페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Quantus in æthereis, tollit se Lucifer armis !
Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor !
Quantis et quam funestis concurritur iris,
Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit!
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,
Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt :
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,
Et metuit pugnæ non superesse sure.
At simul in cœlis Messiæ insignia fulgent,
Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum
Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,

Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco
Admistis flammis insonuere polo;

Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,
Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt.
Ad poenas fugiunt ; et, ceu foret Orcus asylum
Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite, Romani scriptores; cedite, Graii;
Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus.
Hæc quicunque leget tantum cecinisse putabit
Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.

ANDREW MARVELL *.

WHEN I beheld the poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crown'd, God's reconciled decree,
Rebelling angels, the forbidden tree,
Heaven, hell, earth, chaos, all; the argument
Held me awhile misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to Fable and old song ;
(So Samson groped the temple's posts in spite)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.
Yet as I read, still growing less severe,

I liked his project, the success did fear;

Through that wide field how he his way should find O'er which lame faith leads understanding blind; Lest he perplex'd the things he would explain,

And what was easy he should render vain.

Or if a work so infinite he spann'd,

Jealous I was, that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And by ill imitating, would excel,)

Might hence presume the whole Creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play.
Pardon me, mighty Poet! nor despise

My causeless, yet not impious, surmise :
But I am now convinced; and none will dare

Within thy labours to pretend to share.

Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit, And all that was improper dost omit :

So that no room is here for writers left,

But to detect their ignorance or theft.

That majesty which through thy work doth reign, Draws the devout, deterring the profane:

And things divine thou treat'st of in such state,
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.

At once delight and horror on us seize,

Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease;

* Address to Milton on reading Paradise Lost.

And above human flight dost soar aloft
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft:
The bird named from that Paradise you sing,
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where couldst thou words of such a compass find?
Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind?
Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite,
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.

Well mightst thou scorn thy readers to allure
With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure ;
While the Town-Bays writes all the while and spells,
And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells:
Their fancies like our bushy points appear;
The poets tag them, we for fashion wear.

I too, transported by the mode, offend;

And, while I meant to praise thee, must commend :
Thy verse created, like thy theme sublime,

In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.

[blocks in formation]

BUT Milton next, with high and haughty stalks,
Unfetter'd, in majestic numbers, walks:

No vulgar hero can his Muse engage,

Nor earth's wide scene confine his hallow'd rage.
See! see! he upward springs, and, towering high,
Spurns the dull province of mortality;

Shakes Heaven's eternal throne with dire alarms,
And sets the Almighty Thunderer in arms!
Whate'er his pen describes I more than see;
Whilst every verse, array'd in majesty,
Bold and sublime, my whole attention draws,
And seems above the critic's nicer laws.
How are you struck with terror and delight,
When angel with archangel copes in fight!
When great Messiah's outspread banner shines,
How does the chariot rattle in his lines!

What sound of brazen wheels, with thunder, scare
And stun the reader with the din of war!

With fear my spirits and my blood retire,

To see the seraphs sunk in clouds of fire:

But when, with eager steps, from hence I rise,
And view the first gay scene of Paradise;

What tongue, what words of rapture, can express
A vision so profuse of pleasantness!

THOMSON.

FOR lofty sense,

Creative fancy, and inspection keen

Through the deep windings of the human heart,
Is not wild Shakspeare thine and Nature's boast?
Is not each great, each amiable Muse

* Epigram on Milton.

↑ From an Account of the Greatest English Poets. The Seasons-" Summer."

Of classic ages in thy MILTON met?
A genius universal as his theme;
Astonishing as Chaos; as the bloom

Of blowing Eden fair; as Heaven sublime!

GRAY*.

NOR Second HE that rode sublime

Upon the scraph-wings of ecstacy;
The secrets of the abyss to spy,

He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where Angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.

COLLINSt.

HIGH on some cliff, to Heaven up-piled,
Of rude access, of prospect wild,
Where, tangled round the jealous steep,
Strange shades o'erbrow the valleys deep,
And holy Genii guard the rock,

Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock;
While on its rich ambitious head

An Eden, like HIS OWN, lies spread;

I view that oak the fancied glades among,

By which, as MILTON lay, his evening ear,

From many a cloud that dropp'd ethereal dew,

Nigh sphered in Heaven, its native strains could hear,

On which that ancient trump he reach'd was hung;
Thither oft his glory greeting,

From Waller's myrtle shades retreating,

With many a vow from Hope's aspiring tongue,
My trembling feet his guiding steps pursue;

In vain --Such bliss to one alone

Of all the sons of Soul was known;

And Heaven and Fancy, kindred Powers,

Have now o'erturn'd the inspiring bowers,

Or curtain'd close such scene from every future view.

