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specimens of his poetical talent. Here we not only find the charming variety and sweetness of versification, . . . . but also the fire, the wildness, and enthusiasm of Pindar. Perhaps he has imitated him too closely in affecting an obscurity of transition, though even this obscurity affords a kind of mysterious veil which gives a venerable and classical air to the performance. The first of these odes is addressed to the Æolian lyre, which it emulates in the enchanting softness, ravishing flow, and solemn tones of melody. A severe critic would likewise censure the sentiment in the next strophe or epode, which represents the Loves dancing to the sound of this lyre. Such an instrument as the Æolian harp, which is altogether uncertain and irregular, must be very ill adapted to the dance, which is one continued regular movement. .... The second ode is founded on a tradition current in Wales that Edward I, when he completed the conquest of that country, ordered all the bards that fell into his hands to be put to death. The subject is exquisitely chosen, and the piece executed by the hand of a master.
... What follows is all enthusiasm, ecstasy, and prophetic fury, that alarms, amazes, and transports the reader. . . . . The woes that attend Edward's descendants are introduced in such a manner as to excite surprise, terror, and admiration, and seem to be written in the true strain of an inspired sybil. . . . . The conclusion of this ode is wildly great and interesting. The bard, scorning to survive the slaughter of his friends and the ruin of his country, after having enjoyed his vision of revenge, throws himself from the rock on which he stood."-The Critical Review, August, 1757.
"As this publication ["The Progress of Poesy" and "The Bard"] seems designed for those who have formed their taste by the models of antiquity, the generality of readers cannot be supposed adequate judges of its merit; nor will the poet, it is presumed, be greatly disappointed if he finds them backward in commending a performance not entirely suited to their apprehensions. . . . . It is by no means our design to detract from the merit of our author's present attempt: we would only intimate that an English poet, 'one whom the Muse has marked for her own,' could produce a more luxuriant bloom of flowers by cultivating such as are natives of the soil than by endeavoring to force the exotics of another climate; or, to speak without a metaphor, such a genius as Mr. Gray might give greater pleasure and acquire a larger portion of fame, if, instead of being an imitator, he did justice to his talents, and ventured to be more an original. These two odes, it must be confessed, breathe much of the spirit of Pindar; but, then, they have caught the seeming obscurity, the sudden transition, and hazardous epithet of his mighty master; all which, though evidently intended for beauties, will probably be regarded as blemishes by the generality of his readers. . . . . The first of these poems celebrates the Lyric Muse. It seems the most labored performance of the two; but yet we think its merit is not equal to that of the second. It seems to want that regularity of plan upon which the second is founded; and though it abounds with images that strike, yet, unlike the second, it contains none that are affecting.. . . . . The circumstances of grief and horror in which the Bard is represented, those of terror in the preparation of the votive web, and the mystic obscurity with which the prophecies are delivered, will give as much pleasure to those who relish this species of composition as anything that has hitherto appeared in our language, the odes of Dryden himself not excepted."-Oliver Goldsmith, in The Monthly Review, September, 1757.
"We agree with him (Goldsmith] that the 'Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard' is overloaded with epithet."-The Critical Review, June, 1767.
"I have been reading Gray's works, and think him the only poet since Shakspeare entitled to the character of sublime. Perhaps you will remember that I once had a different opinion of him. I was prejudiced."-William Cowper, in a letter to Hill, April, 1777.
"The 'Prospect of Eton College' suggests nothing to Gray which every beholder does not equally think and feel. His supplication to father Thames to tell him who drives the hoop or tosses the ball, is useless and puerile. Father Thames has no better means of knowing than himself. . . . . To select a singular event, and swell it to a giant's bulk by fabulous appendages of sceptres and predictions, has little difficulty; for he that forsakes the probable
may always find the marvellous. And it has little use: we are affected only as we believe; we are improved only as we find something to be imitated or declined. I do not see that 'The Bard' promotes any truth, moral or political. . . . . In the second stanza the bard is well described; but in the third we have the puerilities of obsolete mythology. When we are told that 'Cadwallo hushed the stormy main,' and that 'Modred made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topped head,' attention recoils from the repetition of a tale that, even when it was first heard, was heard with scorn. . . . . The mind of the writer seems to work with unnatural violence. 'Double, double toil and trouble.' He has a kind of strutting dignity, and is tall by walking on tiptoe. His art and his struggle are too visible, and there is too little appearance of ease and nature. . . . . ... His translations of Northern and Welsh poetry deserve praise; the imagery is preserved, perhaps often improved, but the language is unlike the language of other poets. . . . . The 'Church-Yard' abounds with images which find a mirror in every mind, and with sentiments to which every bosom returns an echo. The four stanzas beginning, 'Yet even these bones,' are to me original: I have never seen the notions in any other place; yet he that reads them here persuades himself that he has always felt them. Had Gray written often thus, it had been vain to blame and useless to praise him."-Samuel Johnson, The Lives of the English Poets (1779–81).
