George Wither, ein eben so talentvoller als unruhiger Kopf, der Sohn eines Landedelmannes, ward 1588 zu Bentworth in Hampshire geboren und studirte in Oxford. Sein Vater rief ihn aber wieder zurück und verlangte, dass er sich der Landwirthschaft widmen solle; statt ihm zu gehorchen ging Wither nach London und gab, nachdem er sich bereits einigen literarischen Ruf er worben, hier 1613 eine Sammlung Satiren heraus (Abuses stript and whipt), die ihm lange Kerkerhaft zuzogen. Während derselben schrieb er sein bestes poetisches Werk: The Shepheards Hunting. Nach seiner Freilassung führte er ein sehr unruhiges Leben und musste noch öfter wieder ins Gefängniss wandern; zuletzt aber bei dem ersten Ausbruche des Bürgerkrieges verkaufte er sein väterliches Landgut und stellte sich an die Spitze einer Reiterschaar auf Seiten des Parlaments. In Gefangenschaft gerathen, sollte er gehängt werden, aber der Dichter Denham verwandte sich für ihn und rettete ihm das Leben. Später ward er Cromwell's Generalmajor für Surrey und hatte reichen Antheil an der Beute, den er aber bei der Thronbesteigung Karl's II. wieder herausgeben musste. Seine Protestationen zogen ihm von Neuem Kerkerstrafe zu; elend und arm starb er endlich 1667.

Unter seinen poetischen Arbeiten sind die Leistungen seiner Jugend unstreitig die besten; sie beurkunden reiche Phantasie, Geist und Scharfsinn und sind correct und rein. Später wurde er jei reh gesucht und affectirt, und Künstelei sollte ersetzen, was ihm die Natur in reiferen Jahren versagte.

A Sonnet upon a stolen Kiss. Yet the higher she doth sore,

She's affronted still the more: Now gentle sleep hath closed up those eyes,

Till she to the high'st hath past, Which, waking; kept my boldest thoughts in

Then she restes with Fame at last, awe;

Let nought therefore thee affright, And free access, unto that sweet lip, lies,

But make forward in thy flight: From whence I long the rosie breath to draw.

For if I could match thy rime, Methinks no wrong it were, if I should steal

To the very starres I 'de clime. From those two melting rubies, one poor kiss;

There begin againe, and flye, None sees the theft that would the thief reveal,

Till I reach'd aeternity. Nor rob I her of ought which she can miss :

But (alas) my Muse is slow : Nay, should I twenty kisses take away,

For thy page she flagges too low:
There would be little sign I had done so;

Yes, the more's her haplesse fate,
Why then should I this robbery delay ?
Obľ she may wake, and therewith angry grow! And poore I, her fortune ruing,

Her short wings were clipt of late.
Well, if she do, I'll back restore that one,

Am my selfe put up a muing.
And twenty hundred thonsand more for loan.

But if I my cage can rid,
I'le flye where I never did.
And though for her sake I'me crost,

Though my best hopes I have lost,
From the Shepheards Hunting.

And knew she would make my trouble

Ten times more then ten times double : As the sunne doth oft exhale

I would love and keepe her too, Vapours from each rotten vale;

Spight of all the world could doe. Poesie so sometimes draines,

For though banisht from my flockes, Grosse conceits from muddy braines;

And confin'd within these rockes, Mists of envie, fogs of spight,

Here I waste away the light, Twixt mens judgements and her light:

And consume the sullen night, But so much her power may doe,

She doth for my comfort stay, That she can dissolve them too.

And keepes many cares away. If thy verse do bravely tower,

Though I misse the flowry fields, As she makes wing, she gets power:

With those sweets the spring - tyde yeelds,

Then I am in love with thee.
Though our wise ones call it madnes,
Let me never taste of sadnes,
If I love not thy mad'st fits
Above all their greatest wits.
And though some too seeming holy,
Doe account thy raptures folly:
Thou dost teach me to contemne
What makes knaves and fooles of them.

Now that my body dead-alive,
Bereav'd of comfort lyes in thrall,
Doe thou, my soul, begin to thrive,
And unto honie turne this gall:

So shall we both through outward wo
The way to inw ard comfort know

As to the flesh we foode do give,
To keepe in us this mortall breath;
So soules on meditation live,
And shunne thereby immortall death:

Nor art thou ever neerer rest,
Then when thou find'st me most opprest.

Though I may not see those groves, Where the shepheards chaunt their loves And the lasses more excell, Then the sweet voyc'd Philomel, Though of all those pleasures past, Nothing now remaines at last, But Remembrance (poore reliefe) That more makes, then mends my griefe: She's my mind's companion still, Maugre Envies evil will. She doth tell me where to borrow Comfort in the midst of sorrow; Makes the desolatest place To her presence be a grace; And the blackest discontents To be pleasing ornaments. In my former dayes of blisse, Her divine skill taught me this, That from every thing I saw, I could some invention draw: And raise pleasure to her height, Through the meanest objects sight; By the murmure of a spring, Or the least boughs rusteling; By a dazie whose leaves spred, Shut when Tytan goes to bed, Or a shady bush or tree, She could more infuse in me, Then all natures beauties can, In some other wiser man. By her helpe I also now, Make this churlish place allow Somthings that may sweeten gladnes In the very gall of sadnes; The dull loaneness, the blacke shade, That those hanging vaults have made, The strange musicke of the waves, Beating on these bollow caves, This blacke den which rocks embosse, Over-growne with eldest mosse, The rude portals that give light, More to terrour then delight. This my chamber of neglect, Wal'd about with disrespect, From all these, and this dull ayre, A fit object for despaire; She hath taught me, by her might, To draw comfort and delight. Therefore thou best earthly blisse, I will cherish thee for this. Poesie, thou sweetest content That ere Heav'n to mortals lent: Though they as a trifle leave thee, Whose dull thoughts can not conceive thee, Though thou be to them a scorne, That to nought but earth are borne : Let my life no longer bee,

First thinke, my soule, if I have foes
That take a pleasure in my care,
And to procure these outward woes
Have thus entrapt me unaware :

Thou should'st by much more carefull bee,
Since greater foes lay waite for thee.

