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And purple tyrants vainly groan,
When first thy sire to send on earth
Scared at thy frown terrific, fly -
To her they vow their truth, and are again believ’d.
Wisdom in sable garb array'd
Oh, gently on thy suppliant's head,
Thy form benign, Oh Goddess, wear,
The generous spark extinct revive,
Awakr, Eolian lyre awake,
I. 2. • Oh! Sovereign of the willing soul, Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs, Enchanting shell! the sullen Cares, And frantic Passions hearthy soft controul. On Thracia's hills the Lord of War Has curb’d the fury of his car,
a When the Author first published this and the following Ode, he was advised, even by his friends, to subjoin some few explanatory notes; but he had too much respect for the understanding of his readers to take that liberty.
5The subject and simile, as usual with Pindar, are united. The various sources of poetry, which gives life and lustre to all it touches, are here described; its quiet majestic progress enriching every subject (otherwise dry and barren) with a pomp of diction and luxuriant harmony of numbers; and its more rapid and irresistible course, when swoln and hurried away by the conflict of tumultuous passions.
• Power of harmony to calm the turbulent sallies of the soul. The thoughts are borrowed from the first Pythian of Pindar.
And dropp'd his thirsty lance at thy command.
*Thee the voice, the dance, obey,
* Man's feeble race what ills await,
* Power of harmony to produce all the graces of motion in the body.
*To compensate the real and imaginary ills of life, the Muse was given to mankind by the same Providence that sends the day by its cheerful presence to dispel the gloom and terrors of the night.
* 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 native's 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-cinctur'd chiefs, and dusky loves. Her track, where'er the Goddess roves, Glory pursue, and generous Shame, Th'unconquerable Mind, and Freedom's holy flame.
s Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep, Isles that crown th’AEgean deep, Fields, that cool Ilissus laves, Or where Maeander'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. * * * * When Latium had her lofty spirit lost, " . . They sought, oh Albion next thy sea-encircled coast.
f Extensive influence of poetic genius over the remotest and most uncivilized nations: its connexion with liberty, and the virtues that naturally attend on it. [See the Erse, Norwegian, and W. Fragments, the Lapland and American songs.
#2. 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; 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.
Far from the sun and summer-gale,
Nor second he, that rode sublime Upon the seraph-wings of Extasy, The secrets of th’ abyss to spy. He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time : The living throne, the sapphire-blaze, Where angels tremble while they gaze, He saw ; but, blasted with excess of light, Clos'd his eyes in endless night. Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car, Wide o'er the fields of Glory bear Two coursers of ethereal race, With necks in thunder cloth'd and long-resounding pace.
Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
* Shakspeare. i Milton.
* 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.