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THE lapse of time and rivers is the same,
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
A difference strikes, at length, the musing heart:
A SACRED ECLOGUE.
YE nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
(1) A similar thought is found in the piece entitled the "Thames" (see p. 9), but there it is merely suggested, here it is amply developed.
(2) Nobler mind-the soil of the mind, which is far nobler and more important than that of the land.
(3) "The idea of uniting the sacred prophecies and grand imagery of Isaiah with the mysterious visions and pomp of numbers in the Pollio of Virgil, thereby combining both sacred truth and heathen mythology, in predicting the coming of the Messiah, is one of the happiest subjects for producing emotions of sublimity that ever occurred to the mind of a poet."-Roscoe.
(4) Solyma-same as Salem, supposed to be the ancient name of Jerusalem. (5) Sublimer-i.e. than those required by common subjects. A comparative sometimes, in English as well as in Latin, has the force of an emphatic positive; "sublimer" therefore means, truly sublime.
(6) Mount Pindus, in Thessaly, and Aonia, a district of Boeotia, are celebrated as "haunts of the muses." This fanciful designation thus arises: the lovely scenery of many parts of Greece suggested beautiful conceptions to the minds of the poets, who, in their turn, personified the influences which thus affected themselves, and gave them the name of muses. Hence, the muses are said to inspire the poet-that is, to sing his song to him--while he merely wrote it down.
(7) O Thou, &c.-i. e. the classic muses of Greece are unequal to such a subject, and, therefore, do Thou, &c.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
To leafless shrubs the flowering palms succeed,
The lambs with wolves shall grace the verdant mead,
Rise, crowned with light, Imperial Salem rise !7
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
(1) Isaiah xxxv. 1, 7.
(2) Bulrush-The prefix bul, for bull, is augmentative-a bulrush is a large rush. "Horse" is used in the same manner, see note 3, page 76. It may be remarked that the Greeks employed the corresponding words, Bouc and πо, in a similar way; thus the epithet Bowπic, ox-eyed, applied by Homer to Juno and others, means, having large and beautiful eyes.
(4) Isaiah xi. 6, 7, 8.
(3) Isaiah xli. 19; lv. 13. (5) Isaiah lxv. 25. (6) Basilisk-from the Greek Baoiλiokoç, a little king-a serpent with a crest, which was fancifully thought like a crown. Some think the spectaclesnake of India is the species intended. A glance from the basilisk's eyes was vulgarly said to be fatal. (7) Isaiah lx. 1.
(8) Towery-may either mean literally fortified with towers, or figuratively, rising like a tower; lofty.
(9) Isaiah Ix. 4.
(10) Isaiah Ix. 3.
(11) Sabaan-Sabaa was a district of Arabia Felix, noted for its frankincense, myrrh, balsam, &c. It is supposed to be the Sheba of Scripture.
See heaven its sparkling portals wide display,
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER.2
MUCH have I travelled in the realms of gold,
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne:
When a new planet swims into his ken;
(1) Isaiah li. 6; liv. 10.
(2) The pleased surprise of one, who, after exploring many fields of literature, discovered Homer, is here described with much felicity both of conception and phraseology-but Chapman after all is only a dim reflection of the noble features of the original.
THE MEMORY OF THE BRAVE.'
ON Linden, when the sun was low,
(1) Montgomery has said, perhaps with some degree of pardonable exaggeration, that these stanzas "are almost unrivalled in the association of poetry with picture, pathos with fancy, grandeur with simplicity, and romance with reality." See "Lectures on Poetry," p. 200.
(2) How sleep, &c.-" Not," says Montgomery, "how sweetly, soundly, happily; for all these are included in the simple apostrophe, How sleep the brave!"" (3) Sweeter sod--Why sweeter? Because of the moral interest associated with it, as the grave of those who died for their country.
(4) Fairy hands, forms unseen―These expressions, as well as the personifications of Honour and Freedom, refer to the influence which the memory of brave patriots diffuses over both the present and the future. The "fairy hands" and "forms unseen," are the feelings of gratitude, admiration, and pity, which affect the heart as mournful music does the ear.
(5) A pilgrim grey-A "pilgrim," because Honour comes from far-from other countries to visit the shrine; "grey,' ," because in distant years to come their memory shall still survive.
(6) Freedom, &c.-Freedom repairs thither-to weep alone ("a weeping hermit") because they are his children; "awhile" only, because he has other children still alive, and because time heals sorrow.
(7) Hohenlinden-A village of Germany, about twenty miles from Munich, where General Moreau completely defeated the combined army of Austrians and Bavarians, on the 3rd of December, 1800.
(8) Iser, or Isar-a tributary of the Danube.
But Linden saw another sight,
By torch and trumpet fast array'd,
Then shook the hills with thunder riven,
But redder yet that light shall glow
'Tis morn, but scarce yon level sun
YE MARINERS OF ENGLAND;2
A NAVAL ODE.
YE Mariners of England!
That guard our native seas;
Whose flag has braved, a thousand years,
The battle and the breeze!
(1) Hun-the Austrian force.
(2) This spirited lyric well deserves to take rank with "Rule Britannia" (see p. 190). The main blemish in both is the want of a specific recognition of Almighty power as the only source of our own.