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She first considered which was better:
To send it back, or burn the letter:
But guessing that it might import,
Though nothig else, at least her sport,
She open'd it, and read it out,

With many a smile and leering flout;

Resolv'd to answer it in kind,
And thus perform'd what she design'd.

Crashaw.

Richard Crashaw wurde wahrscheinlich zu London um 1615, wo sein Vater ein hohes geistliches Amt bekleidete, geboren. Er studirte in Cambridge, wo er sich dem geistlichen Stande widmete und als Prediger auszeichnete, aber 1644 durch die Armee des Parlaments vertrieben wurde. Nach Frankreich geflüchtet, trat er zum katholischen Glauben über und ward hier von Cowley im äussersten Elend gefunden und der verbannten Königin Henriette Marie empfohlen, die ihm den Rath gab, in Italien sein Glück zu versuchen. Es gelang ihm auch in Rom Geheimschreiber des Cardinal Palotta und später Canonicus an der Lorettokirche zu werden. Er starb daselbst 1650.

Seine Gedichte erschienen zuerst London 1646, sind später öfter wieder aufgelegt worden und zum grössten Theil religiösen Inhalts. Sie zeichnen sich durch Begeisterung, reiche Phantasie, Kraft und Anmuth aus, sind aber, im falschen Geschmack jener Zeit, nicht frei von Künstelei und Gesuchtheit.

The Hymn.
O gloriosa domina !

'Tis gratitude to forgett that other,
And call the maiden Eve their mother.

Yee redeem'd nations farr and near,
Applaud your happy selves in her,
(All you to whom this love belongs)
And keep't alive with lasting songs.

Let hearts and lippes speak lowd, and say,
Hail, door was shutt, the fountain seal'd;
Yet light was seen and life reveal'd;
The fountain seal’d, yet life found way.

Glory to thee, great virgin's Son,
In bosom of thy Father's blisse:

The same to thee, sweet Spirit be done;
As ever shall be, was, and is,

Amen.

Hail most high, most humble one!
Above the world; below thy Son,
Whose blush the moon beauteously marres,
And staines the timerous light of starres.
He that made all things had not done,
Till he had made himself thy Son.
The whole world's host would be thy guest,
And board himself at thy rich brest;
O boundless hospitality!
The feast of all things feeds on thee.

The first Eve, mother of our fall,
E’re she bore any one, slew all.
Of her unkind gift might we have
The inheritance of a hasty grave;
Quick buryed in the wanton tomb

Of one forbidden bitt;
Had not a better fruit forbidden it;

Had not thy healthfull womb
The world's new eastern window bin,
And given us heaven again in giving him.
Thine was the rosy dawn that sprung the day,
Which renders all the starres she stole away.

Let then the aged world be wise, and all
Prove nobly, here, unnaturall:

An Ode, which was prefixed to a Prayer

Booke given to a young gentlewoman.

Loe, here a little volume, but great booke,
A nest of new-borne sweetes,

Whose native fires disdaining
To lye thus folded and complaining

Of these ignoble sheetes,

Affect more comely bands

Spheare of sweet, and sugred lies, (Faire one) from thy kind hands,

Some slippery paire,
And confidently looke

Of false perhaps, as fair,
To find the rest

Flattering, but forswearing eyes;
Of a rich binding in your brest.

Doubtlesse some other heart

Will get the start,
It is in one choice handfull, heaven, and all And stepping in before,

Heaven's royall hoast, encampt thus small; Will take possession of the sacred store
To prove that true, schooles use to tell,

Of hidden sweets, and holy joyes;
Ten thousand angells in one point can dwell. Words which are not heard with ears,
It is Love's great artyllery,

(Those tumultuous shops of noise), Which here contracts itself, and comes to ly Effectuall whispers, whose still voice, Close couch’t in your white bosome, and from The soul itselfe more feeles than heares.

thence, As from a snowy fortresse of defence,

Amorous languishments, luminous trances, Against the ghostly foe to take your part; Sights which are not seen with eyes, And fortifie the hold of your chast heart. Spirituall, and soule piercing glances,

Whose pure and subtle lightning flyes It is an armory of light;

Home to the heart, and sets the house on fire, Let constant use but keep it bright,

