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IN the foregoing Edition the text of all those pieces, which the Author published in his life-time, is given exactly as he left it in the London and Glasgow editions; and the few added pieces are printed verbatim from his corrected manuscripts. I have also inserted all his explanatory notes at the bottom of their respective pages; but those which only pointed out imitative expressions, have been reserved for these concluding pages, because many of them appeared to me not very material, and therefore would have crouded the text as unnecessarily as my own annotations.
The original manuscript title which Mr. Gray gave to this Ode,
was Noontide; probably he then meant to write two more, descriptive of Morning and Evening. His unfinished Ode (vide infra, p. 74,) opens with a fine description of the former: and his Elegy with as beautiful a picture of the latter, which perhaps he might, at that time, have meditated upon for the exordium of an Ode; but this is only conjecture. It may, however, be remarked, that these three capital descriptions abound with ideas which affect the ear more than the eye; and therefore go beyond the powers of picturesque imitation.
1. O'er-canopies the glade.
Stanza 2. l. 4.
O'er-canopied with luscious woodbine. G.
Shakes. Mids. Night's Dream,
2. How low, how little are the Proud; How indigent the Great.
Stanza 2. I. 9 and 10.
How low, how indigent the Proud;
Thus it stood in Dodsley's Miscellany, where it was first published.
The author corrected it on account of the point of little and great. It certainly had too much the appearance of a Concetto, though it expressed his meaning better than the present reading.
sporting with quick glance, Shew to the sun their wav'd coats dropt with gold.
Milton's Par. Lost, b. vii. G.
5. To Contemplation's sober eye.
Stanza 4. 1. 1.
M. GREEN in the Grotto.
1. This little piece, in which comic humour is so happily blended
with lyrical fancy, was written, in point of time, some years later than the first, third, and fourth Odes; [See Memoirs, Sect. 4. Let. 6.] but as the author had printed it here in his own edition, I have not changed it. Mr. Walpole, since the death of Mr. Gray, has placed the China vase in question on a pedestal at Strawberry-Hill, with the first four lines of the Ode for its inscription.