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And golden cross, and snowy

choir serene
Moved on, old trunks, and older towers between.
An hour ere sunset from afar they spied

The city walls: dark myriads round them clinging :
Now o'er a carpeted expanse they glide;

Now the oid bridge beneath their tread is ringing:
They reach the gate—they pass the towers below-
And now once more emerge, a glittering show !
O what a rapturous shout receives them, blending

Uncounted bells with chime of human voices !
That fortress old, as on they wind ascending,

Like the mother of some victor chief rejoices.
From every window tapestries wave: among
The steep and glittering roofs group above group they throng!
The shrine is gained. Two mighty gates expanding,

Let forth a breeze of music onward gushing,
In pathos lulled, yet awful and commanding;

Down sink the crowds, at once their murmur hushing.
Filled with one soul, the smooth procession slowly
Advances with joined palms, cross-led, and lowly.
Lo! where they stand in yon high, fan-roofed chamber

Martyrs and saints in dyed and mystic glass
With sumptuous haloes, vermeil, green and amber,

Flood the fair aisles, and all that by them pass :
Rich like their painter's visions—in those gleams
Blazoning the burden of his Patmian dreams!
A forest of tall lights in mystic cluster,

Like fire-topped reeds, from their aërial station
Pour on the group a mild and silver lustre:

Beneath the blessing of that constellation
The rite proceeds--pure source whence rich increase
Of love henceforth, and piety, and peace.
Small was the ring, and small in truth the finger!

What then? the faith was large that dropped it down;
A faith that loved not on low Earth to linger,

But won from Heaven a perdurable crown.
A germ of love, at plighting of that troth,
Into each bosom sank; and grew there with its growth.
The ladies held aloft the bridal pair:

They on each other smiled, and gazed around
With unabashed delight, and generous air,

Their infant brows with golden circlet bound. The prelates blessed them, and the nobles swore True faith and fealty by the sword they bore.

Home

VOL. LXXII. NO. CXLIII.

M

Home to the palace, still in order keeping,

That train returned; and in the stateliest room
Laid down their lovely burden, all but sleeping,

Together in one cradle's curtained gloom;
And lulled them with low melody and song;

And jest past lightly 'mid the courtly throng.' If the spirit of Spenser were to revisit the earth, in order to see what had been done in his own way since he left it, he would find nothing that would give him more pleasure than this. Nor is the childhood that follows this infancy less delightfully depicted:

Ah, lovely sight! behold them-creatures twain,

Hand-in-hand wandering through some verdant alley,
Or sunny lawn of their serene domain,

Their wind-caught laughter echoing musically;
Or skimming in pursuit of bird-cast shadows
With feet immaculate the enamelled meadows.
Tiptoe now stand they by some towering lily ;

And fain would peer into its snowy cave:
Now the boy bending o'er some current chilly,

The feebler backward draws him from the wave;
But he persists, and gains for her at last
Some bright flower from the dull weeds hurrying past.
Oft, if some aged priest the cloister crossed,

Both hands they caught; and bade him explicate
(That nought of good through idlesse might be lost)

At large all duties of the nuptial state.
And oft each other kissed with infant glee,
As though this were some great solemnity.
In some old missal sometimes would they look,

Touching with awe the illuminated page;
And scarce for tears the spectacle might brook

Of babes destroyed by Herod's murderous rage.
Here sank a martyr in ensanguined vest:
With more familiar smile there beamed the Virgin blest.
Growing, their confidence as quickly grew :

Light pet and childish quarrel seldom came.
To make them lighter yet, and yet more few,

Their nurse addressed them thus-an ancient dame-
“ Children, what perfect love should dwell, I ween,
'Twixt husband and young wife, 'twixt king and queen.
“ The turtle, widowed of her mate, no more

Lifts her lone head; but pines, and pining dies.
In many a tomb ’mid yon cathedral hoar,

Monarch or knight beside his lady lies :
Such tenderness and truth they showed, that fate
No power was given their dust to separate.

“ Rachael,

“Rachael, not less, and Ruth, whereof men read

In book ordained our life below to guide,
Loved her own husband each, in word and deed

Loved him full well, nor any loved beside.
And Orpheus too, and Pyramus, men say,
Though Paynim born, lived true, and so shall live for aye.
“What makes us, children, to good angels deur ?

Unblemished truth, and hearts in sweet accord.
These also draw the people to revere

With stronger faith their king and sovereign lord.
Then perfect make your love and amity
Alway: but most of all if men are by.”
Such lore receiving, ofttimes hand-in-hand

Those babes walked gravely : at the garden gates
Meantime the multitude would flock and stand,

And hooded nuns looked downwards from their grates.
These when the princes marked, they moved awhile
With loftier step and more majestic smile-
Or sat enthroned upon some broidered bank

(The lowlier flowers in wrecks around them thrown),
Shadowed with roses rising rank on rank:

And there, now wreathed, now leaning into one,
They talked, and kissed, again and yet again,

To please good angels thus, and win good men.' At twelve years of age the boy follows the standard of the Cross to Palestine; and, after some years spent in the wars, to his great honour and glory, he returns to the home and wife of his childhood :

Strange joy they found all day in wandering over

The spots in which their childish sports had been ;
Husband and wife whilome, now loved and lover,

A broken light brightened yet more the scene !
Night came : à gay yet startled bride he led,
Old rites scarce trusting, to the bridal bed.
No more remains of all this grand old story.