(256) THE PLEASURES OF IMAGINATION. Book I. 151-221. ¶1-33. The lines are based upon a passage in Longinus, On Sublimity, § 24. 14. Cf. Hamlet, I. iv. 56, “With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls."
(257) 47. devious out of the path, wandering. ¶51-53. Akenside prints in a note a parallel passage from Leibnitz, Théodicée, Part I, § 19. ¶ 52. empyreal waste: the upper heaven, far above the sky that bends over the earth (Greek év, in, up, fire; the ancients believed that pure fire was the element in the empyrean).
(258) A SONG TO DAVID. Lines 427-516.
(259) 20. glede-hawk. ¶ 24. Xiphias-the swordfish (Greek έipos, a sword). ¶ 26. bastion's mole: a bastion is a projecting part of a fortification; a mole is a heavy mass of earthwork or masonry. 28. gier-eagle: the vulture.
(260) 59. alba's the pearl's (Latin "alba," white).
(261) THE PLEasures of MelaNCHOLY. Lines 28-69, 153-65, 196-210. Cf. Milton's "Il Penseroso" as a whole. 4. Cf. Milton's Comus, l. 340, "With thy long levelled rule of streaming light." ¶ 19, 20. airy voices talk Along the glimm'ring walls: cf. Pope's "Eloisa to Abelard," 1. 306, "And more than echoes talk along the walls." ¶36. as Spenser saw: see The Faerie Queene, III. xi, xii.
(262) 41. All heav'n in tumult: see Paradise Lost, Book VI. 42. The line is taken from Paradise Lost, VI. 110, with a change of "came" to "c me." ¶48-50. See The Faerie Queene, I. iii, vi. 50-53. See Pope's "Rape of the Lock," II. 1 ff. (p. 93). ¶ 56–61. Cf. Milton's "Il Penseroso," ll. 155, 156, 161-66. ¶69. Cf. Milton's "Il Penseroso," 1. 76, "Swinging slow with sullen roar."
(262) THE FIRST OF APRIL. Lines 5-34, 95-106.
(263) 27. devious-winding.
(264) TO THE RIVER LODON. The Lodon is a small river near Basingstoke, Warton's native place, in the south of England. 2. with alders crowned: cf. Pope's "Windsor Forest," 1. 342, "The Loddon slow, with verdant alders crowned."
(264) THE ROSCIAD. Lines 963-86. The title means "A Song about Roscius"; Roscius was a famous Roman actor, and his name came to be used for actors in general. The poem is a scathing criticism of contemporary London actors. James Quin, the actor satirized in this extract, was very successful, especially in Falstaff; his popularity finally waned before the growing splendor of Garrick's fame. ¶5. Hector's lovely widow: Andromache is a character in Ambr Philips' Distressed Mother, adapted from Racine's Andromaque. ¶6. Rowe's gay rake: Lothario, in The Fair Penitent by Nicholas Rowe (1674-1708). ¶13. Brule: Sir John Brute, a character in Vanbrugh's Provoked Wife. ¶15. "Cato's": the reference is to Addison's tragedy of Cato.
(265) 24. Horatio: a young Genoese gentleman in Rowe's Fair Penitent. Dorax: a renegade Portuguese nobleman in Dryden's Don Sebastian. Falstaff: the great comic character in Shakspere's Henry IV.
(265) THE APOLOGY. Lines 314-87.
(266) 48. Procrustes: a robber of Greek legend, who laid all his prisoners on one bed; if they were too long for it, he cut off their limbs; if they were too short, he stretched them. 149. Waller: see note on Pope's "Spring," 1. 46 (p. 444). ¶ 62. Brent: Charlotte Brent, an opera-singer very popular in London at this time.
(267) THE GHOST. Book II. 653-76. The poem gets its name from the celebrated Cock Lane ghost; and Samuel Johnson (Pomposo), as one of those who investigated the mysterious rappings, comes in for a share of the ridicule, which Churchill made the more severe in this case because Johnson was a Tory while he himself was an ardent Liberal.
(267) THE SHIPWRECK. Canto III. 605-747. The poem recounts an actual event, the poet's shipwreck near Cape Colonna, on the coast of Greece, in 1749.
