Imágenes de páginas

Incedit, tardo molimine subsidendo.
Ecce aliquis subit egregio pulcherrimus ore,
Cui lætum membris Venus omnibus afflat honorem,
Contra alius rudis, informes ostendit f. artus,
Hirsutumque supercilium, ac caudam sinuosam,
Ingratus visu, sonitu illætabilis ipso.--
Ergo ubi jam nautæ spumas salis ære ruentes
Incubuere mari, videas spumare, reductis
Convulsum remis, rostrisque stridentibus æquor.
Tunc longe sale suxa sonant, tunc ffreta ventis
Incipiunt agitata tumescere : littore fluctus
Illidunt rauco, atque refracta remurmurat unda
Ad scopulos, cumulo insequitur præruptus aquæ mons.-
Cum vero ex alto speculatus cærula Nereus
Leniit in morem stagni, placidæque paludis,
Labitur uncta vadis abies, natat uncta carina.
Verbu etiam res exiguas angusta sequuntur,
Ingentesque juvant ingentia : cuncta giganten
Vasta decent, vultus immanes, pectora lata,
Et magni membrorum artus, magna ossa lacertique.
Atque adeo, siquid geritur molimine magno,
Adde moram, & pariter tecum quoque verba laborent
Segnia: seu quando vi multa gleba coactis
Æternum frangenda bidentibus, æquore seu cum
Cornua velatarum obvertimus antennarum.
At mora si fuerit damno, properare jubebo.
Si se forte cava extulerit mala vipera terra,
Tolle moras, cape saca manu, cape robora, pastor ;
Ferte citi flammas, date tela, repellite pestem.
Ipse etiam versus ruat, in præcepsque feratur,
Immenso cum præcipitans ruit Oceano nox,
Aut cum perculsus graviter procumbit humi bos,
Cumque etiam requies rebus datur, ipsa quoque ultra
Carmina paulisper cursu cessare videbis
In medio interrupta : quiérunt cum freta ponti,
Postquam auræ posuere, quiescere protinus ipsum
Cernere erit, mediisque incæptis sistere versum,


Quid dicam, senior cum telum imbelle sine ictu
Invalidus jacit, 4. defectis viribus æger?
Num quoque tum versus segni pariter pede languet ;
Sanguis hebet, frigent effætæ in corpore vires.
Fortem autem juvenem deceat prorumpere in arces,
Evertisse domos, præfractaque quadrupedantum
Pectora pectoribus perrumpere, sternere turres
Ingentes, totoque ferum dare funera campo,

"Tis not enough bis verses to complete,
In measure, number, or determin'd feet.
To all, proportion'd terms he must dispense,
And make the sound a picture of the sense;
The correspoudent words exactly frame,
The look, the features, and the mien the same,
With rapid feet and wings, without delay,
This swiftly flies, and smoothly skims away :
This blooms with youth and beauty in his face,
And Venus breathes on ev'ry limb a grace ;
That, of rude form, bis uncouth members shows,
Looks horrible, and frowns with his rough brows;
His monstrous tail, in many a fold and wind,
Voluminous and vast, curls up behind ;
At once the image and the lines appear
Rude to the eye, and frightful to the ear.
Lo ! when the sailors steer the pond'rous ships,
And plough, with brazen beaks, the foamy deeps,
Incumbent on the main that roars arou

Beneath the lab'ring oars the waves resound;
The prows wide echoing thro' the dark profound,
To the loud call each distant rock replies;
Tost by the storm the tow'ring surges rise ;
While the hoarse ocean beats the sounding shore,
Dash'd from the strand, the flying waters roar.
Flash at the shock, and gathering in a heap,
The liquid mountains rise, and over-hang the deep,
But when blue Neptune from his car surveys,
And calms at one regard the raging seas,



Stretch'd like a peaceful lake the deep subsides, And the pitch'd vessel o'er the surface glides, When things are small, the terms should still be so; For low words please us when the theme is low. But when some giant, horrible and grim, Enormous ir. his gait, and vast in ev'ry limb, Stalks tow'ring on; the swelling words must rise In just proportion to the monster's size. If some large weight his huge arms strive to shove, The verse too labours; the throng’d words scarce move. When each stiff clod beneath the pond'rous plough Crumbles and breaks, th' encumber'd lines must flow. Nor less, when pilots catch the friendly gales, Unfurl their shrouds, and hoist ihe wide-stretch'd sails. But if the poem suffersf rom delay, Let the lines fly precipitate away, And when the viper issues from the brake, Be quick; with stones, and brands, and fire, attack His rising crest, and drive the serpent back. When night descends, or stunn’d by nuni'rous strokes, And groaning, to the earth drops the vast ox; The line too sinks with correspondent sound, Flat with the steer, and headlong to the ground, When the wild waves subside, and tempests cease, And hysh the roarings of the sea to peace ; So oft we see the interrupted strain Stopp'd in the midst—and with the silent main Pause for a space--at last it glides again. When Priam strains his aged arms, to throw His unavailing jav'line at the foe; (His blood congeald, and ev'ry nerve unstrung) Then with the theme complies the artful song; Like him the solitary numbers flow, Weak, trembling, melancholy, stiff, and slow. Not so young Pyrrhus, who with rapid force Beats down embattled armies in his course,




The raging youth on trembling Ilion falls,
Burns her strong gates, and shakes her lofty walls ;
Provokes his flying courser to the speed,
In full career to charge the warlike steed:
He piles the field with mountains of the slain;
He pours, he storms, he thunders thro' the plain.


From the Italian gardens Pope seems to have transplanted this flower, the growth of happier climates, into a soil less adapted to its nature, and less favour. able to its increase.

Soft is the strain, when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother oumbers flows;
But when loud billows lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax strives some rock’s vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words moye slow;
Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main

From these lines, laboured with great attention, and celebrated by a rival wit, may be judged what can be expected from the most diligent endeavours after this imagery of sound. The verse intended to represent the whisper of the vernal breeze, must be confessed not much to excel in softness or volubility: and the smooth stream runs with a perpetual clash of jarring consonants. The noise and turbulence of the torrent is, indeed, distinctly inaged, for it requires very little skill to make our language rough; but in these lines, which mention the effort of Ajax, there is no particular heaviness, obstruction, or delay; The swiftness of Camilla is rather

contrasted contrasted than exemplified; why the verse should be lengthened to express speed, will not easily be discovered. In the dactyls used for that purpose by the ancients, two short syllables were pronounced with such rapidity, as to be equal only to one long; they, therefore, naturally exhibit the act of passing through a long space in a short tiine. But the Alexandrine, by its pause in the midst, is a tardy and stately measure; and the word unbending, one of the most sluggish and slow which our language affords, cannot much accelerate its motion.

These rules and these examples have taught our present criticks to inquire very studiously and minutely into sounds and cadences. It is, therefore, useful to examine with what skill they have proceeded; what discoveries they have made; and whether any rules can be established which may guide us hereafter in such researches,

« AnteriorContinuar »