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Songs of chiefs, and heroes old,
In unsubmitting virtue bold;
Of even valour's temperate heat,
And toils to stubborn patience sweet;
Of nodding plumes, and burnish'd arms,
And glory's bright terrific charms,
The potent sounds like lightning dart
Resistless thro' the glowing heart;
Of power to lift the fixed soul
High o'er fortune's proud controul;
Kindling deep, prophetic musing;
Love of beauteous death infusing ;
Scorn, and unconquerable hate
Of tyrant pride's unhallow'd state,
The boy abash'd, and half afraid,
Beheld each chaste immortal maid ;
Pallas spread her Egis there;
Mars stood by with threatening air ;
And stern Diana's icy look
With sudden chill his bosom struck,
Daughters of Jove, receive the child,
The queen of beauty said, and smil'd;
Her rosy breath perfum'd the air,
And scatter'd sweet contagion there;
Relenting nature learn'd to languish;
And sicken'd with delightful anguish :
Receive him, artless yet and young;
Refine his air, and smooth his tongue :
Conduct him thro' your fav’rite bowers,
Enrich'd with fair perennial flowers,
To solemn shades and springs that lie
Remote from each unhallow'd eye;
Teach him to spell those mystic names
That kiņdle bright immortal flames;
And guide his young unpractis'd feet
To reach coy learning's lofty seat.
Ah, luckless hour! mistaken maids !
When Cupid sought the Muses' shades :
Of their sweetest notes beguild,
By the sly insidious child;
Now of power his darts are found,
Twice ten thousand times to wound.
Now no more the slacken'd strings
Breathes of high immortal things,
But Cupid tunes the Muse's lyre
To languid notes of soft desire.
In ev'ry clime, in ev'ry tongue,
'Tis love inspires the poet's song:
Hence Sappho's soft infectious page ;
Monimia's woe; Othello's rage;
Abandon's Dido's fruitless prayer;
And Eloisa's long despair :
The garland bless'd with many a vow,'
For haughty Sacharissa's brow;
And, wash'd with tears, the mournful verse
That Petrarch laid on Laura's herse,
But more than all the sister quire,
Music confess'd the pleasing fire.
Here sovereign Cupid reign'd alone;
Music and Song were all his own.
Sweet as in old Arcadian plains,
The British pipe has caught the strains ;
And where the Tweed's pure current glides,
Or lofty rolls her limpid tides,
Or Thames his oozy waters leads
Thro' rural bowers, or yellow meads,
With many an old romantic tale
Has cheer'd the lone sequester'd vale,
With many a sweet and tender lay
Deceiv'd the tiresome summer day.
Tis your's to cull with happy art
Each meaning verse that speaks the heart,
And fair array’d, in order meet,
To lay the wreath at Beauty's feet.
WHILE the two capital species of poetry, the epic and dramatic, have long engaged the nicest attention of taste and criticism, the humbler but not less pleasing productions of the Muse have not obtained that notice from the critic to which the exertions of the poet would seem to entitle them. This will appear the more extraordinary when we reflect that some of the most excellent productions in the former have been the spontaneous growth of a rude and uncultivated
soil, whereas the latter have never flourished without acquired richness in the soil and it!ie fostering hand of art. This critical neglect has given rise to uncertainty in the distinctions, and irregularity in the composition of most of the minor classes of poetry; and while the long established divisions of ode, elegy, and epigram, are involved in these difficulties, it is not a matter of wonder to meet with them in the modern pieces which range under the general title of Songs.
Although many of our most celebrated poets have exercised their talents in composing these little pieces, and their pleasing effect is universally known and acknowledged, yet have we but one professed criticism on their composition; and this, though elegant and ingenious, is both too short and too superficiał to give precision and accuracy to our ideas on this subject. It is contained in a paper of the Guardian, written by Mr. Phillips.
In attempting the task of determining