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347. 121-123. Gray is here giving us an idea

of his own poetical aspirations.



345. A Pindaric Ode. Gray is adopting the

ode form of the Greek poet Pindar. Pro-
fessor Phelps's note explains the structure
of the poem succinctly:“ As Hales pointed
out, this Ode is really divided into 3
stanzas, with 41 lines in each, stanza.
Again, each stanza is divided into 3 parts
-strophe, antistrophe, and epode-the
turn, counter-turn, and after-song, Greek
theatrical names. The three strophes,
antistrophes, and epodes are similar in
construction; hence the architecture of
the poem is curiously symmetrical,
though one could easily read it without
any perception of this fact.” (Athenæum
Press Edition, p. 149.)
1. Awake, Æolian lyre. Gray is invok-
ing the Æolian harp of Pindar.
3, 4. From Helicon's harmonious springs,
etc. The different streams of the world's
poetry all have their source in the sacred
fountain of the Muses on Mount Helicon.
9. Ceres' golden reign. Fields of grain,
in the care of Ceres, goddess of the harvest.
15. Enchanting shell. The lyre, to which
the first three sections of the poem are
addressed. Hermes, according to the
legend, made the first lyre from a tortoise
17. On Thracia's hills the Lord of War.
Mars was supposed to spend much of his
time in Thrace.
21. The feathered king. Jove's eagle.
25. Thee. The lyre.
27. Idalia. A town in Cyprus, sacred to

Venus, or Cytherea (1. 28). 346. 36. Their Queen. Venus.

47. Justify the ways of Jove. An obvious
echo of Milton's “ Justify the ways of
God to men.”
48. Has he given in vain the heavenly
Muse? Has poetry been of no value to
53. Hyperion. The sun.
66. Delphi's steep. Delphi's mountain,
location of the famous oracle.
68. Ilissus. A river of Attica.
69. Mæander. A river of Asia Minor.
77. The sad Nine. The Muses.
77-82. Poetry left Greece for Rome, and
from Rome sought England.
84. Nature's Darling. Shakespeare.
95. Nor second he, that rode sublime.
105. Two coursers of ethereal race.
Dryden's favorite verse form was the

iambic pentameter couplet. 347. 107. His hands. Dryden's.

112. What daring spirit? Gray himself. 115. The Theban Eagle. Gray's own note reads: “ 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.

The poem as first printed was prefaced
by this “ ADVERTISEMENT. The following
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." When the
poem opens, the last survivor of the
Bards is speaking.
8. Cambria. Wales.
10. The first Edward. Edward I invaded
Wales in 1282.
13, 14. Glo'ster, Mortimer. Chieftains
in Edward's army.
27. Fatal day. The day on which the
bards were executed.
28. Hoel, Llewellyn; 29, 31. Cadwallo,
Urien. Welsh poets.
33. Modred. Gray uses the name of the
Arthurian knight; no such Welsh poet
is known.
34. Plinlimmon. A Welsh mountain.
35. Arvon's shore. “ The shores of
Caernarvonshire, opposite to the isle of
Anglesey." (Gray.)
49. The whole band of murdered bards
joins with the survivor in prophesying the

future of Edward's race. 348. 54. Severn. A Welsh river.

56. An agonizing king. “ Edward the
Second, cruelly butchered in Berkley
Castle. (Gray.)
59. Who o'er thy country hangs.“ Tri-
umphs of Edward the Third in France."
63. Mighty Victor. Edward III.
65. No pitying heart. “ Death of that
king, abandoned by his children, and
even robbed in his last moments by his
courtiers and his mistress.” (Gray.)
67. The sable warrior. Edward III's
son, the Black Prince, who died before
his father.
70. The rising morn. Magnificence of
Richard the Second's reign.” (Gray.)
77-82. “ Richard the Second
starved to death.” (Gray.)
83-86. The wars of the Roses, between
the houses of York and Lancaster, 1455-
87. Towers of Julius. According to an
old legend, Julius Cæsar is supposed to
have begun the Tower of London.
89. His Consort's faith. Margaret of
Anjou (wife of Henry VI), a woman of
heroic spirit, who struggled hard to save
her husband and her crown.”
His father. Henry V.
90. The meek usurper.

Henry the
Sixth very near being canonized. The
line of Lancaster had no right of inheri-
tance to the crown." (Gray.)
91, 2.
The rose

Snow, etc.



" The 349. 37. They, whom once. The Norsemen.

