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days, has found warm admirers among the great poets of England. Akenside once remarked that he should regulate his opinion of the public taste by the reception of “ The Fleece ;" for if it were not to succeed," he should think it no longer reasonable to expect fame from excellence.” And Mr. Wordsworth appears to have been very much of the same opinion:
“ Bard of The Fleece,' whose skillful genius made
Though party Fame hath many a chaplet culled
Dyer is one of those writers whose higher efforts have been little heeded, while his lesser works have been much liked. “ Grongar Hill” and “ The Country Walk” have been always read with pleasure, while the “Ruins of Rome” and “ The Fleece” lie on the shelf unopened. The saucy critic, who on hearing, shortly after the publication of “The “ Fleece,” that Dyer was growing old, exclaimed, “ He will be buried in woolen!" has proved at least a true seer.
The world never forgives a man of approved talent, who, having once fixed its attention agreeably, fails in some higher and later aim. The game of authorship is, in this sense, like many other games, where, if the last throw is a blank, you lose all that has been previously won from the pool of fame and fortune. The public has very little patience. But, on the other hand, we can not always adhere implicitly to the opinion of some wiser judge, though he be of the higher court, who may desire to revoke the earlier general decision. The literary man usually makes up his mind regarding a book upon very different grounds from the general reader; the public decides rapidly, from first impressions, from general views : it has neither time nor ability to waste on analysis ; the critic delights in looking very closely at his subject, and his enjoyment of perfection of detail is often too great. The public is, no doubt, the best judge of the interest of a work, since it considers little else. The man of letters holds the best guage of talent; he appreciates more justly excellency of workmanship and accuracy of finish. But a really great book is not written for one class only—it should satisfy the best of all classes ; it must have more than one kind of merit -it must possess interest for the careless reader, skill and good workmanship for the critic, power and inspiration to strike the spark from kindred genius. There is quite a large class of poetical works especially, which, while they meet with more or less approbation from the critic, fail to please generally; they lack interest; the writer has had talent enough to introduce much that is good, or, perhaps, even admirable passages, at intervals ; but he has not been endowed
with the genius which grasps, and controls, and shapes, and vivifies every subject which it handles. Among this class may be placed " The Fleece." The writer, John Dyer, was a Welshman of respectable parentage, born in 1700, who first studied law, then became a painter, and finally took orders in the Church of England. The extract we have given from “ The Fleece” scarcely does justice to the merits of the poem, but we have selected it from its predictions regarding our own country ; not only do Virginia and Massachusetts appear on the scene, but even California figures in these verses, written more than a hundred years ago.
ON A RURAL IMAGE
FROM THE GREEK OF PLATO.
Sleep, ye rude winds! Be every murmur dead
Translation of J. H. MERIVALE.
PASTORAL SCENE FROM "THE ARCADIA."
There were hills which garnished their proud heights with stately trees; humble valleys whose base estate seemed comforted with the refreshing of silver rivers ; meadows enameled with all sorts of eye-plensing flowers; thickets which, being lined with most pleasant shade, were witnessed so by the cheerful disposition of many well-tuned birds; each pasture stored with sheep feeding with sober security, while the pretty lambs, with bleating oratory, craved the dam's comfort; here a shepherd's boy piping, as though he should never be old ; there a young shepherdess knitting, and withal singing, and it seemed that her voice comforted her hands to work, and her hands kept time to her voicemusic.
Sie PMLIP SIDNEY. 1554-1586.
FROM THE “FAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS."
Shepherds all, and maidens fair,
Join FLETCHER, 1576-1625.
THE SHEPHERD'S LIFE.
Thrice, oh thrice happy, shepherd's life and state,
No feared treason breaks his quiet sleep :
Singing all day, his flocks he learns to keep;
No Serian worms he knows, that with their thread
No empty hopes, no courtly fears him fright;
Nor begging wants his middle fortune bite :
Instead of music and base flattering tongues,
In country plays is all the strife he uses,
Or sing, or dance unto the rural Muses;
His certain life, that never can deceive him,
His life is neither tost in boist'rous seas
Of troublous world, nor lost in slothful ease; Pleas'd and full bless'd he lives, when he his God can please.
His bed of wool yields safe and quiet sleeps,
Never his humble house or state torm
Less he could like, if less his God had sent him ;
PuisEAS FLETCHER, 1584-1650.
THE SHEPHERD'S ADDRESS TO HIS MUSE.
Good Muse, rocke me aslepe
With some swete harmony :
Thy wary company.