« ZurückWeiter »
Gravid on his urn appear'd the moon, that guides His swelling waters, and alternate tides; The figur'd streams in waves of silver rolld, 335 And on her banks Augusta rose in gold. Around his throne the sea-born brothers stood, Who swell with tributary urns his flood: First the fam'd authors of his ancient name, The winding Isis and the fruitful Thame; 340 The Kennet swift, for silver eels renown'd; The Lodden slow, with verdant alders crown'd; Cole, whose dark streams his flow'ry islands lave; And chalky Wey, that rolls a milky wave: The blue, transparent Vandalis appears; 345 The gulphy Lee his sedgy tresses rears; And sullen Mole, that hides his diving flood; And silent Darent, stain’d with Danish blood.
of Utrecht, so highly celebrated in this passage: communicated to me by the favour of the late Duchess Dowager of Portland.
“ I dislike your medal, with the motto,
COMPOSITIS VENERANTUR ARMIS.
I will have one of my own design; the Queen's bust surrounded with laurel, and with this motto,
FELICI, PACIFICÆ : Peace in a triumphal car, and the words,
PAX MISSA PER ORBEM.
This is ancient, this is simple, this is sense.
Rosier shall execute it, in a manner not seen in England since Simonds's time."
Ver, 341. The Kennet swift for silver eels renown'd;]
“The crystal Trent, for fords and fish renown'd."
High in the midst, upon his urn reclin'd, (His sea-green mantle waving with the wind) 350 The God appear’d: he turn’d his azure eyes Where Windsor-domes and pompous turrets rise ; Then bow'd and spoke; the winds forget to roar, And the hush'd waves glide softly to the shore.
Ver. 350.] Our poet was not deterred, from the censure which Addison passed in his Campaign, on raising and personifying rivergods, from giving us this fine description, in which Thames appears and speaks with suitable dignity and importance. How much superior is this picture to that of Boileau's Rhine; who represents the Naiads as alarming the God with an account of the march of the French Monarch ; upon which the River God assumes the appearance of an old experienced commander, flies to a Dutch fort, and exhorts the garrison to dispute the intended passage. The Rhine, marching at their head, and observing Mars and Bellona on the side of the enemy, is so terrified with the view of these superior divinities, that he most gallantly runs away, and leaves the great hero, Louis XIV. in quiet possession of his banks.-So much for a true court poet, who would not have dared to write the eight last lines of this speech of Thames, from v. 415. The lines of Addison in the Campaign were;
may descend in factions from the skies, And rivers from their oozy beds arise. I cannot forbear mentioning, that the very first composition that made the young Racine known at Paris was his Ode from the Nymph of the Seine to the Queen, which ode, by the way, was corrected by Chapelain, at that time in high vogue as a critic, and by him recommended to the court.
Ver. 348. stain'd with Danish blood.]
“ And the old Lee brags of the Danish blood.” Drayton. Ver. 351. His azure eyes.] Milton has green-eyed Neptune ; and Virgil, of Proteus, Geor. iv. “ Ardentes oculos intorsit lumine glauco." Warton's Edition of Milton, p. 311.
“Hail, sacred Peace! hail, long-expected days, That Thames's glory to the stars shall raise ! Tho' Tiber's streams immortal Rome behold, Tho' foaming Hermus swells with tides of gold, From heav'n itself tho' sev'nfold Nilus flows, And harvests on a hundred realms bestows; 360 These now no more shall be the Muse's themes, Lost in my fame, as in the sea their streams. Let Volga's banks wish iron squadrons shine, And groves of lances glitter on the Rhine, Let barb'rous Ganges arm a servile train ; 365 Be mine the blessings of a peaceful reign. No more my sons shall dye with British blood Red Iber's sands, or Ister's foaming flood: Safe on my shore each unmolested swain Shall tend the flocks, or reap the bearded grain ; The shady empire shall retain no trace Of war or blood, but in the sylvan chace; The trumpet sleep while chearful horns are blown, And arms employ’d on birds and beasts alone. Behold! th' ascending Villas on my side, 375 Project long shadows o'er the crystal tide ;
Ver. 363. Originally thus in the MS.
Let Venice boast her Tow’rs amidst the Main,
Dryden's Ann. Mir.
Behold! Augusta's glitt'ring spires increase,
385 And half thy forests rush into thy floods.
Ver. 378. And Temples rise,] The fifty new Churches. P.
Ver. 380. a new Whitehall] “ Several plates of the intended palace of Whitehall have been given, but, I believe, from no finished design of Inigo Jones. The four great sheets are evidently made up from general hints, nor could such a source of invention and taste, as the mind of Inigo, ever produce so much
The strange kind of cherubims on the towers at the end are preposterous ornaments, and whether of Inigo or not, bear no relation to the rest. The great towers in the front are too near, and evidently borrowed from what he had seen in Gothic, not in Roman buildings. The circular court is a picturesque thought, but without meaning or utility.”
Walpole. Ver. 385. Thy trees, fair Windsor !] This return to the trees of Windsor Forest, his original subject, is masterly and judicious ; and the whole speech of Thames is highly animated and poetical, forcible and rich in diction, as it is copious and noble in imagery.
Ver. 385. &c. were originally thus,
Now shall our fleets the bloody Cross display
Bear Britain's thunder, and her Cross display,
Ver. 391.] Here is almost a prophecy of those discoveries of new islands and continents which this country of late years has had the honour to make.
Warton. Ver. 398. Unbounded Thames, &c.] A wish that London may be made a FREE PORT.
The original lines were rejected, probably as too nearly resembling a passage in Comus,
“ And the gilded car of day
His glowing axle doth allay