Tag Archives: ode

Anonymous, “Sickness. An Ode”

ANONYMOUS

“SICKNESS. An ODE”

From the GRUBSTREET JOURNAL.

 

At midnight when the fever rag’d,
By physic’s art still unasswag’d,
And totur’d me with pain:
When most it scorch’d my acking head,
Like sulph’rous fire, or liquid lead,                                        5
And hiss’d through every vein:

With silent steps approaching nigh,
Pale death stood trembling in my eye,
And shook th’ up-lifted dart:
My mind did various thoughts debate                                 10
Of this, and of an after state,
Which terrify’d my heart.

I thought ‘twas hard, in youthful age,
To quit this fine delightful stage,
No more to view the day;                                                15
Nor e’er again the night to spend
In social converse with a friend,
Ingenious, learn’d, and gay.

No more in curious books to read
The wisdom of th’ illustrious dead;                                        20
All that is dear to leave,
Relations, friends, and MIRA too,
Without one kiss, one dear adieu,
To moulder in the grave.

Incircled with congenial clay,                                                  25
To worms and creeping things a prey,
To waste, dissolve, and rot:
To lie wrapp’d cold within a shroud,
Mingled amongst the vilest crowd,
Unnoted, and forgot.                                                        30

Oh horror by this train of thought
My mind was to distraction brought,
Impossible to tell:
The fever rag’d still more without,
Whilst dark despair, or dismal doubt,                                    35
Made all within my hell.

At length, with grave, yet cheerful air.
Repentance came, serenely fair,
As summer’s evening sun;
At sight of whom extatic joy                                                     40
Did all that horrid scene destroy;
And every fear was gone.

If join’d in consort, with one voice,
Angels at such a change rejoice;
I heard their joy exprest.                                                   45
If there be music in the spheres,
That music struck my ravish’d ears,
And charm’d my soul to rest.

NOTES:

 Title The Grubstreet Journal (January 1730-1738) was a critical and satirical newspaper published weekly in London (The Library of Congress).

2 unasswag’d An archaic spelling of unassuaged; “not soothed or relieved” (Oxford Dictionaries [no definition given in OED]).

24 moulder “To decay to dust; to rot; to crumble” (OED).

25 congenial “Suited to the nature of” (OED).

43 consort “To keep company with; to escort or attend” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (January 1733), p.42.

 Edited by Valerie Pedroche

Elizabeth Carter, “Ode to Melancholy”

ELIZABETH CARTER

“Ode to Melancholy”

Alas Darkness my sole light, gloom
O fairer to me than any sunshine
Take me take me to dwell with you
Take me                           Sophocles.

 

Come Melancholy! silent Pow’r,
Companion of my lonely Hour,
To sober Thought confin’d:
Thou sweetly-sad ideal Guest,
In all thy soothing Charms confest,                                                                                 5
Indulge my pensive Mind.

No longer wildly hurried thro’
The Tides of Mirth, that ebb and flow,
In Folly’s noisy Stream:
I from the busy Croud retire,                                                                                            10
To court the Objects that inspire
Thy philosophic Dream.

Thro’ yon dark Grove of mournful Yews
With solitary Steps I muse,
By thy Direction led:                                                                                                   15
Here, cold to Pleasure’s tempting Forms,
Consociate with my Sister-worms,
And mingle with the Dead.

Ye Midnight Horrors! Awful Gloom!
Ye silent Regions of the Tomb,                                                                                          20
My future peaceful Bed:
Here shall my weary Eyes be clos’d,
And ev’ry Sorrow lie repos’d
In Death’s refreshing Shade.

Ye pale Inhabitants of Night,                                                                                              25
Before my intellectual Sight
In solemn Pomp ascend:
O tell how trifling now appears
The Train of idle Hopes and Fears
That varying Life attend.                                                                                              30

Ye faithless Idols of our Sense,
Here own how vain your fond Pretence,
Ye empty Names of Joy!
Your transient Forms like Shadows pass,
Frail Offspring of the magic Glass,                                                                                      35
Before the mental Eye.

