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Of Lyric
Poetry.

Izo The song.

I 2 r The distinguishing character of the lesser ode.

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HE variety of subjects, which are allowed the lyric poet, makes it necessary to consider this species of poetry under the following heads, viz. the sublime ode, the lesser ode, and the song. We shall begin with the lowest, and proceed to that which is more eminent. I. Songs are little poetical compositions, usually set to a tune, and frequently sung in company by way of entertainment and diversion. Of these we have in our language a great number; but, considering that number, not many which are excellent; for, as the duke of Buckingham observes,

Though nothing seems more easy, yet no part Of poetry requires a nicer art.

The song admits of almost any subject; but the greatest part of them turn either upon love, contentment, or the pleasures of a country life, and drinking. Be the subject, however, what it will, the verses should be easy, natural, and flowing, and contain a certain harmony, so that poetry and music may be agreeably united. In these compositions, as in all others, obscene and profane expressions should be carefully avoided, and indeed every thing that tends to take off that respect which is due to religion and virtue, and to encourage vice and immorality. As the best songs in our language are already in every hand, it would seem superfluous to insert examples. For further precepts, however, as well as select examples, in this species of composition, we may refer the reader to the elegant Essay on Song Writing, by Mr Aikin.

II. The lesser ode. The distinguishing character of this is sweetness; and as the pleasure we receive from this sort of poem arises principally from its soothing and affecting the passions, great regard should be paid to the language as well as to the thoughts and numbers.

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Longinus has preserved a fragment of Sappho, an ancient Greek poetess, which is in great reputation amongst the critics, and has been so happily translated by Mr Philips as to give the English reader a just idea of the spirit, ease, and elegance of that admired author; and show how exactly she copied nature. To enter into the beauties of this ode, we must suppose a lover sitting by his mistress, and thus expressing his passion:

Blest as th’ immortal gods is he,
The youth who fondly sits by thee,
And sees and hears thee all the while
Softly speak, and sweetly smile.
'Twas this depriv'd my soul of rest,
And rais'd such tumults in my breast;
For while I gaz'd, in transport tost,
My breath was gone, my voice was lost.
My bosom glow'd, the subtle flame
Ran quick through all my vital frame:
O'er my dim eyes a darkness hung;
My ears with hollow murmurs rung.
In dewy damps my limbs were chill'd,
My blood with gentle horrors thrill'd ;
My feeble pulse forgot to play;
I fainted, sunk, and dy'd away.

Of Lyric Poetry.

1 22, The Sapphic ode.

- - - - 1 2 3 After this instance of the Sapphic ode, it may not The Ana. be improper to speak of that sort of ode which is called creontic Anacreontic; being written in the manner and taste of".

Anacreon, a Greek poet, famous for the delicacy of his wit, and the exquisite, yet easy and natural, turn of his poesy. We have several of his odes still extant, and many modern ones in imitation of him, which are mostly composed in verses of seven syllables, or three feet and a half. We shall give the young student one or two examples of his manner from Mr Fawkes's excellent translation. The following ode on the power of gold, which had been often attempted but with little success, this gentleman has translated very happily.

Ilove's a pain that works our wo; Not to love is painful too : But, alas ! the greatest pain Waits the love that meets disdain.

What avails ingenuous worth, Sprightly wit, or noble birth * All these virtues useless prove ;

Gold alone engages love.
A May

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If the treasur’d gold could give Man a longer term to live, I'd employ my utmost care . Still to keep, and still to spare ; And, when death approach'd, would say, ‘Take thy fee, and walk away.” But since riches cannot save Mortals from the gloomy grave, Why should I myself deceive, Vainly sigh, and vainly grieve 2 Death will surely be my lot, Whether I am rich or not.

Give me freely while I live Generous wines, in plenty give Soothing joys my life to cheer, Beauty kind, and friends sincere; Happy! could I ever find Friends sincere, and beauty kind.

But two of the most admired, and perhaps the most imitated, of Anacreon's odes, are that of Mars wounded by one of the darts of Love, and Cupid stung by a Bee ; both which are wrought up with fancy and delieacy, and are translated with elegance and spirit.—Take that of Cupid stung by a bee.

Once as Cupid, tir'd with play, . On a bed of roses lay,

A rude bee, that slept unseen,
The sweet breathing buds between,
Stung his finger, cruel chance
With its little pointed lance.
Straight he fills the air with cries,
Weeps, and sobs, and runs, and flies;
*Till the god to Venus came,
Lovely, laughter-loving dame:
Then he thus began to plain;
“Oh! undone—I die with pain—
“Dear mamma, a serpent small,
“Which a bee the ploughman call,
“Imp'd with wings, and arm'd with dart,
“Oh –has stung me to the heart.”

