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111. 1. Far from the sun and summer-gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's *darling laid,
What time, where lucid Avon stray'd,
Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy,
The secrets of th' abyss to spy. He pass'd the flaming bounds of space 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. Bebold where Dryden's less presumptuous car Wide o'er the fields of glory bear Two coursers of ethereal race, With necks in thunder clothed, and long-resounding pace.
III. 3. Hark, his hands the lyre explore ! Bright-eyed Fancy, hovering o'er,
Scatters from her pictured urn
Thoughts, that breathe, and words, that burn. But ah ! 'tis heard no more
Milton. We have had in our language no other odes of the sublime kind, than that of Dryden on st. Cecilia's day: for Cowley who had his merit) yet wanted judgment, style, and harmony for such a task. That of Pope is not worthy of so great a man, Mr. Mason, indeed, of late days, has touched the true chords, and with a masterly hand, in some of his Choruses, -above
in the last of Caractacns ;. Hark! heard ye not yon footstep dread ? &c.
Oh! lyre divine, what daring Spirit
*That the Theban eagle bear, Sailing with supreme dominion
Through the ažure deep of air:
Such forms, as glitter in the Muse's ray
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate, Beneath the Good how far-but far above the Great.
VI. THE BARD.
Confusion on thy banners wait !
They mock the air with idle state.
Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay,
* Pindar. + This Ode is founded on a tradition current in Wales, that Edward the First, when he completed the conquest of that country, ordered all the bards that fell into his hands to be put to death.
| The hauberk was a texture of steel ringlets, or rings interwoven, forming a coat of mail, that sat close to the body, and adapted itself to every motion.
Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that mountainous tract which the Welsh themselves call Craigian-eryri: it included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire, as far east as the river Conway. R. Hygden, speaking of the castle of Conway, built by King Edward the First, says, Ad ortum amnis Conway ad clivum montis Erery;' and Matthew of Westminster, (ad ann. 1283), “Apud Aberconway ad pedes montis Snowdoniæ fecit erigi castrum forte.'
Stout Glo'ster* stood aghast in speechless trance ; *To arms! cried Mortimer,t and couch'd his quiv'ring lance,
1. 2. On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o’er old Conway's foaming flood, Robed in the sable garb of woe,
With haggard eyes the Puet stood (Loose his beard, and hoary hair Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air); And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire, Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre. • Hark, how each giant-vak, and desert cave,
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe ;
I. 3. · Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hush'd the stormy main :
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale :
Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail; The famish'd eagles screams, and passes by.
* Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, earl of Gloucester and Hertford, son-in-law to King Edward, + Edmond de Mortimer, lord of Wigmore.
They both were Lords-Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and probably accompanied the king in this expedition.
1 The shores of Caernarvonshire opposite to the isle of Anglesey,
Camden and others observe, that eagles used annually to build their aerie among the rocks of Snowdon, which from thence (as some think) were named by the Welsh Craigianeryri, or the crags of the eagles. At this day (I am told) the highest point of Snowdon is called the eagle's nest. That bird is certainly no stranger to this islaud, as the Scots and the people of Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c. can testify: it even has built its nest in the Peak of Derbyshire. (See Willoughby's Drnithol. published by Ray.)
Dear, lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear, as the light that visits these sad eyes, Dear, as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's criesNo more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a griesly band, I see them sit; they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land: With me in dreadful harmony they join, And* weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.'
• Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
The winding-sheet of Edward's race. Give ample room, and verge enough
The characters of hell to trace. Mark the year, and mark the night, +When Severn shall re-echo with affright; The shrieks of death, through Berkley's roof that ring, Shrieks of an agonizing king! IShe-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs,
That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate, From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs
The scourge of Heay'n! What terrors round him Amazement in his van, with Flight combined, (wait! And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.
* Mighty victor, mighty. lord,
|| Low on his funeral couch he lies! No pitying heart, no eye, afford
A tear to grace his obsequies. Is the sable (Warrior fled ? Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead. The swarm, that in thy noon-tide beam were born ? Gone to salute the rising Morn.
* See the Norwegian Ode, that follows.
Isabel of France, Edward the Second's adulterous queen.
Death of that king, abandoned by his children, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and his mistress..
1 Edward the Black Prince, dead some time before his father,
Fair* laughs the Morn, and soft the Zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm; Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway, That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening-prey.
The rich repast prepare ;
Close by the regal chair
Lance to lance, and horse to horse?
Long years of havock urge their destined course, And through the kindred squadrons mow their way. Ye Towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,
With many a foul and midnight murder fed, Revere his consort's faith his father's fame,
And spare the meek **usurper's holy head ! Above, below, the trose of snow,
Twined with her blushing foe, we spread : The bristled itboar in infant-gore
Wallows beneath the thorny shade. Now, brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom, Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.
* Maguificence of Richard the Second's reign. See Froissard, and other contemporary writers.
+ Richard the Second (as we are told by archbishop Scroop and the confederate lords in their manifesto, by Thomas of Walsingbam, and all the older writers) was starved to death. The story of his assassination by Sir Piers, of Exon, is of much later date.
Ruinous civil wars of York and Lancaster. S. Henry the Sixth, George duke of Clarence, Edward the Fifth, Richard duke of York, &c, believed to be murdered secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Cæsar.
Margaret of Anjou, a woman of heroic spirit, who struggled hard to save her husband and her crown.
1 Henry the Fifth. ** Henry the Sixth, very near being canonized. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the crown.
# The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster. # The silver boar was the badge of Richard the Third : whence he was usually known, in his own time, by the name of the Boar,