Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

The Kennet swift, for silver eels renown'd,
The Lodden flow, with verdant alders crown'd;
Cole, whose dark streams his flow'ry islands lave;
And chalky Wey, that rolls a milky wave:
The blue transparent Vandalis appears ; 345
The gulphy Lee his sedgy treffes rears ;
And sullen Mole, that hides his diving flood;
And silent Darent, stain'd with Danish blood.

High in the midst, upon his urn reclin'd, (His sea-green mantle waving with the wind) 350

The · NOTES. VER. 341.] The word renown'd, fays a true poet, Dr. Darwin, does not present the idea of a visible object to the mind, and is thence prosaic. "

VER.350.] Whenever the river Thames is mentioned, I am afraid the disgraceful and impotent criticism of Dr. Johnson on a paffage in Gray's Odes, will recur to the mind of the reader. I heartily wish, for the fake of its author, who had more strong sense than a just relish for true poetry, that this strange and unwarrantable remark of his, could be sunk into oblivion.

Our poet was not deterred, from the censure which Addison passed in his Campaign, on raising and personifying river-gods, from giving us this fine description, in which Thames appears and speaks with suitable dignity and importance. How much superior is this picture to that of Boileau's Rhine ; who represents the Naids as alarming the God with an account of the march of the French Monarch ; upon which the River God assumes the appearance of an old experienced commander, flies to a Dutch fort, and exhorts the garrison to dispute the intended passage. The Rhine, marching at their head, and observing Mars and Bellona on the side of the enemy, is so terrified with the view of these superior divinities, that he most gallantly runs away, and leaves the great hero Louis XIV. in quiet possession of his banks.--So much for a true court poet, who would not have dared to write the eight last lines of this speech of Thames, from V. 415. The lines of Addison in the Campaign were ;

Gods

The God appear’d: he turn’d his azure eyes . Where Windsor-domes and pompous turrets rise ; Then bowd and spoke; the winds forget to roar, And the hush'd waves glide softly to the shore.

“ Hail, facred Peace! hail long-expected days, 355 That Thames's glory to the stars shall raise ! Tho' Tyber's streams immortal Rome behold, Tho’ foaming Hermus swells with tides of gold, From heay'n itself, tho' sev’nfold Nilus flows, And harvests on a hundred realms bestows; 360 These now no more shall be the Muse's themes, Lost in my fame, as in the sea their streams. Let Volga's banks with iron squadrons shine, And groves of lances glitter on the Rhine, Let barb’rous Ganges arm a servile train ; 365 Be mine the blessings of a peaceful reign. No more my fons shall dye with British blood Red Iber's fands, or Ister's foaming flood :

VARIATIONS.
Ver. 363. Originally thus in the MS.

Let Venice boast her Tow'rs amidit the Main,
Where the rough Adrian fwells and roars in vain ;
Here not a Town, but spacious Realm fhall have
A sure foundation on the rolling wave.

NOTES.
Gods may descend in factions from the skies,

And rivers from their oozy beds arise. I cannot forbear mentioning, that the very first composition that made the young Racine known at Paris was his Ode from the Nymph of the Seine to the Queen, which ode, by the way, was corrected by Chapelain, at that time in high vogue as a critic, and by him recommended to the court. . K 4

Safe

Safe on my shore each unmolested swain
Shall tend the flocks, or reap the bearded grain ; .

The shady empire shall retain no trace 371
Of war or blood, but in the sylvan chace;
The trumpet sleep, while chearful horns are blown,
And arms employ'd on birds and beasts alone.'
Behold! th' ascending Villas on my side; 375
Project long shadows o'er the crystal tide;
Behold! Augusta's glitt'ring spires increase,,..
And Temples rise, the beauteous works of Peace.
I see, I fee, where two fair cities bend .
Their ample bow, a new Whitehall ascend! .380
There mighty Nations shall enquire their doom,
The World's great Oracle in tịmes to come;
There Kings shall sue, and suppliant States be seen
Once more to bend before a BRITISH QUEEN...
Thy trees, fair Windfor! now shall leave their
woods,

385 And half thy forests rush into thy floods,

Bear
VARIATIONS...
VER. 385, &c. were originally, thus,

Now shall our fleets the bloody Cross display
To the rich regions of the rising day,
Or those green isles, where headlong Titan steeps
His hissing axle in th’ Atlantic deeps :
Tempt icy feas, &c.

