Слике страница

By thofe happy fouls who dwell

In yellow meads of Afphodel,

Or Amaranthine bow'rs;
By the heroes' armed fhades,
Glitt'ring 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!

He fung, and hell confented
To hear the Poet's prayer:
Stern Proferpine relented,

gave him back the fair.
Thus fong could prevail
O'er death, and o'er hell,

Draw iron tears down Pluto's cheek,

And make hell grant what love did seek.




A con


VER. 77.] These images are picturefque and appropriated, and are fuch notes as might

Pope being infenfible of the effects of mufic, enquired of Dr. Arbuthnot, whether Handel really deferved the applause he met with. The Dutchefs of Queensberry told me, that Gay could play on the flute, and that this enabled him to adapt so happily fome airs in the Beggars' Opera. WARTON.

VER. 87.] Thefe numbers are of fo burlefque, fo low, and ridiculous a kind, and have fo much the air of a vulgar drinking fong, that one is amazed and concerned to find them in a serious ode. Addifon thought this meafure exactly fuited to the comic character of Sir Trusty in his Rosamond; by the introduction of

A conquest how hard and how glorious!
Tho' fate had faft bound her

With Styx nine times round her, Yet Mufic and Love were victorious.



But foon, too foon, the lover turns his
Again fhe falls, again fhe dies, fhe dies!
How wilt thou now the fatal fifters move?
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.
Now under hanging mountains,

Befide the falls of fountains,

Or where Hebrus wanders,
Rolling in meanders,






which he has fo ftrangely debased that very elegant opera. It is obfervable, that this ludicrous measure is used by Dryden, in a fong of evil fpirits, in the fourth act of the State of Innocence. WARTON.

VER. 97.] These scenes, in which Orpheus is introduced as making his lamentations, are not fo wild, so savage, and dismal, as those mentioned by Virgil; and convey not fuch images of defolation and deep despair, as the caverns on the banks of Strymon and Tanais, the Hyperborean deferts, 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 fituation, muft look at the exquifite figure of him (now in the poffeffion of Sir Watkin Williams Wynne) painted by Mr. Dance, a work that does honour to the true genius of the artist, and to the age in which it was produced. WARTON,

All alone,

Unheard, unknown,

He makes his moan;
And calls her ghost,
For ever, ever, ever lost!
Now with Furies furrounded,
Despairing, confounded,

He trembles, he glows,

Amidst Rhodope's fnows:


See, wild as the winds, o'er the defert he flies;
Hark! Hamus refounds with the Bacchanals' cries-
Ah fee, he dies!

Yet ev'n in death Eurydice he fung,
Eurydice still trembled on his tongue,

Eurydice the woods,

Eurydice the floods,

Eurydice the rocks, and hollow mountains rung.





VER. 108.] I am afraid there is a trivial antithefis in these lines betwixt the words fnows and glows, unworthy our author.


VER. 112.] The death is expreffed with a brevity and abruptnefs fuitable to the nature of the ode. Inftead of he fung, Virgil fays, vocabat, which is more natural and tender, and adds a moving epithet, that he called miferam Eurydicen. The repetition of Eurydice in two very fhort lines hurts the car, which Virgil escaped by interpofing feveral other words; and the name itself happens not to be harmonious enough to petition.

fuffer such re



Mufic the fierceft grief can charm,
And fate's feverest rage difarm :
Mufic can foften pain to eafe,
And make despair and madness please :
Our joys below it can improve,

And antedate the blifs above.
This the divine Cecilia found,

And to her Maker's praife confin'd the found.
When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
Th' immortal pow'rs incline their ear;
Borne on the fwelling notes our fouls afpire,
While folemn airs improve the facred 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;
His numbers rais'd a fhade from hell,
Her's lift the foul to heav'n.





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 unfuitable to the dignity, and as foreign to the nature of the lyric, as it is of the epic mufe.



IF we caft a tranfient view over the most celebrated of the modern lyrics, we may obferve that the flanza of Petrarch, which has been adopted by all his fucceffors, difpleases 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 fentiments, even of love, are metaphyfical and far-fetched. Neither is there much variety in his fubjects, or fancy in his method of treating them. Fulvio Tefti, Chiabrera, and Metaftafio, 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, whofe grand character iftical 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 inftances of the bombaftic, of the profaic, and of the puerile; and it is no fmall confirmation of the ruling paffion of this author, that he could not conclude his ode, but with a fevere ftroke on his old antagonist Perrault, though the majefly of this fpecies of compofition is so much injured by descending to perfonal satire.

“We ́have had (fays Mr. Gray) in our language, no other odes of the fublime kind, than that of Dryden on St. Cecilia's Day: for Cowley, who had his merit, yet wanted judgment, ftyle, and harmony, for fuch a task. That of Pope is not worthy of fo great a master. Mr. Mafon, indeed of late days, has touched the true chords, and with a masterly hand, in fome of his chorufes above all in the last of Caractacus ;

"Hark! heard ye not yon footstep dread?" &c.


Gray's Works, 4to. page 25.

The bard of Gray must be mentioned as ranking next to Dryden's ode, if it be not fuperior.

« ПретходнаНастави »