« ПредишнаНапред »
[Mr. Geo. Sewell, in his Preface to these Translations, (Lond. 1724,) says, "In the poem on the Peace of Ryswick the author seems to have exerted all his powers to make it shine above his other compositions. It is, indeed, a master-piece; the images are chosen with a nice judgment, worked up with a delicacy of imagination, and placed in the strongest light. Everything strikes at the first view, and yet will bear the strictest eye to reexamine it. The descriptions, being both just and surprising, put the mind upon the full stretch as they are preparing, and exceed the boldest expectations when finished. Upon this occasion I cannot help remarking that, the art of war being so much changed since the Roman times, it must be a difficult task to find words in that language to express even the common ideas of a modern battle; but to do it in all its terrible scenes of new inventions was reserved for the pen of Mr. Addison.
The Battle of the Pygmies and Cranes, the Puppet-Show, and the Bowling Green, are of the mock-heroic kind, the subjects mean and trivial, seemingly incapable of poetical ornaments, but are raised to the heroic by a splendid boldness of expression and pomp of verse; by metaphors, allusions, and similitudes drawn from things of a higher class, and such as are suited by nature to convey ideas of greatness and magnificence to the mind. Virgil, in his Georgics, is the great master in this way, with this difference only, that his is a serious grandeur, this a mimic one; his produces admiration, this laughter.
The Barometer is a fine philosophical poem, describing the effects of the air on that wonderful instrument with great exactness, as well as in the most beautiful poetry.
The Odes to Dr. Burnett and Dr. Hannes are written in the true spirit of Horace.
The Resurrection is a noble piece, drawn after the painter with a masterly hand. As it is spoken of in its place by the translator, I refer the reader to his observations, page 573.]
THE PEACE OF RYSWICK.'
TRANSLATED BY THE REV. THOMAS NEWCOMBE.
WHEN now the tumult of the battle dies,
No shouts the earth, no trumpets wake the skies;
Accept, great leader, what the pious throng,
(Less dreadful music, and a softer song,)
1 Pax Gulielmi auspiciis Europe reddita, 1697. Vol. i. p. 233.
To soothe the vengeance of thy soul inspire,
And ease thy bosom of its restless fire:
Let wars no more, all nature hushed to rest,
Nor scenes of ruin, roll within thy breast:
No schemes of death, delightful to thy eyes,
Swell in thy thoughts, and charm thee as they rise.
Already famed, the chace of fame give o'er:
Nor, dark with laurels, shade thy brows with more.
No more dire camps a glittering horror yield,
Nor swarming millions hide the crowded field;
No shouts or tumults shake the sounding plain,
Where downy peace, and solemn silence, reign.
With furrows now the peasant all around
Cuts the wide camp, and turns the warlike mound;
No rampires dreadful to the foe descries,
Rising aloft, and threatening as they rise.
O'er fields of death, the waste of war pursues,
Sighs the sad scene, and trembles as he views:
While richer blades along the bulwarks wave,
And greens arise to strew the warrior's grave.
Luxuriant ears the fertile glebe supplies,
The harvest bending, where the hero dies.
See! distant worlds, invited from afar
To trace the ruins of the finished war;
While gaping walls and shattered towers admire,
O'erturned in tempests of tumultuous fire.
Long tracks of death astonished they explore;
Now view the warrior's toil, and now deplore:
While streams of blood each current still distain,
And Ormond's wounds ennoble all the plain.
Where yon steep rampires rise with slaughter red, Still moist with gore, and crimsoned with the dead, The chief1 his standard fixed, whose temples round Defended Buda with her laurels bound.
Through thickest troops he breaks his glorious way,
And floods of fire in vain command his stay.
The bursting shells aloft, and sweeping ball,
Around the hero unregarded fall,
While through dark flames he rushes to the fight,
And vapours, streaked with lengths of ruddy light.
See threatening once, and dreadful to behold,
A ghastly breach the yawning towers unfold;
Amazing still the broken ruins show,
Enormous hang, and shade the plain below.
Now treacherous caves beneath the earth are found, Where beds of sulphur swell the caverned ground
1 The Lord Cutts, Baron of Gowran, &c
Here mingling hosts in vain their courage try,
Guiltless of death, yet doomed, alas! to die.
For, lo! the opening mound asunder flies,
And hurls at once whole armies to the skies;
While limbs of mangled heroes, upward drove,
Shoot from the bursting earth, and reek above:
The burning troops, abandoned to despair,
In flames ascend, and smoke along the air.
So when the lifted arm of angry Jove
Drives the red bolt, all flaming from above,
Pursues the foe with thunder down the skies,
Nature's sad ruins all her sons surprise;
Amazed they view her rugged form, and moan
Great Pelion lost, and Ossa's height o'erthrown.
Here streams o'er craggy rocks mistake their way,
New banks design, and through new channels stray.
The wild confusion all around admire,
Their former hills and vanished shades require.
