網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Quantis, et quam funestis concurritur iris,

Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit!
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,

Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt:
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,

Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ.
At simul in cælis Messiæ insignia fulgent,

Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum

Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco

Admistis flammis insonuere polo:
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,

Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad pænas fugiunt, et ceu foret Orcus asylum,

Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii,
Et
quos

fama recens vel celebrávit anus. Hæc quicunque leget tantum cecinisse putabit Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.

SAMUEL BARROW, M. D.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crown'd, God's reconcil'd decree,
Rebelling Angels, the forbidden tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all; the argument
Held me a while misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to fable and old song,
(So Samson grop'd the temple's posts in spite,)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet as I read, still growing less severe,
I lik'd his project, the success did fear;
Through that wide field how he his

way

should find,
O’er which lame faith leads understanding blind;
Lest he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.

Or if a work so infinite he spann'd,
Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And by ill imitating would excel)
Might hence presume the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play.

Pardon me, mighty Poet, nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.

Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit:
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.

That majesty which through thy work doth reign,
Draws the devout, deterring the profane.
And things divine thou treat’st of in such state
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease;
And above human flight dost soar aloft
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft.
The bird nam'd from that Paradise you sing
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where could'st thou words of such a compass find? Whence furnish such a vast expense of mind? Just Heav'n thee like Tiresias to requite Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.

Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure; While the Town-Bays writes all the while and spells, And like a pack-horse tires without his bells: Their fancies like our bushy-points appear, The poets tag them, we for fashion wear. I too transported by the mode offend, And while I meant to praise thee must commend. Thy verse created like thy theme sublime, In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.

ANDREW MARVEL.

THE measure is English heroic verse without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin; rhyme being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame metre; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse than else they would have expressed them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rhyme both in longer and shorter works, as have also long since our best English tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned ancients both in poetry and all good oratory. This neglect then of rhyme so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem, from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming".

• The Earl of Surrey bad trans Rather, says Mr. Hayley, from lated two books of Virgil's Æneid Tasso,“ who wrote a poem withwithout rhyme; and, beside our out rhyme on the Creation, and Tragedies, a few short poems had “is celebrated by his friend and appeared in blank verse, parti- “ biographer, the Marquis of cularly one tending to reconcile “Villa, for the introduction of the nation to Raleigh's wild at “ blank verse into the Italian tempt upon Guiana, and pro- “poetry; so little was even then bably written by Raleigh himself. " thought of Trissino's heavy perThese petty performances, how « formance." See however the ever, cannot be supposed to have remarks on this subject in Rolli's much influenced Milton, who Life of Milton, in which several more probably took his hint from Italian writers of blank verse are Trissino's Italia Liberata. John- noticed and commended between

Trissino and Tasso. E. VOL. I.

1

son.

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »