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brooding storm, he entirely devoted himself to this dallying, empty, and unsubstantial sort of poetry. His good luck spared him the pain of witnessing the breaking out of the civil wars: what part in them would the discontented old man have been to act? But death had scarce sealed up his eyes, than all illusions with which he had deceived himself and others, vanished at once, and history itself acted one of those tragedies, at the sight of which poetry is struck dumb with abashment. The Golden Age of Merry Old England had drawn to its close and soon lay far behind like a delightful tale of childhood; and there arose an iron age, stern-mannered, staying on law; scripture-proof, averse to the muses and all harmless enjoyments of life: the age of manhood after the blissful days of youth.

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