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Blush, grandeur, blush! proud courts withdraw
And what! no monument, inscription, stone?
Who builds a church to God, and not to Fame,
THE TRAVELLER'S HYMN OF GRATITUDE.?
How are thy servants blest, O Lord!
Their help, Omnipotence.
In foreign realms, and lands remote,
Through burning climes I passed unhurt,
Thy mercy sweetened every soil,
Thou saw'st the wide-extended deep
(1) There, where, &c.-i. e. in the parish registry.
(2) "The earliest composition," says Burns, speaking of his eleventh or twelfth year," that I recollect taking pleasure in, was the Vision of Mirza,' and a hymn of Addison's beginning
'How are thy servants blest, O Lord!'
I particularly remember one half-stanza, which was music to my ear
For though in dreadful whirls we hung
(3) Tyrrhene Sea-this sea, called also the Tuscan Sea, was accounted very dangerous by the Romans. It means here, of course, any dangerous sea.
Confusion dwelt in every face,
When waves on waves, and gulfs on gulfs,
Yet then from all my griefs, O Lord,
Whilst in the confidence of prayer
For though in dreadful whirls we hung
I knew thou wert not slow to hear,
The storm was laid, the winds retired,
The sea that roared at thy command,
In midst of dangers, fears, and death,
And praise thee for thy mercies past,
My life, if thou preservest my life,
Thy sacrifice shall be;
And death, when death shall be my doom,
Shall join my soul to thee.
SAMSON'S LAMENT OVER HIS BLINDNESS.1
O LOSS of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,
Annulled, which might in part my grief have eased;
(1) Some of Milton's most pathetic passages are due to his own loss of sight. He was blind for the last twenty-two years of his life, during which period "Paradise Lost.""Paradise Regained," and "Samson Agonistes" (from which the above passage is extracted), were published.
(2) Prime-first; in allusion to the creation of light, which was the work of the first day, and there is perhaps a reference to its importance also.
Inferior to the vilest now become
Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me-
Without all hope of day!
O first created beam, and thou great Word,
And silent as the moon,2
When she deserts the night,
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
She all in every part, why was the sight
By privilege of death and burial
From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs,
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.
(1) Oh dark, dark, &c.-"Few passages in poetry," says Sir E. Brydges, “are so affecting as this; and the tone of expression is peculiarly Miltonic."
(2) Silent as the moon-a singular expression, taken from the Latin "silens luna," the silent moon, i. e. the moon when she does not shine.
(3) Hid in her, &c.-Hidden idly ("vacant") in the cave to which she (poetically) retires between one lunation and another.
SEE the wild waste of all devouring years!
Perhaps, by its own ruins saved from flame,
Ambition sighed; she found it vain to trust
Huge moles, whose shadow stretched from shore to shore-
(1) Imperial wonders-The poet here refers to the circuses, amphitheatres, &c., of Rome.
(2) Drained, &c.-In allusion to the naumachiæ, or mock sea-fights, which used to be represented in the Circus Maximus, the water for which, although derived immediately from the Tiber, might poetically be said to drain a distant country.
(3) Give to Titus, &c.-i. e. mistake a statue of Vespasian for one of Titus.
(4) Beneath her palm-the medals struck to commemorate the conquest of Judea represent a female figure sitting, bowed in sorrow, beneath a palm
The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
JERUSALEM BEFORE THE SIEGE.3
IT must be
And yet it moves me, Romans! it confounds
That ruin's merciless ploughshare must pass o'er,
(1) This the blue, &c.-The blue tinge marks the silver, and the green, the copper medals.
(2) To gain Pescennius, &c.-In this and the following lines, the deep anxieties of the virtuoso antiquary are glanced at with happy raillery. The medals named are of course such as are very scarce and difficult to procure. Pescennius was a Roman Consul. The other names need no explanation.
(3) This fine view of Jerusalem is almost altogether taken from that given by Josephus. The description of the Temple, especially, is nearly verbatim.
(4) Ruin's merciless, &c.-This bold metaphor is also employed by Burns (see p. 78), and both writers probably derived it from Young. (See p. 407.) (5) Olive-crowned hill--Mount Olivet, east of Jerusalem.