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By those happy fouls who dwell
In yellow meads of Asphodel,

Or Amaranthine bow'rs;
By the heroes armed shades,
Glittring through the gloomy glades;
By the youths that dy'd for love,

Wand'ring in the myrtle grove,
Restore, restore Eurydice to life :
Oh take the husband, or return the wife!

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He sung, and hell consented

To hear the Poet's prayer:
Stern Proserpine relented,
And

gave him back the fair.
Thus fong could prevail

O’er death, and o'er hell,
A conquest how hard and how glorious !

Tho' fate had fast bound her

With Styx nine times round her
Yet music and love were victorious.

90

But

NOTES.

VER. 77.] These images are picturesque and appropriated, and are such notes as might,

Draw iron tears down Pluto's cheek,

And make hell grant what love did seek. Pope being insensible of the effects of music, enquired of Dr. Arbuthnot whether Handel really deserved the applause he met with. The Dutchess of Queensberry told me that Gay could play on the flute, and that this enabled him to adapt fo happily Tome airs in the Beggars Opera.

Ver. 83.] This measure is unsuited to the subject.

VER. 87.] These numbers are of fo burlesque, fo low, and ridiculous a kind, and have so much the air of a vulgar drinking

song,

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95

VI.
But foon, too soon, the lover turns his eyes :
Again she falls, again she dies, she dies !
How wilt thou now the fatal fisters move?
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.

Now under hanging mountains,
Beside the falls of fountains,
Or where Hebrus wanders,
Rolling in Maeanders,

All alone,
Unheard, unknown,
He makes his moan;

And calls her ghost,
For ever, ever, ever lost!

100

105

NOTES.

song, that one is amazed and concerned to find them in a serious ode; and in an ode of a writer eminently skilled, in general, in accommodating his sounds to his sentiments. Addison thought this measure exactly suited to the comic character of Sir Trusty in his Rofamond, by the introduction of which he has fo ftrangely debafed that very elegant opera.

It is observable that this ludicrous measure is used by Dryden, in a song of evil spirits, in the fourth act of the State of Innocence.

VER.97.] Thefe scenes, in which Orpheus is introduced as making his lamentations, are not so wild, fo savage, and dismal, as those mentioned by Virgil; and convey not fuch images of desolation and deep despair, as the caverns on the banks of Strymon and Tanais, the Hyperborean deserts, and the Riphæan folitudes. And to fay of Hebrus, only, that it rolls in meanders, is flat and feeble, and does not heighten the melancholy of the place. He that would have a complete idea of Orpheus's anguish and situation, must look at the exquifite figure of him (now in the poffeffion of Sir Watkin Williams Wynne) painted by Mr. Dance, a work that does honor to the true genius of the artist, and to the age in which it was prodụced.

Now

Now with Furies surrounded,
Despairing, confounded,
He trembles, he glows,

Amidst Rhodope's snows;
See, wild as the winds, o'er the desert he flies; 110
Hark! Haemus resounds with the Bacchanals cries

Ah see, he dies !
Yet ev’n in death Eurydice he sung,
Eurydice still trembled on his tongue,
Eurydice the woods,

115
Eurydice the floods,
Eurydice the rocks, and hollow mountains rung.

VII.
Music the fiercest grief can charm,
And fate's feverest rage disarm:
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please :
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.

I 20

NOTES. Ver. 108.] I am afraid there is a trivial antithesis in these lines betwixt the words snows and glows, unworthy our author.

VER. 112.] The death is expressed with a brevity and abruptness suitable to the nature of the ode. Instead of he fung, Virgil says, vocabat, which is more natural and tender, and adds a moving epithet, that he called miseram Eurydicen. The repetition of Eurydice in two very short lines hurts the ear, which Virgil escaped by interposing several other words; and the name itself happens not to be harmonious enough to suffer such repetition.

VER. 118. Music the fiercest] This is such a close repetition of the subject of the second stanza, that it must be thought a blameable tautology

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126

This the divine Cecilia found,
And to her Maker's praise confind the sound.
When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,

Th' immortal pow'rs incline their ear;
Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire,
While solemn airs improve the sacred fire;

And Angels lean from heav'n to hear. Of Orpheus now no more let Poets tell,

To bright Cecilia greater pow'r is giv'n; Hiš numbers rais'd a shade from hell,

Her's lift the soul to heav'n.

130

NOTES,

VER, 131. It is obfervable that this ode, as well as that of Dryden, concludes with an epigram of four lines; a fpecies of witty writing as flagrantly unsuitable to the dignity, and as foreign to the nature of the lyric, as it is of the epic müse.

IF we cast a transient view over the most celebrated of the modern lyrics, we may observe that the stanza of Peträrch, which has been adopted by all his fucceffors, displeases the ear, by its tedious uniformity, and by the number of identical cadences. And, indeed, to speak truth, there appears to be little valuable in Petrarch, except the purity of his diction. His sentiments, even of love, are metaphysical and far-fetched. Neither is there much variety in his subjects, or fancy in his method of treating them. Fulvio Testi, Chiabrera, and Metastalio, are much better lyric poets. When Boileau attempted an ode, he exhibited a glaring proof of what will frequently be hinted in the course of these notes, that the writer, whose grand characteristical talent is fatiric or moral poetry, will never fucceed, with equal merit, in the higher branches of his art. In his ode on the taking Namur, are instances of the bombaltic, of the profaic, and of the puerile ; and it is no small confirmation of the ruling passion of this author, that he could not conclude his ode, but with a severe Atroke on his

old old antagonist Perrault, though the majesty of this species of composition is so much injured by descending to personal satire. The name of Malherbe is respectable, as he was the first reformer of the French poesy, and the first who gave his countrymen any idea of a legitimate ode, though his own pieces have hardly any thing but harmony to recommend them. The odes of La Motte, though so highly praised by Sanadon, and by Fontenelle, are fuller of delicate sentiment, and philofophical reflection, thañ of imagery, figures, and poetry. There are particular stanzas eminently good, but not one intire ode. Some of Rousseau's, particularly that to Fortune, and some of his Psalms; and one or two of Voltaire's, particularly, to the King of Prussia on his acceflion to the throne, and on Maeupertuis's travels to the North, to measure the degrees of the meridian toward the equator, seem to rise above that exact mediocrity which distinguishes the lyric poetry of the French.

“ We have had (says Mr. Gray) 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 talk. That of Pope is not worthy of

so great a master. 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.

Gray's Works, 4to. page 25.

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