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As in the hollow breast of Apennine,
And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild;
THOU noblest monument of Albion's isle!
To victory's idol vast, an unhewn shrine,
We muse on many an ancient tale renowned.7
(1) As in, &c.-Compare this beautiful passage with Gray's lines, beginning "Full many a gem," p. 62.
(2) This word, though the name of an ancient British memorial, seems to be Anglo-Saxon, and signifies hanging, or hung up stones. See Philological Society's Journal, No. 130.
(3) Merlin-a renowned enchanter, as he was called, who lived in the times of King Arthur, and who is fabulously said to have transported these stones from Africa, first to Ireland, and thence to Salisbury Plain.
(4) Amber's fatal plain-so called from Ambrose, the uncle of King Arthur; styled "fatal" from the massacre of the Britons, which is said to have taken place here.
(5) Pendragon-Dragon's head-a name of office; here probably meant for Uther Pendragon, the father of Arthur.
(6) Brutus The great-grandson of Eneas, who is fabulously said to have landed at Totnes, in Devonshire, and made himself king of the island, giving it the name of Britain from his own. See Milton's "History of Britain."
(7) "Nothing can be more admirable than the learning here displayed, or the inference from it, that it is of no use but as it leads to interesting thought and reflection."-Hazlitt.
WHEN I survey the bright
So rich with jewels hung, that night
My soul her wings doth spread,
The Almighty's mysteries to read
For the bright firmament
So silent, but is eloquent
No unregarded star
Into so small a character,
Removed far from our human sight;
But if we steadfast look,
We shall discern
In it, as in some holy book,
How man may heavenly knowledge learn.
YE musical hounds of the fairy king,
Who hunt for the golden dew,
Who track for your game the green coverts of spring,
With the peal of your elfin3 crew!
(1) These fine lines and the first four especially deserve the epithet-were written in the early part of the seventeenth century.
(2) This little poem presents a new and graceful handling of a trite subject. The first and last stanzas are original and striking.
(3) Elfin-from the Anglo-Saxon alf, an elf, fairy. The Anglo-Saxons had their dun, or inountain elfs, wood elfs, water elfs, &c.
How joyous your life, if its pleasures ye knew,
Ye wander the summer year's paradise through,
But unenvied your joys, while the richest you miss,
Who would part with his cares for enjoyment like this,
MUSIC ON THE WATERS.2
THE foot of music is on the waters,
Now it lingers among the billows,
Oft she flies, and her steps though light
And the flood is unstirred as the calm blue ether.
(1) The tears, &c.-i. e. the sorrows of earth may be appointed by God, as the very means of fixing the affections on heaven.
(2) The measure of these lines very aptly illustrates their subject; this is effected by an artful and ingenious intermingling of various metrical feet. The following scheme of the first stanza will exemplify the remark. The out the accented syllables.
The advancing and receding in the last line are most skilfully represented. (3) Orestes' daughters-It is difficult to say who Orestes' daughters were; probably the Oreads, or mountain nymphs are meant.
HE who hath bent him o'er the dead,
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers;
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon-
That parts not quite with parting breath,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb-
(1) There is, perhaps, no instance in our poetical literature in which a continued simile is so beautifully sustained, as that which runs through these lines. The affecting picture of the lovely form, no longer animated by the living spirit, deeply touching in itself, derives a new interest from its exquisite adaptation to the subject which suggested it. The music of the rhythm too-so soft, so delicately modulated-floats like a requiem over the whole, and leaves nothing to be desired in consummating the effect.
(2) Cold obstruction-This expression is taken from Shakspere, who speaks of the dead as "lying in cold obstruction," in allusion to the stoppage of the animal functions.
(3) The following passage, from Gillies' "History of Greece," is thought to have suggested the above comparison :-"The present state of Greece, compared to the ancient, is the silent obscurity of the grave contrasted with the vivid lustre of active life."
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of feeling past away!
Spark of that flame-that flame of heavenly birth-
Clime of the unforgotten brave!1
These scenes, their story not unknown,
Thy heroes, though the general doom
A mightier monument command,
The mountains of their native land!
(1) The transition here to another variation of the same theme, by a change of key, as it were, is very striking. The energy of these lines is as remarkable as the pathos of the preceding.
(2) Thermopyla, Salamis-An instance of the suggestive power of a name. description is given of the deeds for which these places were remarkable--the simple mention of them is enough.