41. The Earl. Probably Sigurd.

44. A King. Brian. 350. 56. Younger King. See note on l. 32.

SKETCH OF HIS OWN CHARACTER The poem was found in one of Gray's pocket-books, and was not printed till after his death. 6. Charles Townshend. Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1767. Squire. Dr. Samuel Squire, Bishop of St. David's.


360. 1. We set out. Gray was making “ the

grand tour” with his college friend, Horace Walpole. His impressions of Alpine scenery may interestingly be compared with those of Addison, who wrote from Geneva, December 6, 1701, to Wortley Montagu: “I am just now arrived at Geneva by a very troublesome journey over the Alps, where I have been for some days together shivering among the eternal snows. My head is still giddy with mountains and precipices, and you cannot imagine how much I am pleased with the sight of a plain, that is as agreeable to me at present as a shore was about

a year ago after one tempest at Genoa." 361. 19. St. Bruno. The founder of the Car

thusian order of monks. He located the
home of the order in the mountains near
Grenoble, 1084 A. D.
21. Dodsley. Robert Dodsley (1703-
1764), English bookseller and publisher,
best known for his Select Collection of Old
Plays, which he edited and published in

1744. 362. 3. Sack and silver. The poet laureate

was usually given a money stipend and
an annual allowance of wine. Gray had
been informally offered the post at the
time he wrote this letter to Mason.
24. Rowe. Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718),
a dramatist.
26. Settle. Elkanah Settle (1648-1723).
28. Eusden. Lawrence Eusden (1688-


CATH-LODA 352. Macpherson's "Ossianic” poems are im

99. Half

white and red roses, devices of York and

Lancaster.” (Gray.) 348. 93. The bristled Boar. “ The silver boar

was the badge of Richard the Third." (Gray.) In infant gore. A reference to Richard's murder of the two young princes.

thy heart. “ Eleanor of Castile (wife of Edward I), died a few years after the conquest of Wales." (Gray.) 109. Long-lost Arthur. “It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Arthur was still alive in Fairy-Land, and should return again to reign over Britain.” (Gray.) 110. Ye genuine Kings. “ Both Merlin and Taliessin had prophesied, that the Welsh should regain their sovereignty over this island; which seemed to be accomplished in the House of Tudor." (Gray.).

115. A form divine. Queen Elizabeth. 349. 127. Truth severe, by fairy Fiction

drest. The allusion is to the allegorical
nature of Spenser's Faerie Queene.
128. In buskined measures. Shake-
speare's tragedies.
131. A voice. Milton.
133. Distant warblings.

" The succes-
sion of Poets after Milton's time."
135. Impious man. Edward I.


One of Gray's notes, the Preface to the
poem as it originally appeared, makes
the situation clear: “In the Eleventh
Century Sigurd, Earl of the Orkney
Islands, went with a fleet of ships and a
considerable body of troops into Ireland,
to the assistance of Sictryg with the Silken
Beard, who was then making war on his
father-in-law, Brian, King of Dublin:
the Earl and all his forces were cut to
pieces, and Sictryg was in danger of a
total defeat; but the enemy had a greater
loss by the death of Brian, their King,
who fell in action. On Christmas day,
(the day of the battle), a Native of Caith-
ness in Scotland saw at a distance a
number of persons on horseback riding
full speed towards a hill, and seeming to
enter into it. Curiosity led him to follow
them, till looking through an opening in
the rocks he saw twelve gigantic figures
resembling women: they were all em-
ployed about a loom; and as they wove,
they sung the following dreadful Song;
which when they had finished, they tore
the web into twelve pieces, and (each
taking her portion) galloped six to the
North and as many to the South.”
The “ Fatal Sisters are here represented
as the goddesses of fate, and as the
Valkyrie, or “ choosers of the slain,” who
select heroes destined to die in battle,
and conduct them to Valhalla.
32. The youthful king. Sictryg

portant because of the influence they
exerted in the development of romanticism
during the eighteenth century. Some
ancient Celtic fragments are probably
embedded in them, but for the form and
tone Macpherson alone is responsible.
The poems were published between 1760
and 1765. See Dr. Johnson's letter,
page 294.

FERGUSSON 363. Burns was so conscious of his literary

debt to Fergusson that he erected a tombstone over Fergusson's grave.



363. Certain of the Christmas holidays were

so called. 364. 48. Tullochgorum. A famous Scotch

tune and song.

365. 52. Anson's tear. Cowper based his poem

on an account which he found in Anson's Voyage Around the World.



