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“ Above, below, the rose of snow (f),
“ Twin'd with her blushing foe, we spread: “ The bristled Boar (g) in infant-gore
“ Wallows beneath the thorny shade. “ Now, Brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom, “ Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his
III. 1. “ Edward, lo! to sudden fate “ (Weave we the woof. The thread is spun.)
“ Half of thy heart we consecrate (h). “ (The web is wove. The work is done.") “ Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn “ Leave me unbless'd, unpitied, here to mourn:
(f) - the rose of snow, &c. The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster.
(8) The bristled boarThe silver boar was the badge of Richard the Third; whence he was usually known in his own time by the name of the Boar,
(h) Half of thy heart we consecrate. Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her lord is well known. The monuments of his regret and sorrow for the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Gaddington, Waltham, and other places.
“ In yon bright track, that fires the western skies, “ They melt, they vanish from my eyes. “ But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height
“Descending slow their glittering skirts unroll? “ Visions of glory, spare my aching sight!
“ Ye unborn Ages, crowd not on my soul! “ No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail (i). “ All-hail, ye genuine Kings, Britannia's Issue,
« hail (k).
III. 2. “ Girt with many a Baron bold “ Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
“ And gorgeous Dames, and Statesmen old, « In bearded majesty appear. « In the midst a Form divine! “ Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-Line;
(i) No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail. It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Arthur was still alive in Fairyland, and would return again to reign over Britain.
(k) All-hail, ye genuine Kings, Britannia's issue, hail ! Both Merlin and Talliessin had prophesied, that the Welsh should regain their sovereignty over this island; which seemed to be accomplished in the house of Tudor.
“ Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face (l}, “ Attemper'd sweet to virgin-grace. “ What strings symphonious tremble in the air, “ What strains of vocal transport round her
“ play! “ Hear from the grave, great Talliessin (m), hear;
They breathe a soul to animate thy clay. Bright Rapture calls, and, soaring as she sings, “ Waves in the eye of Heav'n her many-colour'd
III. 3. “ The verse adorn again
“ Fierce War, and faithful Love (n), “ And Truth severe, by fairy Fiction drest.
(1) Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face. Speed, relating an audience given by Queen Elizabeth to Paul Dzialinski, ambassador of Poland, says, “ And thus she, lion-like rising, “ daunted the malapert orator no less with her stately port and majes“ tical deporture, than with the tartnesse of her princelie checkes.”
(m) Hear from the grave, great Talliessin. Talliessin, chief of the Bards, fourished in the sixth century. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in high veneration among his countrymen.
(n) Fierce War, and faithful Love.
Spenser's Proem to the Fairy Queen.
“ In buskin'd measures move (0) “ Pale Grief, and pleasing Pain, “ With Horror, Tyrant of the throbbing breast.
“ A voice, as of the Cherub Choir (P), “ Gales from blooming Eden bear; “ And distant warblings lessen on my ear (q),
“ That lost in long futurity expire. “ Fond impious Man, think'st thou yon sanguine
cloud, “Rais'd by thy breath, has quench'd the Orb
“ of day? “ To-morrow he repairs the golden flood,
“ And warms the nations with redoubled ray. Enough for me: With joy I see
“ The different doom our Fates assign. “ Be thine Despair, and sceptred Care, “ To triumph, and to die, are mine."
(0) In buskind measures move.
Shakespeare. (P) A voice, as of the cherub-choir.
(9) And distant warblings lessen on my ear, The succession of Poets after Milton's time.
He spoke; and headlong from the mountain's height Deep in the roaring tide he plung'd to endless
(19] The original argument of this Ode, as its author had set it down on one of the pages of his common-place book, was as follows: “ The “ army of Edward I. as they march through a deep valley, are sudden“ ly stopped by the appearance of a venerable figure seated on the “summit of an inaccessible rock, who, with a voice more than human, “ reproaches the king with all the misery and desolation which he had “ brought on his country; foretells the misfortunes of the Norman race, “ and with prophetic spirit declares, that all his cruelty shall never ex6 tinguish the noble ardour of poetic genius in this island; and that “ men shall never be wanting to celebrate true virtue and valour in “ immortal strains, to expose vice and infamous pleasure, and boldly « censure tyranny and oppression. His song ended, he precipitates “ himself from the mountain, and is swallowed up by the river that “ rolls at its foot.”
" Fine (says Mr. Mason) as the conclusion of this Ode is at present, I think it would have been still finer, if he could have executed it ac. cording to this plan; but, unhappily for his purpose, instances of English Poets were wanting. Spenser had that enchanting tow of verse which was peculiarly calculated to celebrate Virtue and Valour ; but he chose to celebrate them, not literally, but in allegory. Shakespeare, who had talents for every thing, was undoubtedly capable of exposing Vice and infamous Pleasure; and the drama was a proper vehicle for his satire: but we do not ever find that he professedly made this his object; nay, we know that, in one inimitable character, he has so contrived as to make vices of the worst kind, such as cowardice, drunkenness, disho. nesty, and lewdness, not only laughable, but almost amiable; for with all these sins on his head, who can help liking Falstaff? Milton, of all our great Poets, was the only one who boldly censured Tyranny and Oppression: but he chose to deliver this censure, not in poetry, but in prose. Dryden was a mere court parasite to the most infamous of all courts. Pope, with all his laudable detestation of corruption and bribery, was a Tory; and Addison, though a Whig and a fine writer, was unluckily not enough of a Poet for his purpose. On these consideracions Mr. Gray was necessitated to change his plan towards the conclu