Norman Harold Hepple.

Lyrical forms in English; online

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Where the bright seraphim in burning row
Their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow;
And the cherubic host in thousand quires
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,
With those just spirits that wear victorious palms,

Hymns devout and holy psalms,
Singing everlastingly:






JOHN MILTON and JOHN DRYDEN

That we on Earth, with undiscording voice
May rightly answer that melodious noise,
As once we did, till disproportion'd sin
Jarr'd against nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd
In perfect diapason, whilst they stood
In first obedience, and their state of good.
O, may we soon renew that song,
And keep in tune with Heav'n, till God ere long
To His celestial consort us unite,

To live with Him, and sing in endless morn of light!

J. MILTON



128. Alexander's Feast ; or The Power of Music

i

'Twas at the royal feast for Persia won
By Philip's warlike son
Aloft in awful state
The godlike hero sate
On his imperial throne;
His valiant peers were placed around,
Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound
(So should desert in arms be crown'd);
The lovely Thais by his side
Sate like a blooming eastern bride
In flower of youth and beauty's pride:
Happy, happy, happy pair!
None but the brave
None but the brave
None but the brave deserves the fair !



Timotheus placed on high
Amid the tuneful quire
With flying fingers touch'd the lyre;
The trembling notes ascend the sky
And heavenly joys inspire.



119



JOHN DRYDEN

The song began from Jove

Who left his blissful seats above

Such is the power of mighty love! ^

A dragon's fiery form belied the god;

Sublime on radiant spires he rode

When he to fair Olympia prest,

And while he sought her snowy breast;

Then round her slender waist he curl'd,

And stamp'd an image of himself, a sovereign of the world.

The listening crowd admire the lofty sound !

A present deity ! they shout around :

A present deity! the vaulted roofs rebound.

With ravish'd ears

The monarch hears,

Assumes the god,

Affects to nod

And seems to shake the spheres.

3

The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musician sung,
Of Bacchus ever fair and ever young:
The jolly god in triumph comes!
Sound the trumpets, beat the drums!
Flush'd with a purple grace
He shows his honest face:

Now give the hautboys breath; he comes, he comes!
Bacchus, ever fair and young,
Drinking joys did first ordain;
Bacchus' blessings arc a treasure,
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure:
Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure,
Sweet is pleasure after pain.

4

Soothed with the sound, the King grew vain ;
Fought all his battles o'er again,

And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain !
The master saw the madness rise,
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes;

120



JOHN DRYDEN

And while he Heaven and Earth defied

Changed his hand and check'd his pride.

He chose a mournful Muse

Soft pity to infuse:

He sung Darius great and good,

By too severe a fate

Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,

Fallen from his high estate,

And weltering in his blood;

Deserted, at his utmost need,

By those his former bounty fed;

On the bare earth exposed he lies

With not a friend to close his eyes.

With downcast looks the joyless victor sate

Revolving in his alter'd soul

The various turns of Chance below;

And now and then a sigh he stole

And tears began to flow.



The mighty master smiled to see
That love was in the next degree;
'Twas but a kindred sound to move,
For pity melts the mind to love.
Softly sweet in Lydian measures
Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble,
Honour but an empty bubble;
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying;
If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O think, it worth enjoying:
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,
Take the good the gods provide thee !
The many rend the skies with loud applause;
So Love was crown'd, but Music won the cause.
The prince, unable to conceal his pain,
Gazed on the fair
Who caused his care,

121



JOHN DRYDEN

And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd,
Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again:
At length with love and wine at once opprest
The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.



Now strike the golden lyre again:
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain!
Break his bands of sleep asunder
And rouse him like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark! the horrid sound
Has raised up his head:
As awaked from the dead
And amazed he stares around.
Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries,
See the furies arise!
See the snakes that they rear
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes!
Behold a ghastly band
Each a torch in his hand !

Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain
And unburied remain
Inglorious on the plain:
Give the vengeance due
To the valiant crew !

Behold how they toss their torches on high,
How they point to the Persian abodes
And glittering temples of their hostile gods.
The princes applaud with a furious joy:
And the King seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy;
Thais led the way
To light him to his prey,
And like another Helen, fired another Troy !