Venus thus reply'd, and smil'd :
“Dry those tears for shame! my child;
* If a bee can wound so deep,
‘Causing Cupid thus to weep,

‘Think, O think! what cruel pains Os Lyric “He that's stung by thee sustains.' Poetry. Among the most successful of this poet's English imi- 1.4

tators may be reckoned Dr Johnson and Mr Prior. The Imitation

following ode on Evening by the former of these writers of Amore

has, if we mistake not, the very spirit and air of Anacreon.” and
Evening now from purple wings
Sheds the grateful gifts she brings;
Brilliant drops bedeck the mead;
Cooling breezes shake the reed;
Shake the reed and curl the stream
Silver'd o'er with Cynthia's beam;
Near the chequer'd lonely grove
Hears, and keeps thy secrets, Love.
Stella, thither let us stray !
Lightly o'er the dewy way.
Phoebus drives his burning car
Hence, my lovely Stella, far:
In his stead the queen of night
Round us pours a lambent light;
Light that seems but just to show
Breasts that beat, and cheeks that glow:
Let us now, in whisper'd joy,
Evening's silent hours employ;
Silence best, and conscious shades,
Please the hearts that love invades:
Other pleasures give them pain;
Lovers all but love disdain.

But of all the imitations of the playful bard of Greece that we have ever met with, the most perfect is the following Anacreontic by the regent duke of Orleans. I

Je suis né pour les plaisirs;
Bien fou que s'en passe :
Je ne veux pas les choisir ;
Souvent le choix m'embarrasse :
Aime t'on 2 J'aime soudain;
Bois ton f J'ai la verre à la main;
Je tiens par tout ma place.
Dormir est un temps perdu;
Faut il qu'on s'y livre *
Sommeil, prends ce quit'est du;
Mais attends que je sois yvre:
Saisis moi dans cet instant;
Fais moi dormir promptement;
Je suis pressé de vivre.

III.
Mais si quelque objet charmant,
Dans un songe aimable,
Vient d'un plaisir seduisant
M'offrir l’image agréable;
Sommeil, allons doucement;
L'erreur est en ce moment
Un bonheur veritable.

Translation of the Regent's Anacreontic (E).

Frolic and free, for pleasure born,
The self-denying fool I scorn.
The

(F) We give this translation, both because of its excellence, and because it is said to have been the production

of no less a man than the late Lord Chatham.

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Yes, fairest proof of beauty's power,
Dear idol of my panting heart,
Nature points this my fatal hour:
And I have liv'd : and we must part.
While now I take my last adieu,
Heave thou no sigh, nor shed a tear;
Lest yet my half-clos'd eye may view
On earth an object worth its care.
From jealousy's tormenting strife
For ever be thy bosom freed;
That nothing may disturb thy life,
Content I hasten to the dead.
Yet when some better-fated youth
Shall with his am’rous parly move thee,
Reflect one moment on his truth
Who, dying, thus persists to love thee.

There is much of the softness of Sappho, and the sweetness of Anacreon and Prior, in the following ode, which is ascribed to the unfortunate Dr Dodd; and was written in compliment to a lady, who, being sick, had sent the author a moss rose-bud, instead of making his family a visit. This piece is particularly to be esteemed for the just and striking moral with which it is pointed.

The slightest of favours bestow'd by the fair, With rapture we take, and with triumph we wear; But a moss-woven rose-bud, Eliza, from thee, A well-pleasing gift to a monarch would be. —Ah! that illness, too cruel, forbidding should stand, And refuse me the gift from thy own lovely hand With joy I receive it, with pleasure will view, Reminded of thee, by its odour and hue : “Sweet rose, let me tell thee, though charming thy bloom, Tho' thy fragrance excels Seba's richest perfume;

Thy breath to Eliza's no fragrance hath in't, Of Lytic
And but dull is thy bloom to her cheek's blushing tint. Poetry.
Yet, alas! my fair flow'r, that bloom will decay,
And all thy lov’d beauties soon wither away;
Tho' pluck'd by her hand, to whose touch we must own,
Harsh and rough is the cygnet's most delicate down :”
Thou too, snowy hand; nay, I mean not to preach ;
But the rose, lovely moralist, suffer to teach.
“. Extol not, fair maiden, thy beauties o'er mine;
They too are short-liv'd, and they too must decline;
And small, in conclusion, the diff'rence appears,
In the bloom of few days, or the bloom of few years!
But remember a virtue the rose hath to boast,

-Its fragrance remains when its beauties are lost!” 6 I 2

We come now to those odes of the more florid and Odes more figurative kind, of which we have many in our language." that deserve particular commendation. Mr W.3,"gurative. Ode to Fancy has been justly admired by the best judges; for though it has a distant resemblance of Milton's l'Allegro and Il Penseroso, yet the work is original; the thoughts are mostly new and various, and the language and numbers elegant, expressive, and harmonious.

