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WHEN I survey the bright
And heavenward flies,
Shoots forth no flame
Contracts its light
We shall discern
Ye musical hounds of the fairy king,
Who hunt for the golden dew,
With the peal of your elfino 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 ælf, 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,
Singing ever from bloom to bloom!
And the air that you breathe, perfume.
And before you no brighter life lies :
May be pearls in the crown of the skies !
MUSIC ON THE WATERS.
(1) The tears, &c.—-. 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 - points out the accented syllables.
1 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.
(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,
Clime of the unforgotten brave !
Say, is not this Thermopylæ
Oh, servile offspring of the free--
(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) Thermopylæ, Salamis-An instance of the suggestive power of a name. No description is given of the deeds for which these places were remarkable--the simple mention of them is enough.
There points thy Muse to stranger's eye,
TO A SKYLARK."
All independent of the leafy spring. (1) It is difficult to conceive any thing more exquisitely graceful than these ines; the last two especially, and that beginning, “ A privacy of,” &c., may be characterised as perfect.
(2) Yet might'st thou seem, do-i.e. yet you mount so high, that you might seem to have lost all connection with earth, and not to be inspired by the genial inHuences of spring, which prompt the songs of other birds.