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As if Britannia now were sunk so low,
And all the golden age is but a dream.
written at Tushrince wells, on MISS TEMPLE, afrenwARDs LADY of sir Thomas lyrrelton,
Leave, leave the drawing-room,
DISCOURSE ON THE PINDARIC ODE.
seems to be altogether forgotten, or unknown, by eur English writers. There is nothing more frequent among us, than a sort of poems entitled Pindaric Odes; pretend. ing to be written in imitation of the manner and style of Pindar, and yet I do not know that there is to this day extant, in our language, one ode contrived after his model. What idea can an English reader have of Pindar, (to whose mouth, when a child, the bees brought their honey, in omen of the future sweetness and melody of his songs) when he shall see such rumbling and grating papers of verses, pretending to be copies of his works? The character of these late Pindarics is, a bundle of rambling incoherent thoughts, expressed in a like parcel of irregular stanzas, which also consist of such another complication of disproportioned, uncertain, and perplexed verses and rhymes. And I appeal to any reader, if this is not the condition in which these titular odes appear. On the contrary, there is nothing more regular than the odes of Pindar, both as to the exact observation of the measures and numbers of o stanzas and verses, and the perpetual coheren of his thoughts. For though his digressions are frequent, and his transitions sudden, yet Is there ever some secret connection, which, though not always appearing to the eye, never fails to comorate itself to the understanding of the reaer. The liberty which he took in his numbers, and which has been so misunderstood and misapplied by his pretended imitators, was only in varying the stanzas in different odes; but in each particular ode they are ever correspondent one to another in their turns, and according to the order of the ode. All the odes of Pindar which remain to us, re songs of triumph, victory, or success, in o cian games: they were sung by a chorus, an adapted to the lyre, and someti to the lyr and pipe: they consisted oftenest of three stanzas; the first was called the strophé, from the version or circular motion of the singers in that stanza from the right hand to the left. The second stanza was called the antistrophé, from the contraversion of the chorus; the singers, in performing that, turning from the left hand to the right, contrary always to their motion in the strophe. The third stanza was called the epode, (it may be as being the after-song) which they sung in the middle, neither turning to one hand nor the other. What the origin was of these different motions and stations in singing their odes, is not our present business to inquire. Some have thought, that, by the contrariety of the strophé and antistrophé, they intended to represent the contrarotation of the primum mobile, in respect of the secunda mobilia; and that, by their standing still at the epode, they meant to signify the stability of the Earth. Others ascribe the institution to Theseus, who thereby expressed the windings and turnings of the labyrinth, in celebrating his return from thence. The method observed in the co ition of these odes, was therefore as follows: †: havi made choice of a certain number of verses to con stitute his strophé, or first stanza, was obliged to
observe the same in his antistrophé, or second
stanza; and which accordingly o whenever repeated, both in number of ve quantity of feet: he was them again at liberty to make a new choice for his third stanza, or epode; where, accordingly, he diversified his numbers, as his ear or fancy led him: composing that stanza of more or fewer verses than the former, and those verses of different measures and quantities, for the greater variety of harmony, and entertainment of the ear.-But then this epode being thus formed, he was strictly obliged to the same measure as often as ho) should repeat it in the order of his ode, so that every epode in the same ode is eternally the same in measure and quantity, in respect to itself; as is also every strophé and antistrophé, in respect to each other. The lyric p
Stesichorus (whom Longinus reckons amongst the ablest imitators of Homer, and of whom intilian says, that if he could have kept within bounds, he would have been nearest of any body, in merit, to Homer) was,
not the inventor of this order in the ode, yet
strict an observer of it in his compositions, tha the three stanzas of Stesichorus became a common proverb to express a thing universally known, me tria quidem Stesichori nostri; so that when any one had a mind to reproach another with excessive ignorance,he could not do it more effectually than by telling him, “he did not so much as know the three stanzas of Stesichorus;” that is, did not know that an ode ought to consist of a strophé, an antistrophé, and an epode. If this was such a mark of ignorance among them, I am sure we have been pretty long liable to the same reproof; I mean, in respect of our imitations of the odes of Pindar. My intention is not to make a long preface to a short ode, nor to enter upon a dissertation of lyric poetry in general: but thus much I thought proper to say, for the information of those readers whose course of study has not led them into such inquiries. I hope I shall not be so misunderstood, as to have it thought that I pretend to give an exact copy of Pindar in this ensuing ode; or that H look upon it as a pattern for his imitators for the future: far from such thoughts, I have only given an instance of what is practicable, and am sensible that I am as distant from the force and elevation of Pindar, as others have hitherto been from the harmony and regularity of his numbers. Again, we having no chorus to sing our odes, the titles, as well as use of strophé, antistrophé, and epode, are obsolete and impertinent: and certainly there may be very good English odes, without the distinction of Greek appellations to their stanzas. That I have mentioned them here, and observed the order of them in the ensuing ode, is therefore only the more intelligibly to explain the extraordinary regularity of the composition of these odes, which have been represented to us hitherto, as the most confused structures in nature. However, though there be no necessity that our triumphal odes should consist of the three aforementioned stanzas; yet if the reader can observe, that the great variation of the numbers in the third stanza (call it epode, or what you please) has a pleasing effect in the ode, and unakes him