P.

NOTES. VER, 378. And Temples rise,] The fifty new churches. P.

Ver. 380. A new Whitehall] « Several plates (says Mr. Walpole) of the intended palace of Whitehall have been given, but, I believe, from no finished design of Inigo Jones. The four

great

Bear Britain's thunder, and her Cross display,
To the bright regions of the rising day;
Tempt icy seas, where scarce the waters roll,
Where clearer flames glow round the frozen Pole;
Or under southern skies exalt their fails, . 391
Led by new stars, and borne by spicy gales!
For me the balm shall bleed, and amber flow,
The coral redden, and the ruby glow,
The pearly shell its lucid globe infold, . : 395
And Phoebus warm the rip’ning ore-to gold. so
The time shall come, when free as seas or wind "
Unbounded Thames shall flow for all mankind, ..
Whole nations enter with each swelling tide, ...'
And seas but join the regions they divide; 400
Earth's distant ends our glory shall behold,
And the new world launch forth to seek the old.
Then ships of uncouth form shall stem the tide,
And feather'd people croud my wealthy fide,

too near in Roman, but meaning

. .
NOTES.

' great sheets are evidently made up from general hints, nor could such a source of invention and taste, as the mind of Inigo, ever produce so much sameness. The strange kind of cherubims on the towers at the end are preposterous ornaments, and whether of Inigo or not, bear no relation to the rest. The great towers in the front are too near, and evidently borrowed from what he had seen in Gothic, not in Roman buildings. The circular court is a picturesque thought, but without meaning or utility.

Ver. 391.] Here is almost a prophecy of those discoveries of new islands and continents which this country of late years has had the honour to make. 'Ver. 398. Unbounded Thames, &c.] A wish that London may be made a FREE Port,

P. And

those difcars has

And naked youths and painted chiefs admire 405
Our speech, our colour, and our strange attire!
Oh stretch thy reign, fair Peace! from shore to shore,
'Till Conquest cease; and Slav'ry be no more ;
'Till the freed Indians in their native groves
Reap their own fruits, and woo their sable loves,
Peru once more a race of Kings behold, 411
And other Mexico's be roof'd with gold
Exil'd by thee from earth to deepest hell,
In brazen bonds, shall barborous Discord dwell :
Gigantic pride, pale Terror, gloomy Care, 415
And mad Ambition shall attend her there :
There purple Vengeance bath'd in gore retires,
Her weapons blunted, and extinct her fires :
There hated Envy her own snakes shall feel,
And Persecution mourn her broken wheel: 420
There Faction roar, Rebellion bite her chain,
And gasping Furies thirst for blood in vain.”

Here cease thy flight, nor with unhallow'd lays
Touch the fair fame of Albion's golden days:
::0,?"

NOTES. VER. 409. ] . . 2 . To hear the savage youth repeat ! *** In loose numbers wildly sweet, * Their feather-cinctured chiefs, and dusky loves, says Mr. Gray, most beautifully in his ode; dusky loves is more accurate than sable; they are not negroes.

Ver. 422. in vain.] This conclusion both of Horace and of Pope is feeble and fat. The whole should have ended with this speech of Thames at this line, 422.

IMITATIONS.
VER. 423.
: « Quo, Mufa, tendis ? define pervicax

Referre sermones Deorum et
Magna modis tenuare parvis." Hor.

Hor.

The

« AnteriorContinuar »