And melts it downe in sweet desire;
You'l find it yields

Yet doth not stay
To holy hands and humble hearts,

To aske the windowes leave to passe that way.
More swords and shields,
Than sinne hath snares, or hell hath darts. Delicious deaths, soft exhalations;

Of soule, deare and divine annihilations;
Onely be sure

A thousand unknowne rites;
The hands be pure

O joyes and rarify'd delights!
That hold these weapons, and the eyes
Those of turtles, chast, and true,

A hundred thousand goods, glories, and

graces, Wakefull, and wise;

And many a mistic thing, Here is a friend shall fight for you;

Which the divine embraces Hold but this book before your heart,

Of the deare Spouse of Spirits, with them will Let prayer alone to play its part.

bring,

For which it is no shame, But 0 the heart

That dull mortality must not know a name. That studies this high art, Must be a sure house-keeper,

Of all this store And yet no sleeper.

Of blessings and ten thousand more; Deare soule be strong,

(If, when he come,

He find the heart from home),
Mercy will come ere long,

Doubtlesse he will unload
And bring its bosome full of blessings;
Flowers of never-fading graces,

Himselfe some other where,
To make immortall dressings

And powre abroad

His precious sweets,
For worthy soules, whose wise embraces

On the faire soule whom first he meets.
Store up themselves for him, who is alone
The spouse of virgins, and the Virgin's Son.

O faire! O fortunate! O rich! O deare!
But if the noble Bridegroome, when he come, O happy! and thrice happy shee,
Shall find the loyt'ring heart from home,

Selected dove,
Leaving its chast abode,

Whoe're she bee,
To gad abroad,

Whose early love
Amongst the gay mates of the god of flyes;

With winged vowes, To take her pleasure, and to play,

Makes hast to meet her morning spouse And keep the devill's holyday:

And close with his immortall kisses. To dance i' th' sunne-shine of some smiling Happie indeed who never misses, But beguiling

To improve that precious howre,

And every day

Seize her sweet prey:
All fresh and fragrant as he rises,
Dropping with a balmy showre
A delicious dew of spices.

She shall have power

To rifle and deflower
The rich and roseall spring of those rare sweets,
Which with a swelling bosome there she meets.
Boundlesse and infinite bottomlesse treasures,

Of pure inebriating pleasures.
Happy proofe! she shall discover

What joy, what blisse,
How many heav'ns at once it is,
To have her God become her lover.

O let the blisseful heart hold fast
Her heav'nly armeful, she shall tast,
At once ten thousand paradices;

Denham.

Sir John Denham ward 1615 zu Dublin, wo sein Vater Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer war, geboren, erhielt seine Erziehung in London und Oxford und widmete sich dann der Rechtsgelehrsamkeit. Das Spiel war seine vorherrschende Leidenschaft; um seinen Vater zu versöhnen schrieb er schon früh eine Abhandlung gegen dasselbe, liess aber doch nicht von ihm ab. 1641 trat er zu Aller Erstaunen mit einer Tragödie "The Sophy" hervor, die von seinen glänzenden Fähigkeiten zeugte. Bald nachher wurde er Gouverneur von Farnham-Castle und zeigte sich überhaupt sein ganzes Leben hindurch als entschiedener Loyalist. Die Entdeckung einer geheimen Correspondenz mit Cowley zwang ihn zu Karl II. zu fliehen, mit dem er später in sein Vaterland zurückkehrte. Er ward Oberaufseher der königlichen Gebäude und Ritter des Bathordens. Eine unglückliche Ehe beraubte ihn eine Zeit lang des Verstandes, doch ward er wieder gänzlich hergestellt. Er starb 1668 und erhielt ein Begräbniss in der Westminster-Abtei.

Eine vollständige Ausgabe seiner poetischen Werke erschien London 1684 und nochmals 1704 in 8. Sie finden sich ferner im 5. Bande von Anderson's Sammlung. Von den englischen Kritikern wird er als einer der älteren Klassiker sehr gefeiert. Seine bedeutendste Leistung ist das descriptive Gedicht Cooper's hill, mit dem er die Landschaftsmalerei zuerst in die englische Poesie einführte. Er zeichnet sich durch geistreiche Eleganz aus, doch witzelt er zu gern und es fehlt ihm an Tiefe des Gefühls und Kraft der Phantasie. Von minderem Werthe sind seine übrigen Dichtungen, unter denen die Elegie auf Cowley's Tod als die gelungenste erscheint.