. to the first and second stanzas with more appetite than he could do, if always cloyed with the same quantities and measures; I cannot see why some use may not be made of Pindar's example, to the great improvement of the English ode. There is certainly a pleasure in beholding anything that has art and difficulty in the contrivance; especially if it appears so carefully executed, that the difficulty does not show itself, till it is sought for; and that the seeming easiness of the work, first sets us upon the inquiry. 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 sometimes (especially 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 said 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 learming, of that gentleman, that I think nothing should be objected to the latitude he has taken in his Pindaric odes. The beautv of his verses is an atonement for the irregularity of his stanzas ; and though he did not imitate Pindar in the strictness of his numbers, he has very often happily copied him in the force of his figures, and sublimity of his style and sentiments. Yet I must beg leave to add, that I believe those irregular odes of Mr. Cowley may have been the principal, though innocen, occasion of so many deformed poems since, which, instead of being true pictures of Pindar, have (to use the Italian ro. term) been only caricatures of hitn, re'semblances that, for the most part, have been either horrid or ridiculous. * For my own part, I frankly own my errour in having heretofore miscalled a few irregular stanzas a Pindaric ode; and possibly, if others, who have been under the same 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 ineasure or design, remained satisfied; and, it may be, were not altogether unwilling to neglect being undeceived. Though there be little (if any thing) left of Or. pheus but his name, yet, if Pausanias was well informed, we may be assured that brevity was a beauty which he most industriously laboured to preserve in his hymns, notwithstanding, as the same author reports, that they were but few in humher. The shortness of the following ode will. I hope, "...Yatone for the length of the preface, and, in some measure, for the defects which may be found in it. It consists of the same number of stanzas with that beautiful ode of Pindar, which is the first of his Pythics; and though I was unable to imitate bim in any other beauty, I resolved to rudeavour
to copy his brevity, and take the advantage of a remark he has made in the last strophé of the same ode; which take in the paraphrase of Sudorius.
Qui multa pancis stringere commode Novere, morsus hi facile invidos Spernunt, & auris mensque pura Omne supervacuum rejectat.
Daughter of Memory, immortal Muse,
Without thy aid, the most aspiring mind Must flag beneath, to marrow 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.
High in the starry orb is hung, And next Alcides’ ... arm, That harp to which thy, Orpheus sung, Who woods, and ol. and winds, could charm ; That harp which on Cyllene's shady hill, When first the vocal shell kas found, With more than mortalskill Inventor Hermes taught th sound: Hermes on bright ... son, By sweet persuasion wbn, The wondrous work bostow'd ; Latona's son, to thine Indulgent, gave the gift divine: A god the gift, a god th’ ho show’d. To that high-sounding lyre I tune my strains; A lower note his lofty song 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 Maeonian flame.
Nor are these sounds to British bards unknown, Or sparingly reveal’d to one alone: Witness sweet Spenser's lays: And witness that immortal song, As Spenser sweet, as Milton strong, Which humble Boyue o'er Tiber's flood could raise, [praise. And mighty William sing with well proportion'd
Rise, fair Augusta, lift thy head, With golden towers thy front adorn; Come forth, as comes from Tithon's bed With o ray the ruddy Moru. Thy lovely ; add fresh-reviving state, In crystal flood of Thames survey; Then bless thy better fate, Bloss Anna's most auspicious sway.
While distant realins and neighbouring lands, Arm'd troops and hostile bands On every side molest : Thy happier clime is free, Fair Capital of Liberty And plenty knows, and days of halcyon rest.
As Britain's isle, when old vex'd Ocean roars, Unshaken sees against her silver shores His foaming billows 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.
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 mov'd with sorrows not her own, Has all her peace and downy rest resign'd, To wake for comunon good, and succour humankind.
Fly, Tyranny; no more be known . Within Europa's blissful bound; Far as th’ unhabitable zone Fly every hospitable ground. To horrid Zembla’s frozen realms repair, There with the baleful belda\, Night, Unpeopled empire share, And rob those lands of legal right. For now is conne the promis'd hour, When Justice shall have power; Justice to Earth restor'd Again Astrea reigns ! Anna her equal scale maintains, And Marlborough wields her sure-deciding sword.
Now, couldst thou soar, my Muse, to sing the man
Northere thy song should end; though all the
Attempt not to proceed, unwary Muse,
In the short course of a diurnal Sun, Behold the work of many ages done ' What verse such worth can raise? Lustre and life, the poet's art To middle virtue may impart; But deeds sublime, exalted high like these, Transcend his utmost flight, and mock his distant praise. Still would the willing Muse aspire, * With transport still her strains prolong; But fear unstrings the trembling lyre, And admiration stops her song. Go on, great chief, in Anna's cause proceed; Nor sheath the terrours of thy sword, Till Europe thou hast freed, And universal peace restor'd. This mighty work when thou shalt end, Equal rewards attend, Of value far above Thy trophies and thy spoils; Rewards ev'n worthy of thy toils, , The queen's just favour, and thy country's love
TO THE Richt honounable the EARL OF GODOLPHIN, woad high-thrasukra of cabat bartars.