7

Thus, long ago,

Ere heaving bellows learn 'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute,
Timotheus, to his breathing flute

122



JOHN DRYDEN and WILLIAM COLLINS

And sounding lyre

Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.

At last divine Cecilia came,

Inventress of the vocal frame;

The sweet enthusiast from her sacred store

Enlarged the former narrow bounds,

And added length to solemn sounds,

With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.

Let old Timotheus yield the prize

Or both divide the crown;

He raised a mortal to the skies;

She drew an angel down!

J. DRYDEN



129. The Passions

i

When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Thronged around her magic cell
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possest beyond the Muse's painting;
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturbed, delighted, raised, refin'd ;
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspired,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatch'd her instruments of sound,
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each (for Madness ruled the hour)
Would prove his own expressive power.

2

First Fear his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewilder'd laid,

And back recoil'd, he knew not why,
E'en at the sound himself had made.



123



WILLIAM COLLINS

3
Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire,

In lightnings own'd his secret stings;
In one rude clash he struck the lyre

And swept with hurried hand the strings.

4
With woeful measures wan Despair

Low, sullen sounds his grief beguiled ;
A solemn, strange, and mingled air;

'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.

5

But thou, O Hope, with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure?
Still it whisper'd promised pleasure

And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail!
Still would her touch the strain prolong;

And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She call'd on Echo still through all the song;
And, where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft, responsive voice was heard at every close;
And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair.



And longer had she sung: but with a frown

Revenge impatient rose:

He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down;
And with a withering look
The war-denouncing trumpet took
And blew a blast so loud and dread,

Were ne'er prophetic souls so full of woe !
And ever and anon he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat;
And, though sometimes, each dreary pause between,
Dejected Pity at his side
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien,
While each strain'd ball of sight seem'd bursting from his head,

124



WILLIAM COLLINS

7
Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fix'd:

Sad proof of thy distressful state!
Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd ;

And now it courted Love, now raving call'd on Hate.

8

With eyes up-raised, as one inspired,

Pale Melancholy sat retired;

And from her wild sequester'd seat,

In notes by distance made more sweet,

Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul:

And dashing soft from rocks around,

Bubbling runnels join'd the sound;
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole,
Or o'er some haunted stream, with fond delay,

Round an holy calm diffusing,

Love of peace, and lonely musing,
In hollow murmurs died away.

9

But O ! how alter'd was its sprightlier tone
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,
Her bow across her shoulder flung,

Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew,
Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung,
The hunter's call to Faun and Dryad known !
The oak-crown'd Sisters, and their chaste-eyed Queen,
Satyrs and Sylvan Boys, were seen
Peeping from forth their alleys green:
Brown Exercise rejoiced to hear;
And Sport leapt up, and seized his beechen spear.

10

Last came Joy's ecstatic trial:

He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand addrest:

But soon he saw the brisk awakening viol
Whose sweet, entrancing voice he loved the best :

125



WILLIAM COLLINS

They would have thought who heard the strain
They saw, in Tempe's vale, her native maids
Amidst the festal-sounding shades

To some unwearied minstrel dancing;
While, as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings,
Love framed with Mirth a gay fantastic round:
Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound;

And he, amidst his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.

II

O Music ! sphere-descended maid,
Friend of Pleasure, Wisdom's aid!
Why, goddess, why to us denied,
Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre aside?
As in that loved Athenian bower
You learn'd an all-commanding power,
Thy mimic soul, O nymph endear'd !
Can well recall what then it heard.
Where is thy native, simple heart
Devote to Virtue, Fancy, Art?
Arise, as in that elder time,
Warm, energetic, chaste, sublime!
Thy wonders, in that god-like age,
Fill thy recording Sister's page;
'Tis said and I believe the tale
Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Than all which charms this laggard age,
E'en all at once together found,
Cecilia's mingled world of sound:
O bid our vain endeavour cease;
Revive the just designs of Greece:
Return in all thy simple state!
Confirm the tales her sons relate!

W. COLLINS



126



WILLIAM COLLINS

130. To Evening

i

If aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,

Like thy own solemn springs,

Thy springs, and dying gales;

2

O nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired Sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,

With brede ethereal wove,

O'erhang his wavy bed;

3

Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-eyed bat
With short, shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing;

Or where the beetle winds

His small but sullen horn,

4

As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum,

Now teach me, maid composed,
v To breathe some softened strain,

5

Whose numbers stealing through thy darkening vale,
May not unseemly with its stillness suit;

As musing slow I hail

Thy genial, loved return!

