Page images
PDF
EPUB

IV. 2.
When Friendship and when letter'd Mirth

Haply partake my simple board,
Then let thy blameless hand call forth

The music of the Teian chord ;
Or, if invoked at softer hours,
Oh seek with me the happy bow'rs

That hear Olympia's gentle tongue :
To Beauty link'd with Virtue's train,
To Love devoid of jealous pain,

There let the Sapphic lute be strung.

IV. 3.

But when from envy, and from death to claim

A hero bleeding for his native land;
When to throw incense on the vestal flame

Of Liberty, my genius gives command;
Nor Theban voice, nor Lesbian lyre,
From thee, O Muse! do I require,

While my presaging mind,
Conscious of pow'rs she never knew,

Astonish'd grasps at things beyond her view, Nor by another's fate submits to be confined.

ODE

TO THE EARL OF HUNTINGDON.

M DCC XLVII.

(IBID.]

I. 1.

The wise and great of ev'ry clime,
Through all the spacious walks of Time,
Where'er the Muse her pow'r display'd,
With joy have listen'd and obey'd :
For, taught of Heav'n, the sacred Nine
Persuasive numbers, forms divine,

To mortal sense impart :
They best the soul with glory fire ;
They noblest counsels, boldest deeds inspire;
And high o'er Fortune's rage enthrone the fixed heart.

I. 2.

Nor less prevailing is their charm
The vengeful bosom to disarm;
To melt the proud with human wo,
And prompt unwilling tears to flow.
Can wealth a pow'r like this afford?
Can Cromwell's art, or Marlborough's sword,

An equal empire claim ?

No, Hastings ! thou my words wilt own:
Thy breast the gifts of ev'ry Muse hath known;
Nor shall the giver's love disgrace thy noble name.

I. 3.

The Muse's awful art,
And the blest function of the poet's tongue,

Ne'er shalt thou blush to honour; to assert
From all that scorned Vice or slavish Fear hath sung.

Nor shall the blandishment of Tuscan strings,
Warbling at will in Pleasure's myrtle bow'r;
Nor shall the servile notes to Celtic kings,
By flatt'ring minstrels paid in evil hour,
Move thee to spurn the heav'nly Muse's reign.

A different strain,

And other themes
From her prophetic shades and hallow'd streams
(Thou well can'st witness) meet the purged ear :
Such as when Greece to her immortal shell
Rejoicing listen'd, godlike sounds to hear;

To hear the sweet instructress tell
(While men and heroes throng'd around)
How life its noblest use may find,

How best for freedom be resign'd;
And how, by Glory, Virtue shall be crown'd.

II. 1.

Such was the Chian* father's strain
To many a kind domestic train,
Whose pious hearth and genial bowl
Had cheer'd the rev'rend pilgrim's soul ;
When, ev'ry hospitable rite
With equal bounty to requite,

He struck his magic strings;
And pour'd spontaneous numbers forth,
And seiz'd their ears with tales of ancient worth,
And fill'd their musing hearts with vast heroic things.

II. 2.
Now oft where happy spirits dwell,
Where yet he tunes his charming shell,
Oft near him, with applauding hands,
The Genius of his country stands ;
To list’ning gods he makes him known,
That man divine, by whom were sown

The seeds of Grecian fame :
Who first the race with freedom fir'd;
From whom Lycurgus Sparta's sons inspir'd;t
From whom Platæan palms and Cyprian trophies came.

* Homer. + Lycurgus, the Lacedæmonian lawgiver, brought into Greece from Asia Minor the first complete copy of Homer's works.

[blocks in formation]

O noblest, happiest age !
When Aristides ruled, and Cimon fought;

When all the generous fruits of Homer's page
Exulting Pindar* saw to full perfection brought.

O Pindar! oft shall thou be hail'd of me :
Not that Apollo fed thee from his shrine;
Not that thy lips drank sweetness from the bee;
Nor yet that, studious of thy notes divine,
Pan danced their measure with the sylvan throng;

But that thy song

Was proud t unfold
What thy base rulers trembled to behold;
Amid corrupted Thebes was proud to tell
The deeds of Athens and the Persian shame:
Hence on thy head their impious vengeance fell.

But thou, O faithful to thy fame!
The Muse's law didst rightly know;

* Pindar was contemporary with Aristides and Cimon, in whom the glory of ancient Greece was at its height. When Xerxes invaded Greece, Pindar was true to the common interest of his country, though his fellow-citizens the Thebans had sold themselves to the Persian king. As the argument of this ode implies that great poetical talents and high sentiments of liberty do reciprocally produce and assist each other, so Pindar is perhaps the most exemplary proof of this connection which oce eurs in history.

« PreviousContinue »