PINdAR ic ode.
Quemvis media erue turbā : Autob avaritiam, aut miserá ambitione laborat. Hunc capit argenti splendor—Hic mutat merces surgente à sole, ad eum quo Vespertina tepet regio: quin per mare praeceps Fertur Omneshi metuunt versus, odère poetas. Hor. l. i. Sat. 4.
To hazardous attempts and hardy toils Ambition sount excites; And some desire of martial spoils To bloody fields invites; Others insatiate thirst of gain Provokes to tempt the dangerous main, To pass the burning line, and bear Th’ inclemency of winds, and seas, and air; Pressing the doubtful voyage till India's shore Her spicy bosom bares, and spreads her shining ore. Nor widows' tears, nortcnder orphans' cries, Can stop th’ invader's force; Nor swelling seas, nor threatening skies, Prevent the pirate's course : Their lives to selfish ends decreed, Through blood or rapine they proceed; No anxious thoughts of ill repute Suspend th’ impetuous and unjust pursuit: But power and wealth obtain'd, guilty and great, Their follow-creatures fears they raise, or urge their
But not for these his ivory lyre Will tuneful Phoebus string, Nor Polyhymnia, crown'd amid the choir, - Th’ immortal epode sing. Thy springs, Castalia, turn their streams aside From rapine, avarice, and pride; Nor do thy greens, shady Aonia, grow To bind with wreaths a tyrant's brow.
How just, most mighty Jove, yet how severe,
That impious men shall joyless hear
Which pious minds to rapture raise,
And worthy deeds at once excite and praise,
To guilty hearts afford no kind relief;
But add inflaming rage, and more afflicting grief.
Monstrous Typhoeus thus new terrours fill, He, who assail'd the skies, And now beneath the burning hill Of dreadful AFtna lics. Hearing the lyre's celestial sound, He bellows in th’ abyss profound; Sicilia trembles at his roar, Tremble the seas, and far Campania's shore; While all his hundred mouths at once respire Volumes of curling smoke, and floods of liquid fire.
From Heaven alone all good proceeds; To heavenly minds belong All power and love, Godolphin, of good deeds, And sense of sacred song ! And thus most pleasing are the Muse's lays To them who merit most her praise ! Wherefore, for thee her ivory lyre she strings, And soars with rapture while she sings.
Whether affairs of most important weight Require thy aiding hand, And Anna's cause and Europe's fate Thy serious thoughts demand; Whether thy days and nights are spent In cares, on public good intent; Or whether leisure hours invite To manly sports, or to refin'd delight; In courts residing, or to plains retir’d, Where generous steeds contest, with emulation fir’d Thee still she seeks, and tuneful sings thy name, As once she Theron sung, While with the deathless worthy's fame Olympian Pisa rung: Nor less sublime is now her choice: Nor less inspir'd by thee her voice. And now she loves aloft to sound The man for more than mortal deeds renown'd ; Varying anon her theme, she takes delight The swift-heel'd horse to praise, and sing his rapid flight.
And see! the air-born racers start, Impatient of the rein; Faster they run than flies the Scythian dart, Nor, passing, print the plain! The winds themselves, who with their swiftness In vain their airy pinions ply; [vie, So far in matchless speed thy coursers pass Th' ethereal authors of their race
And now awhile the well-strain'd, coursers And now, my Muse, prepare [breathe; Of olive-leaves a twisted wreath To bind the victor's hair. Pallas, in care of human-kind, The fruitful olive first design'd; Deep in the glebe her spear she lanc'd, When all at once the laden boughs advanc'd : The gods with wonder view'd the teeming Earth, And al, with one consent, approv'd the beauteous irth.
This done, earth-shaking Neptune next essay’d, In bounty to the world, To emulate the blue-ey'd maid; And his huge trident hurl’d Against the sounding beach; the stroke Transfix'd the globe, and open broke The central earth, whence, swift as light, Forth rush'd the first-born horse. Stupendous sight ! Neptune for human good the beast ordains, Whom soon he tam'd to use, and taught to bear the Telias.
Thus gods contended (noble strife, Worthy the leavenly mind!) Who most should do to soften anxious life, And most endear mankind, Thus thou, Godolphin, dost with Marlborough strive, From whose joint toils we rest derive: Triumph in wars abroad his arm assures, Sweet Peace at home thy care secures.
AN IMPOSSIBLE THING.
To thee, dear Dick, this tale I send,
A goblin of the merry kind, More black of hue, than curst of mind, To help a lover in distress, Contriv'd a charm with such success, That in short space the cruel dame Relented, and return'd his flame. The bargain, made betwixt them both, Was bound by honour and by oath: The lover laid down his salvation, And Satan stak'd his reputation. The latter promis'd on his part (To serve his friend, and show his art) That madan should by twelve o'clock, Though hitherto as hard as rock,