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Hark, his hands the lyre explore !
Oh! lyre divine, what daring spirit
Wakes thee now? Though he inherit Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,
That the Theban eagle bear,
Through the azure deep of air :
Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray,
Ver. Ill. But ah ! 'tis heard no more] We have had in our language no other odes of the sublime kind than that of Dryden on St. Cecilia's Day; for Cowley, who had merit, yet wanted judgment, style, and harmony, for such a task.
That of Pope is not worthy of so great a man. Mr. Mason indeed, of late days, has touched the true chords, and with a masterly hand, in some of his choruses; above all in the last of Caractacus: “Hark! heard ye not yon footstep dread ?” &c.
Ver. 115. That the Theban eagle bear] Asòs após όρνιχα θείον. .
OLYMP. 11. 159. Pindar compares himself to that bird, and his enemies to ravens that croak and clamour in vain below, while it pursues pas fight, regardless of their noise.
With orient hues unborrow'd of the sun :
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distani way Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate, Beneath the Good how far-but far above the
A PINDARIC ODE,
This Ode is founded on a tradition current in Wales,
that Edward the First, when he completed the conquest of that country, ordered all the Bards that fell into his hands to be put to death.
“Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
Confusion on thy banners wait;
They mock the air with idle state.
Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail, Nor e'en thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail To save thy secret soul from nightly fears, From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears !"
Ver. 5. Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail] The hauberk was a texture of steel ringlets, or rings interwoven, forming a coat of mail that sat close to the body, and adapted itself to every motion
Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride
Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay, As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side He wound with toilsome march his long
array. Stout Gloʻster stood aghast in speechless trance : “To arms !" cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quivering lance.
Robed in the sable garb of woe,
Ver. 11. -of Snowdon's shaggy side] Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that mountain. ous tract: it included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire, as far east as the river Conway.
Ver. 13. Stout Glo'ster] Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford; married at Westminster, May 2, 1290, to Joan de Acres or Acon (so called from having been born at Acon in the Holy Land), second daughter of King Edward.He died 1295.
Ver. 14. “ To arms !” cried Mortimer] Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore.
They both were Lord Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and probably accompanied the king in this expedition.
Ver. 19. Loose his beard and hoary hair? The And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire, Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre. “ Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert-cave,
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath! O’er thee, oh King! their hundred arms they
wavc, Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathc; Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day, To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.
That hush'd the stormy main :
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by.
image was taken from a well-known picture by Raphael, representing the Supreme Being in the vision of Ezekiel.
Ver. 35. On dreary Arvon's shore they lie] The shores of Caernarvonshire, opposite to the Isle of Anglesey.
Ver. 38. The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by] Camden and others observe, that eagles used annuDear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear as the light that visits these sad cyes, Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Yedied amidst your dying country's cries No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band, I see them sit, they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land : With me in dreadful harmony they join, And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy
“Weave the warp, and weave the woof, The winding-sheet of Edward's race.
Give ample room, and verge enough
ally to build their aerie among the rocks of Snowdon, which from thence (as some think) were named by the Welsh Craiganeryri, or the crags of the eagles. At this day the highest point of Snowdon is called the Eagle's Nest. That bird is certainly no stranger to this island, as the Scots, and the people of Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c., can testify: it even has built its nest in the Peak of Derbyshire, (See Willoughby's Ornithology, published by Ray).
Ver. 48. And weave with bloody hands the tissue of iht; line] Sen the Norwegian Ode (the Fatal Sisters) hat follows,