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BEFORE I conclude, I would say something in favour of the old-fashioned triplet, which I have here ventured to use so often. Dryden seems to have delighted in it, and in many of his poems has used it much oftener than I have done, as for instance in the Hind and Panther, * and in Theodore and Honoria, where he introduces it three, four, and even five times in succession.
If I have erred any where in the structure of my verse from a desire to follow yet earlier and higher examples, I rely on the forgiveness of those in whose ear the music of our old versification is still sounding.t
• Pope used to mention this poem as the most correct specimen of Dryden's versification. It was indeed written when he had completely formed his manner, and may be supposed to exhibit, negligence excepted, bis deliberate and ultimate scheme of metre.-JOHNSON.
+ With regard to trisyllables, as their accent is very rarely on the last, they cannot properly be any rhymes at all : yet nevertheless I highly commend those, who have judiciously and sparingly introduced them, as such, - GRAY.
ODE TO SUPERSTITION*.
HENCE, to the realms of Night, dire Demon, hence !
Thy chain of adamant can bind
That little world, the human mind,
Wake the lion's loudest roar,
At thy command he plants the dagger deep,
• Written in 1785.
When, with a frown that froze the peopled earth*,
Thou dartedst thy huge head from high,
Night waved her banners o'er the sky, And, brooding, gave her shapeless shadows birth.
Rocking on the billowy air,
Ha! what withering phantoms glare! As blows the blast with many a sudden swell, At each dead pause, what shrill-toned voices yell! The sheeted spectre, rising from the tomb, Points to the murderer's stab, and shudders by; In every grove is felt a heavier gloom, , That veils its genius from the vulgar eye:
The spirit of the water rides the storm, And, thro' the mist, reveals the terrors of his form.
O’er solid seas, where Winter reigns,
And holds each mountain-wave in chains,
By glistering star-light thro' the snow,
* Lucretius, I. 63.
Each potent spell thou bad'st him know.
And, while the panting tigress hies
His spirit laughs in agonies,
Mark who mounts the sacred pyre, *
Blooming in her bridal vest :
To die is to be blest:
Weave the airy web of Fate ;
* The funeral rite of the Hindoos. + The Fates of the Northern Mythology. See MALLET's Antiquities.
An allusion to the Second Sight.
Each unhewn mass of living stone
Was clad in horrors not its own, And at its base the trembling nations bowed.
Giant Error, darkly grand,
Grasped the globe with iron hand. Circled with seats of bliss, the Lord of Light Saw prostrate worlds adore his golden height. The statue, waking with immortal powers,* Springs from its parent earth, and shakes the spheres; The indignant pyramid sublimely towers, And braves the efforts of a host of years.
Sweet Music breathes her soul into the wind; And bright-eyed Painting stamps the image of the mind.
Round the rude ark old Egypt's sorcerers rise !
A timbrelled anthem swells the gale,
And bids the God of Thunders hail ; + With lowings loud the captive God replies.
. Æn. II. 172, &c.
+ The bull, Apis.