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Whose iron scourge and tort'ring hour
The bad affright, afflict the best!
With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone.
When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design'd,
said by Homer to be the daughter of Jupiter: Il. 7. 91. Πρέσβα διὸς θυγάτηρ Ατη, ἣ πάντας ἀᾶται. Perhaps, however, Gray only alluded to the passage of Eschylus which he quoted, and which describes Affliction as sent by Jupiter for the benefit of man. Potter in his translation has had an eye on Gray. See his Transl. p. 19.
V. 2. "Then he, great tamer of all human art," Pope. Dun. i. 163.
V. 3. "Affliction's iron flail." Fletcher. Purp. Isl. ix. 28. Ibid. In Wakefield's note, he remarks an impropriety in the poet joining to a material image, the "torturing hour." If there be an impropriety in this, it must rest with Milton, from whom Gray borrowed the verse:
when the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing hour,
Calls us to penance."
Par. Lost, ii. 90.
But this mode of speech is authorized by ancient and modern poets. In Virgil's description of the lightning which the Cyclopes wrought for Jupiter, Æn. viii. 429.
"Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosæ
In Par. Lost, x. 297, as the original punctuation stood:
And with Asphaltic slime." 1
1 This punctuation is now altered in most of the editions. The new reading was proposed by Dr. Pearce.
To thee he gave the heav'nly birth,
And bade to form her infant mind. Stern rugged nurse! thy rigid lore With patience many a year she bore:
What sorrow was, thou bad'st her know,
And from her own she learn'd to melt at others' woe.
Scar'd at thy frown terrific, fly
Wild Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,
V. 5. Αδαμαντίνων δεσμῶν ἐν ἀῤῥήκτοις πέδαις· Æsch. Prom. vi. W., from whom Milton. Par. L. i. 48: "In adamantine chains, and penal fire." And the expression occurs also in the Works of Spenser, Drummond, Fletcher, and Drayton. See Todd's note on Milton. "In adamantine chains shall Death be bound," Pope. Messiah, ver. 47; and lastly, Manil. Astron. lib. i. 921. And Boisson. on Philost. Heroic, p. 405.
V. 7. "Till some new tyrant lifts his purple hand," Pope. Two Choruses, ver. 23. Wakefield cites Horace, lib. i. od. XXXV. 12: "Purpurei metuunt tyranni." Add Tasso. Gier. Lib. c. vii.
V. 8. "Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before." Par. L. ii. 703.
V. 13. An expression similar to this occurs in Sidney. Arcadia, vol. iii. p. 100: "Ill fortune, my awful governess." V. 16. "Non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco." Luke.
V. 20. "If we for HAPPINESS COULD LEISURE find," Hurd's Cowley, vol. i. p. 136; and the note of the editor. "And know I have not yet the leisure to be good," Oldham. Ode, st. v. vol. i. p. 83.
-For men, like butterflies,
Shew not their mealy wings, but to the summer."
Troil. and Cress. A. iii. sc. 3.
By vain Prosperity receiv'd,
To her they vow their truth, and are again believ’d.
Wisdom in sable garb array'd,
Immers'd in rapt'rous thought profound, And Melancholy, silent maid,
With leaden eye that loves the ground, Still on thy solemn steps attend:
Warm Charity, the gen'ral friend,
With Justice, to herself severe,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.
Oh! gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread goddess, lay thy chast'ning hand!
Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,
Not circled with the vengeful band
Also, "The common people swarm like summer flies,
Henry VI. P. iii. act 2. sc. 9. "Such summer-birds are men!" Tim. of Ath. act iii. sc. 7. But the exact expression is George Herbert's: "fall and flow, like leaves, about me, or like summer-friends, flies of estates and sunshine," Temple, p. 296. And (The W. Devil) v. Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. vi. p. 292. "One summer she." Quarles. Sion's Elegies, xix. "Ah, summer friendship with the summer ends." Mr. Rogers quotes Massinger's Maid of Honor, "O summer friendship." Gray seems to have had Horace in his mind, lib. I. Od. xxxv. 25. "O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue." Il Penser. 16. W.
"With a sad leaden downward cast,
Il Penser. 43. W. "So leaden eyes." Sidney. Astroph. and Stella, Song 7. "And stupid eyes that ever loved the ground," Dryden. Cim. and Iphig. v. 57. "Melancholy lifts her head,' Pope. Ode on St. Cec. v. 30. "The sad companion, dull-eyed Melancholy," Pericles, act i. sc. 2.
And so we read "leaden
(As by the impious thou art seen)
With thund'ring voice, and threat'ning mien, With screaming Horror's fun'ral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty: 40
Thy form benign, oh goddess, wear,
To soften, not to wound, my heart.
What others are to feel, and know myself a Man.
Contemplation" in Love's Lab. Lost, act iv. sc. 3. In Beaumont. Passionate Madman, act iii. sc. 1:
"A look that's fasten'd to the ground,
Carew. Poems, p. 87. And
"Judge of thyself alone, for none there were
Oldham. Ode on Ben Jonson, p. 71, vol. ii. "Forgiving others, to himself severe," Dryden. Misc. vi. 322. Muses' friend unto himself severe," Waller. Poems, p. 149. "Candid to all, but to himself severe," E. Smith. El. on J. Philips, v. Lintot. Misc. p. 161.
Ver. 32. "Ours be the lenient, not unpleasing tear," Thomson. Mr. Rogers quotes Dryden. Virg. Æn. x. a" sadlypleasing thought."
V. 35. "Gorgoneum turpes crinem mutavit in hydros.
Nunc quoque, ut attonitos formidine terreat hostes."
Horrentem colubris, vultuque tremendam
Val. Flac. vi. 175.
Milt. Par. L. ii. 611. "Medusa with Gorgonian terrors."
AWAKE, Æolian lyre, awake,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.
Var. V. 1. " Awake, my lyre: my glory, wake." Ms.
*When the author first published this and the following Ode, he was advised, even by his friends, to subjoin some few explanatory notes; but had too much respect for the understanding of his readers to take that liberty. Gray.
V. 1. "Awake, my glory: awake, lute and harp." David's Psalms. Gray.
"Awake, awake, my lyre,
And tell thy silent master's humble tale."
Cowley. Ode of David, vol. ii. p. 423. Pindar styles his own poetry, with its musical accompaniments, Αἰολις μολπή, Αἰολίδες χορδαὶ, Αἰολίδων πνοαὶ αὐλῶν, Eolian song, Æolian strings, the breath of the Eolian flute. Gray.1
The subject and simile, as usual with Pindar, are united. The various sources of poetry, which gives life and lustre to all it touches, are here described; its quiet majestic progress enriching every subject (otherwise dry and barren) with a pomp of diction and luxuriant harmony of numbers; and its
1 This note was occasioned by a strange mistake of the Critical Reviewers, who supposed the Ode addressed to the Harp of Æolus." See Mason. Memoirs, let. 26, sec. 4; and Crit. Rev. vol. iv. p. 167. And the Literary Magaz. 1757, p. 422; at p. 466 of the same work, is an Ode to Gray on his Pindaric Odes.