Since sorrow never comes too late, And happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more ;—where ignorance is bliss, Tis folly to be wise. i00

[ocr errors]

sorrow's spy, it is not sale to know." And Dodsley. Old Plays, xi. p. 119:

—" Ignorance is safe;I then slept happily; if knowledge mend me not, Thou hast committed a most cruel sin To wake me into judgment." * This Hymn first appeared in Dodsley. Col. vol. iv. together with the " Elegy in a Country Churchyard;" and not, as Mason says, with the three foregoing Odes, which were published in the second volume. In Mason's edition it is called an Ode; but the title is now restored, as it was given by the author. The motto from ^Eschylus is not in Dodsley.

V. 1. "Arii, who may be called the goddess of Adversity, VOL. I.


Whose iron scourge and tort'ring hour

The bad affright, afflict the best! Bound in thy adamantine chain, s The proud are taught to taste of pain, And purple tyrants vainly groan With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone.

When first thy sire to send on earth Virtue, his darling child, design'd, 10

is said by Homer to be the daughter of Jupiter: II. r. 91. Hpka€a Siog Svyarnp "Arn, ri iravrag aarai. Perhaps, however, Gray only alluded to the passage of ^Eschylus which he quoted, and which describes Affliction as sent by Jupiter for the benefit of man. Potter in his translation has had an eye on Gray. See his Transl. p. 19.

V. 2. "Then he, great tamer of all human art" Pope. Dun. i. 163.

V. 3. "Affliction's iron flail." Fletcher. Purp. Isl. ix. 28. Ibid. In Wakefield's note, he remarks an impropriety in the poet joining to a material image, the " torturing hour." If there be an impropriety in this, it must rest with Milton, from whom Gray borrowed the verse:

"when the scourge

Inexorably, and the torturing hour, Calls us to penance." Par. Lost, ii. 90. But this mode of speech is authorized by ancient and modern poets. In Virgil's description of the lightning which the Cyclopes wrought for Jupiter, ^En. viii. 429. "Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosae Addiderant, rutili tres ignis, et alitis Austri: Fulgores nunc horrificos, sonitumque, metumque Miscebant," &c. In Par. Lost, x. 297, as the original punctuation stood: "Bound with Gorgonian rigor not to move, And with Asphaltic slime." i

i This punctuation is now altered in most of the editions. The new reading was proposed by Dr. Pearce.

To thee he gave the heav'nly birth,

And bade to form her infant mind. Stern rugged nurse! thy rigid lore With patience many a year she bore: What sorrow was, thou bad'st her know, 15 And from her own she learn'd to melt at others' woe.

Scar'd at thy frown terrific, fly

Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
Wild Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,

And leave us leisure to be good. 20
Light they disperse, and with them go
The summer friend, the flatt'ring foe;

V. 5. 'ASauavrivwv cso-fiwv iv appiiKroig ireoaic' JEsch. Prom. vi. W., from whom Milton. Par. L. i. 48: "In adamantine chains, and penal fire." And the expression occurs also in the Works of Spenser, Drummond, Fletcher, and Drayton. See Todd's note on Milton. "In adamantine chains shall Death be bound," Pope. Messiah, ver. 47; and lastly, Manil. Astron. lib. i. 921. And Boisson. on Philost. Heroic, p. 405.

V. 7. "Till some new tyrant lifts his purple hand," Pope. Two Choruses, ver. 23. Wakefield cites Horace, lib. i. od. xxxv. 12: "Purpurei metuunt iyranni." Add Tasso. Gier. Lib. c. vii. Luke.

V. 8. "Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before." Par. L. ii. 703.

V. 13. An expression similar to this occurs in Sidney. Arcadia, vol. iii. p. 100: "111 fortune, my awful governess."

V. 16. "Nonignaramali.miserissuccurrere disco." Luke. V. 20. "If we for Happiness Could Leisude find," Hurd's Cowley, vol. i. p. 136: and the note of the editor. "And know I have not yet the leisure to be good," Oldham. Ode, st. v. vol. i. p. 83.

V. 22. " For men, like butterflies,

Shew not their mealy wings, but to the summer.''

Troil. and Cress. A iii. sc. 3.

By vain Prosperity receiv'd, To her they vow their truth, and are again believ'd.

Wisdom in sable garb array'd, 25 Immers'd in rapt'rous thought profound,

And Melancholy, silent maid,

With leaden eye that loves the ground,

Still on thy solemn steps attend:

Warm Charity, the gen'ral friend, -0 With Justice, to herself severe, And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.

Oh! gently on thy suppliant's head,

Dread goddess, lay thy chast'ning hand! Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad, 35

Also, "The common people swarm like summer flies,

And whither fly the gnats, but to the sun." Henry VI. P. iii. act 2. sc. 9. "Such summer-birds are men!" Tim. of Ath. act iii. sc. 7. But the exact expression is George Herbert's: "fall and flow, like leaves, about me, or like summer-friends, flies of estates and sunshine," Temple, p. 296. And (The W. Devil) v. Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. vi. p. 292. "One summer she." Quarles. Sion's Elegies, xix. "Ah, summer friendship with the summer ends." Mr. Rogers quotes Massinger's Maid of Honor, "O summer friendship." Gray seems to have had Horace in his mind, lib. I. Od. xxxv. 25.

V. 25. "O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue.'

II Penser. 16. W.

V. 28. "With a sad leaden downward cast, Thou Jix them on the earth as fast." II Penser. 43. W. "So leaden eyes." Sidney. Astroph. and Stella, Song 7. "And stupid eyes that ever loved the ground," Dryden. Cim. and Iphig. v. 57. "Melancholy lifts her head," Pope. Ode on St. Cec. v. 30. "The sad companion, dull-eyed Melancholy," Pericles, act i. sc. 2. And so we read " leaden Contemplation" in Love's Lab.

Not circled with the vengeful band (As by the impious thou art seen) With thund'ring voice, and threat'ning mien, With screaming Horror's fun'ral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty: 40

Thy form benign, oh goddess, wear,

Thy milder influence impart, Thy philosophic train be there

To soften, not to wound, my heart. The gen'rous spark extinct revive, 45 Teach me to love, and to forgive, Exact my own defects to scan, What others are to feel, and know myself a Man.

Lost, act iv. sc. 3. In Beaumont. Passionate Madman, act iii. sc. 1:

"A look that's fasten'd to the ground,
A tongue chain'd up without a sound."
V. 31. "To Servants kind, to Friendship clear,
To nothing but herself severe."
Carew. Poems, p. 87. And

"Judge of thyself alone, for none there were Could be so^'ust, or could be so severe." Oldham. Ode on Ben Jonson, p. 71, vol. ii. "Forgiving others, to himself severe," Dryden. Misc. vi 322. "The Muses' friend unto himself severe," Waller. Poems, p. 149. "Candid to all, but to himself severe," E. Smith. El. on J. Philips, v. Lintot. Misc. p. 161.

V. 32. "Ours be the lenient, not unpleasing tear," Thomson. Mr. Rogers quotes Dryden. Virg. JSin. x. "a sadlypleasing thought."

V. 35. " Gorgoneum turpes crinem mutavit in hydros.

Nunc quoque, ut crttonitos formidine ten-eat hostes."

Ovid. Met. iv. 801. "—— Horrentem colubris, vultuque tremendam

Gorgoneo." Val. Flac. vi. 175.

Milt. Par. L. ii. 611. "Medusa with Gorgonian terrors."

« ForrigeFortsett »