תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

ample, to the great improvement of the English Ode. There is certainly a pleasure in beholding any thing that has art and difficulty in the contrivance ; especially, if it appears so carefully executed, that the difficulty does not shew itself, till it is sought for ; and that the feeming easiness of the work, first sets us upon the enquiry. Nothing can be called beautiful without proportion. When symmetry and harmony are wanting, neither the eye nor the ear can be pleased. Therefore certainly poetry, which includes painting and music, should not be destitute of them ; and of all poetry, especially the Ode, whose end and essence is harmony.

Mr. Cowley, in his Preface to his Pindaric Odes, speaking of the music of numbers, says, “ which some. “ times (cfpecially in Songs and Odes) almost without

any thing else makes an excellent poet.”

Having mentioned Mr. Cowley, it may very well be expected, that something should be faid of him, at a time when the imitation of Pindar is the theme of our discourse. But there is that great deference due to the memory, great parts, and learning of that gentleman, that I think nothing should be objected to the latitude he has taken in his Pindaric Odes. The beauty of his verses, are an atonement for the irregularity of his stanzas; and though he did not imitate Pindar in the ftriétness of his numbers, he has very often happily copied him in the force of his figures, and sublimity of his stile and sentiments.

Yet I must beg leave to add, that I believe those irre. gular Odes of Mr. Cowley may have been the princi

pal,

pal, though innocent occasion, of so many deformed poems fince, which, instead of being true pictures of Pindar, have (to use the Italian painters term) been only caricatures of him, resemblances that for the most part have been either horrid or ridiculous.

For my own part, I frankly own my error, in having heretofore miscalled a few irregular stanzas a Pindaric Ode; and possibly, if others, who have been under the fame mistake, would ingenuously confess the truth, they might own, that, never having consulted Pindar himself, they took all his irregularity upon trust; and finding their account in the great ease with which they could produce Odes without being obliged either to nieasure or design, remained fatisfied; and it

may

be, were not altogether unwilling to neglect being undeceived.

Though there be little (if any thing) left of Orpheus but his name, yet if Pausanias was well informed, we may be assured, that brevity was a beauty which he moft industriously laboured to preserve in his Hymns, notwithstanding, as the same author reports, that they were but few in numbor.

The shortnefs of the following Ode will, I hope, aone for the length of the Preface, and in some meafure for the defects which may be found in it. It confifts of the fame number of stanzas with that beautiful Ode of Pindar, which is the first of his Pythics ; and though I was unable to imitate him in any other beauty, I resolved to endeavour to copy his brevity, and take the advantage of a remark he has made in the

last

laft Strophé of the same Ode; which take in the para-
phrase of Sudorius.

“ Qui multa paucis ftringere commode
“ Novere, morsus hi facile invidos
“ Spernunt, & auris mensque pura
« Omne supervacuum rejectat."

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

1. DAUGHTER of Memory, immortal Muse,

Calliope ; what poet wilt thou chuse,

Of Anna's name to sing?
To whom wilt thou thy fire impart,

Thy lyre, thy voice, and tuneful art ;
Whorn raise sublime on thy ætherial wing,
And consecrate with dews of thy Caftalian spring ?

II.
Without thy aid, the most aspiring mind
Mus flag beneath, to narrow flights confin'd,

Striving to rise in vain :
Nor e'er can hope with equal lays

To celebrate bright Virtue's praise.
Thy aid obtain'd, ev'n I, the humblest swain,
May climb Pierian heights, and quit the lowly plain.

III.
High in the starry orb is hung,

And next Alcides' guardian arm,
That harp to which thy Orpheus sung,
Who woods, and rocks, and winds, could charm ;

That

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

That harp which on Cyllene's shady hill,
When first the vocal shell was found,

With more than mortal skill
Inventer Hermes taught to found :
Hermes on bright Latona's son,

By sweet persuasion won,
The wondrous work beitow'd;

Latona's son, to thine

Indulgent, gave the gift divine :
A god the gift, a god th' invention show'd.

1.
To that high-sounding lyre I tune my strains ;
A lower note his lofty fong disdains

Who sings of Anna's name.
The lyre is struck! the sounds I hear!
O Muse, propitious to my prayer !
O well-known sounds! O Melody, the same
That kindled Mantuan fire, and rais'd Mæonian flame!

II.
Nor are these sounds to British bards unknown,
Or fparingly reveal’d to one alone :

Witness sweet Spenser's lays :
And witness that immortal song,

As Spenser sweet, as Milton strong,
Which humble Boyne o'er Tiber's flood could raise,
And mighty William sing, with well-proportion'd praise.

III.
Rife, fair Augusta, lift thy head,

With golden towers thy front adorn ;
Comc forth, as comes from Tithon's bed

With chearful ray the ruddy morn. Thy

Thy lovely form, and fresh-reviving state,
In crystal flood of Thames survey;

Then, bless thy better fate,
Bless Anna's most auspicious sway.
While distant realms and neghbouring lands,

Arm’d troops and hoftile bands
On every side molest,

Thy happier clime is free,

Fair Capital of Liberty !
And plenty knows, and days of halcyon reft.

1.
As Britain's ifle, when old vex'd Occan roars,
Uníhaken fees against her silver shoars

His foaming billoivs beat;
So Britain's Queen, amidst the jars

And tumults of a world in wars,
Fix'd on the base of her well-founded state,
Serene and safe looks down, nor feels the shocks of fate.

11.
But greatest souls, though blest with sweet repose,
Are soonest touch'd with sense of others woes,

Thus Anna’s mighty mind,
To mercy and soft pity prone,

And moy'd with forrows not her own,
Has all her peace and downy rest resign’d,
To wake for common good, and succour human-kind.

III.
Fly, tyranny; no more be known
Within Europa's blissful bound;
Far as th’unhabitable zone
Fly every hofpitable ground.

То

« הקודםהמשך »