Page images
PDF
EPUB

While hope prolongs our happier hour,
Or deepest shades, that dimly lower
And blacken round our weary way,
Gilds with a gleam of distant day.

40

Still, where rosy pleasure leads,

See a kindred grief pursue ;
Behind the steps that misery treads,

Approaching comfort view:
The hues of bliss more brightly glow,
Chastis’d by sabler tints of woe;
And blended form, with artful strife,
The strength and harmony of life.

45

See the wretch, that long has tost

On the thorny bed of pain,

50

See Casimir Od.:

“ Alterno redeunt choro
Risus et gemitus, et madidis prope

Sicci cum lacrymis joci

Nascuntur mediis gaudia luctibus."
V. 45. “ Here sweet, or strong, may every colour flow;

Here let the pencil warm, the colours glow;
Of light and shade provoke the noble strife,
And wake each striking feature into life.”

Brown. Essay on Satire, ii. 358. V. 49. “O ! jours de la convalescence !

Jours d'une pure volupté:
C'est une nouvelle naissance,

Un rayon d’immortalité.
Quel feu ! tous les plaisirs ont volé dans mon âme,

J'adore avec transport le céleste flambeau;
Tout m'intéresse, tout m'enflame

Pour moi, l'univers est nouveau.

Les plus siinples objects; le chante d'un Fauvette,

At length repair his vigour lost,

And breathe and walk again :
The meanest floweret of the vale,
The simplest note that swells the gale,
The common sun, the air, the skies,
To him are opening paradise.

55

60

Humble quiet builds her cell,

Near the source whence pleasure flows ; She eyes the clear crystalline well,

And tastes it as it goes. • While' far below the 'madding' crowd

Rush headlong to the dangerous flood, Where broad and turbulent it sweeps, And’ perish in the boundless deeps.

65

Mark where indolence and pride,

Sooth’d by flattery's tinkling sound, Go, softly rolling, side by side,

Their dull but daily round:

Le matin d'un beau jour, la verdure des bois,

La fraicheur d'une violette;
Milles spectacles, qu'autrefois

On voyoit avec nonchalance,
Transportent aujourd'hui, présentent des appas

Inconnus à l'indifférence, Et que la foule ne voit pas.” Gresset. tom. i. p. 145. V. 55. “ Communemque prius, ceu lumina solis.” Ovid. Met. i. 135. “ Nec solem proprium natura, nec aëra fecit." Ovid. Met. vi. 350. “ Ne lucem, quoque hanc quæ communis est. ." Cicero. “Sol omnibus lucet." Pet. Arb. c. 100. “Communis cunctis viventibus aura.” Prudent. Sym. ii. 86. “The common benefit of vital air.” Dryden.

70

"To these, if Hebe's self should bring
The purest cup from pleasure's spring,
Say, can they taste the flavour high
Of sober, simple, genuine joy?

75

• Mark ambition's march sublime

Up to power's meridian height;
While pale-eyed envy sees him climb,

And sickens at the sight.
Phantoms of danger, death, and dread,
Float hourly round ambition's head;
While spleen, within his rival's breast,
Sits brooding on her scorpion nest.

80

* Happier he, the peasant, far,

From the pangs of passion free,
That breathes the keen yet wholesome air

Of rugged penury.
He, when his morning task is done,
Can slumber in the noontide sun;
And hie him home, at evening's close,
To sweet repast, and calm repose.

85

V. 56. “ Balm from open'd Paradise.v. Fairfax. Tasso, iv. 75. Luke. “ And Paradise was open’d in the wild.” Pope. And paradise was open’d in his face.” Dryden. Absalom, ed. Derrick, vol. i. p. 116. V. 59. So Milton accents the word: « On the crystalline sky, in sapphire thron’d.”

Par. Lost, b. vi. ver. 772. V. 65. « Tout s'émousse dans l'habitude;

L’amour s'endort sans volupté;
Las des mêmes plaisirs, las de leur multitude,

Le sentiment n'est plus flatté.”

90

• He, unconscious whence the bliss,

Feels, and owns in carols rude,
That all the circling joys are his,

Of dear Vicissitude.
From toil he wins his spirits light,
From busy day the peaceful night;
Rich, from the very want of wealth,
In heaven's best treasures, peace and health.'

95

TRANSLATION OF A PASSAGE FROM

STATIUS. *

THEB. LIB. VI. VER. 704–724.

THIRD in the labours of the disc came on,
With sturdy step and slow, Hippomedon;
Artful and strong he pois’d the well-known weight
By Phlegyas warn’d, and fir’d by Mnestheus' fate,
That to avoid, and this to emulate.
His vigorous arm he tried before he flung,
Brac'd all his

nerves,

and
every

sinew strung; Then, with a tempest's whirl, and wary eye, Pursu'd his cast, and hurld the orb on high;

5

* This translation, written at the age of twenty, which Gray sent to West, consisted of about a hundred and ten lines. Mason selected twenty-seven lines, which he published, as Gray's first attempt at English verse; and to show how much he had imbibed of Dryden's spirited manner at that early period of his life.

10

15

The orb on high tenacious of its course,
True to the mighty arm that gave it force,
Far overleaps all bound, and joys to see
Its ancient lord secure of victory.
The theatre's green height and woody wall
Tremble ere it precipitates its fall ;
The ponderous mass sinks in the cleaving ground,
While vales and woods and echoing hills rebound.
As when from Ætna’s smoking summit broke,
The eyeless Cyclops heav'd the craggy rock;
Where Ocean frets beneath the dashing oar,
And parting surges round the vessel roar;
'Twas there he aim’d the meditated harm,
And scarce Ulysses scap'd his giant arm.
A tiger's pride the victor bore away,
With native spots and artful labour gay,
A shining border round the margin rolld,
And calm’d the terrors of his claws in gold.

20

25

Cambridge, May 8, 1736.

V. 12. v. Milt. P. L. iv. 181, “At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound.” Luke.

V. 14. v. Milt. P. L. iv. 140, “ As the ranks ascend shade above shade, a woody theatre of stateliest view.” Luke.

« PreviousContinue »