(268) 23. Maro's: Virgil's. ¶30. impervious impassable, i. e., too terrible for mortals to go through. 41. Palemon: the supercargo.
(269) 49. unhappy chief: Albert, the captain. ¶74. Rodmond: first mate. ¶86. Arion: the poet, who was second mate.
"Homer has been admired by some for reducing a catalogue of ships into tolerably flowing verse; but who, except a poetical sailor, the nursling of Apollo educated by Neptune, would ever have thought of versifying his own sea-language? What other poet would ever have dreamt of reef-tackles, hall-yards, clue-garnets, bunt-lines, lashings, lannyards, and fifty other terms equally obnoxious to the soft singsong of modern poetasters? . . . . Many of his descriptions are, in our opinion, not at all inferior to anything of the kind we meet with in the Eneid, many passages in the third and fifth books of which we conceive, nevertheless, our author has had in view. They have not suffered, however, by his imitation, and his pilot appears to much greater advantage than the Palinurus of Virgil."-The Monthly Review, September, 1762.
(271) THE TRAVELLER. "Without espousing the cause of any party, I have attempted to moderate the rage of all. I have endeavored to show that there may be equal happiness in states that are differently governed from our own, that each state has a particular principle of happiness, and that this principle in each may be carried to a mischievous excess."— Dedicatory letter. 2. Scheld: a river flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands into the North Sea. Po: the great river of northern Italy, flowing east into the Adriatic Sea. 13. Carinthian: Carinthia is a mountainous district of Austria-Hungary; Goldsmith visited it in
1755, during his vagrant tour of the continent of Europe. 15. Campania's: Campania is a district in southern Italy. ¶ 13-22. Cf. "The Deserted Village," ll. 149–62 (p. 286).
(273) 84. Idra's: Idria (not Idra) is a town in Austria-Hungary famous for its quicksilver mines. Arno's: the Arno flows through Tuscany, one of the most fertile regions of Italy. shelvy shelving, sloping gradually.
(274) 98. peculiar pain: pain proper to, peculiarly connected with, the excess of that particular good. ¶ 121. gelid-cool. ¶ 127. manners: morals.
(275) 144. plethoric ill: the ill attendant on a plethora, or superabundance (literally, excess of blood). 150. paste-board triumph: a procession or pageant, with pasteboard
(276) 190. savage: wild beast.
(277) 238. Cf. Pope's "Rape of the Lock," I. 66, "And sport and flutter in the fields of air." 253. gestic➡"Pertaining to action or motion, specifically to dancing.”—The Century Dictionary.
copper-lace: lace finished with copper,
(278) 276. frieze: a coarse woolen cloth. instead of the more costly silver or gold lace.
(279) 313-15. An allusion to the long and heroic struggle of the Netherlands against Spain (1567-1609), under the leadership of William of Orange and his son Maurice, by which the Dutch states gained their independence. 313. Belgic: the word is derived from "Belgae," the Romans' name for tribes which in the time of the Roman Empire occupied a large region including Belgium and the Netherlands; it does not here refer to Belgium, which did not join in the revolt of the Netherlands. 318. the western spring: an allusion to England's position in the west of Europe, in contrast to eastern Europe and to India, referred to in the next two lines. 319. Arcadian: Arcadia was a beautiful pastoral region in southern Greece. 320. Hydaspis: a river in India; it was famous as the scene of one of Alexander's victories, but still more for fabulous stories, as that it ran gold and jewels. ¶ 343-92. These lines, doubtless inspired in part by Johnson, were directed against John Wilkes and his faction. Wilkes was a political agitator, who in his paper, The North Briton, attacked the king's ministeis and the message of the king himself; for the latter offense he was imprisoned, and later, for an indecent publication, he was expelled from Parliament and outlawed, shortly before "The Traveller" appeared; he became a popular hero, but was intolerable to a sturdy Tory and moralist like Johnson.
(281) 397-422. These lines are a "Deserted Village" in little. 403, 454. Cf. "The Deserted Village," ll. 65, 66 (p. 283). ¶411. Oswego: a river in New York state, flowing into Lake Ontario. ¶420, 429-34, 437, 438. These lines were written by Johnson; see Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, Globe ed., p. 173.
(282) 436. Luke's iron crown: George (not Luke) Dozsa headed a revolt in Hungary, in 1514, and was tortured by being seated on a red-hot iron throne and crowned with a red-hot iron crown, because he had let the peasants proclaim him king. Damiens' bed of steel: Robert François Damiens was tortured and then torn to pieces by four horses, for attempting the life of Louis XV, in 1757; the bed of steel was an ingenious device for prolonging his life and sufferings.