O parent of each lovely muse, Thy spirit o'er my soul diffuse ! O'er all my artless songs preside, My footsteps to thy temple guide : To offer at thy turf-built shrine In golden cups no costly wine, No murder'd fatling of the flock, But flow’rs and honey from the rock. O nymph, with loosely flowing hair, With buskin'd leg, and bosom bare; Thy waist with myrtle-girdle bound, Thy brows with Indian feathers crown'd; Waving in thy snowy hand An all-commanding magic wand, Of pow'r to bid fresh gardens blow "Mid cheerless Lapland's barren snow : Whose rapid wings thy flight convey, Through air, and over earth and sea; While the vast various landscape lies Conspicuous to thy piercing eyes. O lover of the desert, hail! Say, in what deep and pathless vale, Or on what hoary mountain's side, "Midst falls of water, you reside; "Midst broken rocks, a rugged scene, With green and grassy dales between ; "Midst forests dark of aged oak, Ne'er echoing with the woodman's stroke; Where never human art appear'd, Nor ev'n one straw-roof’d cott was rear'd ; Where Nature seems to sit alone, Majestic on a craggy throne. Tell me the path, sweet wand'rer ' tell, To thy unknown sequester'd cell, Where woodbines cluster round the door, Where shells and moss o'erlay the floor, And on whose top an hawthorn blows, Amid whose thickly-woven boughs Some nightingale still builds her nest, Each ev’ning warbling thee to rest. Then lay me by the haunted stream, Wrapt in some wild poetic dream;

A 2 In

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If the treasur'd gold could give Man a longer term to live, I'd employ my utmost care Still to keep, and still to spare ; And, when death approach'd, would say, ‘Take thy fee, and walk away.” But since riches cannot save Mortals from the gloomy grave, Why should I myself deceive, Vainly sigh, and vainly grieve : Death will surely be my lot, Whether I am rich or not.

Give me freely while I live Generous wines, in plenty give Soothing joys my life to cheer, Beauty kind, and friends sincere; Happy' could I ever find

Friends sincere, and beauty kind.

But two of the most admired, and perhaps the most imitated, of Anacreon's odes, are that of Mars wounded by one of the darts of Love, and Cupid stung by a Bee; both which are wrought up with fancy and delieacy, and are translated with elegance and spirit.—Take that of Cupid stung by a bee.

Once as Cupid, tir'd with play, . On a bed of roses lay,

A rude bee, that slept unseen,
The sweet breathing buds between,
Stung his finger, cruel chance
With its little pointed lance.
Straight he fills the air with cries,
Weeps, and sobs, and runs, and flies;
*Till the god to Venus came,
Lovely, laughter-loving dame :
Then he thus began to plain ;
“Oh! undone—I die with pain
“Dear mamma, a serpent small,
“Which a bee the ploughman call,
“Imp'd with wings, and arm'd with dart,
“Oh –has stung me to the heart.”

Venus thus reply'd, and smil'd :
“Dry those tears for shame! my child;
* If a bee can wound so deep,
‘Causing Cupid thus to weep,

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Among the most successful of this poet's English imi- 1.4 tators may be reckoned Dr Johnson and Mr Prior. The Imitation following ode on Evening by the former of these writers of Amorehas, if we mistake not, the very spirit and air of Anacreon.” and Evening now from purple wings Sheds the grateful gifts she brings; Brilliant drops bedeck the mead; Cooling breezes shake the reed; Shake the reed and curl the stream Silver'd o'er with Cynthia's beam; Near the chequer'd lonely grove Hears, and keeps thy secrets, Love. Stella, thither let us stray ! Lightly o'er the dewy way. Phoebus drives his burning car Hence, my lovely Stella, far: In his stead the queen of night Round us pours a lambent light; Light that seems but just to show Breasts that beat, and checks that glow: Let us now, in whisper'd joy, Evening's silent hours employ; Silence best, and conscious shades, Please the hearts that love invades: Other pleasures give them pain; Lovers all but love disdain.

But of all the imitations of the playful bard of Greece that we have ever met with, the most perfect is the following Anacreontic by the regent duke of Orleans. I

Je suis né pour les plaisirs;
Bien fou que s'en passe :
Je ne veux pas les choisir ;
Souvent le choix m'embarrasse :
Aime t'on 2 J'aime soudain;
Bois t”on ? J’ai la verre à la main ;
Je tiens par tout ma place.
II.
Dormir est un temps perdu;
Faut il qu'on s'y livre *
Sommeil, prends ce quit'est du ;
Mais attends que je sois y vre:
Saisis moi dans cet instant;
Fais moi dormir promptement;
Je suis pressé de vivre.
III.
Mais si quelque objet charmant,
Dans un songe aimable,
Vient d'un plaisir seduisant
M'offrir l’image agréable;
Sommeil, allons doucement ;
L'erreur est en ce moment
Un bonheur veritable.

Translation of the Regent's Anacreontic (E).

Frolic and free, for pleasure born,
The self-denying fool I scorn.
The

(E) We give this translation, both because of its excellence, and because it is said to have been the production

of no less a man than the late Lord Chatham.

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