The dazzling Colours, falsely bright,
Attract the gazing vulgar Sight
With superficial State:
Thro’ Reason’s clearer Optics view’d,                                                                                  40
How stript of all its Pomp, how rude
Appears the painted Cheat.

Can wild Ambition’s Tyrant Pow’r,
Or ill-got Wealth’s superfluous Store,
The Dread of Death controul?                                                                                      45
Can Pleasure’s more bewitching Charms
Avert, or sooth the dire Alarms
That shake the parting Soul?

Religion! Ere the Hand of Fate
Shall make Reflexion plead too late,                                                                                    50
My erring Senses teach,
Admist the flatt’ring Hopes of Youth,
To meditate the solemn Truth,
These awful Relics preach.

Thy penetrating Beams disperse                                                                                          55
The Mist of Error, whence our Fears
Derive their fatal Spring:
‘Tis thine the trembling Heart to warm,
And soften to an Angel Form
The pale terrific King.                                                                                                        60

When sunk by Guilt in sad Despair,
Repentance breathes her humble Pray’r,
And owns thy Threat’nings just:
Thy Voice the shudd’ring Suppliant chears,
With Mercy calms her tort’ring Fears,                                                                                    65
And lifts her from the Dust.

Sublim’d by thee, the Soul aspires
Beyond the Range of low Desires,
In nobler Views elate:
Unmov’d her destin’d Change surveys,                                                                                  70
And, arm’d by Faith, intrepid pays
The universal Debt.

In Death’s soft Slumber lull’d to Rest,
She sleeps, by smiling Visions blest,
That gently whisper Peace:                                                                                                75
‘Till the last Morn’s fair op’ning Ray
Unfolds the bright eternal Day
Of active Life and Bliss.

NOTES:

Epigraph These lines are from Sophocles’s play Ajax, ll. 394-97; translation mine.

3 sober “Serious; solemn; grave” (Johnson).

5 Charms “Enchantments” (OED).

8 Mirth “A diversion or entertainment” (OED).

9 Folly’s “Act of negligence or passion” (Johnson).

14 Yews “The tree of the dead. (…) The yew tree was sacred to Hecate, the Greek goddess associated with witchcraft, death, and necromancy; it was said to purify the dead as they entered Hades” (The Paris Review).

21 Bed “The grave” (OED).

27 Pomp “procession or sequence of things” (OED).

35 Glass Looking-glass.

41 Pomp “Splendor” (Johnson).

67 Sublim’d “To raise to an elevated sphere or exalted state” (OED).

72 universal Debt Original sin.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1776), pp. 79-83. [Google Books]

 Edited by Katarina Wagner

Martha Ferrar Peckard, “An Ode to Spring. By a Lady”

[MARTHA FERRAR PECKARD]

“An Ode to Spring. By a Lady”

 Hail, genial goddess, bloomy spring!
Thy blest return, O! let me sing,
And aid my languid lays.
Let me not sink in sloth supine,
While all creation, at thy shrine                                          5
Its annual tribute pays.

Escap’d from Winter’s freezing pow’r,
Each blossom greets thee, and each flow’r,
While foremost of the train,
By nature (artless handmaid!) dreft,                                 10
The snow-drop comes in lilly’d vest,
Prophetic of thy reign.

The lark now strains his warbling throat,
And, with a loud and chearful note,
Calls Echo from her cell.                                                15
Be warn’d, ye fair, that listen round,
A beauteous nymph became a sound,
By having lov’d too well.

The bright-hair’d sun, with warmth divine,
Bids trees and shrubs before thy shrine                            20
Their infant buds display.
Again the streams refresh the plains,
Which winter bound in icy chains
And sparkling bless his ray!

Life- giving Zephyrs breathe around,                                   25
And insant glows th’ enamell’d ground.
With nature’s vary’d hues:
Not so returns our youth decay’d;
Alas! nor air, nor sun, nor shade,
The spring of life renews.                                             30

The sun’s too quick–revolving beam,
Dissolves at once the human dream,
And brings th’ appointed hour.
Too late we catch his parting ray,
And mourn the idly-wasted day                                          35
No longer in our power.

