תמונות בעמוד

short of the strophè, some have an equal number of verses, and
others again exceed it: and Jonson hath made his stand to be
longer than the turn or counter-turn, by the addition of a couplet.
The reader will, I hope, excuse the prolixity of this note; I have
been the more exact in explaining the true nature of the Pindaric
ode, as the poem before us does honour to Jonson's learning and
knowledge in ancient criticism, and as the idea we have formed
from compositions of this kind, by many modern poets, gives us
but a very distorted likeness of the great original: a much better
copy was taken by our author, than what appears in those collec-
tions of lines of all lengths and sizes, which have been passed upon
the world as translations or imitations of Pindar. WHAL.
I agree with Whalley. Nothing but ignorance of the existence
of this noble Ode can excuse the critics, from Dryden downwards,
for attributing the introduction of the Pindaric Ode into our
language to Cowley. Cowley mistook the very nature of Pindar's
poetry, at least of such as is come down to us, and while he pro-
fessed to “imitate the style and manner of his Odes,” was led
away by the ancient allusions to those wild and wonderful strains
of which not a line has reached us. The metre of Pindar is regular,
that of Cowley is utterly lawless; and his perpetual straining after
points of wit, seems to shew that he had formed no correcter
notion of his manner than of his style. It is far worse when he
leaves his author, and sets up for a Pindaric writer on his own
account:—but I am not about to criticize Cowley.
In Jonson's Ode we have the very soul of Pindar. His artful
but unlaboured plan, his regular returns of metre, his interesting
pathos, his lofty morality, his sacred tone of feeling occasionally
enlivened by apt digression, or splendid illustration.—To be
short, there have been Odes more sublime, Odes far more poetical
than this before us, but none that in Cowley's words, so success-
fully “copy the style and manner of the Odes of Pindar.” As
Jonson was his first, so is he his best, imitator.

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

RAVE infant of Saguntum, clear

Thy coming forth in that great year,
When the prodigious Hannibal did

His rage, with razing your immortal

Thou looking then about,

Ere thou wert half got out,
Brave infant of Saguntum, clear

Thy coming forth, &c.] Saguntum was a city of Spain, memorable for its fidelity to the Romans, and the miseries it underwent when besieged by Hannibal. It was at last taken by storm; but the inhabitants, who before had suffered all extremities, committed themselves and their effects to the flames, rather than fall into the hands of their enemy. The story to which Jonson here refers, is thus told by Pliny; Est inter exempla, in uterum protinus reversus infans Sagunti, quo anno ab Annibale deleta est. L. vii. c. 3.

It ought to be observed that the word Pindaric was not prefixed
by Jonson: in the Museum MS. the poem is simply called “An
Ode on the death of sir H. Morison."

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

Wise child, didst hastily return,

And mad'st thy mother's womb thine urn. How summ'd a circle didst thou leave mankind Of deepest lore, could we the centre find !


VID wiser nature draw thee back,

From out the horror of that sack;
Where shame, faith, honour, and regard of

Lay trampled on ? the deeds of death and night,

Urged, hurried forth, and hurl'd

Upon th' affrighted world;
Fire, famine, and fell fury met,

And all on utmost ruin set :
As, could they but life's miseries foresee,
No doubt all infants would return like thee.

YOR what is life, if measur'd by the space,

Not by the act ?
Or masked man, if valued by his face,

Above his fact ?
Here's one outliv'd his peers,

And told forth fourscore years :
He vexed time, and busied the whole state ;

Troubled both foes and friends;

But ever to no ends :
What did this stirrer but die late ?
How well at twenty had he fallen or stood !
For three of his fourscore he did no good.
2 Here's one outliv'd his peers,

And told forth fourscore years.] Perhaps this, and what follows in the next stanza, was intended as a character of Car, who, taken


E enter'd well by virtuous parts,

Got up, and thriv'd with honest arts;
He purchased friends, and fame, and honours

And had his noble name advanced with men :

But weary of that flight,

He stoop'd in all men's sight
To sordid flatteries, acts of strife,

And sunk in that dead sea of life,
So deep, as he did then death's waters sup,
But that the cork of title buoy'd him up.

LAS! but Morison fell young ::

He never fell,—thou fall’st, my tongue.

He stood a soldier to the last right end,
A perfect patriot, and a noble friend;

But most, a virtuous son.
All offices were done

into favour by James I., was at length advanced to the earldom of Somerset. The particulars of his history are well known. WHAL.

This does not apply to Carr, who could not have told forth much above forty years, when the Ode was written. It seems to refer rather to the old earl of Northampton: but, perhaps, no particular person was meant, though the poetical character might be strengthened and illustrated by traits incidentally drawn from real life.

: Alas ! but Morison fell young.) There was then another conformity between the destinies of the noble pair, which, however, Jonson did not live to witness; for Lucius himself had scarcely attained his thirty-third year, when he also fell, gloriously fell, in the field of honour, and in the cause of his sovereign and his country, at the battle of Newbury.

By him, so ample, full, and round,

In weight, in measure, number, sound, As, though his age imperfect might appear, His life was of humanity the sphere.

[ocr errors][merged small]

O now, and tell our days summ’d


with fears,
And make them years;
Produce thy mass of miseries on the stage,

To swell thine age :
Repeat of things a throng,

To shew thou hast been long,
Not liv'd; for life doth her great actions spell,

By what was done and wrought

In season, and so brought
To light : her measures are, how well
Each syllabe answer’d, and was form’d, how fair;
These make the lines of life, and that's her air!

[ocr errors][ocr errors]




T is not growing like a tree

In bulk, doth make men better be ; 4
Or standing long an oak, three hundred

year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear :

* It is not growing like a tree, &c.] “The qualities of vivid perception and happy expression” (it is said in the Life of John Dryden)“ unite in many passages of Shakspeare; but such Jonson -poor Ben's unarmed head is made a quintain upon all occasions

“but such Jonson was unequal to produce, and he substituted strange, forced, and most unnatural analogies." p. xi. For the proof of this we are referred to the present ode, which, with the

« הקודםהמשך »