In reading Chatterton's poetry,
should pay as little attention as possible 366. The selection is from the first of Burns's
to the antiquated spelling. Pronounce three poetical epistles to Lapraik, a
the words as in modern English; Chatter- Scottish poet whose work, in part at
ton seems to have composed his verse least, Burns admired.
in modern English, before translating it
into the pseudo-Middle English dialect

THE HOLY FAIR in which it appeared.

367. 66. Black Bonnet. “The elder who

officiated' at the collecting-plate, which

stood at the entrance, was accustomed 366. 141. Goddelyke Henrie. Henry VI, to wear a black bonnet." (Centenary

whom the Lancastrians held to have been Burns, i. 331.) illegally succeeded by Edward IV.

102 ff. Moodie, Smith, Peebles, Miller, 368. 276. Bataunt. The word is a participle and Russell, were all parish ministers of

meaning hastening; Chatterton misuses considerable local importance or it here, and thinks of it as some sort of a toriety. musical instrument.

368. 226. Člinkumbell. The beadle, or bell






360. The English man-of-war Royal George

capsized and sank off Spithead, August 29, 1782, after having been heeled over intentionally in order to expose a leaky section of her bottom. Admiral Kempenfelt was at the time under orders to go to the relief of Gibraltar.


362. 390. To hear that ye were fallen at last.

The Task was published in 1785, four years before the capture of the Bastille by the revolutionists.

THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT 370. The editors of the Centenary Burns note

(i. 362): “ The piece as a whole is formed on English models. It is the most artificial and the most imitative of Burns's works. • These English songs,' he wrote long afterwards (1794) to Thomson, 'gravel me to death. I have not that command of the language that I have of my native tongue. In fact, I think my ideas are more barren in English than in Scottish.' As it is, The Cotter's Saturday Night is supposed to paint an essentially Scottish phase of life; but the Scottish element in the diction, -to say nothing of the Scottish cast of the effect

-is comparatively slight throughout, and in many stanzas is altogether wanting.” Robert Aiken, to whom the poem is addressed, was an old friend of the Burns family who brought the poet some fame

by reading his verses in public. 372. 111-113. Dundee's, Martyr's, Elgin.

The names of tunes in the Scottish Pres

byterian hymnal.
373. 138. Hope “springs exulting,” etc.

Slightly misquoted from Pope's Windsor
166. “An honest man," etc.

Slightly misquoted from Pope's Essay on Man, 182. Wallace. William Wallace (c. 1270 1305), the Scottish patriot.

364. 97. An incorrect quotation from Garth's

Dispensary, iii. 226.
108. My boast is not that I deduce my
birth. Cowper traced his descent from
Henry III of England; the line means
that although his descent is royal, he
does not boast of it.


iv. 297.

Cowper's most intimate friends were the Reverend Morley Unwin, and his wife Mary. Cowper began to live with them as a boarder in 1765; following Mr. Unwin's death in 1767 Cowper and Mrs. Unwin continued together till her death in December, 1796.


TAM O' SHANTER 376. 102. Kirk Alloway seemed in a bleeze.

The editors of the Centenary Burns note (i. 433): “Alloway Kirk was originally

Written to Mrs. Mary Unwin.

387. 89. The lawless merchant of the main.

The smuggler.


The story of Peter Grimes forms Letter xxii of the poem.

WORDSWORTH PREFACE TO THE LYRICAL BALLADS 389. The first edition of the Lyrical Ballads

appeared in 1798; the second edition, in December, 1800, carried a lengthy Preface, from which two passages are here reprinted.

LINES WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING 392. The poem is notable as an expression of

Wordsworth's idea that Nature is a conscious, sentient spirit.

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TINTERN ABBEY 393. 22-49. In this passage Wordsworth states

the effect that the recollection of the landscape he has just been describing has had on him. First, it has brought him mental restoration in hours of weariness; sec

nd, “ feelings of unremembered pleasure” which have prompted him to acts kindness and of love "; and lastly, it has brought him the mystic's power of seeing beyond the superficial,

the church of the quoad civilia parish of
Alloway; but this parish having been
annexed to that of Ayr in 1690, the church
fell more or less to ruin, and when Burns
wrote had been roofless for half a century.
It stands some two hundred yards to the
north of the picturesque Auld Brig of
Doon . ... Burns's birthplace is about
three-fourths of a mile to the north; so
that the ground and its legends were fa-
miliar to him from the first."
A good many local traditions centered
around the old church; some of them
Burns has worked into the poem.


377. The poem is often called “ Bruce's Ad

dress to his Army."


378. A song of this name, of which various

Scottish poets had written versions, was well known in Scotland before Burns composed his verses.