(282) THE DESERTED VILLAGE. "I know you will object (and indeed several of our best and wisest friends concur in the opinion) that the depopulation it deplores is nowhere to be seen, and the disorders it laments are only to be found in the poet's own imagination. To this I can scarcely make any other answer than that I sincerely believe what I have written; that I have taken all possible pains, in my country excursions, for these four or five years past, to be certain of what I allege; and that all my views and inquiries have led me to believe those miseries real which I here attempt to display."-Dedication to Sir Joshua Reynolds. "Not only did the enclosures of commons deprive the poor of valuable rights; but also enclosures in the sense of substitution of 'severalties' for the old champion' system admittedly led to the consolidation of farms, the eviction of small holders, and so to the ultimate increase of
poor rates..... In the end, of course, enclosures added to the general wealth of the country and thereby increased the demand for labor. But in the meantime they degraded small holders into landless laborers. . . . . It is a significant fact that in 1774 the Elizabethan Act was repealed which had aimed at securing to every cottage its four acres of ground attached. But indubitably the chief cause of the advance of pauperism in this period [1742-84] was the rise in prices as compared with wages."-Social England, ed. by H. D. Traill, Vol. V.
To the frequent queries whether "sweet Auburn" is the Irish village of Lissoy, the poet's early home, Forster's statement in his Life and Times of Oliver Goldsmith (chap. vii) is a sufficient answer: "Scenes of the poet's youth had doubtless risen in his memory as he wrote, mingling with, and taking altered hue from, later experiences; . . . . it is even possible that he may have caught the first hint of his design from a local Westmeath poet and schoolmaster, who in his youth had given rhymed utterance to the old tenant grievances of the Irish rural population; nor could complaints that were also loudest in those boyish days at Lissoy, of certain reckless and unsparing evictions by which one General Naper (Napper or Napier) had persisted in improving his estate, have passed altogether from Goldsmith's memory. But there was nothing local in his present aim; or if there was, it was the rustic life and rural scenery of England."
(283) 25. simply: in simple fashion.
(285) 122. vacant: empty of care. ¶ 142. forty pounds: this was a common salary for a curate in a small parish at that time; it was about twice the wages of a farm-laborer, and about a fourth less than the wages of a mason or carpenter. This sketch of the good preacher doubtless owes something to the poet's memories of his father and brother, and perhaps also to Chaucer's description of the "poor parson."
(287) 196. the village master: the teacher of the village school at Lissoy, "Paddy” Byrne, a retired quartermaster of an Irish regiment, no doubt furnished some elements of this portrait. 209. terms: the sessions of the law courts, which are determined in part by certain days, such as Easter, which shift their place in the calendar from year to year. tides: times and seasons, as Christmastide, Whitsuntide (the original meaning, from O.E. "tid," time, season). 210. gauge: measure the capacity of a barrel or keg.
(288) 231. use: perhaps to hide discolored places on the walls. ¶232. The twelve good rules. These rules, which were ascribed to Charles I, were as follows: "1. Urge no healths; 2. Profane no divine ordinances; 3. Touch no state matters; 4. Reveal no secrets; 5. Pick no quarrels; 6. Make no comparisons; 7. Maintain no ill opinions; 8. Keep no bad company; 9. Encourage no vice; 10. Make no long meals; 11. Repeat no grievances; 12. Lay no wagers." ¶248. mantling bliss: the cup of ale, covered with foam.
(290) 316. artist artisan; here, a tailor. 1322. chariots: coaches. torches: the streets of London were still so badly lighted that torches were commonly used at night. ¶330. thorn: the hawthorn bush. 344. Altama: the Altamaha, a river in Georgia; the colony of Georgia was founded in 1733, especially as a refuge for debtors and other distressed persons.
(292) 418. Torno's cliffs: probably the cliffs on Lake Tornea in the north of Sweden. Pambamarca's: Pambamarca is a mountain in Ecuador, South America. 427-30. These lines were written by Johnson; see Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, Globe ed., p. 174. (293) RETALIATION. Lines 1-22, 29-42, 61-78, 93-124, 137-46. Among Garrick's manuscripts was found the following statement: "At a meeting of a company of gentlemen, who were well known to each other, and diverting themselves, among many other things, with the peculiar oddities of Dr. Goldsmith, who never would allow a superior in any art, from writing poetry down to dancing a hornpipe, the doctor, with great eagerness, insisted on trying his epigrammatic powers with Mr. Garrick, and each of them was to write the other's epitaph. Mr. Garrick immediately said that his epitaph was finished, and spoke the following distich extempore:
Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,