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347. 121-123. Gray is here giving us an idea
of his own poetical aspirations.
THE PROGRESS OF POESY
345. A Pindaric Ode. Gray is adopting the
ode form of the Greek poet Pindar. Pro-
Venus, or Cytherea (1. 28). 346. 36. Their Queen. Venus.
47. Justify the ways of Jove. An obvious
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
future of Edward's race. 348. 54. Severn. A Welsh river.
56. An agonizing king. “ Edward the
“ Henry the
" 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
1744. 362. 3. Sack and silver. The poet laureate
was usually given a money stipend and
CATH-LODA 352. Macpherson's "Ossianic” poems are im
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
" The succes-
THE FATAL SISTERS
One of Gray's notes, the Preface to the
portant because of the influence they
FERGUSSON 363. Burns was so conscious of his literary
debt to Fergusson that he erected a tombstone over Fergusson's grave.
THE DAFT DAYS
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.
LINES TO JOHN LAPRAIK
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
ON THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE
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
Slightly misquoted from Pope's Windsor
Slightly misquoted from Pope's Essay on Man, 182. Wallace. William Wallace (c. 1270 1305), the Scottish patriot.
MY MOTHER'S PICTURE
Dispensary, iii. 226.
SONNET TO MRS. UNWIN
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 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.
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
SCOTS WHA HAE
377. The poem is often called “ Bruce's Ad
dress to his Army."
AULD LANG SYNE
378. A song of this name, of which various
Scottish poets had written versions, was well known in Scotland before Burns composed his verses.
OF A' THE AIRTS THE WIND CAN BLAW
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
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,
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.
48. To Paris I returned. He reached
this time until his execution.
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.