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loftiest Aights of enthusiastic imagination. Nevertheless the praise of the distinguilhed few is certainly preferable to the applause of the undiscerning million; for all praise is valuable in proportion to the judgement of those who confer it.
As the subject of this ode is uncommon, so are the ftyle and expression highly metaphorical and abstracted; thus the fun is called “the «s rich-hair'd youth of morn,” the ideas are termed " the fhadowy tribes of mind,” &c. We are ftruck with the propriety of this mode of expression here, and it affords us proofs of the analogy that subsists between language and sentiment.
NOTHING can be more loftily imagined than the creation of the Ceffus of Fancy in this ode: The allegorical imagery is rich and sub
lime: and the observation that, the dangerous passions kept aloof, during the operation, is founded on the strictest philosophical truth ; for poetical fancy can exist only in minds that are perfectly ferene, and in some measure abAtracted from the influences of sense.
The scene of Milton's " inspiring hour” is perfectly in character, and described with all those wild-wood-appearances of which the great poet was fo enthusiastically fond :
I view that oak, the fancied glades among,
THE ode written in 1746, and the ode to
Mercy, seem to have been written on the same occasion, viz. the late rebellion; the former in memory of those héroes who fell in the defence of their country, the latter to excite sentiments of compassion in favour of those unhappy and deluded wretches who became a sacrifice to public justice.
The language and imagery of both are very beautiful, but the scene and figures delcribed in the strophe of the ode to Mercy are exquisitely striking, and would afford a painter one of the finest subjects in the world.
L O DE
ODE TO LIBERTY.
HE ancient states of Greece, perhaps
the only ones in which a perfect model of liberty ever existed, are naturally brought to view in the opening of the poem.
Who shall awake the Spartan fife,
There is something extremely bold in this imagery of the locks of the spartan youths, and greatly superior to that description Jocasta gives us of the hair of Polynices:
Βορρυχων τε κυανοχρωτα χαιτας
What new Alcæus, fancy-blest,
This alludes to a fragment of Alcæus still remaining, in which the poet celebrates Harmodius and Aristogiton, who flew the tyrant Hipparchus, and thereby restored the liberty of Athens.
The fall of Rome is here most nervously described in one line :
With heaviest sound, a giant-statue, fell.
The thought seems altogether new, and the imitative harmony in the structure of the verse is admirable.
After bewailing the ruin of ancient liberty, the poet considers the influence it has retained, or ftill retains among the moderns; and here the free republics of Italy naturally engage
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