6

For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp

The fragrant Hours and Elves

Who slept in buds the day,

7

And many a Nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge,
And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still,

The pensive Pleasures sweet,

Prepare thy shadowy car.

127



WILLIAM COLLINS

8

Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene;
Or find some ruin 'midst its dreary dells,

Whose walls more awful nod

By thy religious gleams.

9

Or if chill blustering winds or driving rain
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut,
That from the mountain's side
Views wilds and swelling floods,

10

And hamlets brown, and dim discover'd spires;
And hears their simple bell ; and marks o'er all

Thy dewy fingers draw

The gradual dusky veil.

ii

While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!

While Summer loves to sport

Beneath thy lingering light;

12

While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves;
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,

Affrights thy shrinking train,

And rudely rends thy robes;



So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,
Thy gentlest influence own,
And hymn thy favourite name !

W. COLLINS



128



WILLIAM COLLINS and THOMAS GRAY



131. Ode to the Departed Brave

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest !
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.

By fairy hands their knell is rung;
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There Honour comes, a pilgrim grey,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there !

W. COLLINS



132. The Progress of Poesy

A Pindaric Ode



Awake, ^olian lyre, awake,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.
From Helicon's harmonious springs

A thousand rills their mazy progress take:
The laughing flowers that round them blow
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of Music winds along,
Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,
Through verdant vales, and Ceres' golden reign; JL
Now rolling down the steep amain,
Headlong, impetuous, see it pour:
The rocks and nodding groves re-bellow to the roar.

H. i 129



THOMAS GRAY



O Sovereign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen Cares

And frantic Passions hear thy soft control.
On Thracia's hills the Lord of War
Has curb'd the fury of his car
And dropt his thirsty lance at thy command.
Perching on the sceptred hand
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feather' d king
With ruffled plumes, and flagging wing:
Quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie
The terror of his beak, and lightnings of his eye.

3

Thee the voice, the dance, obey,
Tempered to thy warbled lay.
O'er Idalia's velvet-green
The rosy-crowned Loves are seen
On Cytherea's day,

With antic Sport, and blue-eyed Pleasures,
Frisking light in frolic measures;
Now pursuing, now retreating,

Now in circling troops they meet:
To brisk notes in cadence beating

Glance their many-twinkling feet.
Slow melting strains their Queen's approach declare:

Where'er she turns the Graces homage pay:
With arms sublime that float upon the air

In gliding state she wins her easy way:
O'er her warm cheek and rising bosom move
The bloom of young Desire and purple light of Love.

4

Man's feeble race what ills await!
Labour, and Penury, the racks of Pain,
Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train,

And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate!
The fond complaint, my song, disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.

130



THOMAS GRAY

Say, has he given in vain the heavenly Muse?

Night, and all her sickly dews,

Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry

He gives to range the dreary sky:

Till down the eastern cliffs afar

Hyperion's march they spy, and glitt'ring shafts of war.



In climes beyond the solar road,
Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam,
The Muse has broke the twilight gloom

To cheer the shivering native's dull abode.
And oft, beneath the odorous shade
Of Chili's boundless forests laid,
She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat
In loose numbers wildly sweet
Their feather-cinctured chiefs and dusky loves.
Her track, where'er the Goddess roves,
Glory pursue, and generous Shame,
Th' unconquerable Mind, and Freedom's holy flame.



Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep,

Isles, that crown th' ^Egean deep,

Fields, that cool Ilissus laves,

Or where Maeander's amber waves

In lingering lab'rinths creep,

How do your tuneful echoes languish,

Mute, but to the voice of anguish!

Where each old poetic mountain

Inspiration breathed around;
Every shade and hallow'd fountain

Murmur'd deep a solemn sound:
Till the sad Nine, in Greece's evil hour,

Left their Parnassus for the Latian plains.
Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant Power,

And coward Vice, that revels in her chains.
When Latium had her lofty spirit lost,
They sought, O Albion ! next, thy sea-encircled coast.