MASON.

RISE, hallow'd MILTON! rise and say,

How, at thy gloomy close of day;

How, when "depress'd by age, beset with wrongs ;"
When "fallen on evil days and evil tongues :"

When Darkness, brooding on thy sight,

Exiled the sovereign lamp of light;

Say, what could then one cheering hope diffuse?
What friends were thine, save Memory and the Muse?
Hence the rich spoils, thy studious youth
Caught from the stores of ancient Truth:
Hence all thy busy eye could pleased explore,
When Rapture led thee to the Latian shore;
Each scene, that Tiber's bank supplied;
Each grace, that play'd on Arno's side:
The tepid gales, through Tuscan glades that fly;
The blue serene, that spreads Hesperia's sky;
Were still thine own: thy ample mind
Each charm received, retain'd, combined.

* Progress of Poesy.

† Ode on the Poetical Character.

Ode to Memory.

And thence "the nightly Visitant," that came
To touch thy bosom with her sacred flame,
Recall'd the long-lost beams of grace,
That whilom shot from Nature's face

When God, in Eden, o'er her youthful breast

Spread with his own right hand Perfection's gorgeous vest.

DR. ROBERTS*.

POET of other times! to thee I bow

With lowliest reverence. Oft thou takest my soul,

And waft'st it by thy potent harmony

To that empyreal mansion, where thine ear
Caught the soft warblings of a seraph's harp,
What time the nightly visitant unlock'd
The gates of Heaven, and to thy mental sight
Display'd celestial scenes. She from thy lyre
With indignation tore the tinkling bells,
And turn'd it to sublimest argument.

COWPER t.

AGES elapsed ere Homer's lamp appear'd,
And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard:
To carry Nature lengths unknown before,
To give a MILTON birth, ask'd ages more.
Thus Genius rose and set at order'd times,
And shot a day-spring into distant climes,
Ennobling every region that he chose;
He sunk in Greece, in Italy he rose ;
And, tedious years of gothic darkness pass'd,
Emerged all splendour in our isle at last.
Thus lovely halcyons dive into the main,
Then show far off their shining plumes again.

COWPERI.

PHILOSOPHY, baptized

In the pure fountain of eternal love,

Has eyes indeed; and, viewing all she sees

As meant to indicate a God to man,

Gives Him his praise, and forfeits not her own.
Learning has borne such fruit in other days
On all her branches: piety has found

Friends in the friends of science, and true prayer
Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews.
Such was thy wisdom, Newton, childlike sage!
Sagacious reader of the works of God,

And in his word sagacious. Such too thine,
Milton, whose genius had angelic wings,
And fed on manna.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
O, raise us up! return to us again;

And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart :

Thou hadst a voice, whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free;
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

I.

HE, most sublime of bards, whose lay divine
Sung of the Fall of Man, was in his style

Naked and stern; and to effeminate ears

Perchance ev'n harsh; but who will dare dispute

His strength and grandeur? What bright glories shine
Upon the towers of his gigantic pile,

Which neither storms nor Time's destruction fears,

Eternal growth of an eternal root!

How plain the words, that with essential thought,

Pure, heavenly, incorporeal,-by the skill

Of angels' tongues how marvellously wrought,-
The web ethereal, where the serpent's ill
Brought woe and ruin into Paradise,

And drove the sire of man from Eden's bliss!

11.

Nor Milton's holy genius could secure

In life his name from insult and from scorn,
And taunts of indignation; foul as fall

Upon the vilest tribe of human kind;
Nor yet untainted could his heart endure

The calumnies his patience should have borne:
For words revengeful started at his call,
And blotted the effulgence of his mind.
But, O, how frail the noblest soul of man!

Not o'er aggressive blame the bard arose;

His monarch's deeds 'twas his with spleen to scan;
And on his reign the gates of mercy close!
He had a hero's courage; but, too stern,

He could not soft submission's dictates learn!

E. B.

[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »