260.) are much too general and severe.
“ Wrong not, sweet mistress of my heart !” (p. 261.) is extravagant and wants - discretion."
" Drink to me only with thine eyes,' (p.263.) is high-flown rather than Bacchanalian. The sentiment,
The thirst that from the soul doth rise,
Doth ask a drink divine, is literally true, if applied in its proper and higher sense; but with “ Jove's nectar” we have nothing to do. One of the most pleasing sen.. timents on this subject with which I am acquainted, is in the third scene of the fourth Act of Julius Cæsar, the celebrated scene of the quarrel and reconciliation of Brutus and Cassius: Brutus says,
Give me a bowl of wine :
Bishop Horne had a most happy turn for giving a moral or spiritual meaning to some of the common occurrences of life, and some passages from the poets. In bis Essays and Thoughts, Article Devotion §. 6, 7, 10 and 11. are some specimens of this. One of the sentiments which should prevail in our minds in drinking of the · sacred
Jo this I bury all unkindness.
In" Away with these self-loving lads,” (p. 264.) it is said,
“ Away, poor souls, that sigh and weep,
lo love of those that be asleep :" by asleep does he mean dead?
It goes on,
For Cupid is a merry God,
These are terms of levity, applied to serious ideas; especially to that of chastisement inflicted by a divine power.
In v. 2. It is said
Sweet Cupid's shafts, like destiny,
Do causeless good or ill decree. And in v. 3. mention is made of Cupid's miracles. “ Sweet are the charms of her I love," by
Barton Booth, (p. 265.) is a very beautiful poem. In the 6th verse the term Godhead, as applied to love, is objectionable, especially as it seems to mean Cupid.
“My sheep I neglected,” (p. 267.) is a pleasing specimen of pastoral poetry, and conveys a good moral lesson.
“ My time, Oye Muses! was happily spent,” (p. 268.) by Byrom, into which he introduces “ Cupid”,—" no pitying power that hears me complain,”-“ Deity,” addressed to Cupid, and “ despair”, stands in need of being corrected by his own “ Hint to Christian Poets”, which I have given in the Introduction to my first volume. P. xxxviii.
In the Song, “ We all to conquering beauty bow,” (p. 273.) the lady addressed is represented as having all perfections, and amongst others, being “ Like the divining prophets, wise". She is also
Modest, yet gay ; reserv'd, yet free;
Each happy night a bride; yet it appears from the next verse, that she is not married.
“ How blest has my time been", (p. 274.) is given in my first volume with the omission of the third verse, as I thought the trial of Jesse's temper both needless and wrong.