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II. 3.
Woods, that wave o’er Delphi's steep (r),
Isles, that crown th’ Ægean deep,

Fields, that cool Ilissus laves,

Or where Mæander's amber waves In lingering Lab'rinths creep,

How do your tuneful Echoes languish,

Mute, but to the voice of Anguish!
Where each old poetic Mountain

Inspiration breath'd around;
Ev'ry shade and hallow'd Fountain

Murmur’d deep a solemn sound:
Till the sad Nine, in Greece's evil hour,

Left their Parnassus for the Latian plains.
Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant Power,

And coward Vice, that revels in her chains.

(r) Woods that wave o'er Delphi's steep. Progress of Poetry from Greece to Italy, and from Italy to England. Chaucer was not unacquainted with the writings of Dante or of Petrarch. The Earl of Surry and Sir Thomas Wyatt had travelled in Italy, and formed their taste there. Spenser imitated the Italian writers, and Milton improved on them; but this school expired soon after the Restoration, and a new one arose on the French model, which has subsisted ever since.

When Latium had her lofty spirit lost,
They sought, oh Albion! next thy sea-encircled

coast.

III. 1. [8] Far from the sun and summer-gale, In thy green lap was Nature's Darling (s) laid, What time, where lucid Avon stray'd,

To him the mighty Mother did unveil Her awful face: The dauntless Child Stretch'd forth his little arms, and smild.

[8] An ingenious person, (as Mr. Mason tells us) who sent Mr. Gray his remarks anonymously on this and the following Ode soon after they were published, gives this stanza and the following a very just and well-expressed eulogy: “A Poet is perhaps never more conciliating 6 than when he praises favourite predecessors in his art. Milton is “ not more the pride than Shakespeare the love of their country: It is " therefore equally judicious to diffuse a tenderness and a grace through “ the praise of Shakespeare, as to extol in a strain more elevated and “ sonorous the boundless soarings of Milton's epic imagination.” The critic has here well noted the beauty of contrast which results from the two descriptions; yet it is further to be observed, to the honour of our Poet's judgment, that the tenderness and grace in the former does not prevent it from strongly characterizing the three capital perfections of Shakespeare's genius; and when he describes his power of exciting terror (a species of the sublime) he ceases to be diffuse, and becomes, as he ought to be, concise and energetical.

(3) Nature's darling.

Shakespeare.

This pencil take (she said), whose colours clear
Richly paint the vernal year:
Thine too these golden keys, immortal Boy!
This can unlock the gates of Joy;
Of Horror that, and thrilling Fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic Tears.

III. 2.
Nor second He, that rode sublime (t)
Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy,
The secrets of th’ Abyss to spy.
He pass’d the flaming bounds of Place and

Time (u):
The living Throne, the saphire-blaze (x),
Where Angels tremble while they gaze,

(t) Nor second he, that rode sublime.

Milton.
(u) He pass'd the flaming bounds of Place and Time.
" flammantia mænia mundi.”

Lucretius. (x) The living thłone, the sapphire blaze. For the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.--And above the firmament that was over their heads, was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone.--This was the appearance of the glory of the Lord. Ezekiel i. 20, 26, 28.

He saw; but, blasted with excess of light [9],
Clos’d his eyes in endless night (y).
Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car
Wide o'er the fields of Glory bear
Two Coursers of ethereal race (2),
With necks in thunder cloth’d, and long-resound-

ing pace (a).

III. 3. Hark, his hands the lyre explore ! Bright-ey'd Fancy, hovering o’er, Scatters from her pictur'd urn Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn (b).

[9] Johnson allows this account of Milton's blindness to be “happily * imagined.” (y) Clos'd his eyes in endless night. opdan pov poèv åpecoe' dido do reclav ủoday.

Hom. Od. (2) Two coursers of ethereal race. Meant to express the stately march and sounding energy of Dryden's rhymes. (a) With necks in thunder cloth'd, and long-resounding pace. Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?

Job.
(b) Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
Words that weep, and tears that speak.

Cowley.

But ah! 'tis heard no more (c)

Oh! Lyre divine, what daring Spirit

Wakes thee now? Tho'he inherit Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,

That the Theban Eagle bear (d),
Sailing with supreme dominion

Thro' the azure deep of air :
Yet oft before his infant eyes would run

Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray
With orient hues, unborrow'd of the Sun [1]:

Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way

(c) But ah! 'is heard no more We have had in our language no other odes of the sublime kind, than that of Dryden on St. Cecilia's day: for Cowley, who had his merit, yet wanted judgment, style, and harmony, for such a task. That of Pope is not worthy of so great a man. Mr. Mason indeed, of late days, has touched the true chords, and with a masterly hand, in some of his choruses,-above all in the last of Caractacus:

Hark! heard ye not yon footstep dread? &c.

(d) That the Theban Eagle bear. Alòs após opvoy a Jézov. Olymp. 2. Pindar compares himself to that bird, and his enemies to ravens that croak and clamour in vain below, while it pursues its flight, regardless of their noise.

[1] This passage seems borrowed from the following in Sir William Temple's Essay on Poetry, in his Miscellanies. Speaking of the qualities

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