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violent indignation. Blood raised the tide of the Menäi, and the crimson of human gore stained the brine. There were glittering cuirasses, and the agony of gashing wounds, and the mangled warriors prostrate before the chief, distinguished by his crimson lance. Lloegria was put into confusion; the contest and confusion was great; and the glory of our Prince's wide-wasting sword shall be celebrated in an hundred languages to give him his merited praise.
From the extract of the Gododin, which Mr. Evans has given us
in his “ Dissertatio de Bardis," in the forementioned book, I shall here transcribe those particular passages which Mr. Gray selected for imitation in this Ode.
1. Si mihi liceret vindictam in Déirorum populum ferre,
3. Viri ibant ad Cattraeth, & fuêre insignes,
Whoever compares Mr. Gray's poetical versions of these four lyri
cal pieces with the literal translations which I have here in
serted, will, I am persuaded, be convinced that nothing of the kind was ever executed with more fire, and at the same time, more judgment. He keeps up through them all the wild romantic spirit of his originals; elevates them by some well-chosen epithet or image where they flag, yet in such a manner as is perfectly congruous with the general idea of the poems; and if he either varies or omits any of the original thoughts, they are only of that kind which, according to our modern sentiments, would appear vulgar or ludicrous: two instances of this kind occur in the latter part of this last Ode. How well has he turned the idea of the fourth line: “ Ex iis qui nimio potu madidi!” and the conclusion, “ Aliter ad hoc Carmen compingendum, &c."
The former of which is ridiculous; the latter insipid.
4. I find amongst Mr. Gray's papers, a few more lines taken from
other parts of the Gododin, which I shall here add with their respective Latin versions. They may serve to shew succeeding Poets the manner in which the spirit of these their ancient pre: decessors in the Art may best be transfused into a modern imi: tation of them.
Have ye seen the tusky Boar,
Quando ad Bellum properabat Caradocus,
Conan's name, my lay, rehearse,
As the thunder's fiery stroke,
Debitus est tibi cantus qui honorem assecutus es maximum,
1. If what Boileau says be true in his “ Art Poetique,” that
Un Sonnet sans defauts vaut seul un long Poeme---the merit of
this little Poem is decided. It is written in strict observance of those strict rules, which the Poet there lays down. Vide “ Art Poetique, Chant. ii. 1. 82." Milton, I believe, was the first of our English Poets, who exactly followed the Italian model: Our Author varies from him only in making the rhymes in the two first Quartetts alternate, which is more agreeable to the English ear, than the other method of arranging them.
1. After line 6, in the place of the four next--
To hide her cares her only art,
In ling’ring pain, in death resign'd,
2. Whom what awaits, &c.
The construction here is a little hard, and creates obscurity,
which is always least to be pardoped in an Epitaph.
This is as perfect, in its kind, as the foregoing Sonnet. Sir William
Williams, in the expedition to Aix, was on board the Magnanime with Lord Howe; and was deputed to receive the capitulation.
WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHI-YARD.
1. The most popular of all our Author's publications; it ran
through eleven editions in a very short space of time; was finely translated into Latin by Messrs. Ansty and Roberts; and in the same year another, though I think inferior, version of it was published by Mr. Lloyd. The reader is informed, in the Memoirs, of the time and manner of its first publication. He originally gave it only the simple title of “ Stanzas, written in a Country Church-yard.” I persuaded him first to call it an Elegy, because the subject authorised him so to do; and the
alternate measure, in which it was written, seemed peculiarly fit for that species of composition. I imagined too that so capital a Poem, written in this measure, would, as it were, appropriate it in future to writings of this sort; and the number of imitations which have since been made of it (even to satiety) seem to prove that my notion was well founded. In the first manuscript copy of this exquisite Poem, I find the conclusion different from that which he afterwards composed; and though his after-thought was unquestionably the best, yet there is a pathetic melancholy in the four rejected stanzas, which highly claims preservation, I shall therefore give them as a variation in their proper place.
2. The knell of parting day,
squilla di lontano
Che paia 'l giorno pianger, che si muore.
Dante Purg. I. 8. G.
3. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife.
The thoughtless world to Majesty may bow,
And thou, who mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead,