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On the Departure of Sir Walter Scott

from Abbotsford for Naples [1831] A TROUBLE, not of clouds, or weeping rain, Nor of the setting sun's pathetic light Engendered, hangs o'er Eildon's triple height; Spirits of Power, assembled there, complain For kindred Power departing from their sight ; While Tweed, best pleased in chanting a blithe strain, Saddens his voice again, and yet again. Lift up your hearts, ye Mourners ! for the might Of the whole world's good wishes with him goes ; Blessings and prayers in nobler retinue Than sceptred king or laurelled conqueror knows, Follow this wondrous Potentate. Ye winds of ocean, and the midland sea, Wafting your Charge to soft Parthenope !

WORDSWORTH.

Be true,

LIVES OF

AUTHORS

OF

POEMS

RICHARD BARNFIELD (1574-1627) was born at Norbury, in Shropshire. His father was a gentleman, and he went in due course to Oxford, and was a friend of the poet Drayton, and of Francis Meres, who gives us interesting information about Shakespeare.

In 1594 Barnfield published a small volume of poems entitled The Affectionate Shepherd, and dedicated them to Penelope Lady Rich, the Stella whom Sir Philip Sidney's sonnets have made so famous. In 1595 he published another volume entitled Cynthia, and in 1598 a third, wherein occur two beautiful poems which in the following year appeared again as part of The Passionate Pilgrim with the name of William Shakespeare as author. The two poems are, the one beginning

• If music and sweet poetry agree,' and the other beginning

* As it fell upon a day.'

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There is little doubt that they are both the work of Barnfield, and they well show the richness of his fancy, and the power and sweetness of his language. The ascription of the name of Shakespeare is the device of the publisher, and there is good evidence that other parts of The Passionate Pilgrim belong to Christopher Marlowe and to Sir Walter Raleigh.

WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1828) was born in Broad Street, Soho, where his father was a well-to-do hosier. The boy gave his heart to sketching and writing poetry, and his father apprenticed him to an engraver in Lincoln's Inn Fields. His first volume of Poetical Sketches appeared in 1783. It

contains songs, ballads, and a dramatic poem on Edward III. Flaxman, the artist, admired the poems, and helped to bear the expense of publication.

In 1789 the Songs of Innocence, Blake's finest work, appeared. The work consists of twenty sweet little poems, the whole engraved on copper and illustrated with designs by Blake himself, who coloured the pictures.

Every scene has its poetical accompaniment, curiously interwoven with the group on the landscape, and forming from the beauty of the colour and the prettiness of the pencilling a very fair picture of itself.' A somewhat similar work, Songs of Experience, appeared in 1794.

Blake executed in a similar way works entitled Gates of Paradise, Jerusalem, and Urizen, but both the sketches and the language, are wild and incomprehensible. He declared that he saw visions, and that he wrote and sketched under inspiration, anů even his friends believed him to be touched with madness.

His madness, was, however, harmless, and brought him more joy than sorrow, to judge by the following instance which he records of himself: I was walking alone in my garden, there was great stillness among the branches and flowers, and more than common sweetness in the air ; I heard a low and pleasant sound, and I knew not whence it came.

At last I saw a broad leaf of a flower move, and underneath I saw a procession of creatures of the size and colour of green and gray grasshoppers bearing a body laid out on a rose leaf, which they buried with songs, and then disappeared. It was a fairy funeral.'

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING (1809-1861) was born in Durham, but passed her childhood at Hope End, a beautiful country house in Herefordshire. The memory of those early days is preserved in the fine poem, The Lost Bower. She was a precocious little scholar, could read Homer at eight years of age, she dreamed more of Agamemnon than of Moses her black pony,' and at twelve she wrote an epic poem on the battle of Marathon. At the

age of twenty, after her mother's death, she came with her father to live in London, and she wrote Prometheus in 1835, The Seraphim in 1836, and The Cry of the Children in 1843.

About this time she became acquainted with Robert Brown, ing, to whom she was married in 1846. They went abroad immediately, travelled through France and Italy, and settled finally in Florence, where, except for one brief interval, all the rest of her life was passed.

