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The time shall come, when free as seas or wind, By music, minds an equal temper know,
Music her soft, assuasive voice applies;
Or, when the soul is press'd with cares, And the new world launch forth to seek the old. Exalts her in enlivening airs. Then ships of uncouth form shall stem the tide, Warriors she fires with animated sounds ; And feather'd people crowd my wealthy side, Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds , And naked youths and painted chiefs admire
Melancholy lifts her head, Our speech, our colour, and our strange attire!
Morpheus rouses from his bed,
Listening envy drops her snakes,
And giddy factions bear away their rage.
But when our country's cause provokes to arms, And other Mexicos be rooff'd with gold.
How martial music every bosom warms! Exiled by thee from earth to deepest hell,
So when the first bold vessel dared the seas, In brazen bonds shall barbarous discord dwell:
High on the stern the Thracian raised his strain, Gigantic pride, pale terror, gloomy care,
While Argo saw her kindred trees And mad ambition shall attend her there :
Descend from Pelion to the main. There purple vengeance bathed in gore retires,
Transported demi-gods stood round, Her weapons blanted, and extinct her fires:
And men grew heroes at the sound, There hateful envy her own snakes shall feel,
Inflamed with glory's charms : And persecution mourn her broken wheel :
Each chief his sevenfold shield display'd There faction roar, rebellion bite her chain,
And half unsheathed the shining blade : And gasping furies thirst for blood in vain.'
And seas, and rocks, and skies' rebound Here cease thy flight, nor with unhallow'd lays
To arms, to arms, to arms! Toach the fair fame of Albion's golden days;
But when through all the infernal bounds, The thoughts of gods let Granville's verse recite,
Which flaming Plegethon surrounds, And bring the scenes of opening fate to light ;
Love, strong as death, the poet led My humble muse, in anambitious strains,
To the pale nations of the dead, Paints the green forests and the flowery plains,
What sounds were heard, Where peace descending, bids her olive spring,
What scenes appear'd, And scatters blessings from her dove-like wing.
O'er all the dreary coasts ! Een I more sweetly pass my careless days,
Dreadful gleams, Pleased in the silent shade with empty praise ;
Dismal screams, Enough for me, that to the listening swains
Fires, that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
And cries of tortured ghosts :
But, hark! he strikes the golden lyre :
And see! the tortured ghosts respire.
See, shady forms advance!
Thy stone, O Sisyphus, stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel, DESCEND, ye Nine: descend and sing:
And the pale spectres dance! The breathing instruments inspire ;
The Furies sink upon their iron beds, Wake into voice each silent string,
And snakes uncurl'd hang listening round their heads And sweep the sounding lyre !
By the streams that ever flow, In a sadly-pleasing strain
By the fragrant winds that blow
O'er the Elysian flowers;
By those happy souls, who dwell
In yellow meads of asphodel,
Or amaranthine bowers !
By the hero's armed shades,
Glittering through the gloomy glades;
By the youths that died for love,
Wandering in the myrtle grove,
Restore, restore Eurydice to life :
He sung, and hell consented la broken air trembling, the wild music floats,
To hear the poet's prayer ;
Stern Proserpine relented,
And gave him back the fair.
Thus song could prevail
O'er death and o'er hell;
A conquest how hard and how glorious !
Antistrophe 1. Though fate had fast bound her
Oh heaven-born sisters ! source of art! With Styx nine times round her,
Who charm the sense, or mend the heart; Yet music and love were victorious.
Who lead fair virtue's train along, But soon, too soon the lover turns his eyes :
Moral truth and mystic song ! Again she falls, again she dies, she dies !
To what new clime, what distant sky, How will thou now the fatal sisters move?
Forsaken, friendless, shall ye fly? No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love. Say, will ye bless the bleak Atlantic shore ? Now under hanging mountains
Or bid the furious Gaul be rude no more? Beside the falls of fountains,
Strophe 2. Or where Hebrus wanders,
When Athens sinks by fates unjust,
When wild barbarians spurn her dust!
Perhaps e'en Britain's utmost shore
Shall cease to blush with stranger's gore:
See arts her savage sons controul,
And Athens rising near the pole!
Till some new tyrant lifts his purple hand, Now with furies surrounded,
And civil madness tears them from the land Despairing, confounded,
Antistrophe 2. He trembles, he glows,
Ye gods! what justice rules the ball ?
