Page images

Address to Great Britain.

For lofty sense, Creative fancy, and inspection keen Through the deep windings of the human heart, Is not wild Shakspeare thine and Nature's boast? Is not each great, each amiable, Muse Of classick ages in thy Milton met? A genius, universal as his theme; Astonishing as Chaos; as the bloom Of blowing Eden fair ; as Heaven sublime !

Thomson's Summer

Ode to the Muse.

SAY, Goddess, can the festal board,
Or young Olympia's form ador’d;
Say, can the pomp of promis'd fame
Relume thy faint, thy dying, flame?
Or have melodious airs the power
To give one free poetick hour?
Or, from amid the Elysian train,

The foul of Milton shall I gain,
To win thee back with some celestial strain?

O powerful strain! O sacred foul !
His numbers every sense controul :
And now again my bosom burns;
The Muse, the Muse herself, returns !


OUR stedfast hard, to his own genius true, Still bade his Mule, “ fit audience find, though few." Scorning the judgement of a triting age, To choicer spirits he bequeath'd his page. He too was scornd; and, to Britannia's shame, She scarce for half an age knew Milton's name. But now, his fame by every trumpet blown, We on his deathless trophies raise our own. Nor art nor nature did his genius bound; Fleaven, llell, Earth, Chaos, he survey'd around; All things his eye, through wit's bright empire thrown, Beheld; and made, what it beheld, his own. Such Multox was : 'Tis ours to bring him forth; And yours to vindicate neglected worth. Such heaven-taught nunibersthould be more than read, More wide the manna through the nation spread. Like some blets d spirit he to-night descends, Mankind he visits, and their steps befriends; Through mazy errour's dark perplexing wood, Points out the path of truc and real good; Warns erring youth, and guards the fpotless maid Erom spell of magick vice, by reason's aid.

Dr. Dalton's Prologue to Comus, 1735.

YE patriot crowds, who burn for England's fame, Ye nymphs, whose bosoms beat at Milton's name, Whofe generous zeal, unbought by flattering rhymes, Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times; Immortal patrons of succeeding days, Attend this prelude of perpetual praise ! Let Wit, condemn’d the feeble war to wage With close malevolence, or publick rage;

Let Study, worn with virtue's fruitless lore,
Behold this Theatre, and grieve no more.
This night, distinguish'd by your smiles, shall tell,
That never Britain can in vain excell;
The flighted arts futurity shall trutt,
And riting ages hasten to be just.

At length our mighty bard's victorious lays
Fill the loud voice of univerfal praise;
And baffled Spite, with hopeless anguish dumb,
Yields to renown the centuries to come;
With ardent haste each candidate of fame,
Ambitious, catches at his towering name:
He sees, and pitying sees, vain wealth bestow
Those pageant honours which he scorn'd below,
While crowds aloft the laureat bust behold,
Or trace his form on circulating gold.
Unknown,-unheeded, long his offspring lay,
And want hung threatening o'er her Now decay.
What though the shine with no Miltonian fire,
No favouring Muse her morning dreams inspire;
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
Her youth laborious, and her blameless age;
Hers the mild merits of domestick life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife.
Thus grac'd with humble virtue's native charms,
Her grandfire leaves her in Britannia's arms;
Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell,
While tutelary nations guard her cell.
Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wife, ye brave!
”Tis yours to crown desert- beyond the grave.

Dr. Johnson's Prologue to the Matk of Comus,

acted at Drury-Lane Theatre, April 5, 1750, for the Benefit of Milton's grand-daughter.

NOR second HE that rode sublime
Upon the seraph-wings of ecstasy;
The secrets of the abyss to spy,
He pass’d the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where Angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Clos'd his eyes in endless night.

Gray's Progress of Poesy.

Ode on the Poetical Character.

HIGH on some cliff, to Heaven up-pild,
Of rude access, of prospect wild,
Where tangled round the jealous steep
Strange shades o'erbrow the vallies deep,
And holy Genii guard the rock,
Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock,
While on its rich ambitious head
An Eden, like his own, lies fpread;
I view that oak the fancied glades among,
By which as Milton lay, his evening ear,
From many a cloud that dropp'd ethereal dew,
Nigh spher'd in Heaven, its native strains could hear,
On which that ancient trump he reach'd was hung
Thither oft his glory greeting,
From Waller's myrtle fhades retreating,
With many a vow from Hope's aspiring tongue
My trembling feet his guiding fteps pursue;
In vain : --Such bliss to one alone
Of all the sons of Soul was known;

And Heaven and Fancy, kindred Powers,

Have now o'erturn'd the inspiring bowers, Or curtain'd close such scene from every future view,



Ode to Memory.
RISE, hallow'd Milton! rise, and say,

How, at thy gloomy close of day;
How, when“ depress’d by age, beset with wrongs ;
When “fallen on evil days and evil tongues ;"

When Darkness, brooding on thy light,

Exild the sov'reign lamp of light: Say, what could then one cheering hope diffuse? What friends were thine, save Memory and the Muse?

Hence the rich spoils, thy studious youth

Caught from the stores of ancient Truth : Hence all thy busy eye could pleas'd explore, When Rapture led thee to the Latian shore;

Each scene, that Tiber's bank supplied ;

Each grace, that play'd on Arno's fide;
The tepid gales, through Tuscan glades that fly;
The blue serene, that spreads Hesperia’s sky;

Were still thine own: Thy ample mind

Each charm receiv'd, retain'd, combin'd. And thence “ the nightly Visitant,” that came To touch thy bosom with her sacred flame,

Recall'd the long-loft beams of grace;

That whilom shot from Nature's face, When God, in Eden, o'er her youthful breast Spread with his own right hand Perfection's gorgeous vest.


« PreviousContinue »