« PredošláPokračovať »
26 Olympia: This reference is to Olympias, the mother of Alexander. To aid Alexander in his ambitious projects she would at times assert that his father was not Philip of Macedon, but a supernatural being in the shape of a dragon. Thus Alexander would be more than mortal a demigod. This story, thus retold at this feast of victory, would naturally arouse great enthusiasm and justify the cry, a present deity! and induce the victor to assume the god. 37 seems to shake the spheres: as Jove himself did. Cf. Iliad, I, 528-30.
He spoke and awful bends his sable brows,
- Pope's Translation.
38 Note that the meter here helps to make apparent the resumption of a calmer tone.
40 jolly god: Dryden may have in mind the appearance of Bacchus as represented in ancient art.
42 purple: from the wine.
44 give the hautboys breath: blow the oboes.
45-51 The tone here is distinctly bacchanalian. 52, 53 See note to line 38.
58, 59 Designate the antecedent of each pronoun here.
59 Muse: song.
63, 64 Comment on the effect of the repetition? What justifies it?
68 exposed: perhaps in the radical meaning of cast out, though the more modern meaning is applicable.
79 Lydian measures: tones that are sweet and soft. Cf. Milton's L'Allegro, 1. 136.
98 ff. Note the sudden and arousing appeal which the music
107 Furies: These spirits, known in Greek mythology as the Erinyes or Eumenides, were intent on vengeance.
114 To be left unburied was, in the minds of the Greeks, to be treated most contemptuously, and therefore deserved merciless vengeance.
125 Of course Helen did not personally and directly set fire to Troy. Explain Dryden's meaning.
LYRICS BY COLLINS
ODE TO SIMPLICITY
The title to this poem is all the more marked because the age in which Collins lived was an artificial age and the taste a classical taste. It is further to be noted that the style in which this appeal to simplicity is cast is elaborate especially so when we contrast it with the spontaneous and unaffected poetry of Burns and Wordsworth.
4-6 The meaning of these lines is somewhat involved; the poet thinks of the Nymph Simplicity as the first one who, on the wild mountains, nursed the powers of song in the mind of Fancy (whose mother was Simplicity - or possibly Pleasure). 6-12 These lines contrast elaborate robings, such as belong to royalty, with the simple garb of simple maidenhood. 11 The Attic robe, worn by the Grecian maidens, was marked by its simple folds.
14 Hybla's thymy shore: Hybla is a mountain near the shores of Sicily. From its abundant thyme and other fragrant flowers the bees made the famous Hybla honey. 16-19 her whose love-lorn woe, etc.: the nightingale, which frequently soothed the ear of Sophocles. Collins, of course, had the whole of Sophocles' Electra in mind, but he may have remembered particularly the following lines of the heroine:
But I at least will ne'er
Refrain mine eyes from weeping, while I live,
Nor yet my voice from wail;
Not while I see this day,
And yon bright twinkling stars;
But like a nightingale
Of its young brood bereaved,
Before the gates I speak them forth to all.
19 Cephisus: a celebrated river near Athens that flows past Mt. Parnassus. The stream was the haunt of the Graces. Collins, of course, is thinking of the former simplicity of Athens. When Freedom died here, Simplicity sought another abode.
22 enamell'd: Perhaps the meaning is, strewn with daisies. 31-36 As long as the Roman Republic lasted and was dominated by genuine patriotism and loyalty, simple poetry thrived. After the Empire was established, it stayed to sing only during the reign of Augustus, lingering with such harpists as Vergil, Horace, and Ovid. With the coming of a more elaborate and a more servile life, Simplicity fled her alter'd land, and neither the olive nor the vine of Italy could entice her back.
43-48 A poet may have a cultivated taste and great genius, but unless the language is simple the product will lack warmth and inspiration.
ODE WRITTEN IN 1746
Possibly Collins had in mind the soldiers who had fallen at Fontenoy in May of 1745, or at Preston Pans four months later. It may be that the poet wished simply to pay a tribute to the honor of patriotic soldiery.
In its marked preference for personification the poem is characteristic of Collins and his age. To the modern ear this tendency is viewed as artificial far aloof from the simplicity which the preceding poem so eloquently ad
dresses and so heartily commends. Notwithstanding this tone, however, the poem still remains popular because it voices a sincere sympathy in a melodious and faultless
This poem, like so many of Collins's, is full of personification. Music is a maiden whose great charm continuously invites to her presence the various Passions, - Fear, Anger, Despair, Hope, and other abstractions. Once when madness ruled the hour each Passion snatched one of the various instruments which Music had hung on the myrtles just outside her cell, and in turn tried his skill.
17-20 Describe the result when Fear made his trial. 21-24 Note the clash and the excitement produced by Anger.
What sort of vowels are used to produce this effect? What sort of consonants?
25-28 The changing tones are more marked in Despair's attempt. How does the poet suggest this?
29-39 How is the characteristic of Hope brought out? 35 What tone does Echo sound? Why?
