« AnteriorContinuar »
The Antistrophe Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
On a rock, whose haughty brow 15 Bright-eyed Fancy hovering o'er
Frowns o’er old Conway's foaming flood, Scatters from her pictured urn
Robed in the sable garb of woe, Thoughts that breathe, and words that With haggard eyes the Poet stood; burn.
(Loose his beard, and hoary hair But ah!'tis heard no more
Streamed, like a meteor, to the troubled O Lyre divine, what daring spirit
air) Wakes thee now? though he inherit
And with a master's hand, and prophet's Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,
fire, That the Theban Eagle bear
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre:
115 Sailing with supreme dominion
"Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert Through the azure deep of air:
cave, Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beSuch forms, as glitter in the Muse's ray
neath! With orient hues, unborrowed of the O'er thee, O King! their hundred arms Sun:
25 Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs way
breathe; Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day, Beneath the good how far—but far above
To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewel the great.
“Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
30 A PINDARIC ODE
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud
topped head. “Ruin seize thee, ruthless King! On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
35 Confusion on thy banners wait,
Smeared with gore, and ghastly pale: Though fanned by Conquest's crimson Far, far aloof the affrighted ravens sail; wing
The famished eagle screams, and passes by. They mock the air with idle state.
Dear lost companions of my
tuneful art, Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail, 5 Dear, as the light that visits these sad Nor even thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail eyes,
40 To save thy secret soul from nightly Dear, as the ruddy drops that warm my fears,
heart, From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's Ye died amidst your dying country's tears!”
criesSuch were the sounds, that o'er the No more I weep. They do not sleep. crested pride
On yonder cliffs, a griesly band, Of the first Edward scattered wild dis- I see them sit, they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land: As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy With me in dreadful harmony they join, side
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of He wound with toilsome march his long array.
II Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless
The Strophe trance; "To arms!” cried Mortimer, and couched “Weave the warp, and weave the woof, his quivering lance.
The winding sheet of Edward's race. 50
Give ample room, and verge enough And through the kindred squadrons mow
55 fed, Shrieks of an agonising king!
Revere his consort's faith, his father's She-Wolf of France, with unrelenting fame, fangs,
And spare the meek usurper's holy head.90 That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled Above, below, the rose of snow, mate,
Twined with her blushing foe, we spread: From thee be born, who o'er thy country
The bristled Boar in infant-gore hangs
Wallows beneath the thorny shade. The scourge of Heaven. What terrors Now, brothers, bending o'er the accursed round him wait!
95 Amazement in his van, with flight com- Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify bined,
his doom. And sorrow's faded form, and solitude
The Strophe “Mighty Victor, mighty Lord,
“Edward, lo! to sudden fate
(Weave we the woof. The thread is spun.) Low on his funeral couch he lies!
Half of thy heart we consecrate. No pitying heart, no eye, afford
65 A tear to grace his obsequies.
(The web is wove. The work is done.):Is the sable warrior fled?
Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn Thy son is gone. He rests among the
Leave me unblessed, unpitied, here to
In yon bright track, that fires the western The swarm, that in thy noon-tide beam
skies, were born? Gone to salute the rising morn.
They melt, they vanish from my eyes. 70
But oh! what solemn scenes on SnowFair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr
105 blows, While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
Descending slow their glittering skirts
unroll? In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes; Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the
Visions of glory, spare my aching sight, helm;
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul! Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's
No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail.
All-hail, ye genuine kings, Britannia's sway,
75 That, hushed in grim repose, expects his
issue, hail !
“Girt with many a baron bold “Fill high the sparkling bowl,
Sublime their starry fronts they rear; The rich repast prepare;
And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old Reft of a crown, he yet may share the
In bearded majesty, appear.
115 Close by the regal chair
80 Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line; Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face, A baleful smile upon their baffled guest. Attempered sweet to virgin-grace.
Heard ye the din of battle bray, What strings symphonious tremble in the Lance to lance and horse to horse?
air, Long years of havoc urge their destined What strains of vocal transport round her course,
Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, See the griesly texture grow! hear;
('Tis of human entrails made,) They breathe a soul to animate thy And the weights, that play below, clay.
