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high place which he held in popular estimate among his contemporaries.
From Prison: to which his active support of Charles I twice brought the high-spirited writer. L. 7 Gods: thus in the original; Lovelace, in his fanciful way, making here a mythological allusion. Birds, commonly substituted, is without authority. St. 3, 1. 1 committed: to prison.
St. 2 1. 4 blue-god: Neptune.
Waly waly: an exclamation of sorrow, the root and the pronunciation of which are preserved in the word caterwaul. Brae, hillside: burn, brook: busk, adorn. Saint Anton's Well: below Arthur's Seat by Edinburgh. Cramasie, crimson.
This beautiful example of early simplicity is found in a Song-book of 1620.
corbies, crows: fail, turf: hause, neck: theek, thatch. -If not in their origin, in their present form this, with the preceding poem and 133, appear due to the Seventeenth Century, and have therefore been placed in Book II.
CXxxvii The poetical and the prosaic, after Cowley's fashion, blend curiously in this deeply-felt elegy.
cxli Perhaps no poem in this collection is more delicately fancied, more exquisitely finished. By placing his description of the Fawn in a young girl's mouth, Marvell has, as it were, legitimated that abundance of 'imaginative hyperbole' to which he is always partial: he makes us feel it natural that a maiden's favourite should be whiter than milk, sweeter than sugar-'lilies without, roses within.' The poet's imagination is justified in its seeming extravagance by the intensity and unity with which it invests his picture.
The remark quoted in the note to No. 65 applies equally to these truly wonderful verses. Marvell here throws himself into the very soul of the Garden with the imaginative intensity of Shelley in his West Wind. -This poem appears also as a translation in Marvell's works. The most striking verses in it, here quoted as the book is rare, answer more or less to stanzas 2 and 6:
Alma Quies, teneo te! et te, germana Quietis,
cxliii St. 3 tutties: nosegays. St. 4 silly: simple.
L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. It is a striking proof of Milton's astonishing power, that these, the earliest great Lyrics of the Landscape in our language, should still remain supreme in their style for range, variety, and melodious beauty. The Bright and the Thoughtful aspects of Nature and of Life are their subjects: but each is preceded by a mythological introduction in a mixed Classical and Italian manner.-With that of L'Allegro may be compared a similar mythe in the first Section of the first Book of S. Marmion's graceful Cupid and Psyche, 1637.
The mountain-nymph; compare Wordsworth's Sonnet, No. 254. L. 38 is in apposition to the preceding, by a syntactical license not uncommon with Milton.
1. 14 Cynosure; the Pole Star. Corydon, Thyrsis, &c.: Shepherd names from the old Idylls. Rebeck (1. 28) an elementary form of violin.
1. 24 Jonson's learned sock: His comedies are deeply coloured by classical study. L. 28 Lydian airs: used here to express a light and festive style of ancient music. The Lydian Mode,' one of the seven original Greek Scales, is nearly identical with our 'Major.'
cxlv 1. 3 bestead: avail. L. 19 starr'd Ethiop queen: Cassiopeia, the legendary Queen of Ethiopia, and thence translated amongst the constellations.
Cynthia: the Moon: Milton seems here to have transferred to her chariot the dragons anciently assigned to Demeter and to Medea.
Hermes, called Trismegistus, a mystical writer of the Neo-Platonist school. L. 27 Thebes, &c.: subjects of Athenian Tragedy. Buskin'd (1. 30) tragic, in opposition to sock above. L. 32 Musaeus: a poet in Mythology. L. 37 him that left half-told: Chaucer in his incomplete 'Squire's Tale.'
great bards: Ariosto, Tasso, and Spenser, are here presumably intended. L. 9 frounced: curled. The Attic Boy (1. 10) Cephalus.
cxlvi Emigrants supposed to be driven towards America by the government of Charles I.
1. 9, 10. But apples, &c. A fine example of Marvell's imaginative hyperbole.
cxlvii 1. 6 concent: harmony.
cxlix A lyric of a strange, fanciful, yet solemn beauty:Cowley's style intensified by the mysticism of Henry More. St. 2 monument: the World.
Entitled 'A Song in Honour of St. Cecilia's Day: 1697.'