Freedom and arts together fall;
O cursed effects of civil hate,
In every age, in every state ! Eurydice still trembled on his tongue:
Still, when the lust of tyrant power succeeds, Eurydice the woods,
Some Athens perishes, some Tully bleeds.
On tyrant Love! hast thou possess'd
The prudent, learn'd, and virtuous breast ?
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
But entering learns to be sincere. And to her Maker's praise confined the sound,
Marcus, with blushes owns he loves, When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
And Brutus tenderly reproves. The immortal powers incline their ear :
Why, virtue, dost thou blame desire, Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire,
Which nature hath impress'd? While solemn airs improve the sacred fire;
Why, nature, dost thou soonest fire And angels lean from heaven to hear.
The mild and generous breast ?
Love's purer flames the gods approve;
The gods and Brutus bend to love :
Brutus for absent Porcia sighs,
What is loose love? a transient gust,
Spent in a sudden storm of lust;
A vapour fed from wild desire;
A wandering, self-consuming fire.
But Hymen's kinder flames unite,
at whose desire these two Chorusses were composed, Chaste as cold Cynthia's virgin light,
Semichorus. and performed at Buckingham house.
Oh source of every social tie,
United wish, and mutual joy!
What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother, husband, friend.
While thousand grateful thoughts arise ;
Or meets his spouse's fonder eye ; And Epicurus lay inspired !
Or views his smiling progeny ; In vain your guiltless laurels stood
What tender passions take their turns. Unspotted long with human blood.
What home-felt raptures move! War, horrid war, your thoughtful walks invades, His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns, And steel now glitters in the muses' shades.
With reverence, hope, and love.
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine:
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
with some taste, but spoiled by false education, ver. 19 to 25. The multitude of critics, and causes of them, ver. 26 to 45. That we are to study our own taste, and know the limits of it, ver. 46 to 67. Nature the best guide of judgment, ver. 68 to 87. Improved by art and rules, which are but methodized nature, ver. 88. Rules derived from the practice of ancient poets, ver. 88 to 110. That therefore the ancients are neces. sary to be studied by a critic, particularly Homer and Virgil, ver. 120 to 138. Of licenses, and the use of them by the ancients, ver. 140 to 180. Reverence due to the ancients, and praise of them, ver. 181, &c.
ODE ON SOLITUDE.
| 'Tis hard to say, is greater want of skill Written when the Author was about twelve years old. Appear in writing, or in judging ill; ILAPPY the man whose wish and care
But of the two, less dangerous is the offence A few paternal acres bound,
To tire our patience, than mislead our sense.
Some few in that, but numbers err in this;
Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss;
A fool might once himself alone expose; Whose flocks gupply him with attire;
Now one in verse makes many more in prose. Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
"Tis with our judgments as our watches; none In winter fire. Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
10 Bless'd, who can unconcernedly find
In poets as true genius is but rare, Hours, days, and years, slide soft away,
True taste as seldom is the critic's share;
Both must alike from Heaven derive their light; In health of body, peace of mind, Quiet by day.
These born to judge, as well as those to write.
Let such teach others who themselves excel, Sound sleep by night : study and ease,
And censure freely, who have written well : Together mix'd ; sweet recreation,
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true;
But are not critics to their judgment too?
Yet, if we look more closely, we shall find
Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind: 20 Thus unlamented, let me die,
Nature affords at least a glimmering light ; Steal from the world, and not a stone
The lines, though touch'd but faintly, are drawn right.
But as the slightest sketch, if justly traced,
So by false learning is good sense defaced :
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
And some made coxcombs nature meant but fools. The dying Christian to his Soul.
In search of wit these lose their common sense, VITAL spark of heavenly flame!
And then turn critics in their own defence : Quit, oh quit this mortal frame:
Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write, 30 Trernbling, hoping, lingering, flying Or with a rival's or an eunuch's spite. Ob the pain, the bliss of dying!
All fools have still an itching to deride, Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.
If Mævius scribble in Apollo's spite,
There are who judge still worse than he can write.
Some have at first for wits, then poets pass'd; What is this absorbs me quite,
Turn'd critics next, and proved plain fools at last. Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Some neither can for wits nor critics
pass, Drowns my spirits, draws my breath? As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass. Tell me, my soul, can this be death?
Those half-learn'd witlings, numerous in our isle, 40 The world recedes ; it disappears!
