Imatges de pÓgina
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4. And moody Madness laughing wild.

1

Stanza 8. 1. 9.

IMITATION.

Madness laughing in her ireful mood.

Dryden's Palamon and Arcite. G.

2. Exact my own defects to scan.

ODE IV.

1. This Ode was first published, with the three foregoing, in Dodsley's Miscellany, under the title of an Hymn to Adversity, which title is here dropped for the sake of uniformity in the page. It is unquestionably as truly lyrical as any of his other Odes.

Stanza 6. 1. 7.

The many hard consonants, which occur in this line, hurt the ear; Mr. Gray perceived it himself, but did not alter it, as the words themselves were those which best conveyed his idea, and therefore he did not choose to sacrifice sense to sound.

HAD Mr. Gray compleated the fine lyrical fragment, which I have inserted in the fourth section of the Memoirs, I should have introduced it into the text of his Poems, as the fifth and last of his monostrophic Odes. In order to fulfil the promise which I there made to my reader, I shall now reprint the piece with my own additions to it. I have already made my apology for the attempt; and therefore shall only add, that although (as is usually done on such occasions) I print my supplemental lines in the italic character, yet I am well aware that their inferiority would but too easily distinguish them without any typographical assistance.

ODE

ON

THE PLEASURE ARISING FROM VICISSITUDE.

Now the golden Morn aloft

Waves her dew-bespangled wing,
With vermil cheek, and whisper soft
She wooes the tardy Spring:

Till April starts, and calls around
The sleeping fragrance from the ground;
And lightly o'er the living scene
Scatters his freshest, tenderest green.

New-born flocks, in rustic dance,
Frisking ply their feeble feet;

Forgetful of their wintry trance,
The birds his presence greet:
But chief, the Sky-Lark warbles high
His trembling thrilling extacy;
And, lessening from the dazzled sight,
Melts into air and liquid light.

Rise, my Soul! on wings of fire,
Rise the rapt'rous Choir among;
Hark! 'tis Nature strikes the Lyre,
And leads the general sóng:
Warm let the lyric transport flow,
Warm, as the ray that bids it glow;
And animates the vernal grove
With health, with harmony, and love.

Yesterday the sullen year
Saw the snowy whirlwind fly;
Mute was the music of the air,
The herd stood drooping by:
Their raptures now that wildly flow,
No yesterday, nor morrow know;
'Tis Man alone that joy descries
With forward, and reverted eyes.

Smiles on past Misfortune's brow
Soft Reflection's hand can trace;

And o'er the cheek of Sorrow throw

A melancholy grace;

While Hope prolongs our happier hour,
Or deepest shades, that dimly lower
And blacken round our weary way,
Gilds with a gleam of distant day.

Still, where rosy Pleasure leads,
See a kindred Grief pursue;
Behind the steps that Misery treads
Approaching Comfort view:
The hues of bliss more brightly glow,
Chastis'd by sabler tints of woe;
And blended form, with artful strife,
The strength and harmony of life.

See the Wretch, that long has tost
On the thorny bed of pain,

At length repair his vigour lost,

And breathe, and walk again:
The meanest floweret of the vale,

The simplest note that swells the gale,
The common sun, the air, the skies,
To Him are opening Paradise.

Humble Quiet builds her cell,

Near the source whence Pleasure flows;

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She eyes the clear

And tastes it as it

crystalline well,

goes.

While far below the madding Croud
Rush headlong to the dangerous flood,
Where broad and turbulent it sweeps,
And perish in the boundless deeps.

Mark where Indolence, and Pride,
Sooth'd by Flattery's tinkling sound,
Go, softly rolling, side by side,
Their dull, but daily round:
To these, if Hebe's self should bring
The purest cup from Pleasure's spring,
Say, can they taste the flavour high
Of sober, simple, genuine Joy?

Mark Ambition's march sublime
Up to Power's meridian height;
While pale-ey'd Envy sees him climb,

And sickens at the sight.

Phantoms of Danger, Death, and Dread,
Float hourly round Ambition's head;

*So Milton accents the word:

On the crystalline sky, in sapphire thron'd.

P. L. Book vi, v. 772.

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