Here, led by William's fortune and his fame,
United worlds to guard the monarch came;
Fair Belgia's sons the hardy Britons join,
And nations nursed beyond the sounding Rhine;
While faithful Austria from her shining towers
Sends out by millions her victorious powers;
With these the eager northern bands conspire,
And, wanting Phoebus' light, yet boast his fire;
While swarthy troops, to the great cause inclined,
Forsake the day, and leave the sun behind.
From climes remote, and distant skies around,
Close gathering bands the pious king surround
By nature parted, worlds together join,
Unite the frozen pole and burning line;
Their language different, yet their swords agree,
All drawn alike for freedom and for thee.
And thou, great chief,' in war a dreaded name, Foremost in dangers, as the first in fame;
If Isis to thy worth a life can give,
Thine shall elude the grave, and ever live!
While arts and arms to form thy youth combine,
And both Minervas in each action shine,
With fond reluctance she resigns her prize,
And gives thee up to fame with weeping eyes.
Our fainty sun's too languid to inspire
Thy soul with vengeance and thy breast with fire.
Thy sultry India, where the god of day
Shoots on the earth direct his burning ray,
Colonel Codrington, Colonel of the King's Guards.
Ripens thy godlike vigour, and bestows
A heat intense as that with which he glows;
From his kind beams thy kindling ardour came,
Who lent the spark, then nursed it to a flame.
Now nations whom no summer suns beguile, (Rough with the shaggy bear's enormous spoil,) Attentive hear the story of thy fame,
Forget their clime, and glow at William's name.
Beneath their breast, as thy great battles roll,
Each feels new heat, and burns beneath his pole :
Thy godlike deeds each freezing arm inspire,
And, warmed by thee, they ask no other fire.
See, the great chief1 whose empires stretched around
Nature alone can shut, and oceans bound,
Forsake his snowy realms, his chilling skies,
And marks the hero with astonished eyes.
His eyes the awful warrior round explore,
And in his looks he reads his battles o'er.
The vast idea carrying to his view
The forts he stormed, and millions that he slew.
Here great Namur, and there the bleeding Boyne,
With slaughter swelled, present their numerous slain;
While to Seneff his thoughts in raptures run,
Where both deserved the palm, which neither won.
How great his mien! what port his steps maintain!
Rising he moves, and awful treads the plain :
Stern majesty sits lowering on his face,
With comely terror mixed, and frowning grace.
So with Evander, when his royal guest,
(A lion's curling mane his shoulders dressed,)
His hand in leagues of holy friendship joins;
Thus fierce he looks, and thus majestic shines.
As William's deeds the hero entertain,
Quick beats his heart, and swells each bursting vein
The blood more sprightly runs its circling rounds,
And flaming through the purple channels bounds;
The Britons' triumphs rising to his view,
He glows, he fights, and seems to triumph too.
In thought elate, he now the foe distains,
And drives the Tartar o'er the Russian plains.
But hear! what joyful shouts at distance rise,
Break through the air, and doubling fill the skies;
With William's name the hollow shores rebound,
And echoing vales repeat the darling sound:
No more fair Albion, on the beach reclined,
With tears augments the seas, with sighs the wind:
Nor chides the envious gale, and angry main,
That from her eyes so long their bliss detain.
The lingering barque no more creates her woe,
Which flying o'er the waves-yet still is slow.
See the vast fleet the parting seas divide,
Whitening the surge, and cuts the foamy tide;
Arrived at last, she drops the dashing oar,
While peace and William land on Albion's shore.
No battles now within his bosom roll,
Awake his rage, and fire the warrior's soul;
His thoughts no longer painting to his eye
What foe shall bleed the next, what rival die.
Soft passions now, and every milder grace,
Smile in his looks, and smooth the hero's face:
No more dread vengeance reddens at his eyes,
While in the melting king the soldier dies.
See! how their lord the British youth surrounds,
Prizing their safety scarce above their wounds.
With comely scars each warrior's bosom red,
Asserts how well he fought, how oft he bled.
To his loved home as now the soldier flies,
Joy swells his heart, and wets his bubbling eyes.
The trembling wife explores her lover's face,
Still coy, and doubtful of her lord's embrace;
Hangs on his neck, confused with mixed surprise,
And satisfies her love before her eyes.
The infant, starting as the sire draws near,
Deep in the mother's bosom hides his fear.
He to the astonished crowd recounting o'er
The deaths he gave, and hardy toils he bore:
His own exploits his own full praises crown,
And pompous words set off his past renown.
So when the ship, with Argive heroes fraught,
Back to her Greece the shining treasure brought;
With wonder all the burnished prize behold,
Rigid and stiff with curls of flaming gold.
Still pale with fear, the soldier numbers o'er
Dire dreadful forms that guard the wakeful shore.
Here, streams of fire from hissing serpents rise,
Light the dusk air, and flash along the skies;
There, glowing bulls, no labours e'er could tame,
Groan at the wain, and snort a living flame.
For thy return what grateful trophies rise,
What honest joy o'erflows each Briton's eyes!
To meet thy fame, from all her joyful towers,
Thy isle her populace and nobles pours;
All to their great returning monarch kind,
Joy smiles before, and transport shouts behind.