I 2 131



THOMAS GRAY

7

Far from the sun and summer-gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's Darling laid,
What time where lucid Avon stray'd,

To him the mighty Mother did unveil
Her awful face: the dauntless Child
Stretch'd forth his little arms, and smiled.
This pencil take (she said), whose colours clear
Richly paint the vernal year :
Thine, too, these golden keys, immortal Boy!
This can unlock the gates of Joy;
Of Horror that, and thrilling Fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic Tears.

8

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,
Closed his eyes in endless night.
Behold where Dryden's less presumptuous car
Wide o'er the fields of Glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race
With necks in thunder clothed, and long-resounding pace.

9

Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
Bright-eyed Fancy, hovering o'er,
Scatters from her pictured urn
Thoughts that breathe and words that burn.
But ah! 'tis heard no more
O ! Lyre divine, what daring Spirit
Wakes thee now? Tho' he inherit
Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,

That the Theban Eagle bear,
Sailing with supreme dominion

Thro' the azure deep of air:

132



THOMAS GRAY and WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray

With orient hues, unborrow'd of the sun :

Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way

Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate :

Beneath the Good how far but far above the Great.



T. GRAY



133. Ode to Duty

i

Stern Daughter of the Voice of God !

O Duty ! if that name thou love
Who art a light to guide, a rod

To check the erring, and reprove;
Thou who art victory and law
When empty terrors overawe;

From vain temptations dost set free ;

And calm'st the weary strife of frail humanity !



There are who ask not if thine eye

Be on them; who, in love and truth,
Where no misgiving is, rely

Upon the genial sense of youth:
Glad hearts! without reproach or blot;
Who do thy work, and know it not:

O ! if through confidence misplaced

They fail, thy saving arms, dread Power, around them cast.

3
Serene will be our days, and bright

And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,

And joy its own security.
And they a blissful course may hold
Ev'n now, who, not unwisely bold,

Live in the spirit of this creed;

Yet seek thy firm support, according to their need.

'33



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

4
I, loving freedom, and untried,

No sport of every random gust,
Yet being to myself a guide,

Too blindly have reposed my trust:
And oft, when in my heart was heard
Thy timely mandate, I deferred

The task, in smoother walks to stray;

But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may.

5

Through no disturbance of my soul,

Or strong compunction in me wrought,
I supplicate for thy control ;

But in the quietness of thought:
Me this uncharter'd freedom tires;
I feel the weight of chance desires:

My hopes no more must change their name;

I long for a repose that ever is the same.

6
Stern Lawgiver ! yet thou dost wear

The Godhead's most benignant grace;
Nor know we anything so fair

As is the smile upon thy face :
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds;
And fragrance in thy footing treads;

Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong;

And the most ancient heavens, through thee, are fresh and
strong.

7
To humbler functions, awful Power!

I call thee : I myself commend
Unto thy guidance from this hour;

Oh ! let my weakness have an end !
Give unto me, made lowly wise,
The spirit of self-sacrifice;

The confidence of reason give;

And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live!

W. WORDSWORTH

'34



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH



134. Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recol
lections of Early Childhood



There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;
Turn wheresoe'er I may,

By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.



The Rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the Rose;
The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know,
Where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

3

Now, while the Birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound,

To me alone there came a thought of grief:

A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong:

The Cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep ;

No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;

I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng,

The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

Land and sea

Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday;

Thou child of joy,

Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy
Shepherd-boy !

4

Ye blesse*d Creatures, I have heard the call

Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,

The fulness of your bliss, I feel I feel it all.
O evil day ! if I were sullen
While the Earth herself is adorning

This sweet May-morning,
And the children are pulling

On every side,

In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother's arm :
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear !
But there's a Tree, of many one,
A single Field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone;
The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

5

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close

Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,

He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the East

Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,

And by the vision splendid

Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.



Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;

Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,

And, even with something of a mother's mind,

And no unworthy aim,
The homely Nurse doth all she can

To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.



Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years' darling of a pigmy size!
See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his father's eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:

Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;

'37



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

But it will not be long

Ere this be thrown aside,

And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his "humorous stage'*
With all the persons, down to palsied Age,
That Life brings with her in her equipage;

As if his whole vocation

Were endless imitation.

8

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie

Thy soul's immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,


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Online LibraryNorman Harold HeppleLyrical forms in English; → online text (page 8 of 17)