From Cooper's hill.

And hatches plenty for th' ensuing spring;
Description of the Thames.

Nor then destroys it with too fond a stay,

Like mothers which their infants overlay; My eye descending from the Hill, surveys Nor with a sudden and impetuous wave, Where Thames among the wanton vallies strays. Like profuse kings, resumes the wealth he gave. Thames ! the most lov'd of all the Ocean's sons, No unexpected inundations spoil By his old sire, to his embraces runs,

The mower's hopes, or mock the ploughman's Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea,

toil; Like mortal life to meet eternity;

But God-like his unweary'd bounty flows; Though with those streams he no resemblance First loves to do, then loves the good he does.

hold,

Nor are his blessings to his banks confin'd, Whose foam is amber, and their gravel gold: But free and common as the sea or wind; His genuine and less guilty wealth t explore, When he, to boast or to disperse his stores, Search not his bottom, but survey his shore, Full of the tributes of his grateful shores, O'er which he kindly spreads his spacious wing, Visits the world, and in his flying tow'rs

Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours; A shady mantle clothes ; his curled brows
Finds wealth where 'tis, bestows it where it Frown on the gentle stream, which calmly flows,

wants,

While winds and storms his lofty forehead beat; Cities in deserts, woods in cities, plants. The common fate of all that's high or great. So that to us no thing, no place, is strange, Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac'd, While his fair bosom is the world's exchange. Between the mountain and the stream embrac'd, O could I How like thee! and make thy stream Which shade and shelter from the Hill derives, My great example, as it is my theme;

While the kind river wealth and beauty gives, Though deep yet clear, though gentle yet not And in the mixture of all these appears

dull;

Variety, which all the rest endears.
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
Heav'n her Eridanus no more shall boast,
Whose fame in thine, like lesser current, 's lost:
Thy nobler streams shall visit Jove's abodes,
To shine among the stars, and bathe the gods.
Here Nature whether more intent to please

Upon the Game of Chess.
Us or herself with strange varieties,
(For things of wonder give no less delight A tablet stood of that abstersive tree
To the wise Maker's than beholder's sight; Where Aethiop's swarthy bird did build her nest,
Though these delights from several causes move, Inlaid it was with Libyan ivory,
For so our children, thus our friends, we love) Drawn from the jaws of Afric's prudent beast.
Wisely she knew the harmony of things, Two kings like Saul, much taller than the rest,
As well as that of sounds, from discord springs: Their equal armies draw into the field;
Such was the discord which did first disperse Till one take th' other pris'ner they contest;
Form, order, beauty, through the universe; Courage and fortune must to conduct yield.
While dryness moisture, coldness heat resists, This game the Persian Magi did invent,
All that we have, and that we are, subsists; The force of Eastern wisdom to express;
While the steep horrid roughness of the wood From thence to busy Europeans sent
Strives with the gentle calmness of the flood, And styl’d by modern Lombards Pensive Chess.
Such huge extremes when Nature doth unite, Yet some that fled from Troy to Rome report,
Wonder from thence results, from thence de- Penthesilea Priam did oblige;

light.

Her Amazons his Trojans taught this sport, The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear, To pass the tedious hours of ten years' siege. That had the self-enamour'd youth gaz'd here, There she presents herself, whilst kings and So fatally deceiv'd he had not been,

peers While he the bottom, not his face, had seen. Look gravely on whilst fierce Bellona fights; But his proud head the airy mountain hides Yet maiden modesty her motion steers, Among the clouds; his shoulders and his sides Nor rudely skips o'er bishops heads like knights.

Cowley.

Abraham Cowley, der nachgeborne Sohn eines Spezereibändlers, ward 1618 in London geboren. Seine Mutter liess ihm eine sehr sorgfältige Erziehung geben, worauf er in Cambridge studirte und promovirte, jedoch vom Parlamente vertrieben ward und sich nach Oxford begab. Bald nachher folgte er als Geheimschreiber des Earl von Albany der vertriebenen Königin nach Frankreich und ward mit grossem Vertrauen vielfach bei ihren Angelegenheiten beschäftigt. Als er 1656 nach England zurückkehrte, nahm man ihn als Spion gefangen, doch liess man ihn wieder frei und er lebte nun während des Protectorates dort ungestört als Privatmann. Nach der Restauration wurden

seine Dienste mit Undank belohnt; er übernahm daher eine Pachtung, brachte den Rest seines Lebens in der Einsamkeit zu und starb am 28. Juli 1667. Seine Leiche ward mit grosser Feierlichkeit in der Westminster - Abtei beigesetzt.

