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Sonnet, No. ccx. L. 38 is in apposition to the pre-
with Milton. 94
1. i tells his tale: counts his fiock. Cynosure (1. 14)
names from the old Idylls. 95
1. 24 Jonson's learned sock :--the gaiety of our age
Cassiopeia, the legendary Queen of Ethiopia, and
thence translated amongst the constellations. 97
1. 29 Cynthia : the Moon: her chariot is drawn by
dragons in ancient representations. 98
1. 16 Hermes, called Trismegistus, a mystical writer
half told : Chaucer, in his incomplete 'Squire's Tale.' 99
1. 2 great burds : Ariosto, Tasso, and Spenser, are
Boy (1. 10) Cephalus.
by the government of Charles I. 101
1. 9, 10 But apples, &c. A fine example of Marvell's
imaginative hyperbole. Сху 1. 6 concent: harmony.
Summary of Book Third It is more difficult to characterize the English Poetry of the eighteenth century than that of any other. For it was an age not only of spontaneous transition, but of bold experiment : it includes not only_such divergences of thought as distinguish the ‘Rape of the Lock' from the ‘Parish Register,' but such vast contemporaneous differences as lie between Pope and Collins, Burns and Cowper. Yet we may clearly trace three leading moods or tendencies:--the aspects of courtly or educated life represented by Pope and carried to exhaustion by his followers; the poetry of Nature and of Man, viewed through a cultivated, and at the same time an impassioned frame of mind by Collins and Gray :--- lastly, the study of vivid and simple narrative, including natural description, begun by Gay and Thomson, pursued by Burns and others in the north, and established in England by Goldsmith, Percy, Crabbe, and Cowper. Great varieties in style accompanied these diversities in aim : poets could not always distinguish the manner suitable for subjects so far apart; and the union of the language of courtly and of common life, exhibited most conspicuously by Burns, has given a tone to the poetry of that century which is better explained by reference to its historical origin than by
naming it, in the common criticism of our day, artificial. There is, again, a nobleness of thought, a courageous aim at high and, in a strict sense manly, excellence in many of the writers :-nor can that period be justly termed tame and wanting in originality, which produced poems such as Pope's Satires, Gray's Odes and Elegy, the ballads of Gay and Carey, the songs of Burns and Cowper. In truth Poetry at this as at all times was a more or less unconscious mirror of the genius of the age: and the brave and admirable spirit of Enquiry which made the eighteenth century the turning-time in European civilization is reflected faithfully in its verse. An intelligent reader will find the influence of Newton as markedly in the poems of Pope, as of Elizabeth in the plays of Shakespeare. On this great subject, however, these indications must here be sufficient. PAGE NO.
The Bard. This Ode is founded on a fable that
Edward I after conquering Wales, put the native Poets to death. After lamenting his comrades (st. 2, 3) the Bard prophesies the fate of Edward II and the conquests of Edward III (4): his death and that of the Black Prince (5): of Richard II, with the wars of York and Lancaster, the murder of Henry VI, (the meek usurper,) and of Edward V and his brother (6). He turns to the glory and prosperity following the accession of the ľudors(7), through Elizabeth's reign (8): and concludes with a
vision of the poetry of Shakespeare and Milton. 113 cxxv 1. 13 Glo'ster : Gilbert de Clare, son-in-law to Edward.
Mortimer, one of the Lords Marchers of Wales. 114 1. 3 Arvon: the shores of Carnarvonshire opposite
Anglesey. L. 25 She-wolf: Isabel of France, adul
terous Queen of Edward II. 115 1. 16 Towers of Julius: the Tower of London, built
in part, according to tradition, by Julius Caesar. L. 22 bristled boar : the badge of Richard III. L. 28 Half of thy heart: Queen Eleanor died soon after the conquest of Wales. L. 33 Arthur: Henry VII named his eldest son thus, in deference to British feeling
and legend. 117 cxxv The Highlanders called the battle of Culloden,
Drumossie. 118 cxxvi lilting, singing blithely: loaning, broad lane : bughte,
pens: scorning, rallying: douie, dreary: daflin' and gabbin’, joking and chatting: leglin, milkpail: shearing, reaping : bandsters, sheaf-binders : lyart, grizzled: runkled, wrinkled : fleeching, coaxing:gloaming,
twilight: bogle, ghost: dool, sorrow. 120 CXXVIII The Editor has found no authoritative text of this
poem, in his judgment superior to any other of its class in melody and pathos. Part is probably not later than the seventeenth century: in other stanzas a more modern hand, much resembling Scott's, is
traceable. Logan's poem (CXXVII) exhibits a know-
twined, parted from : marrovi, mate: syne, then.
partial careening in Portsmouth Harbour, was over-
believed to be near 1000 souls.
