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For, faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds thy span ;
That first spoke peace to man.
My eye descending from the Hill,surveys
(1) The poem entitled “Cooper's Hill," from which this extract is made, was written in 1643. The date may account in part for the quaintness of the style.
(2) The hill-Cooper's Hill, near Windsor. (3) This idea is beautifully amplified by Cowper (see p. 80), in the lines beginning,
“The lapse of time and rivers is the same. (4) The rivers Pactolus and Hermus, in Asia Minor, were said by the ancient poets to roll down sand mingled with gold.
(5) Resumes, &c. i. e. does not first by his overflow create abundance, and then by a second inundation destroy his own creation. The figures in the last few lines display more ingenuity than taste : they are incongruous and unnecessarily multiplied.
(6) Loves to do-. e. loves to do good. The allusion here seems to be to Gen. 1. 31.
When? he, to boast or to disperse his stores,
THE COMMON LOT.3
There lived a man and who was he?
That man resembled thee!
The land in which he lived unknown;
This truth survives alone :-
Alternate triumphed in his breast;
Oblivion hides the rest. (1) When-seems here to mean inasmuch, seeing that; and the sense of the passage to be, that the blessings of the Thames are unlimited, inasmuch as, through the agency of the ships—“his flying towers," that he sends forth laden with English produce and manufacture-he visits the world, and brings home both Indies to us, by making their produce and wealth ours.
(2) The last two lines have been much admired for the exquisite taste displayed in the choice of words. They embody, with happy brevity, the main characteristics of a finished literary style, which should be," though deep, yet clear," &c. “ Strong, without rage," means strong without the ostentatious display of strength.
(3) The lot or condition which is common to all mankind-with its hopes and fears, its pleasures and pains. (4) Joy, delight, and bliss, may be thus distinguished :Joy-is vivid
and therefore transient, pleasure.
Bliss-complete and abiding happiness.
The bounding pulse, the languid limb,
For these are felt by all.
Enjoyed—but his delights are fled;
And foes—his foes are dead.
Hath lost in its unconscious womb;
Her beauty from the tomb.
Sun, moon, and stars, the earth and main,
To him exist in vain.
Encountered all that troubles thee;
He is—what thou shalt be.
That once their shade and glory threw,
No vestiges where they flew !
Their ruins since the world began,
Grief-is intense and overwhelming, but brief, sorrow.
Woe-complete, absorbing, and abiding misery. Hence we may speak of “transports of joy or grief," " ecstacies of delight," "perfect bliss," "speechless woe." In the above poem,“ joy" and “grief" are correctly said to "triumph," &c., “delights" to be “filed,” but “bliss” and “woe" are less correctly employed, inasmuch as bliss properly belongs only to heaven, and woe “lies too deep for tears."
(1) Erewhile—a while before—some time ago.
(4) Annals, &c.-neither the written histe ry of mankind, nor the ruins they have left behind them, afford any other trace, &c.
THE LION HUNT.1
MOUNT-mount for the hunting-with musket and spear !
(1) The circumstances described in this very spirited poem, came under the personal observation of the writer, Mr. Pringle, and may be read in detail in the 8th chapter of his interesting “ Narrative of a Residence in South Africa."
(2) The names in this piece are-with the exception of “the Rennies," who were Scottish friends of the author-those of Mulatto farmers, and Hottentot and Dutch servants, residing in the neighbourhood.
(3) Spoor—a Dutch word-track, the lion's track.
(5) Fatherland-here means Scotland, which was the native country of the emigrants.
(6) Kloof—a Dutch word—a small valley opening into a larger one. (7) Fell—a Scandinavian word-a rocky hill.
Leave the horses behind and be still every man :
yon hound, The
savage, I guess, will be out with a bound. He comes the tall jungle before him loud crashing, His mane bristled fiercely, his fiery eyes flashing; With a roar of disdain, he leaps forth in his wrath, To challenge the foe that dare 'leaguer' his path. He couches—ay, now we'll see mischief, I dread : Quick-level your rifles—and aim at his head : Thrust forward the spears, and unsheaf every knifeSt. George! he's upon us ! Now fire, lads, for life! He's wounded--but yet he'll draw blood ere he falls-Ha! under his paw see Bezuidenhout sprawlsNow Diederik ! Christian ! right in the brain Plant each man his bullet-HURRA! he is slain! Bezuidenhout-up, man!—'tis only a scratch (You were always a scamp, and have met with your match!) What a glorious lion !—what sinews--what clawsAnd seven-feet-ten from the rump to the jaws ! His hide, with the paws and the bones of his skull, And the spoils of the leopard and buffalo bull
, We'll send to Sir Walter!2_Now, boys, let us dine, And talk of our deeds o'er a flask of old wine.
DEEP solitude I sought. There was a dell
(1) 'Leaguer--for beleaguer--to besiege, beset. (2) Sir Walter Scott, a friend of the author.
(3) Lonely-synonymous with alone-feeling alone, habitually without company ; alone-by one's self, actually without company. Hence we may speak of a " lonely fount," and of “ being alone."