« PreviousContinue »
At once the breath of fear and virtue shedding,
Applauding Freedom lov'd of old to view ?
At Wisdom's shrine awhile its flame concealing, (What place so fit to seal a deed renown'd?)
Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing,
O Goddess, in that feeling hour,
Let not my shell's misguided power,
• A Greek poet, the reputed author of a very popular Song, in which are these lines :
Εν μυρία κλαδι το ξιφος φορησω, ,
Ισονομές τ' Αθηνας εποιησαθην.
And to the Athenian State her equal laws restored. C. + The Author confounds the times of the Republic with those of the Empire, in order, by blending the glories of each, to delight the imagination with an era more free than the later, more splendid than the earlier period
Push'd by a wild and artless race,
And all the splendid work of strength and grace,
With many a rude repeated stroke, And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments broke.
of its history: for surely that Rome, which was overthrown by the northern sons of spoil, had no claim to draw down the tears of Freedom at her fall.-B.
To him, who, deck'd with pearly pride,
Tell.-For an account of the celebrated event referred to see Voltaire's Epistle to the King of Prussia.-L.
+ The Dutch, amongst whom there are very severe penalties for those who are convicted of killing this bird. They are kept tame in almost all their towns, and particularly at the Hague, of the arms of which they make a part. The common people of Holland are said to entertain a superstitious sentiment, that if the whole species of them should become extinct, they should lose their liberties.
Beyond the measure vast of thought,
The Gaul, 'tis held of antique story,
No sea between, nor cliff sublime and hoary,
To the blown Baltic then, they say,
The wild waves found another way,
Till all the banded west at once 'gan rise,
Withering her giant sons with strange uncouth surprise,
By winds and inward labours torn, In thunders dread was push'd aside,
And down the shouldering billows born.
The little isles on every side,
Where thousand Elfin shapes abide,
* This tradition is mentioned by several of our old historians. Some naturalists too have endeavoured to support the probability of the fact, by arguments drawn from the correspondent disposition of the two opposite coasts. I don't remember that any poetical use has been hitherto made of it. # From Milton.
the sea-girt isles, That like to rich and various gems inlay
The unadorned bosom of the deep.-Comus, v. 21. | There is a tradition in the isle of Man, that a mermaid becoming enamoured of a young man of extraordinary beauty, took an opportunity of
And Wight who checks the westering tide,
For thee consenting heaven has each bestowed,
To thee this blest divorce she ow'd,
Then too, 'tis said, an hoary pile,
meeting him one day as he walked on the shore, and opened her passion to him, but was received with a coldness, occasioned by his horror and sur. prise at her appearance. This however was so misconstrued by the sea-lady that, in revenge for his treatment of her, she punished the whole island, by covering it with a mist, so that all who attempted to carry on any commerce with it, either never arrived at it, but wandered up and down the sea, or were on a sudden wrecked upon its cliffs.
• This metaphor comes from the Greek. Both Pindar and Euripides call the Temple at Delphi-the Navel of the world.
It is found in Milton:
Within the Navel of this hideous wood. Comus, v.520.-C.