Each a gasping warrior's head. Bright Rapture calls, and soaring, as she sings,
Shafts for shuttles, dipt in gore, Waves in the eye of Heaven her many- Shoot the trembling cords along. colored wings.
Sword, that once a monarch bore, 15
Keep the tissue close and strong.
Mista black, terrific maid, "The verse adorn again
Sangrida, and Hilda, see, Fierce War, and faithful Love,
Join the wayward work to aid:
'Tis the woof of victory.
Ere the ruddy sun be set, breast.
130 Blade with clattering buckler meet, A voice, as of the cherub-choir,
Hauberk crash, and helmet ring.
(Weave the crimson web of war.) 25 That lost in long futurity expire.
Let us go, and let us fly, Fond' impious man, think'st thou, yon
Where our friends the conflict share, sanguine cloud,
Where they triumph, where they die. Raised by thy breath, has quenched the orb of day?
As the paths of fate we tread, To-morrow he repairs the golden flood,
Wading through the ensanguined field: 30 And warms the nations with redoubled
Gondula, and Geira, spread ray.
O'er the youthful king your shield.
Ours to kill, and ours to spare:
35 He spoke, and headlong from the Spite of danger he shall live.
(Weave the crimson web of war.)
Pent within its bleak domain,
40 THE FATAL SISTERS
Low the dauntless earl is laid,
Gored with many a gaping wound:
Fate demands a nobler head;
Soon a king shall bite the ground. Now the storm begins to lower, (Haste, the loom of hell prepare,) Long his loss shall Eirin weep,
45 Iron-sleet of arrowy shower
Ne'er again his likeness see; Hurtles in the darkened air.
Long her strains in sorrow steep,
Strains of immortality! Glittering lances are the loom,
5 Where the dusky warp we strain, Horror covers all the heath, Weaving many a soldier's doom, Clouds of carnage blot the sun.
50 Orkney's woe, and Randver's bane. Sisters, weave the web of death;
Sisters, cease, the work is done.
Hail the task, and hail the hands!
of which rolls a torrent, that sometimes Songs of joy and triumph sing!
tumbling among the fragments of stone Joy to the victorious bands;
that have fallen from on high, and someTriumph to the younger king.
times precipitating itself down vast de
scents with a noise like thunder, which is Mortal, thou that hear'st the tale,
still made greater by the echo from the Learn the tenor of our song.
mountains on each side, concurs to form Scotland, through each winding vale one of the most solemn, the most romanFar and wide the notes prolong.
tic, and the most astonishing scenes I ever beheld.
[30 Sisters, hence with spurs of speed:
To MRS. DOROTHY GRAY
TURIN, November 7, 1739. Hurry, hurry to the field.
I am this night arrived here, and have just set down to rest me after eight days'
tiresome journey. For the first three we SKETCH OF HIS OWN CHARACTER had the same road we before passed
through to go to Geneva; the fourth we Too poor for a bribe, and too proud to turned out of it, and for that day and the importune;
next travelled rather among than upon He had not the method of making a the Alps; the way commonly running fortune;
through a deep valley by the side of the Could love, and could hate, so was thought river Arve, which works itself a pas- [10 somewhat odd;
sage, with great difficulty and a mighty No very great wit, he believed in a God. noise, among vast quantities of rocks, A place or a pension he did not desire, 5
that have rolled down from the mountainBut left church and state to Charles tops. The winter was so far advanced Townshend and Squire.
