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poetical design of extensive or intricate compass. One noble historical picture, it must be confessed, he has left in the opening scene of his Bard; and the sequel of that ode, though it is not perhaps the most interesting prophecy of English history which we could suppose Inspiration to pronounce, containsmany richly poetical conceptions. It is, however, exclusively in the opening of the Bard, that Gray can be ever said to have pourtrayed a grand, distinct, and heroic scene of fiction.
The obscurity so often objected to him is certainly a defect not to be justified by the authority of Pindar, more than any thing else that is intrinsically objectionable.
But it has been exaggerated. He is nowhere so obscure as not to be intelligible by recurring to the passage. And it may be further observed, that Gray's lyrical obscurity never arises, as in some writers, from undefined ideas or paradoxical sentiments. On the contrary, his moral spirit is as explicit as it is majestic; and deeply read as he was in Plato, he is never metaphysically perplexed. The fault of his meaning is to be latent, not indefinite or confused. When we give his beauties re-perusal and attention, they kindle and multiply to the view. The thread of association that conducts to his remote allusions, or that connects his abrupt transitions, ceases then to be invisible. His lyrical pieces are like paintings on glass, which must be placed in a strong light to give out the perfect radiance of their colouring.
A PINDARIC ODE.
• Ruin seize thee, ruthless king! • Confusion on thy banners wait, • Though fann'd by conquest's crimson wing, • They mock the air with idle state. • Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail, • Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail • To save thy secret soul from nightly fears, • From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears !' Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay, As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side He wound with toilsome march his long array. Srout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance : To arms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quivering
On a rock, whose haughty brow
Hark, how each giant oak, and desert cave, • Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
O'er thee, oh king! their hundred arms they wave,
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe; • Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day, • To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.
« Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
Modred, whose magic song • Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-top'd head. On dreary Arvon's shore they lie, Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale: Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail : • The famish'd eagle screams and passes by. • Dear lost companions of my tuneful art, • Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes, • Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart, • Ye died amidst your dying country's cries • No more I weep. They do not sleep. « On yonder cliffs, a griesly band, • I see them sit, they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land: • With me in dreadful harmony they join, • And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.
“ Weave the warp, and weave the woof, “ The winding-sheet of Edward's race. “Give ample room, and verge enough “ The characters of hell to trace.
“ Mark the year, and mark the night, “ When Severn shall re-echo with affright, “ The shrieks of death through Berkeley's roofs that
ring; « Shrieks of an agonizing king! “ She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs, « Tnat tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate, 6. From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs “ The scourge of Heaven. What terrors round him
wait! " Amazement in his van, with Flight combin'd; “ And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind,
“ Mighty Victor, mighty Lord, 66 Low on his funeral couch he lies! “ No pitying heart, no eye afford “ A tear to grace his obsequies. • Is the sable warrior fled ? “ Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead. “ The swarm, that in the noon-tide beam were
born? “ Gone to salute the rising morn. “ Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows, “ While proudly riding o'er the azure realm “ In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes; “ Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm; “ Regardless of the sweeping Whirlwind's sway, “ That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening * Fill high the sparkling bowl, « The rich repast prepare ; “ Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast: « Close by the regal chair “ Fell Thirst and Famine scowl ** A baleful smile
their baffled guest. " Heard
the din of battle bray, “ Lance to lance, and horse to horse! Long years of havoc urge
their destin'd course, " And through the kindred squadrons mow their way. “ Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame, “ With many a foul and midnight murder fed, « Revere his consort's faith, his father's fame, “ And spare the meek usurper's holy head. “ Above, below, the rosé of snow, “ Twin'd with her blushing foe we spread : « The bristled boar in infant
gore “ Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
Now, brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom, “ Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his
“ Edward, lo! to sudden fate “ (Weave we the woof. The thread is spun.) “ Half of thy heart we consecrate.
(The web is wove. The work is done.)" Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn Leave me unbless'd, unpitied, here to mourn: * In yon bright track, that fires the western skies, • They melt, they vanish from my eyes.