Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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 müv uży apepo e• dids d’ndsīav ů odm.

Hom. Od. 12) 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.
Mr. Gray, perhaps, had also an eye to the following line:
In strains that sigh, and words that weep.

Mallet's Funeral Hymn.

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 (10]:

Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way

(c) But ah! 'tis 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 chorusses, above all in the last of Caractacus:

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

(d) That the Theban Eagle bear. Alds após opriga Jelor. 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.

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

Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Beneath the Good how farbut far above the

Great.

of a poet, “ there must be,” says he, “ a spritely imagination or fancy, “ fertile in a thousand productions, ranging over infinite ground, “ piercing into every corner, and, by the light of that true poetical fire, “ discovering a thousand little bodies or images in the world, and " similitudes among them, unseen to common eyes, and which could « not be discovered without the rays of that sun.

THE BARD.

A PINDARIC ODE. [11]

(This Ode is founded on a Tradition current in Wales, that Edward the

First, when he completed the conquest of that country, ordered all the Bards that fell into his hands to be put to death.]

[blocks in formation]

“RUIN seize thee, ruthless King (12]!

“ Confusion on thy banners wait; “ Tho' fann'd by Conquest's crimson wing,

“ They mock the air with idle state (e).

[11] “ The Bard" (says Johnson) appears, at the first view, to be, as “ Algarotti and others have remarked, an imitation of the prophecy of “ Nereus. Algarotti thinks it superior to its original, and, if preference “ depends only on the imagery and animation of the two poems, his “ judgment is right. There is in The Bard' more force, more thought, « and more variety."

[12] of this noble exordium, an anonymous Critic thus eloquently expresses his admiration : “ This abrupt execration plunges the reader « into that sudden fearful perplexity which is designed to predominate “ through the whole. The irresistible violence of the prophet's passions “ bears him away, who, as he is unprepared by a formal ushering-in of “ the speaker, is unfortified against the impressions of his poetical o phrenzy, and overpowered by them, as sudden thunders strike the * deepest.”

re) They mock the air with idle state!
Mocking the air with colours idly spread.

Shakespeare's King John.

“ Helm, nor Hauberk's twisted mail (f), “ Nor e'en thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail “ To save thy secret soul from nightly fears, “ From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!" Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride (g)

Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay, As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side (h)

He wound with toilsome march his long array.

(f) Helm, nor Hauberk's twisted mail. The Hauberk was a texture of steel ringlets, or rings interwoven, forming a coat of mail that sat close to the body, and adapted itself to every motion.

(8) - the crested pride.
The crested adder's pride.

Dryden's Indian Queen.

(h) As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side. Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that mountainous tract which the Welsh themselves call Craigian-eryri: it included all the bighlands of Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire, as far as the river Conway. R. Hygden, speaking of the castle of Conway, built there by King Edward the First, says, “ Ad ortum amnis Conway ad clivum 4 montis Erery;" and Matthew of Westminster, (ad ann. 1283) “ Apud • Aberconway ad pedes montis Snowdoniæ fecit erigo castrum « forte.”

« AnteriorContinuar »