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gusts us with apparent and unconquerable falsehood. Incredulus odi.
To select a singular event, and swell it to a giant's bulk by fabulous appendages of spectres and predictions, has little difficulty, for he that forsakes the probable may always find the marvellous; and it has little use, we are affected only as we believe; we are improved only as we find something to be imitated or declined. I do not see that The Bard promotes any truth, moral or political.
His stanzas are too long, especially his epodes; the ode is finished before the ear has learned its measures, and consequently before it can receive plea
fure from their consonance and recurrence.
Of the first stanza the abrupt beginning has been celebrated; but technical beauties can give praise only to the inventor. It is in the power of any man to rush abrutly upon his subjeđ, that has read the ballad of Johnny Armstrong. Is there ever a man in all Scotland
The initial resemblances, or alliterations, ruin, ruthless, helm nor hauberk, are below the grandeur of a poem that endeavours at sublimity.
In the second stanza the Bard is well described; but in the third we have the puerilities of obsolete mythology. When we are told that Cadwallo husb’d the stormy main, and that Modred made huge Plin
limmon boru his cloud-top'd head, attention recoils from the repetition of a tale that, even when it was first heard, was heard with scorn.
The weaving of the winding feet he borrowed, as he owns, from the northern Bards; but their texture, however, was very properly the work of female powers, as the art of spinning the thread of life in another mythology. Theft is always dangerous; Gray has made weavers of his slaughtered bards, by a fiction outrageous and incongruous. They are then called upon to Weave the warp, and Weave the woof, perhaps with no great propriety; for it is by crolling the worf with the warp that men weave the web or piece; and the first line was dearly bought
by the admission of its wretched correspondent, Give ample room and verge enough. He has, however, no other line as bad.
The third stanza of the second ternary is commended, I think, beyond its merit. The personification is indistinct. Thirst and Hunger are not alike; and their features, to make the imagery perfect, should have been discriminated. We are told, in the same stanza, how towers are fed. But I will no longer look for particular faults; yet let it be observed that the ode might have been concluded with an action of better example; but suicide is always to be had, without expence of thought.
These odes are marked by glittering accumulations of ungraceful ornaments;
they strike rather than please; the images are magnified by affectation; the Janguage is laboured into harshness. The mind of the writer seems to work with unnatural violence. Double, double, toil and trouble. He has a kind of strutting dignity, and is tall by walking on tiptoe. His art and his struggle are too visible, and there is too little appearance of ease or nature. • To say that he has no beauties would be unjust: a man like him, of great learning and great industry, could not but produce something valuable. When he pleases least, it can only be said that a good design was ill directed.