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The laughing flowers, that round them blow,
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of Music winds along,
Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,
Thro' verdant vales, and Ceres' golden reign:
Now rolling down the steep amain,

Headlong, impetuous, see it pour:

The rocks and nodding groves re-bellow to the roar.

I. 2.

Oh! Sovereign of the willing soul (i), Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs, Enchanting shell! the sullen Cares

And frantic Passions hear thy soft controul. On Thracia's hills the Lord of War

Has curb'd the fury of his car,

And drop'd his thirsty lance at thy command.
Perching on the sceptred hand (k)

(i) Oh! Sovereign of the willing soul.

Power of harmony to calm the turbulent passions of the soul. The thoughts are borrowed from the first Pythian of Pindar.

(k) Perching on the sceptred hand.

This is a weak imitation of some beautiful lines in the same ode.

Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feather'd king
With ruffled plumes and flagging wing:
Quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie
The terror of his beak, and lightnings of his eye.

I. 3.

Thee the voice, the dance, obey (1),
Temper'd to thy warbled lay.

O'er Idalia's velvet-green

The rosy-crowned Loves are seen
On Cytherea's day

With antic Sport, and blue-ey'd Pleasures,
Frisking light in frolic measures;

Now pursuing, now retreating,

Now in circling troops they meet:
To brisk notes in cadence beating,
Glance their many-twinkling feet (m).

(1) Thee the voice, the dance obey. Power of harmony to produce all the graces of motion in the body.

(m) Glance their many-twinkling feet.

Μαρμαρυδὰς θηεῖτο ποδῶν· θαύμαζε δὲ θυμῷ.

Homer, Od. .

Slow melting strains their Queen's approach declare [5]:

Where'er she turns the Graces homage pay. [6] With arms sublime, that float upon the air, In gliding state she wins her easy way: O'er her warm cheek, and rising bosom, move The bloom of young Desire and purple light of Love. (n)

[5] Slow melting strains their Queen's approach declare.

This and the five flowing lines which follow are (as Mr. Mason observes) sweetly introduced by the short and unequal measures that precede them: the whole stanza is indeed a master-piece of rhythm, and charms the ear by its well-varied cadence, as much as the imagery which it contains ravishes the fancy. "There is" (says Mr. Gray in one of his manuscript papers) "a tout ensemble of sound, as well as of "sense, in poetical composition always necessary to its perfection. "What is gone before still dwells upon the ear, and insensibly harmo"nizes with the present line, as in that succession of fleeting notes "which is called Melody." Nothing can better exemplify the truth of this fine observation than his own poetry.

[6] This line seems to have been imitated from Dryden's Fable of the Flower and the Leaf:

"For wheresoe'er she turn'd her face they bow'd."

(n) The bloom of young Desire, and purple light of Love.
Δάμπει δ' ἐπὶ πορφυρέησι
Παρείησι φῶς ἔρωτα

Phrynicus apud Athenæum.

II. 1.

Man's feeble race what ills await (o) ! Labour, and Penury, the racks of Pain, Disease, and Sorrow's weeping Train,

And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate!
The fond complaint, my song, disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.

Say, has he giv'n in vain the heav'nly Muse?
Night and all her sickly dews,

Her Spectres wan, and birds of boding cry,
He gives to range the dreary sky:

Till down the eastern cliffs afar (p)

Hyperion's march they spy, and glittʼring shafts

of war [7]

(0) Man's feeble race what ills await!

To compensate the real or imaginary ills of life, the Muse was given us by the same Providence that sends the day, by its cheerful presence to dispel the gloom and terrors of the night.

(p) Till down the eastern cliff's afar.

Or seen the Morning's well-appointed star
Come marching up the eastern hills afar.


[7] An anonymous writer suggests, that Mr. Gray has here been indebted to Euripides Phænissæ, ver. 173.

Εωοισιν όμοια φλελεθων

Borang wani.

II. 2.

In climes beyond the folar road (q), Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam, The Muse has broke the twilight-gloom

To cheer the shiv'ring Native's dull abode.
And oft, beneath the od'rous shade
Of Chili's boundless forests laid,
She deigns to hear the savage
In loose numbers wildly sweet

Youth repeat

Their feather-cinctur'd Chiefs, and dusky Loves. Her track, where'er the Goddess roves,

Glory pursue, and generous Shame,

Th' unconquerable Mind, and Freedom's holy


(q) In climes beyond the solar road.

Extensive influence of poetic genius over the remotest and most uncivilized nations: its connection with liberty, and the virtues that naturally attend on it. [See the Erse, Norwegian, and Welsh Fragments, the Lapland and American songs, &c.]

"Extra anni solisque vias-"

"Tutta lontana dal camin del sole."

Petrarch, Canzon. 2.

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