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THE DEATH OF HOEL.
AN ODE. SELECTED FROM THE GODODIN.*
[See S. Turner's Vindication of Ancient British Poems, p. 50. Warton's Engl. Poetry, vol. i. p. lxiii.]
Had I but the torrent's might,
With headlong rage and wild affright
Upon Deira's squadrons hurl'd
To rush, and sweep them from the world!
* Of Aneurin, styled the Monarch of the Bards. He flourished about the time of Taliessin, A. D. 570.i This Ode is extracted from the Gododin. See Evans. Specimens, p. 71 and 73. This Poem is extremely difficult to be understood, being written, if not in the Pictish, at least in a dialect of the Britons, very different from the modern Welsh. See Evans, p. 68-75.
"Aneurin with the flowing Muse, King of Bards, brother to Gildas Albanius the historian, lived under Mynyddawg of Edinburgh, a prince of the North, whose Eurdorchogion, or warriors wearing the golden torques, three hundred and sixty-three in number, were all slain, except Aneurin and two others, in a battle with the Saxons at Cattraeth, on the eastern coast of Yorkshire. His Gododin, an heroic poem written on that event, is perhaps the oldest and noblest production of that age.'' Jones. Relics, vol. i. p. 17.—Taliessin composed a poem called ' Cunobiline's Incantation,' in emulation of excelling the Gododin of Aneurin his rival. He accomplished his aim, in the opinion of subsequent bards; by condensing the prolixity, without losing the ideas, of his opponent.
V. 3. The kingdom of Dei'ra included the counties of Yorkshire, Durham, Lancashire, Westmoreland, and Cumberland. See Jones. Relics, vol. i. p. 17.
i Mr. Jones, in his Relics, vol. i. p. 17, says, that Aneurin flourished about A. D. 510.
Too, too secure in youthful pride, * By them, my friend, my Hoel, died, Great Cian's son: of Madoc old He ask'd no heaps of hoarded gold; Alone in nature's wealth array'd, He ask'd and had the lovely maid. 10
To Cattraeth's vale in glitt'ring row Thrice two hundred warriors go: Every warrior's manly neck Chains of regal honour deck, Wreath'd in many a golden link: i5 From the golden cup they drink Nectar that the bees produce, Or the grape's extatic juice. Flush'd with mirth and hope they burn: But none from Cattraeth's vale return, 20
V. 7. Cian\ In Jones. Relics it is spelt' Kian.'
V. 11. In the rival poem of Taliessin mentioned before, this circumstance is thus expressed: "Three, and threescore, and three hundred heroes flocked to the variegated banners of Cattraeth; but of those who hastened from the flowing mead-goblet, save three, returned not. Cynon and Cattraeth with hymns they commemorate, and me for my blood they mutually lament." See Jones. Relics, vol. ii. p. 14.— "The great topic perpetually recurring in the Gododin is, that the Britons lost the battle of Cattraeth, and suffered so severely, because they had drunk their mead too profusely. The passages in the Gododin are numerous on this point." See Sharon Turner's Vindication of the Anc. British Poems, p. 51.
V. 14. See Sayer's War Song, from the Gaelic, in his Poems, p. 174.
V. 17. See Fr. Goldsmith. Transl. of Grotius. Joseph Sophompaneas. p. 9. " Nectar of the Bees," and Euripid. Baccha!. v. 143. 'p« H fieXiaudv viKTapi.
Save A'eron brave, and Conan strong,
(Bursting through the bloody throng)
And I, the meanest of them all,
That live to weep and sing their fall. 84
Have ye seen the tusky boar,*
Conan's name,f my lay, rehearse, Build to him the lofty verse, Sacred tribute of the bard, Verse, the hero's sole reward. As the flame's devouring force; s
V. 20. In the Latin translation : " Ex iis autem, qui nimio potn madidi ad bellum properabant, non evasere nisi tres."
V. 21. Properly' Conon,' or, as in the Welsh,' Chynon.'
V. 23. In the Latin translation: "Et egomet ipse sanguine rubens, aliter ad hoc carmen compingendum non superstes fuissem." M.—" Gray has given a kind of sentimental modesty to his Bard which is quite out of place." Quarterly Review.
* This and the following short fragment ought to have appeared among the Posthumous Pieces of Gray; but it was thought preferable to insert them in this place, with the preceding fragment from the Gododin. See Jones. Relics, vol. i. p. 17.
t In Jones. Relics, vol. i p. 17, it is ' Vedel's name;' and in turning to the original I see' Rhudd Fedel,' as well as in the Latin translation of Dr. Evans, p. 75.
V. 2. "He knew, himself to sing and build the lofty rhyme." Milt. Lycidas. Luke.
As the whirlwind in its course;As the thunder's fiery stroke, Glancing on the shiver'd oak;Did the sword of Conan mow The crimson harvest of the foe. i0
ON THE DEATH OF MR. RICHARD WEST.
In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,
And redd'ning Phoebus lifts his golden fire: The birds in vain their amorous descant join;
Or cheerful fields resume their green attire: These ears, alas! for other notes repine 5
A different object do these eyes require: My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine;
And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.
V. 9. "Primosque et extremos metendo stravit humum, sine clade victor." Hor. Od. iv. 14, 31.
V. 1. Milt. P. L. v. 168, "That crown'st the smiling mom." Luke.
V. 2. Lucret. vi. 204, " Devolet in terram liquidi color aureus ignis." Luke.
V. 3. Milt. P. L. iv. 602, " She all night long her amo. rous descant sung." Luke.
V. 8. "And in my ear the imperfect accent dies."
Dryden. Ovid. Rogers.
V. 12. Spens. B. Id. cant. iii. st. 5: "On these Cupido winged armies led, of little loves." Luke.
V. 14. A line similar to this occurs in Gibber's Alteration of Richard the Third, act ii. sc. 2:
Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer, 9
The fields to all their wonted tribute bear:
I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear,
EPITAPH ON MRS. JANE CLERKE.
[See Woty's Poetical Calendar, part viii. p. 121. Nicoll's Select Poems, vol. vii. p. 331.]
This lady, the wife of Dr. John Clerke, physician at Epsom, died April 27, 1757; and was buried in the church of Beckenham, Kent.
Lo! where this silent marble weeps,
"So we must weep, because we weep in vain.""Solon, when he wept for his son's death, on one saying to him, 'Weeping will not help,' answered: Al avrb It Tqvto cWp*uo), bri oiiSkv Clvvttw 'I weep for that very cause, that weeping will not avail."' See Diog. Laert. vol. i. p. 39. ed. Meibomii. It is also told of Augustus. See also Fitzgeffry's Life and Death of Sir Francis Drake, B. 99. "Oh! therefore do we plaine,
And therefore weepe, because we weepe in vaine." See also Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. x. p. 139, and Bamfylde's Sonnets, p. 6. ed. Park.
V. 1. "This weeping marble had not ask'd a tear." Pope. Epitaph on Ed. D. of Buckingham. And Winds. For. "There o'er the martyr-king the marble weeps," 313. "orat ieflebile Saxum." Bunn. Anthol. Lat. vol.ii. p. 282.