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RON! how sweetly sad thy melody!
As if soft Pity, with unusual stress,
O'ershadowing sorrow doth not make thee less
Delightful: thou thy griefs dost dress
Its sides are ting'd with a resplendent glow,
And like fair veins in sable marble flow; Still warble, dying swan! still tell the tale,
The enchanting tale, the tale of pleasing woe.
First given in the Life, Letters &c. (1848), Volume I, page 13, under the date December 1814. I know of no authority for inserting the word ever in the seventh line; but it seems highly probable that we should read thou thy griefs dost ever dress, and that the word was dropped accidentally in transcription.
O CHATTERTON! how very sad thy fate !
Dear child of sorrow—son of misery!
How soon the film of death obscur'd that eye, Whence Genius mildly flash'd, and high debate. How soon that voice, majestic and elate,
Melted in dying numbers! Oh! how nigh
Was night to thy fair morning. Thou didst die A half-blown flow'ret which cold blasts amate. But this is past: thou art among the stars
Of highest Heaven : to the rolling spheres Thou sweetly singest: nought thy hymning mars,
Above the ingrate world and human fears. On earth the good man base detraction bars
From thy fair name, and waters it with tears.
This sonnet also was first given in the Life, Letters &c. in 1848.
SPENSER! a jealous honourer of thine,
A forester deep in thy midmost trees, Did last eve ask my promise to refine
Some English that might strive thine ear to please.
But Elfin Poet 'tis impossible For an inhabitant of wintry earth
To rise like Phæbus with a golden quill Fire-wing'd and make a morning in his mirth.
It is impossible to escape from toil O'the sudden and receive thy spiriting :
The flower must drink the nature of the soil
Be with me in the summer days and I
Lord Houghton, who first gave this sonnet in Volume I of the Life, Letters &c., 1848, appended in the Aldine edition of 1876 the following note:-“I am enabled by the kindness of Mr. W. A. Longmore, nephew of Mr. J. W. (sic, but quare H.] Reynolds, to give an exact transcript of this sonnet as written and given to his mother, by the poet, at his father's house in Little Britain. The poem is dated, in Mrs. Longmore's hand, Feb. 5th, 1818, but it seems to me impossible that it can have been other than an early production and of the especially Spenserian time.” The transcript given varies in punctuation from previous versions; and I have followed it in the main. But there are two accidental variations, honour for honourer in line 1, and but for put in line 12. Beyond escape for the 'scape of former editions, I find no other difference of any consequence.
ODE TO APOLLO.
I. In thy western halls of gold
When thou sittest in thy state, Bards, that erst sublimely told
Heroic deeds, and sang of fate, With fervour seize their adamantine lyres, Whose chords are solid rays, and twinkle radiant fires.
Strikes the twanging harp of war,
While the trumpets sound afar :
3. Then, through thy Temple wide, melodious swells
The sweet majestic tone of Maro's lyre : The soul delighted on each accent dwells, –
Enraptur'd dwells,—not daring to respire, The while he tells of grief around a funeral pyre.
First given among the Literary Remains in the second volume of the Life, Letters &c. The date to which Lord Houghton assigns the poem is February 1815.
4. 'Tis awful silence then again ;
Expectant stand the spheres ;
Breathless the laurell’d peers, Nor move, till ends the lofty strain,
Nor move till Milton's tuneful thunders cease, And leave once more the ravish'd heavens in peace.
5. Thou biddest Shakspeare wave his hand,
And quickly forward spring The Passions-a terrific band
And each vibrates the string That with its tyrant temper best accords, While from their Master's lips pour forth the inspiring
A silver trumpet Spenser blows,
And, as its martial notes to silence flee, From a virgin chorus flows
A hymn in praise of spotless Chastity. 'Tis still! Wild warblings from the Æolian lyre Enchantment softly breathe, and tremblingly expire.
Next thy Tasso's ardent numbers
Float along the pleased air,
Rousing them from Pleasure's lair :-