Their home, the Casa Guidi, was well known to English travellers, and they have given pleasant pictures of the happi

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ness that filled it. The American Hawthorne describes Mrs. Browning as a small pale person, scarcely embodied at all, and speaking with a shrill yet sweet tenuity of voice.' Her chief works in her Italian home were Casa Guidi Windows, 1851, and Aurora Leigh, her longest work, in 1857.

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT (1797-1878) was born Massachusetts, and began to write poems at thirteen. The poem Thanatopsis, which some consider his best, was written when he was nineteen. He practised for some years as a country barrister, but in 1825 he came to New York, and was many years editor of a newspaper. The poem To a Waterfowl is perhaps his best, as it is certainly the best known, but the address to his native land, O Mother of a Mighty Race, is also a fine spirited poem. Bryant was one of the first to appreciate and welcome the dawning genius of Longfellow.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688) was born at Elstow, near Bedford, and followed his father's trade of brazier or tinker. At the age of sixteen he enlisted as a soldier, and appears to have led a wild life, like many other young men.

But after a few years a great change came over him, and before he was thirty he was appointed a preacher among the Nonconformists, and preached with great success in woods, in barns, on village greens, or in town chapels.'

After the Restoration he was brought before the justices for preaching, and, since he would not promise to forbear, he was kept in prison till 1672. But he was not treated harshly-was allowed to preach in prison and to visit his friends, and once he went as far as to London.

While in prison he wrote and published Grace Abounding, which is his spiritual autobiography. It is thought that he also planned there his great work, the Pilgrim's Progress, though the first part did not appear till 1678 and the second till 1684. There are scattered through both parts little snatches of verse which are as homely and vigorous as the prose. The Pilgrim's Song is in the second part, and is sung by Valiant.

After Bunyan's release he was licensed as a preacher, and was immensely popular both in Bedford and in London. He wrote many other works, of which the Holy War is the next best to the Pilgrim's Progress.

The Minstrel BURNE is a name and little more.

He was one of the many Border minstrels, and the single poem of his which remains celebrates the beauties of the Yarrow and the

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Leader, and the pleasant la nd adjacent. There is a tradition that in Thirlestane Castle in that region there formerly hung a portrait of Minstrel Burne, "a douce auld man leading a cow by a straw rope.'

In Lockhart's Life of Scott we read : 'He showed us the crags and tower of Smailholme, and behind it the shattered fragment of Erceldoune, and repeated some pretty stanzas ascribed to the last of the real wandering minstrels of this dis. trict, by name Burne.'

ROBERT BURNS (1759-1796), the greatest of Scottish song writers, was born in a cottage of clay near Ayr. His father was a small farmer, a worthy man, but sorely pressed with poverty all his life through.

Robert had little education, and while only a boy laboured like a man on the farm, and after his father's death became a farmer himself with his brother Gilbert. But the farm did not prosper, and in 1786 he was on the point of seeking his fortune abroad, and in order to secure the passage money he collected and published a tiny volume of the poems and songs which he had from time to time written. The poems were received with enthusiasm.

Burns was welcomed to Edinburgh, and was feasted there for a time, and he gave up all idea of going abroad. He then married and settled down as a farmer in Dumfriesshire for a few years ; then gave up the farm for an appointment in the excise, and he died in Dumfries at an early age.

Of Burns's longer poems some of the chief are The Cotter's Saturday Night, in which he has lovingly described his father ; Tam o' Shanter, in which an Ayrshire legend is treated with rich humour ; and The Jolly Beggars.

But his best works are his songs, which are unrivalled in their pathos, and humour and variety. 'From the loud flowing revel in Willie brew'd a Peck o' Maut, to the still, rapt enthusiasm of sadness for Mary in Heaven ; from the glad, kind greeting of Auld Lang Syne, or the comic archness of Duncan Gray, to the fire-eyed fury of Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled, he has found a tone and words for every mood of man's heart.'

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LORD BYRON (1788–1824) was born in Aberdeen, and succeeded to the title on the death of his grand-uncle in 1798. In 1805 he published a volume of poems entitled Hours of Idleness, which was mercilessly criticised in the Edinburgh Review, and the young poet vigorously responded in the satirical poem, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.

Byron then spent several years in foreign travel, and on

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