They loved with love eternal : spent their days
In peace, in good to man, in genuine glory.

No spoils unjust they sought, or unjust praise.
Their children loved them, and their people blessed-
God grant us all such lives—in Heaven for aye such rest!
But ye profane and unbelieving crowd!

Who dare to mock our childish bridal, cease!
Make answer first, and answer make aloud,

Unblest was that which gave two kingdoms peace ?
Much less, much less the high-souled Muse approves
Grey hairs in rage and hate than infant loves!?p. 224.

We now take our leave of Mr. De Vere's poetry, commending it to the care of a class which we believe to be daily increasingthe students of this art in its higher walks. Poetry has been supposed to be not much the fashion of late years; but the truth is that—with few, very few exceptions—poetry of the highest order never has been the fashion at any time; it has never been extensively popular. It is true of the last twenty years that popular poetry has lost its popularity ; but it is also true of the last ten, that poetry which was aimed at a higher mark than popularity, has gained a large accession of devoted students of readers who seek in poetry the highest knowledge invested with the least perishable charm. It is these men who lay the foundation of a great poet's fame; and it is through a popular recognition of their judgment, and a popular sympathy with their admiration, that such poets as Milton and Wordsworth come to be popular in the only sense in which they can be said to be so—that is, that their merits come to be fully acknowledged, though but partially felt and perceived, by readers at large.

But besides this accession of strength to the cause of poetry in its loftier moods, we believe that there is now reviving amongst us a love of it merely as a literary pleasure and recreation.

For several years it was supplanted in this function by a sort of book which Laura Matilda herself might have been permitted to look down upon--that cross between social frivolity and an itch for writing, called fashionable novels. These have well nigh had their day, and we trust that they will soon be to be seen chiefly in the circulating libraries of the smaller country-towns. A more dry and meagre dissipation for the human mind human art never invented; and such books, even when morally unobjectionable (which few of them are), are as much worse than nothing to the mind, as a soil choked with weeds is worse than a fallow.

To a mind that is vacant and lies open, nature or accident may bring some increase-seeds are sown by the winds in many

such minds, or dropped by the birds :--but to a mind which is occupied with the pitiful employment of reading these thoughtless, passionless, fruitless productions, even fortuitous cultivation and the growths of Nature's planting seem to be forbidden. We are therefore happy to believe that the back-shop is now the chief asylum for fashionable novels : in London, at least, the drawing-room table will often be unwilling to display them; it shows signs of shame, and we have known them to be cleared off at the approach of a stranger with as much expedition as marked Miss Lydia Languish's preparations for an unexpected visit,- when she flung

Peregrine Pickle' under the toilet, threw Roderick Random into the closet, and put the Innocent Adultery' into the whole

Duty

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Duty of Man.'— Few books are so bad as bad poems; but fashionable novels are worse, because they are not of the number of books which (as the Germans say) will not permit themselves to be read: bad poems are.

But to bad poems there is no occasion to have recourse,—or to indifferent ones, which would be the same thing. There is much good poetry which (if we are not mistaken) would be new to the great majority of those who read for amusement. Mr. Tennyson is now, we believe, pretty generally read; but how many of our readers have read Mr. Darley's Thomas-à-Becket,' or his Sylvia;' Mr. W. Smith's Athelwold;' Mr. Sterling's and Mr. Trench's poems; those of Sir Francis Doyle—and Mr. De Vere's father, Sir Aubrey? Yet in these, how much of refined and cultivating recreation might be met with by those who would wish to pitch their literary amusements above the mark of a fashionable novel; and by those who would wish to look into the inner mind of their age, how much would be met with of the pensive fancies, the thoughtful graces, the intellectual interests, which blossom beneath our busier life and our more rank and forward literature.

Art. VI.- Histories of Noble English Families ; with Biographi

cal Notices of the most Distinguished Individuals in each : Illustrated by their Armorial Bearings, Portraits, Monuments, Seats, 8c. "Compiled and edited by Henry Drummond, Esq.

Parts I. & II. Inp. folio. 1842. London. FEW literary facts are more surprising than that the innu

merable volumes which treat of, perhaps, the proudest and richest, as well as the most accomplished aristocracy in the world, should, with rare exceptions, be scarcely more pleasant reading' than the introductory chapters of the Book of Chronicles ;' for the verbs “to beget' and 'to die' form the substance of the narratives. On glancing over the pages of the books called · Peerages,' it would almost seem as if the individuals mentioned in them had possessed neither talents, valour, ambition, nor vices. Little else is to be found than a catalogue of names and dates, posts held, lands inherited; with the occasional enlivenment of a will, an epitaph, or an indiscriminate and fulsome panegyric. Of these “gentle historians' Burke justly said that they dip their pens in nothing but the milk of human kindness-seek no farther for merit than the preamble of a patent, or the inscription on a tomb. With them every man created a Peer is first a hero ready

made;

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