Page:Poems of Anne Countess of Winchilsea 1903.djvu/133

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INTRODUCTION cxxix ���Lady Winchilsea is curiously like Carew and Crashaw in her attempt to give a more exact description of its musical quality. As she listens to the long, pure notes, the ecstasy of pleasure becomes almost a pain, and she implores the bird to "let division shake her throat," a seventeenth century phrase for the production of runs and trills. Carew speaks of the bird's sweet dividing throat," and Crashaw says that she pours �through the sleek passage of her open throat A clear un wrinkled song; then doth she point it by short diminu- tions. �What Mathew Arnold calls the "wild, deep-sunken, old- world pain" of the song seldom escapes the ear or the clas- sically trained memory of the poet. The early concrete embodiment of this grief, a bird singing with a thorn "uptill her breast," as given by Sir Philip Sidney, and several times by Shakespeare, is followed by Lady Winchilsea. The new point in Lady Winchilsea's poem is her way of listening to the song. The traditional interpretation of the "thorn" had always been some love-longing, but to her it is the poet's despair in the presence of a musical perfection to which he cannot attain. In a faint, but sweet and real way, Lady Winchilsea's emotional experience in listening to the night- ingale was like that of Shelley with the sky-lark. She traces the song from point to point, she listens with rapture, and has a consciousness that such strains, " taught by the for- ests," are beyond human skill. In none of the earlier night- ingale poems does the human emotion arise thus out of the song. The general plan is to use the song to illustrate, to augment, or to assuage some human emotion. But Lady Winchilsea's experience wherein the song, heard first for its own sake, creates the emotion and suggests the human anal- ogy, is exactly like that of Shelley with the sky-lark, Words- worth with the daffodils, and Burns with the mouse or the daisy. ��� �