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Besides the · Nocturnal Reverie,' the Countess wrote many other sweet poems, of which the following gem is a specimen :
How gayly is at first begun
Our life's uncertain race!
Enlightens all the place.
How tempting to go through!
Did more inviting show.
Which wander through our minds !
As flowers the western winds !
But April drops our tears,
And youth such vapour clears.
Scarce feeling we ascend
And all its sweetness end.
The die now cast, our station known,
Fond expectation past:
Through which we toil at last.
Whilst every care 's a driving harm,
That helps to bear us down;
And every look 's a frown.
Matturw Grxen, the last English poet of the period that we are now contemplating, was born of dissenting parents, in 1696. His advantages of early education seem to have been limited, but by persevering application he raised himself to a position of respectability, and finally obtained a situation in the custom-house, where he remained until his death, which occurred in 1737.
Green's natural disposition was cheerful, but this did not prevent occasional attacks of low spirits or spleen; and having tried all imaginable remedies for the malady, he at length conceived himself able to treat it ir a philosophical spirit, and, therefore, wrote The Spleen, a poem which adverts to all its forms, and their apposite remedies, in a style of comic verse resembling Hudibras, but which is still allowed to be eminently original. “The Spleen,' was first published by Glover, the author of 'Leonidas;' Gray afterward remarked that even the wood-notes of Green often break out into strains of real poetry and music.' As this poem is comparatively little known to modern readers, we present a larger extract from it than we otherwise should.
CURES FOR MELANCHOLY.
To cure the mind's wrong bias, spleen,
Since mirth is good in this behalf,
If spleen-fogs rise at close of day,
In rainy days keep double guard,
In such dull weather, so unfit
Sometimes I dress, with women sit,
Law, licens'd breaking of the peace,
Happy the man, who, innocent, Grieves not at ills he can't prevent; His skiff does with the current glide, Not puffing pulled against the tide. He, paddling by the scoffiing crowd, Sees unconcerned life's wager rowed,
And when he can't prevent foul play,
Since disappointment galls within,
When Fancy tries her limning skill
“The Scottish muse had,' in the language of Chambers, “ been silent for nearly a century, excepting when it found brief expression in some stray song of broad humor or simple pathos, chanted by the population of the hills and dales. The genius of the country was, however, at length revived in all its force and nationality, by Allan Ramsay, whose very name is now an impersonation of Scottish scenery and manners. The religious austerity of the Covenanters still hung over the country, and damped the efforts of poets and dramatists; but a freer spirit found its way into the towns, as trade and commerce increased. The higher classes were in the habit of visiting London, though the journey was still performed with much labor ; and the writings of Pope and Swift were circulated, to a very considerable extent, over the North.'
Allan RAMSAY was born in the village of Leadhills, Lanarkshire, in 1686. His father held the situation of manager of Lord Hopeton's mines; and when Allan became a poet, he boasted that he was of the ' auld descent of the Dalhousie family, and also collaterally sprung from a Douglass loin.' His father died while the poet was in his infancy, but his mother, an English lady, put him to the village school, where he acquired learning enough to enable him to read Horace 'faintly in the original.' When in the fifteenth year of his age, he was put apprentice to a wig-maker, in Edinburgh -a light employment, suited to his slender frame and boyish smartness, but not very congenial to his literary taste. His first poem was written in the twenty-sixth year of his age; and was in the form of an address to the * Easy Club,' a convivial society of young men, of which Allan was admitted a member, and became their poet laureate. He soon after wrote several light pieces which were extremely popular.
In 1712 Ramsay greatly extended his reputation by writing a continuation to King James's .Christ's Kirk on the Green.' This work was executed with such genuine humor and fancy, and evinced such a mastery of the Scottish language, that nothing so rich had appeared since the strains of Dunbar and Lindsay. He now left off wig-making, and opened a bookseller's shop. He also became an editor, and published The Tea Table Miscellany and The Evergreen. The former was a collection of songs, some of which were his own; and the latter was a collection of Scottish poems written before 1600. He was not well qualified for editing works of this kind, being deficient in both knowledge and taste. In 1725 Ramsay published his celebrated pastoral drama, The Gentle Shepherd. This work was received with universal approbation, and was republished both in London and Dublin. He now opened a larger shop, and established a circulating library, the first known in Scotland. From this time Ramsay relinquished poetry, devoted bimself carefully to his business, and eventually acquired a handsome independence. His death occurred on the seventh of January, 1758, and was occasioned by a scurvy of the gums—a disease that had long affected him.
Ramsay's poetical works are both numerous and various; but his reputation rests almost exclusively on ‘The Gentle Shepherd.' This is really a very remarkable production. It possesses that air of primitive simplicity and seclusion which seem indispensable in compositions of this class, and its landscapes are filled with life-like beings, who interest us from their character, their situation, and their circumstances. It is, in the opinion of Blair, the finest pastoral drama ever written. Of this important poem our space limits us to the following brief extract :