as in great measure to spoil the beauty of the prospect; however, there was still
somewhat fine remaining amidst the LETTERS
savageness and horror of the place: the To MRS. DOROTHY GRAY
sixth we began to go up several of these
mountains; and as we were passing (20 Lyons, October 13, 1739. one, met with an odd accident enough:
It is a fortnight since we set Mr. Walpole had a little fat black spaniel, out from hence upon a little excursion to that he was very fond of, which he someGeneva. We took the longest road, times used to set down, and let it run by which lies through Savoy, on purpose to the chaise side. We were at that time in see a famous monastery, called the Grand a very rough road, not two yards broad at Chartreuse, and had no reason to think most; on one side was a great wood of our time lost. After having travelled pines, and on the other a vast precipice; seven days very slow (for we did not it was noonday, and the sun shone bright, change horses, it being impossible for a when all of a sudden, from the wood- 130 chaise to go post in these roads) we (10 side (which was as steep upwards as the arrived at a little village, among the other part was downwards), out rushed a mountains of Savoy, called Echelles; great wolf, came close to the head of the from thence we proceeded on horses, who horses, seized the dog by the throat, and are used to the way, to the mountain of rushed up the hill again with him in his the Chartreuse. It is six miles to the top; mouth. This was done in less than a the road runs winding up it, commonly not quarter of a minute; we all saw it, and six feet broad; on one hand is the rock, yet the servants had not time to draw with woods of pine-trees hanging over- their pistols, or do anything to save the head; on the other, a monstrous precipice, dog. If he had not been there, and (40 almost perpendicular, at the bottom (20 | the creature had thought fit to lay hold of one of the horses, chaise, and we, and all other argument. One need not have a must inevitably have tumbled about fifty very fantastic imagination to see spirits fathoms perpendicular down the precipice. there at noonday; you have Death perThe seventh we came to Lanebourg, the petually before your eyes, only so far last town in Savoy; it lies at the foot of removed, as to compose the mind withthe famous Mount Cenis, which is so out frighting it. I am well persuaded St. situated as to allow no room for any way Bruno was a man of no common genius, (20 but over the very top of it. Here the to choose such a situation for his retirechaise was forced to be pulled to 150 ment; and perhaps should have been a pieces, and the baggage and that to be disciple of his, had I been born in his carried by mules. We ourselves were
time. wrapped up in our furs, and seated upon a sort of matted chair without legs, which
To HORACE WALPOLE is carried upon poles in the manner of a
CAMBRIDGE, February 11, 1751. bier, and so begun to ascend by the help As you have brought me into a little of eight men. It was six miles to the top, sort of distress, you must assist me, I where a plain opens itself about as many believe, to get out of it as well as I can. more in breadth, covered perpetually Yesterday I had the misfortune of rewith very deep snow, and in the midst (60 ceiving a letter from certain gentlemen of that a great lake of unfathomable (as their bookseller expresses it), who have depth, from whence a river takes its rise, taken the Magazine of Magazines into and tumbles over monstrous rocks quite their hands. They tell me that an indown the other side of the mountain. genious poem, called reflections in a The descent is six miles more, but in- Country Church-yard, has been com- (10 finitely more steep than the going up; and, municated to them, which they are printhere the men perfectly fly down with you, ing forthwith; that they are informed that stepping from stone to stone with in- the excellent author of it is I by name, and credible swiftness in places where none that they beg not only his indulgence, but they could go three paces without [70 but the honor of his correspondence, etc. falling. The immensity of the precipices, As I am not at all disposed to be either so the roaring of the river and torrents that indulgent, or so correspondent, as they run into it, the huge crags covered with desire, I have but one bad way left to ice and snow, and the clouds below you escape the honor they would inflict upon and about you, are objects it is impos- me; and therefore am obliged to desire (20 sible to conceive without seeing them; you would make Dodsley print it imand though we had heard many strange mediately (which may be done in less descriptions of the scene, none of them than a week's time) from your copy, but at all came up to it.
without my name, in what form is most
convenient to him, but on his best paper To RICHARD WEST
and character; he must correct the press TURIN, November 16, 1739. himself, and print it without any interval
I have not, as yet, anywhere between the stanzas, because the sense met with those grand and simple works is in some places continued beyond them; of Art, that are to amaze one, and whose and the title must be, — Elegy, writ- [30 sight one is to be the better for: but those ten in a Country Church-yard. If he of Nature have astonished me beyond would add a line or two to say it came expression. In our little journey up to the into his hands by accident, I should like Grande Chartreuse, I do not remember to it better. If you behold the Magazine of have gone ten paces without an exclama- Magazines in the light that I do, you will tion that there was no restraining. Not not refuse to give yourself this trouble a precipice, not a torrent, not a cliff, [10 on my account, which you have taken of but is pregnant with religion and poetry. your own accord before now. If Dodsley There are certain scenes that would awe do not do this immediately, he may as an atheist into belief, without the help of well let it alone.