Then happiest he, whose lengthen’d sight,
Pursues by virtue’s steady light
A hope beyond the skies;
Where frowning winter ne’er shall come,                          40
But rosy spring for ever bloom,
And suns eternal rise!

NOTES:

Author  Attribution based on the poem’s appearance in Dodsley’s Collection of Poems by Several Hands in 1758 (5:332-4).  See Emily Lorraine de Montluzin, The Poetry of the Gentleman’s Magazine (1731-1800): A Database of Titles, Authors, and First Lines.

 genial  “Literary (especially of air or climate), pleasantly mild, and warm” (OED).

languid lays  Weak verses.

supine  “Lying on one’s back, lying down” (OED).

11 snow-drop “A bulbous European plant which bears drooping white flowers during the late winter” (OED); lilly’d vest  Used here as an adjective, which means “purity and beauty” (OED).

13  lark  “A small ground-dwelling songbird with elongated hind claws and a song that is delivered on the wing, typically crested and with brown streaky plumage” (OED).

15  Echo  “Greek Mythology, a nymph deprived of speech by Hera in order to stop her chatter, and left able only to repeat what others had said. She also has a lovely sound” (OED).

 25  Zephyrs “Personification of the west wind” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 25 (1755), p. 37.

Edited by Nariman Ayesh

Anonymous, “The Snail’s Apologist. An Heroi-Comic Ode from the French”

ANONYMOUS

The SNAIL’s APOLOGIST. An Heroi-Comic ODE from the French.”

What seas of blood! what heaps of dead!
What horrid scenes around are spread!
Murder and carnage rush to light,
Tumultuous from the realms of night;
One wide destruction covers all,                                                              5
The virtuous with the vicious fall;
Amidst a throng of guilty ghosts
That crowd the Styx on Pluto’s coasts,
I see (or do my senses fail?)
Untimely slain, the gentle snail.                                                              10
Say whence thy claim, presumptuous man!
To bound their life’s contracted span?
Have they from thee receiv’d their breath?
Hast thou a right to give them death?
I know what vain pretence is made,                                                       15
Thou sayst that rapine is their trade.
What rapine—? is not yonder tree
Their country? falsely claim’d by thee!
What if the foliage fade and fall,
Their own, that fragrant foliage all.                                                        20
Born where yon peach nutrition draws,
The snail is ign’rant of thy laws;
Kind nature’s voice the peach bestows,
Kind nature’s voice alone he knows.
Contented with his humble lot,                                                              25
He plunders none, he riots not;
Cease then an hasty fate to give,
And since he only eats to live,
Indulge him in the green retreat,
And let, ah! let him live to eat.                                                               30
With martial ardour dost thou glow?
Up, seek and charge an equal foe;
Against the gnat the war declare,
And hunt him thro’ the fields of air;
Let hostile wasps provoke thy rage,                                                     35
And, foe to sloth, the drone engage;
The gorgeous moth, the dragon’s dread,
Destroy them, and bestride the dead;
Strike home, nor let thy vengeance fail,
’Tis due to these, but spare the snail.                                                  40
Alcides thus, in days of yore,
Bade monsters vex the world no more;
And by thy valour’s equal deed,
Be later times from monsters freed;
Thro’ dangers press, pursue the fight,                                                 45
The threaten’d wound, inflicted, slight.
As fairest flow’rs of sharpest thorn,
Of baffled danger, glory’s born,
Hence demi-gods and heroes claim
Proud statues in the shrine of Fame.                                                   50

NOTES:

8 Styx on Pluto’s coasts Pluto is another name for Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld. “Pluto’s coasts” refers here to the banks of the river Styx, the river of the Underworld (Oxford Reference).

16 rapine “The act or practice of seizing and taking away by force the property of others; plunder, pillage, robbery” (OED).

36 drone “The male of the honey-bee. It is a non-worker, its function being to impregnante the queen-bee” (OED).

37 dragon’s “A fly so called” [Author’s note].

41 Alcides thus…no more An alternative name for Heracles, a divine hero from Greek mythology known for battling against monsters of the Underworld.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 18 (August 1748), p. 375.

Edited by Daniel Bresnahan