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HIST Änna.


POETRY, Part II. Sect. 2. continued.


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The song.

Of Lyric HE variety of subjects, which are allowed the lyric Longinus has preserved a fragment of Sappho, an an- of Lyric Poetry.

Poetry. poet, makes it necessary to consider this species of cient Greek poetess, which is in great reputation amongst poetry under the following heads, viz. the sublime ode, the critics, and bas been so happily translated by Mr the lesser ode, and the song. We shall begin with the Philips as to give the English reader a just idea of the

The Saplowest, and proceed to that which is more eminent. spirit, ease, and elegance of that admired author , and phic ole.

I. Songs are little poetical compositions, usually set show how exactly she copied nature. To enter into the
to a tune, and frequently sung in company by way of beauties of this ode, we must suppose a lover sitting by
entertainment and diversion. Of these we have in our his mistress, and thus expressing his passion :
language a great number; but, considering that num-

Blest as th' immortal gods is he,
ber, not many which are excellent; for, as the duke of

The youth who fondly sits by thee,
Buckingham observes,

And sees and hears thee all the while
Though nothing seems more easy, yet no part

Softly speak, and sweetly smile.
Of poetry requires a nicer art.

'Twas this depriv'd my soul of rest,

And rais'd such tumults in my breast; The song admits of almost any subject ; but the For while I gaz'd, in transport tost, greatest part of them turn either upon love, contentment,

My breath was gone, my voice was lost. or the pleasures of a country life, and drinking. Be the

My bosom glow'd, the subtle flame subject, however, what it will, the verses should be easy,

Ran quick through all my vital frame : natural, and flowing, and contain a certain barmony, so O'er


dim eyes a darkness hung; that poetry and music may be agreeably united. In these

My ears witla bollow murmurs rung.
compositions, as in all others, obscene and profane ex-

In dewy damps my limbs were chill'd,
pressions should be carefully avoided, and indeed every My blood with gentle horrors thrillid;
thing that tends to take off that respect which is due My feeble pulse forgot to play;
to religion and virtue, and to encourage vice and im- I fainted, sunk, and dy'd away.
morality. As the best songs in our language are al-

After this instance of the Sapphic ode, it may not The Ana.
ready in every hand, it would seem superfluous to in-
sert examples. For further precepts, however, as well

be improper to speak of that sort of ode which is called crcontic Anacreontic; being written in the manner and taste of o

code. as select examples, in this species of composition, we may refer the reader to the elegant Essay on Song Anacreon, a Greck poet, famous or the delicacy of his Writing, by Mr Aikin,

wit, and the exquisite, yet easy and natural, turn of his The distin- II. The lesser ode. The distinguishing character of poesy. We have several of his odes still extant, and guishing this is sweetness; and as the pleasure we receive from

many modern ones in imitation of him, which are mostof the lesser this sort of poem arises principally from its soothing and ly composed in verses of seren syllables, or three feet affecting the passions, great regard should be paid to the

and a half. language as well as to the thoughts and numbers.

We shall give the young student one or two examples

of his manner from Mr Fawkes's excellent translation.
Th’ expression should be easy, fancy ligh;

The following ode on the power of gold, which had
Yet that not seem to creep, nor this to fly:

been often attempted but with little success, this gentle-
No words transpos'd, but in such order all,

man bas translated very happily.
As, though hard wrought, may seem by chance to fall.

Love's a pain that works our wo;

Not to love is painful too :
The style, indeed, should be easy: but it may

be also

But, alas! the greatest pain
florid and figurative. It solicits delicacy, but disdains Waits the love that meets disdain.
affectation. The thoughts should be natural, chaste, and

What avails ingenuous worth,
elegant; and the numbers various, smooth, and harmo- Sprightly wit, or noble birth ?
A few examples will sufficiently explain what All these virtues useless prove;

Gold alone engages love.
Vol. XVII. Part I.






we mean.