39 Is there anything particularly appropriate in having the interruption made by Revenge?
41 Why blood-stain'd?
47 Explain the epithet doubling as applied to the drum. 50 Pity, you will note, employs no instrument except her own voice. Could the poet have strengthened his effect by giving her an instrument? What could he have given her? 53 Jealousy's notes are without method
strewn here and
there in chaos on account of her varying states. 58-68 This melodious passage descriptive of Melancholy is
most sympathetically conceived and most delicately executed. The mood is evidently one which is congenial to Collins.
70-79 This passage is full of beauty and spirit. What comment can you make on the selected detail? Is the effect more artistic because of the contrast with the preceding stanza, or is the change of mood too sudden?
74 Distinguish between a Faun and a Dryad. 75 Chaste-eyed Queen: Diana.
86 Tempe's vale: This valley, between Mt. Olympus and Mt. Ossa, was the favorite haunt of poets. Its charming beauty even won on occasion the honored presence of the gods. 89-94 Note the perfect abandon which the spirit of Joy here
95-118 What contrast does the poet feel between the past and the present powers of music? Does this assumption seem to you to be true?
95 sphere-descended: Music is here conceived as securing its powers, in some subtle way, from the melody and harmony of the spheres as they moved in their concentric orbits. 114 Cecilia: St. Cecilia, the more modern patron saint cele
brated by Dryden, Pope, and others. The syntax here is unduly involved: line 114 is in apposition with line 112; line 113 is parenthetical. Compare the entire poem with Dryden's Song for St. Cecilia's Day.
ODE TO EVENING
1, 2 The apodosis of this conditional clause is not reached until line 15. Collins's main thought, simply phrased, is this: If anything from shepherd's pipe or song may soothe thy ear, O Evening, teach me to breathe my music so softly as to make it harmonize with thy quiet mood. 3, 4 Substitute as for like and supply the ellipsis.
It is to be noted that Collins's syntax is often involved. His thought is perfectly clear, but at times his emotion is so strong and hurried that it makes him oblivious to absolute grammatical structure and indifferent to the ease of the reader.
9-12 Compare this with the second and third stanzas of Gray's Elegy. What comparisons do you note? Do you suppose one poet here indebted to the other?
14 The phrase borne in heedless hum modifies beetle in 1. 11. pilgrim: The person who chances to be walking in the path. 28 Mention all the varied agents who aid in preparing this car.
On what journey is the car starting?
29-32 What generates the wish expressed in this stanza? Describe the mood of the poet.
33-40 Note how the tempestuous weather is here made to contribute to the beauty and the effectiveness of the scene. Again, in what mood does the poet view all this? 41 What is the apodosis of this temporal clause?
The meter and stanzaic form of this poem is imitated from Horace. The first two lines of each stanza are iambic pentameter; the two concluding lines are iambic trimeter. The rhythm of the whole is so perfect that we scarcely note the lack of rhyme.
LYRICS BY GRAY
ODE ON THE PLEASURE ARISING FROM
Gray and Collins shared with other poets of the eighteenth century the tendency to use personification. In this first stanza Morn and Spring and April all appear as concrete figures. Morn is pictured most definitely a redcheeked maiden wooing in soft whispers her belated lover, Spring. 9-16 Another tendency of the eighteenth-century poets was to deal with general rather than with specific things. We have in the second stanza an illustration of this in flocks
and birds. But both Gray and Collins were foreshadowing the Romantic spirit of the following century in more ways than one. Gray, you will note, speaks of the skylark here with something of that particularity that led Shelley_to write his Ode to a Skylark and Wordsworth to write The Green Linnet.
16-33 In this contrast between man and beast we see emphasized man's capability to see that out of present misfortune and trial future comfort may emerge. The beast in suffering lacks both this forward-looking vision that sees better things coming and the backward-looking vision that sees the joyous moments that have departed. Cf. Shelley's The Skylark, where he contrasts man's attitude with the joy of the skylark.
We look before and after,
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
33-40 Joy is greater because of sorrow. 39 form: What part of speech?
artful strife: Explain the significance of the phrase.
ON A FAVOURITE CAT, DROWNED IN A TUB OF GOLD FISHES
The incident really happened; the cat belonged to Horace Walpole.
This poem is a mock-heroic. It is written in the same vein as Pope's The Rape of the Lock the greatest mockheroic in literature. Note that the successful treatment of this humorous type demands that the most minor details be as strongly emphasized and as fully elaborated as the most major events in epics. Belinda's dressing in The Rape of the Lock is as important as Galahad's preparation for the search for the Holy Grail.
5 Selima: the cat's name.
13 Still: ever.
16 The Tyrian hue is purple. Cf. 1. 3.
The Pindaric Ode, of which The Progress of Poesy and The Bard are examples, takes its name from Pindar, a Greek poet who lived in the fifth century B. C. The regular structural form of the ode consists of strophes, antistrophes, and epodes, which in their origin go back to the ancient Greek festival. While moving up one side of the orchestra the chorus chanted the strophe; while coming down the other side, they chanted the antistrophe; as they stood before the altar, they chanted the epode. The metrical form of these three forms differs, but in meter and rime