As half-form'd insects on the banks of Nile;
Unfinish'd things, one knows not what lo call,
Their generation's so equivocal:
To tell them would a hundred tongues require,
Or one vain wit's, that might a hundred tire.
But you, who seek to give and merit fame,
Be sure yourself and your own reach to know,
, How far your genius, taste, and learning, go;
50 Written in the Year 1709.
And mark that point where sense and dulness meet.
Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,
And wisely curb'd proud man's pretending wit: Introduction. That it is as great a fault to judge ill, as As on the land while here the ocean gains,
to write ill, and a more dangerous one to the public, In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains; per. I. That a true taste is as rare to be found as a
Thus in the soul while memory prevails, true genius, ver. 9 to 18. That most men are born The solid power of understanding fails;
Where beams of warm imagination play,
Be Homer's works your study and delight, The memory's soft figures melt away.
Read them by day, and meditate by night: One science only will one genius fit;
60 Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims So vast is art, so narrow human wit :
bring, Not only bounded to peculiar arts,
And trace the muses upward to their spring : But oft in those confined to single parts.
Still with itself compared, his text peruse ; Like kings, we lose the conquests gain'd before, And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse. By vain ambition still to make them more:
When first young Maro, in his boundless mind 130 Each might his several province well command, A work t' outlast immortal Rome design'd, Would all but stoop to what they understand. Perhaps he seem'd above the critic's law,
First follow nature, and your judgment frame And but from nature's fountains scorn'd to draw: By her just standard, which is still the same: But when to cxamine every part he came, Unerring nature, still divinely bright,
70 Nature and Homer were, he found, the same. One clear, unchanged, and universal light,
Convinced, amazed, he checks the bold design,
And rules as strict his labour'd work confine,
140 In some fair body thus the informing soul
Some beauties yet no precepts can declare,
Are nameless graces which no methods teach,
If, where the rules not far enough extend For wit and judgment often are at strife,
(Since rules were made but to promote their ende) Though meant each other's aid, like man and wise. Some lucky license answer to the full "Tis more to guide, than spur the muse's steed; The intent proposed, that license is a rule. Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed:
Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,
150 The winged courser, like a generous horse, May boldly deviate from the common track; Shows most true mettle when you check his course. From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
Those rules of old discover'd, not devised, And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art, Are nature still, but nature methodized :
Which, without passing through the judgment, gains Nature, like liberty, is but restrain'd
90 The heart, and all its ends at once attains. By the same laws which first herself ordain'd. In prospects thus, some objects please our eyes,
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites, Which out of nature's common order rise, When to repress, and when indulge our flights: The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice. Iligh on Parnassus' top her sons she show'd, Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend, And pointed out those arduous paths they trod; And rise to faults true critics dare not mend. 160 Held from afar, aloft, the immortal prize,
But though the ancients thus their rules invade And urged the rest by equal steps to rise.
(As kings dispense with laws themselves have made,) Just precepts thus from great examples given, Moderns, beware! or, if you must otsend She drew from them what they derived from Hea- Against the precept, ne'er transgress its end
Let it be seldom, and compellid by need; The generous critic fann'd the poet's fire, 100 And have, at least, their precedent to plead. And taught the world with reason to admire. The critic else proceeds without remorse, Then criticism the muse's handmaid proved, Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force. To dress her charms, and make her more beloved : I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts But following wits from that intention stray'd ; Those freer beauties, e'en in them, seem faults, 170 Who could not win the mistress, woo'd the maid; Some figures monstrous and mis-shaped appear, Against the poets their own arms they turn’d, Consider'd singly, or beheld too near, Sure to hate most the men from whom they learn'a. Which, but proportion’d to their light or place, So modern 'pothecaries, taught the art
Due distance reconciles to form and grace. By doctor's bills to play the doctor's part,
A prudent chief not always must display Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,
110 His powers in equal ranks, and fair array, Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools. But with the occasion, and the place comply, Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey,
Conceal his force, nay seem sometimes to fly. Nor time nor moths e'er spoil'd so much as they : Those oft are stratagems which errors seem, Sore drily plain, without invention's aid,
Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream. 180 Writ dull receipts how poems may be made.
