Abbildungen der Seite




Though under a republic, talents may exhibit themselves by much more astonishing exertions than in a monarchy; yet in monarchies, arts and sciences have oftener found their origin than in republics ; and in monarchies, their use is more generally extensive, and beneficial. Examples are obvious. Astronomy took its rise in Chaldea, geometry in Egypt. And though poetry and eloquence rose to perfection in Greece and Rome, and though we allow that the bards and orators of later days were only imitators of Homer, and Demosthenes, it is yet to be tried, * whether the splendid exhibitions of Mirabeau are equally beneficial to society, with the humble labours of a Flechier, or a Saurin.

The common argument for a democracy, from the corruption of courts, may readily be retorted : the cause of corruption is power, diffuse that power among the people, without a necessary constitutional restraint, and partial corruption becomes general. The court of Persia was depraved in many instances, but the manners of the people were much inore pure than those of the contem, porary Greeks themselves : for particulars see HERODOTUS. It is to be observed also, that where the Persians' religion was established, it admitted of no intercommunity of foreign rites or foreign opi. nions--the general cause of popular corruption.

* The reader must not forget that this was written at the coin, mencement of the French Revolution. The trial has been made, fatally for Europe, which is now suffering under the lamentable sonsequences

ED. 1809.

TO MRS. F*******

No more from Henrietta's eyes,

From every grace the fair that arms, Bid me retire with caution wise,

Nor brave her conquering charms. Yet, ô


Friend! had not my soul
To Beauty's power been clos’d by Fate,
I sure had owu'd her sweet controul,

had warn'd too late, Før I upon her lovely mien

Have gaz'd; her voice my ear retains
And he who once has heard and seen,

Must wear eternal chains.
But I from thraldom's dread am free,

Not even her magic can prevail ;
Nor could my heart securer be

If cas'd in ten-fold mail,
The force of Love I well may scorn;

His time to wound my breast is o'er,
For every nerve of feeling torn,

I now can feel no more,
Love, Fame, Ambition, all forgot,

There's nought on earth my wishes crave
But one calm,

sacred, narrow spot; That spot, the silent grave,







As it is seldom found in English Pindarics, that the Strophe and Antistrophe are without the Epode, I think some reason should be given for the exclusion of the latter stanza from the following Ode. In the original we have the three stanzas, i. e. the Strophe, Antistrophe, and Epode, entire; but Pindar knew not the fetters of rhyme: he could weave such words into one line and such into another without stopping the rapidity of composition: his humble · translator 'found that the alteration of the metre from the Strophe and Antistrophe necessary to form the Epode was a very troublesome bar to the rapidity of his composition, and that it was much easier to move forwards in the regular and uniform metre of Strophe and Antistrophe, than by turning out of the way to find a different harmony. West in his translation of this very Ode confines himself to the Decade, as the metre less difficult to him at that minute than the varied stanza of the original : for latitude and variation of metre is not always an assistant of composition, unless in an irregular blank poem, like that for instance of Mr. Southey, entitled • Thalaba', which, by the by, has scarcely a more distinct division of metrical numbers than the effusions of the Son of Fingal, and in my humble opinion, would have an infinitely more extensive number of readers, if it were printed in the manner of prose, like Ossian and Telemachus. But that the usage of the

Strophe and Antistrophe alone may not seem unprecedented among our English Bards, we have only to produce an Ode of a sublime poet, in which a single Strophe and a single Antistrophe are the only two stanzas; the Ode to Mercy, by Collins: Pindar himself sometimes rejects the Epode, as in the sixth and last Pythian Odes, and the last Olympic, which is Monostrophaic, and consists of two Strophes entirely differing in metre.--After all, when we consider, that Odes are now no longer danced to; (for the profession of a Poet in these days is not quite so joyous) that we have no movements round the altars from left to right, &c. &c. to express the motion of the spheres and planets; and that the Strophe (otp$w) and Antistrophe (arti-orgEDW) took their names from-and entirely depended on these movements, it would rather be judged proper to expel these stanzas, or rather their titles, from modern lyrics; and indeed I should think it my duty to take my leave of them at once, were it not that I have as sincere a wisha as any translator or imitator of Pindar ever indulged, that the regularity and harmony of measure in his works should be particularly impressed upon the minds of those, who imagine that the Ode on the Passions, St. Cecilia's Day, or any other irregolar Ode in the language, is a true and excellent imitation of the Theban's manner, and that the disproportioned, uncertain, and perplexed metre of Cowley is justly dignified with the title of Pindaric. As these gentleman cannot read the Greek of Pindar, (for if they could, they would not have entertained their irregular notions so long) let them turn to bis animated translator West, or the original Pindarics of Collins and Gray, and they will find, that the feet of one Strophe stand in the exact position of those of the other; that the Strophe and Antistrophe are always of equal length ; and that the harmony of the second Epode, whether it's lines vary or no in itself, only repeats the harmony of the first.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Harp of gold, thou joy divine
Of Music's lord and the Aönian maids,
Whose tresses thro' the beaming glades
Bright with the glossy violet darkly shine;
* Thrilld with thy strain, the mirthful dance
Bids it's entwining charm advance;
And when deep murm'ring from thy full-swept string
Strong gales the swelling prelude fling,
Thy raptur'd choir the sign obey,

the hosts of sound thro' Heav'ns unfathom'd way.


+ Quenching it's eternal fire
The lightning sirks with all it's shafted light;
The lord of the aërial flight
Nods on the sceptre of th' immortal Sire;

* Gray has imitated the original thought of these lines in the Ist Epode of his Progress of Poetry;

Thee the voice, the dance obey

Tempered to thy warbled layis manifestly the

τας ακοει μεν βασις, &c. of Pindar.

+ Gray has imitated more closely the original of these lines; his Editor thinks, weakly: but I cannot conceive this ;--though

« ZurückWeiter »