Of Lyric




May he be completely carst,
Who the sleeping mischief first
Wak'd to life, and, vile before,
Stamp'd with worth the sordid ore.
Gold creates in brethren strise;
Gold destroys the parent's life;
Gold produces civil jars,
Murders, massacres, and wars ;
But the worst effect of gold,

Love, alas ! is bought and sold. His ode on the vanity of riches is of a piece with the above, and conveys a good lesson to those who are over anxious for wealth.

If the treasur'd gold could give
Man a longer term to live,
I'd employ my utmost care
Still to keep, and still to spare ;
And, when death approach’d, would say,
• Take thy fee, and walk away.'

But since riches cannot save
Mortals from the gloomy grave,
Why should I myself deceive,
Vainly sigh, and vainly grieve?
Death will surely be my lot,
Whether I am rich or not.

Give me freely while I live
Generous wines, in plenty give
Soothing joys my life to cheer,
Beauty kind, and friends sincere ;
Happy ! could I ever find
Friends sincere, and beauty kind.

• Think, O think! what cruel pains

Or Lyric • He that's stung by thee sustain.'

Poetry. Among the most successful of this poet's English imitators may be reckoned Dr Johnson and Mr Prior. The Imitation following ode on Evening by the former of these writers of Anacre

2 has, if we mistake not, the very spirit and air of Anacreon. 09 and

Evening now from purple wings
Sheds the grateful gists she brings ;
Brilliant drops bedeck the mead;
Cooling breezes shake the reed;
Shake the reed and curl the stream
Silver'd o'er with Cynthia's beam;
Near the chequer'd lonely grove
Hears, and keeps thy secrets, Love.
Stella, thither let us stray!
Lightly o'er the dewy way.
Phoebus drives his burning car
Hence, my lovely Stella, far:
In his stead the queen of night
Round us pours a lambent light;
Light that seems but just to show
Breasts that beat, and cheeks that glow:
Let us now, in whisper'd joy,
Evening's silent hours employ;
Silence best, and conscious shades,
Please the hearts that love invades :
Other pleasures give them pain ;

Lovers all but love disdain.
But of all the imitations of the playful bard of Greece
that we have ever met with, the most perfect is the fol-
lowing Anacreontic by the regent duke of Orleans.

Je suis né pour les plaisirs ;
Bien fou


passe :
Je ne veux pas les choisir ;
Souvent le choix m'embarrasse :
Aime t'on ? J'aime soudain;
Bois t'on ? J'ai la verre à la main ;
Je tiens par tout ma place.

Dormir est un temps perdu ;
Faut il qu'on s'y livre?
Sommeil, prends ce qui t'est du;
Mais attends que je sois yvre :
Saisis moi dans cet instant;
Fais moi dormir promptement;
Je suis pressé de vivre.

Mais si quelque objet charmant,
Dans un songe aimable,
Vient d'un plaisir seduisant
M'offrir l'image agréable ;
Sommeil, allons doucement ;
L'erreur est en ce moment

Un bonheur veritable.
Translation of the Regent's Anacreontic (E).

Frolic and free, for pleasure born,
The self-denying fool I scorn.


But two of the most admired, and perhaps the most imitated, of Anacreon's odes, are that of Mars wounded by one of the darts of Love, and Cupid stung by a Bee; both which are wrought up with fancy and delieacy, and are translated with elegance and spirit.—Take that of Cupid stung by a bee.

Once as Cupid, tir’d with play,
On a bed of roses lay,
A rude bee, that slept unseen,
The sweet breathing buds between,
Stung bis finger, cruel chance !
With its little pointed lance.
Straight be fills the air with cries,
Weeps, and sobs, and runs, and flies ;
'Till the god to Venus came,
Lovely, laughter-loviog dame :
Then he thus began to plain ;
“ Oh! undone I die with pain-
“ Dear mamma, a serpent small,
“ Which a bee the ploughman call,
" Inap'd with wings, and arm’d with dart,
“ Ob!-has stung me to the heart."

Venus thus reply'd, and smild :
Dry those tears for shame! my child;
• If a bee can wound so deep,
• Causing Cupid thus to weep,





(E) We give this translation, both because of its excellence, and because it is said to have been the production of no less a man than the late Lord Chatham.

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