The song I composed out of compliment to Mrs. Burns." (Burns's note, quoted in Centenary Burns, iii. 345.)

FLOW GENTLY, SWEET AFTON 380. 3. My Mary. If any definite person is

referred to here, -and this is uncertain,it is not Mary Campbell. See the Centenary Burns, iii. 395.

the apparent, into “ the life of things." 394. 72–111. This passage, with which one

should compare lines 175-203 of the
Intimations of Immortality, is the best
statement of Wordsworth's changing
attitude towards Nature.
psychism, almost the pantheism, of
lines 93-102, is noteworthy.
116. My dear, dear friend. Words-
worth's sister Dorothy was the poet's
most intimate companion during the
years from 1795 to 1802. On their life
together one can consult no better work
than Dorothy Wordsworth's Journals.


The pan

381. The poem is reminiscent of Burns's devo

tion to Mary Campbell. The editors of the Centenary tell what is known of her (iii. 308).



384. 20. While o'er thee thy mother weep.

The line (like 11-12 and 15-16) is ungrammatical, but the reading thy seems to have the weight of authority on its side; certain editions emend thy to doth.



386. 9. Smooth alternate verse. See Spenser's

Shepherd's Calendar, Eclogue second,
for an example of “alternate verse,” in
which first Cuddie and then Thenot
18. Mantuan song. Virgil's poetry (here
his pastorals).
27. Honest Duck. A minor poet of the
first half of the 18th century.

SHE DWELT AMONG THE UNTRODDEN WAYS 396. This and the two following poems are

from a group of five which picture the poet's love for “ Lucy.” No one knows who Lucy was. It has been suggested that she is simply a creation of the poet's imagination, but

this does not seem probable. It is significant that when Wordsworth commented on his own verses he remained silent concerning these five poems.

THE PRELUDE This poem, one of Wordsworth's two long autobiographical pieces, was written between 1799 and 1805, but was not published till after the poet's death in 1850.

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48. To Paris I returned. He reached
Paris in October, 1792.
53. The palace, lately stormed. The mob
sacked the Tuileries on the tenth of
August. Louis XVI was a prisoner from

this time until his execution.
399. 73. September massacres. The

sacres of the aristocrats in September, 1792, marked the beginning of the “ Reign of Terror."

The portrait or character here sketched is not that of any single person, but is, as Wordsworth pointed out in his note, a sort of composite, based on Lord Nelson, and Wordsworth's brother John, master of the Abergavenny, East Indiaman. Nelson and John Wordsworth both died in 1805; the former at Trafalgar, the latter in the wreck of his vessel in the English Channel.



Wordsworth notes of this poem: “ Written at Town-end, Grasmere. The Sheepfold, on which so much of the poem turns, remains, or rather the ruins of it. The character and circumstances of Luke were taken from a family to whom had belonged, many years before, the house we live in at Town-end, along with some fields and woodlands on the eastern shore of Grasmere. The name of the Evening Star was not in fact given to this house, but to another on the same side of the valley, more to the north.” Wordsworth lived at Grasmere from 1799 to 1813.

ODE: INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY 413. A part of Wordsworth's note on the poem as follows:


Nothing was more difficult for me in childhood than to admit the notion of death as a state applicable to my own being. ... It was not so much from feelings of animal vivacity that my difficulty came as from a sense of the indomitableness of the Spirit within me. ... To that dream-like vividness and splendor which invest objects of sight in childhood, everyone, I believe, if he would look back, could bear testimony, and I need not dwell upon it here: but having in the poem regarded it as presumptive evidence of a prior state of existence, I think it right to protest against a conclusion, which has given pain to some good and pious persons, that I meant to inculcate such a belief. It is far too shadowy a notion to be recommended to faith, as more than an element in our instincts of immortality.” The argument of the poem proceeds from stanza to stanza as follows: 1. I can no longer see the celestial beauty which once enfolded every object in nature. 2. Nature is the same, but the glory has passed away. 3. The utterance of this thought brought relief from the sadness it occasioned: “ No more shall grief of mine the season

wrong.” 4. Despite the happiness of Nature on " this sweet May-morning," the “ glory

MY HEART LEAPS UP 406. 9. Natural piety. Reverence, affection

for Nature. Wordsworth chose the last three lines for the motto of his Ode: Intimations of Immortality.

RESOLUTION AND INDEPENDENCE 407. 43. I thought of Chatterton, the marvelous

Boy. Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), who poisoned himself, in a fit of despondency, before he was eighteen years old. 45. Him who walked in glory. Burns. 97. Grave Livers. Persons of solemn deportment.

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