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The following songs of the passionate and descriptive kind, resemble in various degrees the ancient masters above-mentioned.
There are many imitations of the Sapphic Ode, in its warm descriptions of the external symptoms of love. Besides that piece of Dr, Smollet's, which is only a variation of Sappho’s famous ode, I would particularly point out
“Ah, the shepherd's mournful fate,” . as a near copy from this model.
Horace, a poet the most familiar to a scholar of all the ancients, has been imitated in several songs. These are such as in common language would be peculiarly entitled Odes, from their high strain of fancy and poetical diction. That of Prior,
. " If wine and music have the power.” May be marked as truly Horatian.
The simple pathetic of Tibullus and the writers of Elegy, is most sweetly manifested in that charming song of Dr. Percy's,
“ O Nancy wilt thou go with me,” which has scarcely its equal for real tenderness in this or any other language.
Other resemblances might be pointed out, but I imagine it is unnecessary to go farther. What has been already observed may serve to put a reader of taste upon remarking those niceties of composition, and delicate variations, which he might otherwise have passed over; and I would not anticipate the pleasure he will receive from his own discoveries of this kind. An ample store of beauties lies open for his inspection, and he will probably find reason to flatter himself, that in this species of poetry, as well as in every other, the English follow the classic ancients with a bold and vigorous step, and strain hard for the palm of victory.
Bless’D as th' immortal Gods is he, *
Twas this depriv'a'my soul of rest,
* Though it may seem irregular to begin a collection of English Songs with an Ode of Sappho, yet I am tempted to do it on account of the excellence of the translation, which has almost the merit of an original," and that the reader may have so nearly in view a pattern of perfection with which he may compare the rest.
My bosom glow'd, a subtle flame
O’er my dim eyes a darkness hung,
In dewy damps my limbs were chillid,
Thy fatal shafts unerring move,
For while I gaze, my bosom glows,