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 absolute contrasts 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 conventional and of common language, 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 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, at as all times, was a more or less unconscious mirror of the genius of the age: and the many complex causes which made the Eighteenth century the turning-time in modern European civilization are also more or less reflected 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.
184 cliii We have no poet more marked by rapture, by the ecstasy which Plato held the note of genuine inspiration, than Collins. Yet but twice or thrice do his lyrics reach that simplicity, that sinceram sermonis Attici gratiam to which this ode testifies his enthusiastic devotion. His style, as his friend Dr. Johnson truly remarks, was obscure; his diction often harsh and unskilfully laboured; he struggles nobly against the narrow, artificial manner of his age, but his too scanty years did not allow him to reach perfect mastery. St. 3 Hybla: near Syracuse. Her whose ... woe: the nightingale, 'for which Sophocles seems to have entertained a peculiar fondness'; Collins here refers to the famous chorus in the Oedipus at Colonus. St. 4 Cephisus: the stream encircling Athens on the north and west. passing Colonus. St. 6 stay'd to sing: stayed her song
when Imperial tyranny was established at Rome.
The Bard. In 1757, when this splendid ode was com-
clix 1. 13 Glo'ster: Gilbert de Clare, son-in-law to Edward. Mortimer, one of the Lords Marchers of Wales.
clix High-born Hoel, soft Llewellyn (1. 15); the Dissertatio de Bardis of Evans names the first as son to the King Owain Gwynedd: Llewelyn, last King of North Wales, was murdered 1282. L. 16 Cadwallo: Cadwallon (died 631) and Urien Rheged (early kings of Gwynedd and Cumbria respectively) are mentioned by Evans (p. 78) as bards none of whose poetry is extant. L. 20 Modred: Evans supplies no data for this name, which Gray (it has been supposed) uses for Merlin (Myrddin Wyllt),
held prophet as well as poet, -The Italicized lines mark where the Bard's song is joined by that of his predecessors departed. L. 22 Arvon: the shores of Carnarvonshire opposite Anglesey. Whether intentionally or through ignorance of the real dates, Gray here seems to represent the Bard as speaking of these poets, all of earlier days, Llewelyn excepted, as his own contemporaries at the close of the thirteenth century.
Gray, whose penetrating and powerful genius rendered him in many ways an initiator in advance of his age, is probably the first of our poets who made some acquaintance with the rich and adinirable poetry in which Wales from the Sixth Century has been fertile,-before and since his time so barbarously neglected, not in England only. Hence it has been thought worth while here to enter into a little detail upon his Cymric allusions.
1. 5 She-wolf: Isabel of France, adulterous Queen of Edward II.-L. 35 Towers of Julius: the Tower of London, built in part, according to tradition, by Julius Cæsar.
1. 2 bristled boar: the badge of Richard III. L. 8 Half of thy heart: Queen Eleanor died soon after the conquest of Wales. L. 18 Arthur: Henry VII named his eldest son thus, in deference to native feeling and story. clxi The Highlanders called the battle of Culloden, Drumossie.
clxii lilting, singing blithely: loaning, broad lane: bughts, pens: scorning, rallying: dowie, dreary: daffin' and gabbin', joking and chatting: leglin, milkpail: shearing, reaping: bandsters, sheaf-binders: lyart, grizzled: runkled, wrinkled: fleeching, coaxing: gloaming, twilight: bogle, ghost: dool, sorrow.
197 clxiv The Editor has found no authoritative text of this poem, to his mind 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 (163) exhibits a knowledge rather of the old legend than of the old verses.-Hecht, promised; the obsolete hight: mavis, thrush: ilka, every: lav'rock, lark: haughs, valley-meadows: twined, parted from: marrow, mate: syne, then.
The Royal George, of 108 guns, whilst undergoing a partial careening at Spithead, was overset about 10 A.M. Aug. 29, 1782. The total loss was believed to be nearly 1000 souls. This little poem might be called one of our trial-pieces, in regard to taste. The reader who feels the vigour of description and the force of pathos underlying Cowper's bare and truly Greek simplicity of phrase, may assure himself se valde profecisse in poetry.