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'Tis meet for thee the winter long,
Their vinous poisons pouring.
Aurora smiles ; her beckonings claim thee.
The meanest thing shall shame thee.
And rugged paths, and woods pervaded
Or ’neath the poplars shaded.
Thread the rock-stream, as it advances-
Amid the highest branches !
The busier crowds all peace destroying :
Still less and less enjoying!
Quit worldly sin and worldly sorrow;
Ask mercies every morrow!
From earth's sweet smiles and winning features ;
For him by toils and troubles toss'd,
But not for happy creatures!
Come-though a glance it may be-come-
For life strong urgencies must bind us!
H. TOLLENS, 177.
two noblest of the singing-birds of the Old World may be heard, in echoing accompaniment, throughout the prolonged choir of European poets, from the earliest dawn of civilization to the present hour. There are few poems of any length, in either of the languages of Europe, in which some allusion to one or the other has not a place. The noblest poets of the earth were born companions to these birds ; beneath skies saluted by the lark, among groves haunted by the nightingale. These little creatures sung with Homer and Sappho among the isles of Greece—for Virgil and Horace on the plains of Italy; they cheered Dante in his lifelong wandering exile, and Petrarch in his solitary hermitage. Conceive also the joy with which Chaucer, and Shakspeare, and Spenser listened, each in his day, among the daisied fields of England, to music untaught, instinctive like their own! What pure delight, indeed, have these birds not given
to the heart of genius during thousands of springs and su mers! How many generations have they not charmed with their undying melodies! They would almost seem by their sweetness to have soothed the inexorable powers of Time and Death. Were old Greek or an ancient Roman to rise from the dust this summer's day—were he to awaken, after ages of sleep, to walk his native soil again, scarce an object on which his eye fell would wear a familiar aspect ; scarce a sound which struck bis ear but would vibrate there most strangely ; yet with the dawn, rising from the plain of Marathon, or the Latin Hills, he would hear the same noble lark which sung in his boyhood ; and with the moon, among the olives and ilexes shading the fallen temple, would come the same sweet nightingale which entranced his youth.
THE NOTE OF THE NIGHTINGALE.
A LETTER OY CHARLES JAMES YOX.
DEAR GREY-In defense of my opinion about the nightingales, I find Chaucer—who of all poets seems to have been the fondest of the singing of birds-calls it a merry note; and though Theocritus mentions nightingales six or seven times, he never mentions their note as plaintive or melancholy. It is true he does not call it anywhere merry, as Chaucer does, but by mentioning it with the song of the blackbird, and as answering it, he seems to imply that it was a cheerful note. Sophocles is against us; but he says, “lamenting Itys," and the comparison of her to Electra is rather as to perseverance, day and night, than as to sor
At all events, a tragic poet is not half so good authority in this question as Theocritus and Chaucer. I can not light upon the passage in the“ Odyssey," where Penelope's restlessness is compared to the nightingale, but I am sure it is only as to restlessness that he makes the comparison. If you will read the last twelve books of the “ Odyssey" you will certainly find it, and I am sure you will be paid for your hunt, whether you find it or not. The passage in Chaucer is in the “ Flower and Leaf.” The one I particularly allude to in Theocritus is in his “ Epigrams,” I think in the fourth. Dryden has transferred the word merry to the goldfinch, in the “ Flower and the Leaf”-in deference, may be, to the vulgar error. But pray read his description of the nightingale there ; it is quite delightful. I am afraid that I like these researches as much better than those that relate to Shaftesbury and Sunderland, as I do those better than attending the House of Commons. Yours affectionately,
C. J. Fox
The nightingale with so merry a note
I stood astonied, so was I with the song
And ayen, me thought, she song ever by mine ear.
CHAUCER'S "Flower and Leaf"
A goldfinch there I saw, with gaudy pride
DRYDEN'S "Flower and Leaf."
As when the months are clad in flowery green,
So in nocturnal solitude forlorn,
A sad variety of woes I mourn.
Odyssey, Book XIX.
O, nightingale, that on yon bloomy spray,