« PreviousContinue »
Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade!
Ah, fields beloy'd in vain!
A stranger yet to pain!
blow A momentary bliss bestow,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing, My weary soul they seem to sooth, And, redolent of joy and youth (f),
To breathe a second spring.
Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race
The paths of pleasure trace ;
The captive linnet which enthral?
Or urge the flying ball ?
(f) And, redolent of joy and youth.
Dryden's Fable on the Pythag. System.
While some on earnest business bent
Their murm'ring labours ply 'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty:
And unknown regions dare descry:
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs by Fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possest;
The sunshine of the breast:
And lively Cheer, of Vigour born;
That fly th' approach of morn.
Alas! regardless of their doom
The little victims play!
Nor care beyond to-day.
And black Misfortune's baleful train! Ah, show them where in ambush stand, To seize their prey, the murd'rous band!
Ah, tell them they are men!
These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind, Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame that sculks behind; Or pining Love shall waste their youth, Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart; And Envy wan, and faded Care, Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
And grinning Infamy.
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
Amid severest woe.
Lo, in the Vale of Years beneath
A grisly troop are seen, The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their Queen:
 And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye. The elision here, observes Mr. Mason, is ungraceful, and hurts this otherwise beautiful line: One of the same kind in the second line of the first Ode makes the same blemish; but I think they are the only two to be found in this correct writer; and I mention them here that succeeding Poets may not look upon them as authorities. The judicious reader will not suppose that I would condemn all elisions of the genitive case, by this stricture on those which are terminated by rough con. sonants. Many there are which the ear readily admits, and which use has made familiar to it,
(3) And moody Madness laughing wild.
Dryden's Fable of Palamon and Arcite.
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
And slow-consuming Age.
To each his suff'rings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
Th' unfeeling for his own.
And happiness too swiftly flies?
'Tis folly to be wise.
[It has been well remarked by a Writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. Ixviii. p. 481. that for this beautiful and affecting Ode, we may have been indebted to the following passage in Walton's Life of Sir Henry Wotton :
“ How useful was that advice of a holy monk, who persuaded his friend to perform his customary devotions in a constant place, because in that place we usually meet with those very thoughts which possessed us at our last being there; and I find it thus far experimentally true,