Cowley's Werke sind oft erschienen; die beste Ausgabe derselben ist die von J. Aikin mit Anmerkungen besorgte: London 1802. 3 Bde in 8. Als Dichter zeichnet er sich vorzüglich in der lyrischen Poesie aus, der er einen bisher in England fast noch unbekannten Aufschwung durch Kühnheit der Gedanken und Kraft der Sprache verlieh; seine Oden sind als die ersten vorzüglichen Leistungen auf diesem Gebiete zu betrachten, doch ist er auch hier von Gesuchtheit und Künstelei nicht freizusprechen. Ein grösseres episches Gedicht, die Davideis, liess er unvollendet, auch steht es seinen lyrischen Poesieen bei Weitem nach.

Auch als Prosaist und als lateinischer Dichter erwarb sich Cowley wohlverdienten Ruhm. Seine Schrift gegen Cromwell, eine didactische Satyre und seine übrigen prosaischen Aufsätze sind in ihrer Art vortrefflich.

The Complaint.

Thou, changeling! thou, bewitch'd with noise

and show, In a deep Vision's intellectual scene,

Would'st into courts and cities from me go; Beneath a bow'r for sorrow made,

Would'st see the world abroad, and have a share Th' uncomfortable shade

In all the follies and the tumults there: Of the black yew's unlucky green,

Thou would'st, forsooth, be something in a state, Mix'd with the mourning willow's careful gray, And business thou would'st find, and would'st Where rev'rend Cam cuts out his famous way,

create; The melancholy Cowley lay;

Business! the frivolous pretence And, lo! a Muse appear’d to his clos'd sight, Of human lusts, to shake off innocence; (The Muses oft in lands of vision play)

Business! the grave impertinence! Body'd, array'd, and seen by an internal light: Business! the thing which I of all things hate; A golden harp with silver strings she bore, Business! the contradiction of thy fate. A wondrous hieroglyphic robe she wore, In which all colours and all figures were,

“Go, renegado! cast up thy account That Nature or that fancy can create,

And see to what amount That Art can never imitate,

Thy foolish gains by quitting me: And with loose pride it wanton'd in the air,

The sale of knowledge, fame, and liberty, In such a dress, in such a well-cloth'd dream,

The fruits of thy unlearn'd apostacy. She us'd of old near fair Ismenus' stream,

Thou thought'st, if once the public storm were Pindar, her Theban favourite to meet;

past, A crown was on her head, and wings were on All thy remaining life should sunshine be;

her feet.

Behold! the public storm is spent at last,

The Sovereign's tost at sea no more, She touch'd him with her harp, and rais'd him And thou, with all the noble company,

from the ground,

Art got at last on shore. The shaken strings melodiously resound.

But, whilst thy fellow-voyagers I see "Art thou return'd at last,” said she,

All march'd up to possess the promis'd land, “To this forsaken place and me?

Thou, still alone, alas ! dost gaping stand Thou prodigal! who didst so loosely waste

L'pon the naked beach, upon the barren sand!
Of all thy youthful years the good estate;
Art thou return'd here, to repent too late, "As a fair morning of the blessed spring,
And gather husks of learning up at last,

After a tedious stormy night,
Now the rich harvest-time of life is past, Such was the glorious entry of our king;
And winter marches on so fast?

Enriching moisture dropp'd on every thing:
But when I meant t'adopt thee for my son, Plenty he sow'd below, and cast about him light!
And did as learn'd a portion assign

But then, alas ! to thee alone As ever any of the mighty Nine

One of old Gideon's miracles was shown; Had to their dearest children done;

For every tree and every herb around When I resolv'd t exalt thy anointed name, With pearly dew was crown'a, Among the spiritual lords of peaceful fame; And upon all the quicken'd ground

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