Then when mew'd up in grates of steele,
Minding those joyes mine eyes doe misse
Thou find'st no torment thou do'st feele,
So grievous as privation is :

Muse how the damn'd in flames that glow,
Pine in the losse of blisse they know.

Thou seest there's given so great a might
To some that are but clay as I,
Their very anger can affright;
Which if in any thou espie

Thus thinke, if mortals frownes strike feare,
How dreadfull will God's wrath appeare!

By my late hopes that now are crost,
Consider those that firmer bee,
And make the freedome I have lost
A meanes that may remember thee:

Had Christ not thy Redeemer bin,
What horrid thrall thou had'st beene in.

These iron chaines, the bolt's of steele, Which other poore offenders grinde,


The wants and cares which they doe feele, May bring some greater thing to minde:

For by their griefe thou shalt doe well, To thinke upon the paines of hell.

Or when through me thou seest a man
Condemn'd unto a mortall death,
How sad he lookes, how pale, how wan,
Drawing with feare his panting breath;

Thinke if in that such griefe thou see
How sad will, Goe yee cursed bee!

Againe, when he that fear'd to dye
(Past hope) doth see his pardon brought
Reade but the joy that's in his eye,
And then convey it to thy thought,

There thinke betwixt thy heart and thee,
How sweet will, Come ye blessed bee!

Thus if thou doe, though closed here,
My bondage I shall deeme the lesse,
I neither shall have cause to fear,
Nor yet bewaile my sad distresse :

For whether live, or pine, or dye,
We shall have blisse eternally.

The Shepheard's Resolution.

Shall I, wasting in despaire,
Dye, because a woman's faire?
Or make pale my cheeks with care
'Cause another's rosie are?
Be she fairer than the day,
Or the flow'ry meads in May;

If she be not so to me,
What care I how faire she be?

Shall my foolish heart be pin'd
'Cause I see a woman kind?
Or a well-disposed nature
Joined with a lovely feature?
Be she meeker, kinder, than
The Turtle-Dove or Pelican :

If she be not so to me,
What care I how kinde she be?

Shall a woman's virtue move
Me to perish for her love?
Or her well-deservings knowne,
Make me quite forget mine owne?
Be she with that goodnesse blest,
Which may merit name of Best;

If she be not such to me,
What care I how good she be?

'Cause her fortune seems too high,
Shall I play the foole and dye?
Those that beare a noble minde,
Where they want of riches finde,
Thinke what with them they would doe,
That without them dare to wooe;

And unlesse that minde I see,
What care I how great she be?

Great, or good, or kinde or faire,
I will ne'er the more despaire;
If she love me, this beleeve;
I will dye ere she shall grieve,
If she slight me when I wooe,
I can scorne and let her goe:

If she be not fit for me,
What care I for whom she be?

From fair Virtue.

Hall, thou fairest of all creatures
Upon whom the sun doth shine:
Model of all rarest features,
And perfections most divine.

Thrice all - hail: and blessed be
Those that love and honour thee.

This, thy picture, therefore shew I
Naked unto every eye,
Yet no fear of rival know I,
Neither touch of jealousie;

For, the more make love to thee,
I the more shall pleased be.

I am no Italian lover,
That will mewe thee in a jayle;
But, thy beautie I discover,
English-like, without a vail;

If thou mayst be won away,
Win and wear thee he that may.

Yet, in this thou mayst believe me;
(So indifferent tho' I seem)
Death with tortures would not grieve me,
More than loss of thy esteem;

For, if virtue me forsake,
All, a scorn of me will make.

Then, as I on thee relying
Doe no changing feare in thee:
So, by my defects supplying,
From all changing , keep thou me,

That, unmatched we may prove,
Thou, for beautie; I, for love.

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Thomas Carew aus altem Geschlechte in Devonshire stammend, ward wahrscheinlich in Gloucestershire, nach Einigen 1577, nach Anderen, und dies ist wohl das Richtigere, erst 1589 geboren, studirte zu Oxford, machte dann grössere Reisen und wurde darauf am Hofe Karls I., dessen Gunst er gewonnen, angestellt. Er führte ein sorgenfreies, aber ziemlich leichtsinniges Leben, dass er kurz vor seinem Tode ernstlich bereut haben soll und starb 1639, kurz vor dem Ausbruch des Bürgerskrieges.

Carew hinterliess nur lyrische Gedichte, welche zuerst gesammelt 1640 erschienen und ein Maskenspiel, das er auf Geheiss Karls I. schrieb: Coelum Britannicum und welches 1633 in Whitehall aufgeführt wurde. Seine Poesieen zeichnen sich durch Leichtigkeit, Anmuth und Natürlichkeit vor denen seiner Zeitgenossen aus, aber es fehlt ihnen an Tiefe und Gehalt.

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