Imagens da página

our music requires a more frequent transition from the air to the recitative than could agree with the simplicity of the ancients.

The first of these poems celebrates the Lyric Muse. It seems the most labored performance of the two; but yet we think its merit is not equal to that of the second. It seems to want that regularity of plan upon which the second is founded; and though it abounds with images that strike, yet, unlike the second, it contains none that are affecting.

In the second antistrophe the Bard thus marks the progress of poetry.


“In climes beyond the solar road,
Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam,
The Muse has broke the twilight-gloom
To cheer the shivering natives' dull abode.
And oft beneath the od'rous shade
Of Chili's boundless forests laid,
She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
In loose numbers wildly sweet,
Their feather-cinctured Chiefs, and dusky loves.
Her track, where'er the Goddess roves,
Glory pursue, and generous shame,
Th’ unconquerable Mind, and Freedom's holy flame."

There is great spirit in the irregularity of the numbers towards the conclusion of the foregoing stanza.

II. 3.

“ Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep,
Isles, that crown th' Egean 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 hollow'd fountain,
Murmurd 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,
When Latium had her lofty spirit lost,
They sought, oh Albion! next thy sea-encircled coast.

III. 2.

“Far from the sun and summer-gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's darling 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.
This pencil take, she said, whose colors 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."

The second 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." The author seems to have taken the hint of this subject from the fifteenth Ode of the first book of Horace. Our poet introduces the only surviving Bard of that country in concert with the spirits of his murdered brethren, as prophetically denouncing woes upon the conqueror and his posterity.

The circumstances of grief and horror in which the Bard is represented, those of terror in the preparation of the votive web, and the mystic obscurity with which the prophecies are delivered, will give as much pleasure to those who relish this species of composition, as any thing that has hitherto appeared in our lan guage, the Odes of Dryden himself not excepted."*

I. 2.

“ On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Rob’d in the sable garb of Woe,
With haggard eyes the Poet stood;
(Loose his beard and hoary hair
Stream’d, like a meteor, to the troubled air,)
And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.
• Hark how each giant-oak, and desert cave,
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
O'er thee, O King! their hundred arms they wave,
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe ;
Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,
To high-born Hoel's harp, or lost Llewellyn's lay.

I. 3.

« Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hush'd the stormy inain:
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topp'd head.

* “ One of the greatest poets of this century, the late and much lamented Mr. Gray of Cambridge, modestly declared to me, that if there was in his own numbers any thing that deserved approbation, he had learned it all from Dryden."--Beattie.) VOL. IV.


On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale :
Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail ;
The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by.
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear, as the light that visits these sad eyes,
Dear, as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's cries-
No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,
I see them sit, they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land:
With me in dreadful harmony they join,
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.

II. 1.

Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
The winding-sheet of Edward's race.
Give ample room, and verge enough,
The characters of hell to trace.'”

When the prophetic incantation is finished, the Bard thus nervously concludes.

Enough for me: with joy I see
The different doom our fates assign.
Be thine despair, and sceptred care,

To triumph, and to die, are mine.'
He spoke, and headlong froin the mountain's height
Deep in the roaring tide he plung’d to endless night.”



[From the Monthly Review, 1758. “ Some Inquiries concerning

the First Inhabitants, Language, Religion, Learning, and Letters of Europe. By a Member of the Society of Antiqua

ries in London. Printed at the Theatre, Oxford, 4to."] EVERY search into remote antiquity inspires us with a pleasure somewhat similar to what we feel upon the recollection of the earlier occurrences of our younger days: dark, indeed, and very confused the remembrance; yet still we love to look back upon those scenes, in which innocence and tranquillity bear, or scem to bear, so great a proportion. But how agreeable soever inquiries of this nature may prove in gratifying our curiosity, the advantage would be trifling if they rested only here. They are further useful in promoting the advancement of other kinds of learning; for, an acquaintance with the causes whence arts and sciences had their rise, will probably direct us to the methods most conducive to their perfection. Nor is the historian less than the philosopher indebted to the antiquarian. It is from that painful collection of opinions, and the seemingly tedious inductions of the last, that the first draws his materials for the ascertainment of truth, gathers order from confusion, and justly marks the features of the age.

* (Francis Wise, B.D., and F.S.A., many years fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, was born in 1695. In 1726, the Earl of Guildford, who had been his pupil, presented him to the vicarage of Ellesfield, in Oxfordshire. Besides the above work, he published " Annales Ælfredi Magni,” “ Observations on the History and Chronology of the Fabulous Ages,” &c. “ He died,” says Mr. Nicholls, “at his favorite retreat, at Ellesfield, October 1767, aged seventytwo, universally beloved and esteemed, on account of his great merit and learning.”—Lit. Anec., vol. v. p. 527.]

« AnteriorContinuar »