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St. 3 Hybla: near Syracuse. Her whose ... woe.
vision of the poetry of Shakespeare and Milton. (40 159 1. 13 Glo'ster : Gilbert de Clare, son-in-law to Edward
Mortimer, one of the Lords Marchers of Wales.
de Bardis of Evans names the first as son to the King
detail upon his Cymric allusions. 142 1. 5 She-wolf: Isabel of France, adulterous Queen of
Edward II.-L. 35 Towers of Julius: the Tower of
Julius Cæsar. 143 1. 2 bristled boar : the badge of Richard III. L. 7
Half of thy heart: Queen Eleanor died soon after the conquest of Wales. L. 18 Arthur : Henry VII named his eldest son thus, in deference to native feeling and
story. 144 161 The Highlanders called the battle of Culloden,
Drumossie. 145 162 lilting, singing blithely:loaning, broad lane : bughts,
pens : scorning, rallying: dowie, dreary: daffin' and gabbin', joking and chatting : leglin, milkpail: shearing, reaping : bandsters, sheaf-binders :lyart, grizzled: runkled, wrinkled : fleeching, coaxing: gloaming,
twilight: bogle, ghost : dool, sorrow. 147 164 The Editor has found no authoritative text of this
poem, to his mind superior to any other of its clasa in melody and pathos. Part is probably not later than the seventeenth century: in other stanzas a more modern hand, much resembling Scott's, is traceable. Logan's poem (163) exhibits a knowledge rather of the old legend than of the old verses. Hecht, promised ; the obsolete hight: mavis, thrush:
ilka, every: lav'rock, lark : haughs, valley-meadows:
twined, parted from : marrow, mate : syne, then. 148 165 The Royal George, of 108 guns, whilst undergoing a
partial careening at Spithead, was overset about 10 A.M. Aug. 29, 1782. The total loss was believed to be nearly 1000 souls.—This little poem might be called one of our trial-pieces, in regard to taste. The reader who feels the vigour of description and the force of pathos underlying Cowper's bare and truly Greek simplicity of phrase, may assure himself se valde
profecisse in poetry. 151 167 A little masterpiece in a very difficult style: Catullus
himself could hardly have bettered it. In grace, tenderness, simplicity, and humour, it is worthy of the Ancients: and even more so, from the complete
ness and unity of the picture presented. 155 172 Perhaps no writer who has given such strong proofs
of the poetic nature has left less satisfactory poetry than Thomson. Yet this song, with ‘Rule Britannia' and a few others, must make us regret that he did not more seriously apply himself to
lyrical writing. 156 174 With what insight and tenderness, yet in how few
words, has this painter-poet here himself told Love's
Secret! 157 177 I. 1 Aeolian lyre: the Greeks ascribed the origin of
their Lyrical Poetry to the Colonies of Aeolis in Asia
Minor. 158 Thracia's hills (1. 9) supposed a favourite resort of
Mars. Feather'd king (1. 13) the Eagle of Jupiter, admirably described by Pindar in a passage here imitated by Gray. Idalia (l. 19) in Cyprus, where
Cytherea (Venus) was especially worshipped. 159 1. 6 Hyperion : the Sun. St. 6-8 allude to the Poets
of the Islands and Mainland of Greece, to those of
Rome and of England. 160 1. 27 Theban Eagle: Pindar. 163 178 1. 5 chaste-eyed Queen : Diana. 164 179 From that wild rhapsody of mingled grandeur, ten
derness, and obscurity, that 'medley between inspiration and possession, which poor Smart is believed to have written whilst in confinement for
madness. 165 181 the dreadful light : of life and experience. 166 182 Attic warbler : the nightingale. 168 184 sleekit, sleek : bickering brattle, flittering flight:laith,
loth: pattle, ploughstaff : whyles, at times : a daimenicker, a corn-ear now and then : thrave, shock: lave, rest: foggage, after-grass : snell, biting: but hald, without dwelling-place : thole, bear :cranreuch, hoarfrost: thy lane, alone : a-gley, off the right lin
awry. 17, 188 stoure, dust-storm ; braw, smart. 176 189 scaith, hurt: tent, guard i ster, molest.