Catullus himself could hardly have bettered it. In
completeness and unity of the picture presented.
proofs of the poetic nature has left less satisfac-
to lyrical writing.
their Lyrical Poetry to the colonies of Aeolis in Asia
where herea (Venus) was especially worshipped. 131 1. 25 Hyperion: the Sun. St. 6-8 allude to the
Poets of the Islands and Mainland of Greece, to
those of Rome and of England. 133 1. 9 Theban Eagle : Pindar. 135 cxli 1 23 chaste-eyed Queen: Diana. 136 CXLII Attic warbler: the nightingale. 138 cxliv sleekit, sleek: bickering brattle, flittering flight:
laith, loth: pattle, ploughstaff: whyles, at times: a daimen icker, a corn-ear now and then: thrave, shock : lave, rest : foggage, aftergrass : snell, biting: but hald, without dwelling-place: thole, bear : cranreuch, hoarfrost: thy lane, alone: a-gley, off the
right line, awry. 142 cxLvi Perhaps the noblest stanzas in our language. 146 cxLvIII stoure, dust-storm : braw, smart. 147 cxLix scaith, hurt: tent, guard : steer, molest.
drumlie, muddy : birk, birch. 150 CLII
greet, cry: daurna, dare not. — There can hardly exist a poem more truly tragic in the highest sense than this : nor, except Sappho, has any Poetess
known to the Editor equalled it in excellence. CLIII fou, merry with drink: coost, carried : unco skeigh,
very proud: gart, forced : abeigh, aside: Ailsa craig, a rock in the Firth of Clyde : grat his een bleert,
cried till his eyes were bleared : lowpin, leaping: linn, waterfall: sair, sore: smoor’d, smothered :
crouse and canty, blythe and gay. 151 CLIV Burns justly named this one of the most beautiful
songs in the Scots or any other language.' One verse, interpolated by Beattie, is here omitted :-it contains two good lines, but is quite out of harmony with the original poem. Bigonet, little cap ; probably altered
from beguinette : thraw, twist: caller, fresh. 153 CLV airts, quarters : row, roll: shaw, small wood in a
hollow, spinney: knowes, knolls. 154 CLVI jo, sweetheart : brent, smooth : pow, head.
- CLVII leal, faithful : fain, happy. 155 CLVIII Henry VI founded Eton. 160 CLXI The Editor knows no Sonnet more remarkable than
this, which, with CLXI, records Cowper's gratitude to the Lady whose affectionate care for many years gave what sweetness he could enjoy to a life radically wretched. Petrarch's sonnets have a more ethereal grace and a more perfect finish ; Shakespeare's more passion; Milton's stand supreme in stateliness, Wordsworth's in depth and delicacy. But Cowper's unites with an exquisiteness in the turn of thought which the ancients would have called Irony, an intensity of pathetic tenderness peculiar to his loving and ingenuous nature. - There is much mannerism, much that is unimportant or of now exhausted interest in his poems: but where he is great, it is with that elementary greatness which rests on the most universal human feelings. Cowper
is our highest master in simple pathos. 163 Clxin fancied green : cherished garden. - CLXIV Nothing except his surname appears recoverable
with regard to the author of this truly noble poem. It should be noted as exhibiting a rare excellence,the climax of simple sublimity.
It is a lesson of high instructiveness to examine the essential qualities which give firstrate poetical rank to lyrics such as "To-morrow' or 'Sally in our Alley,' when compared with poems written (if the phrase may be allowed) in keys so different as the subtle sweetness of Shelley, the grandeur of Gray and Milton, or the delightful Pastoralism of the Elizabethan verse. Intelligent readers will gain hence a clear understanding of the vast imaginative range of Poetry ;-through what wide oscillations the mind and the taste of a nation inay pass ;
-how many are the roads which Truth and Nature open to Excellence.
Summary of Book Fourth IT proves sufficiently the lavish wealth of our own age in Poetry, that the pieces which, without conscious departure from the standard of Excellence, render this Book by far the longest, were with very few exceptions composed during the first thirty years of the nineteenth century. Exhaustive reasons can hardly be given for the strangely sudden appearance of individual genius: but none, in the Editor's judgment, can be less adequate than that which assigns the splendid national achievements of our recent poetry to an impulse from the frantic follies and criminal wars that at the time disgraced the least essentially civilized of our foreign neighbours. The first French Revolution was rather, in his opinion, one result, and in itself by no means the most iinportant, of that far wider and greater spirit which through enquiry and doubt, through pain and triumph, sweeps mankind round the circles of its gradual development: and it is to this that we must trace the literature of modern Europe. But, without more detailed discussion on the motive causes of Scott, Wordsworth, Campbell, Keats, and Shelley, we may observe that these Poets, with others, carried to further perfection the later tendencies of the Century preceding, in simplicity of narrative, reverence for human Passion and Character in every sphere, and impassioned love of Nature : -that, whilst maintaining on the whole the advances in art made since the. Restoration, they renewed the half-forgotten melody and depth of tone which marked the best Elizabethan writers :-that, lastly, to what was thus inherited they added a richness in language and a variety in metre, a force and fire in narrative, a tenderness and bloom in feeling, an insight into the finer passages of the Soul and the inner meanings of the landscape, a larger and wiser Hu nity,-hitherto hardly attain and perhaps unattainable even by predecessors of not inferior individual genius. In a word, the Nation which, after the Greeks in their glory, has been the most gifted of all nations for Poetry, expressed in these men the highest strength and prodigality of its nature. They interpreted the age to itselfhence the many phases of thought and style they present:to sympathize with each, fervently and impartially, without fear and without fancifulness, is no doubtful step in the higher education of the Soul. For, as with the Affections and the Conscience, Purity in Tasté is absolutely proportionate to Strength :--and when once the mind has raised itself to grasp and to delight in Excellence, those who love most will be found to love most wisely.
166 CLxvI stout Cortez: History requires here Balboa : (A.T.) It
may be noticed, that to find in Chapman's Homer the
pure serene' of the original, the reader must bring with him the imagination of the youthful poet;-he must be a Greek himself,' as Shelley finely said of
Keats. 170 clxix The most tender and true of Byron's smaller poems. 171 clxx This poem, with ccXXXVI, exemplifies the peculiar
skill with which Scott employs proper names :-nor is there a surer sign of high poetical genius.