Imatges de pÓgina

lo sguardo colà dove gli angioli stessi paventano di rimirare; e gli occhi suoi affuocati in quel pelago di lucé si chiusero tosto in una notte sempiterna. Con qual bravura non ha egli imitato la grandiosa immagine di Pindaro nella prima delle Pitiche, quando dipinge il Re degli Augelli, l' Aquila ministra del fulmine di Giove vinta anch'essa dalla forza dell' armonia? E non si

vedon eglino in quel bel verso,

Where'er she turns the Graces homage pay-----espressi quei due di Tibullo?

Illam quidquid agat, quoquo vestigia flectat,
Componit furtim, subsequiturque decor.

Pieno degli spiriti dé più nobili antichi attori, non mette già egli il piede nelle loro pedate; ma francamente cammina col garbo, e con la disinvoltura di quelli. Superiore di gran lunga al concettoso Cowley, il quale nella Lirica avea tenuto sinora il campo, ben egli dovea vendicar la causa della poesia contro alla ferità di quell' Odoardo, che, soggiogata la Wallia, vi spense il gentil seme dei poeti, i quali animando i loro compatrioti a belle imprese, erano i successori, si può dire, degli antichi Druidi, e gli antecessori del medesimo Gray. Con qual forza con quale ardore nol fa egli acceso della sacra fiamma dell' estro e della libertà? Troppo lungo io sarei se esprimer le volessi il piacere

di che mi è stata cagione la varietà grandissima d' immagini ch' egli ha saputo fare entrare nel vaticinio che contro alla razza di Odoardo fulmina il Poeta Wallese. La dirò bene all' orecchio che quel vaticinio mi sembra di gran lunga superiore al vaticinio di Nereo sopra lo eccidio di Troia. Dico all' orecchio, perché non vorrei avere contro di me la plebe dè letterati. Troppo èlla si scandalizzerebbe all' udire che a una fattura di dieciotto secoli fa se ne voglia preferire una de' nostri giorni, che non ha avuto il tempo di far la patina che hanno fatto le cose dei Greci e dei Latini. Æolio carmine nobilis il Signor Gray si può chiamare a ragione Britanna fidicen Lyra: ed io mi rallegro sommamente con esso lei, che la patria sua vanti presentemente, e in uno de' suoi amici, un poeta, che non la cede a niuno di quegli antichi,

Che le Muse lattar più ch' altri mai.


1. THIS highly-finished Ode, which Mr. Gray entitled the "Progress of Poesy," describes its power and influence as well as progress, which his explanatory notes at the bottom of the page point out, and this with all the accuracy of metaphysical precision, disguised under the appearance of Pindaric digression. On the first line of it he gave, in his edition, the following note: "Pindar styles his own poetry, with its musical accompanyments,

σε Αἰολὴς μολπὴ, ̓Αιόλιδες χορδαι, Αἰολιδῶν πνοαὶ ἀυλῶν:” "Eolian song, Æolian strings, the breath of the Æolian flute." It will seem strange to the learned reader, that he thought such explanation necessary, and he will be apt to look on it as the mere parade of Greek quotation; but his reason for it was, that the Critical Reviewers had mistaken his meaning, (see note on Let. 26. sect. 4. of the Memoirs) and supposed the Ode addressed to the Harp of Æolus; which they said " was altogether uncertain and irregular, and therefore must be very ill adapted to the Dance." See Epode i. 1. 1. This ridiculous blunder, which he did not think proper openly to advert on, led him to produce his Greek quotations, that they might chew on them at their leisure; but he would hardly have done this, had not the reception his Ode met with, made him abate, not only of respect to his critics, but to his readers in general. See his own note.

2. Awake, Æolian lyre, awake,

Stanza 1. l. 1.


Awake, my glory: awake, lute and harp.

David's Ps. G.


In his manuscript it originally stood,

Awake, my lyre: my glory, wake.

And it would have been lucky for the above-mentioned critics, if it had been thus printed.

3. Perching on the scept'red hand.

Antist. 1. l. 8.

This description of the Bird of Jupiter, Mr. Gray, in his own edition, modestly calls " a weak imitation of some incomparable "lines in the first Pythian of Pindar;" but if they are compared with Mr. Gilbert West's translation of the above lines, (though far from a bad one) their superior energy to his version will appear very conspicuous.

Perch'd on the sceptre of th' Olympian King,
The thrilling darts of harmony he feels;
And indolently hangs his rapid wing,

While gentle sleep his closing eyelid seals,
And o'er his heaving limbs in loose array,
To ev'ry balmy gale the ruffling feathers play.

Here, if we except the second line, we find no imagery or expression of the lyrical cast. The rest are loaded with unnecessary epithets, and would better suit the tamer tones of Elegy. West's Pindar, vol. I. P. 85.

4. Glance their many-twinkling feet.

Ep. 1. 7. 11.


Μαρμαρυγὰς θηᾶῖτο ποδῶν· θαύμαζε δὲ θυμῷ.

Homer Od. . G.

5. Slow melting strains their Queen's approach declare.

This and the five flowing lines which follow are sweetly introduced by the short and unequal measures that precede them: the whole stanza is indeed a master-piece of rhythm, and charms the ear by its well-varied cadence, as much as the imagery which it contains ravishes the fancy. "There is" (says our author, in one of his manuscript papers) " a tout ensemble of sound, as well 66 as of sense, in poetical composition, always necessary to its 66 perfection. What is gone before still dwells upon the ear, and "insensibly harmonizes with the present line, as in that suc❝cession of fleeting notes which is called Melody." Nothing can better exemplify the truth of this fine observation than his own poetry.

6. The bloom of young desire and purple light of love. Ep. i. l. 17.


Λάμπει δ ̓ ἐπὶ πορφυρέησε

Παρέιησι φῶς ἔρωτος.


Phrynichus apud Athenæum. G.

7. Till down the eastern cliffs afar

Hyperion's march they spy, and glittering shafts of


Stanza 2. l. 11 and 12.

Or seen the morning's well-appointed star,
Come marching up the eastern hills afar.

8. In climes beyond the solar road.

Cowley, G.

Antist. ii. l. 1.

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