177 191 drumlie, muddy: birk, birch. 178 192 greet, cry: duurna, dare not.-There can hardly
exist a poem more truly tragic in the highest sense than this: nor, perhaps, Sappho excepted, has any
Poetess equalled it. 180 193 fou, merry with drink: coost, carried : unco skeigh,
very proud: gart, forced : abeigh, aside : Ailsa craig, a rock in the Firth of Clyde : grat his een bleert, cried till his eyes were bleared : lowpin, leaping linn, waterfall: sair, sore : smoor'd, smothered :
crouse and canty, blithe and gay. 181 194 Burns justly named this one of the most beautiful
songs in the Scots or any other language.' One stanza, interpolated by Beattie, is here omitted :-it contains two good lines, but is out of harmony with the original poem. Bigonet, little cap: probably altered
from béguinette : thraw, twist : caller, fresh. 182 195 Burns himself, despite two attempts, failed to im
prove this little absolute masterpiece of music, tenderness, and simplicity: this 'Romance of a life'in
eight lines.-Eerie : strictly, scared : uneasy. 183 196 airts, quarters : row, roll : shaw, small wood in a
hollow, spinney: knowes, knolls. The last two
stanzas are not by Burns. 184 197 jo, sweetheart: brent, smooth : pow, head.
198 leal, faithful. St. 3 fain, happy. 185 199 Henry VI founded Eton. 188 200 Written in 1773, towards the beginning of Cowper's
second attack of melancholy madness--a time when he altogether gave up prayer, saying, For him to implore mercy would only anger God the more.' Yet had he given it up when sane, it would have
been 'maior insania.' 191 203 The Editor would venture to class in the very first
rank this Sonnet, which, with 204, records Cowper's gratitude to the Lady whose affectionate care for many years gave what sweetness he could enjoy to a life radically wretched. Petrarch's sonnets have a more ethereal grace and a more perfect finish ; Shakespeare's more passion ; Milton's stand supreme in stateliness; Wordsworth's in depth and delicacy. But Cowper's unites with an exquisiteness in the turn of thought which the ancients would have called Irony, an intensity of pathetic tenderness peculiar to his loving and ingenuous nature. There is much mannerism, much that is unimportant or of now exhausted interest in his poems : but where he is great, it is with that elementary greatness which rests on the most universal human feelings.
Cowper is our highest master in simple pathos. 193 205 Cowper's last original poem, founded upon a story
told in Anson's Voyages.' ' It was written March
1799 ; he died in next year's April. 195 206 Very little except his name appears recoverable with
regard to the author of this truly noble poem, which appeared in the 'Scripscrapologia, Collins Doggerel Dish of All Sorts,' with three or four other pieces of merit, Birmingham, 1804.-Everlasting: used with side-allusion to a cloth so named, at the time when Collins wrote.
Summary of Book Fourth
It proves sufficiently the lavish wealth of our own age in Poetry, that the pieces which, without conscious departure from the Standard of Excellence, render this Book by far the longest, were with very few exceptions composed during the first thirty years of the Nineteenth century. Exhaustive reasons can hardly be given for the strangely sudden appear. ance of individual genius: that, however, which assigns the splendid national achievements of our recent poetry to an im. pulse from the France of the first Republic and Empire is inadequate. The first French Revolution was rather one result, the most conspicuous, indeed, yet itself in great measure essentially retrogressive, -of that wider and more potent spirit which through enquiry and attempt, through strength and weakness, sweeps mankind round the circles (not, as some too confidently argue, of Advance, but) of gradual Transformation : and it is to this that we must trace the literature of Modern Europe. But, without attempting discussion on the motive causes of Scott, Wordsworth, Shelley, and others, we may observe that these Poets carried to further perfection the later tendencies of the Century preceding, in simplicity of narrative, reverence for human Passion and Character in every sphere, and love of Nature for herself :that, whilst maintaining on the whole the advances in art made since the Restoration, they renewed the half-forgotten melody and depth of tone which marked the best Elizabethan writers : --that, lastly, to what was thus inherited they added a richness in language and a variety in metre, a force and fire in narrative, a tenderness and bloom in feeling, an insight into the finer passages of the Soul and the inner meanings of the landscape, a larger sense of Humanity,--hitherto scarcely attained, and perhaps unattainable even by predecessors of not inferior individual genius. In a word, the Nation which, after the Greeks in their glory, may fairly claim that during six centuries it has proved itself the most richly gifted of all nations for Poetry, expressed in these men the highest strength and prodigality of its nature. They interpreted the age to itself-hence the many phases of thought and style they present :—to sympathise with each, fervently and impartially, without fear and without fancifulness, is no doubtful step in the higher education of the soul. For purity in taste is al
proportionate to strength-and when once the mind has raised itself to grasp and to delight in excellence, those who love most will be found to love most wisely.