Still green with bays each ancient altar stands, These leave the sense, their learning to display, Above the reach of sacrilegious hands; And those explain the meaning quite away. Secure from fames, from envy's fiercer rage, You then, whose judgment the right course would Destructive war, and all-involving age. steer,
See from each clime the learn'd their incense bring! Know well each ancient's proper character : Hear, in all tongues consenting Pauns ring! His fable, subject, scope in every page: 120 In praise so just let every voice be join'd, Religion, country, genius of his age :
And fill the general chorus of mankind. Without all these at once before your eyes, Hail! barda triumphant! born in happier days; Cavil you may, but never criticise.
Immortal heirs of universal praise!
Whose horours with increase of ages grow,
l'Tis not the lip, or eye, we beauty call, As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow; But the joint force and full result of all. Nations unbom your mighty names shall sound, Thus when we view some well-proportion'd dome, And worlds applaud that must not yet be found ! (The world's just wonder, and e'en thine, oh Rome!) may some spark of your celestial fire,
No single parts unequally surprise ; The last, the meanest of your sons inspire,
All comes united to the admiring eyes :
250 (That, on weak wings, from far pursues your flights; No monstrous height, or breadth, or length appear : Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes, The whole at once is bold, and regular. To teach vain wits a science little known,
Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,
In every work regard the writer's end,
Since none can compass more than they intend;
And if the means be just, the conduct true, Causes hindering a true judgment. 1. Pride, ver. 201.
2 Imperfect learning, ver. 215. 3. Judging by parts, Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due. and not by the whole, ver. 233 to 288. Critics in wit,
As men of breeding, sometimes men of wit, language, versification, only, 288, 305, 339, &c. 4. To avoid great errors, must the less commit; 260 being too hard to please, or too apt to admire, ver. 384. Neglect the rule each verbal critic lays ; 3. Partiality-100 much love to a sect—to the ancients For not to know some trifles, is a praise. or molerns, ver. 394. 6. Prejudice or prevention, ver. Most critics, fond of some subservient art, 401 7. Singularity, ver. 124. 8. Inconstancy, ver. Still make the whole depend upon a part : 430. 9. Party spirit, ver. 452, &c. 10. Envy, ver. 466. Azainst envy, and in praise of good-nature, ver. 508. They talk of principles, but notions prize, &c. When severity is chietiy to be used by the critics,
And all to one loved folly sacrifice. Fer. 526, &c.
Once on a time, La Mancha's knight, they say,
A certain bard encountering on the way, Of all the causes which conspire to blind
Discoursed in terms as just, with looks as sage, Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind, As e'er could Dennis, of the Grecian stage; 270 What the weak head with strongest bias rules, Concluding all were desperate sots and fools, Is pride; the never-failing vice of fools.
Who durst depart from Aristotle's rules. Whatever nature has in worth denied,
Our author, happy in a judge so nice, She gives in large recruits of needful pride! Produced his play, and begg'd the knight's advice; For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find
Made him observe the subject, and the plot, What wants in blood and spirits, swell'd with wind: The manners, passions, unities; what not? Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence, All which, exact to rule, were brought about, And fills up all the mighty void of sense. 210 Were but a combat in the lists left out. If once right reason drives that cloud away, What! leave the combat out ?' exclaims the knight. Truth breaks upon us with resistless day.
|"Yes, or we must renounce the Stagyrite.' 280 Trust not yourself; but, your defects to know, • Not so, by heaven! (he answers in a rage) Make use of every friend—and every foe.
'Knights, squires, and steeds, must enter on the stage.' A little learning is a dangerous thing!
So vast a throng the stage can ne'er contain.'— Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring; * Then build a new, or act it on a plain.' There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
Thus critics of less judgment than caprice,
Curious, not knowing, not exact, but nice,
Some to conceit alone their taste confine,
The naked nature and the living grace,
With gold and jewels cover every part,
True wit is nature to advantage dressid,
A perfect judge will read each work of wit As shades more sweetly recommend the light, With the same spirit that its author writ:
So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit; Survey the whole, nor scek slight faults to find For works may have more wit than does them good, Where. nature moves, and rapture warms the mind; As bodies perish through excess of blood. Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight,
Others for language all their care express, The generous pleasure to be charm'd with wit. And value books, as women men, for dress : But, in such lays as neither ebb nor flow,
Their praise is still,—the style is excellent; Correctly cold, and regularly low,
240 The sense, they humbly take upon content. That, shunning faults, one quiet tenor keep; Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, We cannot blame indeed—but we may sleep. Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found. 310 in wit, as nature, what affects our hearts
False eloquence, like the prismatic glass, Is not the exactness of peculiar parts;
Its gaudy colours spreads on every place;