« ForrigeFortsæt »
The business of my life shall be,
Of those entrancing airs,'
And, if the power
Go, bring the bright shell to my bower,
As lap the Spirit of the Seventh Sphere,
And thou shalt own,
From the pellucid tides , that whirl
From the rich sigh
On Afric's burning fields ; 5
GENIUS OF HARMONY
AN IRREGULAR ODE.
Ad harmoniam canere mundum.
CICERO de Nat. Deor. lib. iii.
THERE lies a shell beneath the waves,
Such as of old
This magic shell,
Sicilia's sands of gold.
1 In the Histoire Naturelle des Antilles," there is an ac- amore, è la lor amicitia armonica et la concordanza, che count of some curious shells, found at Curaçoa, on the back perpetuamente si trova in loro." – Dialog. ii. di Amore, of ubich were lines, filled with musical characters so distinct p. 58. This “reciproco amore" of Leone is the phorns of and perfect, that the writer assures us a very charming trio the ancient Empedocles, who seems, in his Love and Hate of Fas kung from one of them. “ On le nomme inusical, parce- the Elements, to have give glimpse of the principles of qu'il porte sur le dos des lignes noirâtres pleines de notes, qui attraction and repulsion. See the fragment to which I allude ont une espèce de clé pour les mettre en chant, de sorte que in Laertius, Αλλοτε μεν φιλοτητι, συνεχoμιν', κ. τ. λ., lib. viii. l'on diroit qu'il ne manque que la lettre à cette tablature na- cap. 2. n. 12 turelle. Ce curieux gentilhomme (M. du Montel) rapporte 3 Leucippus, the atomist, imagined a kind of vortices in qu'il en a vû qui avoient cinq lignes, une clé, et des notes, qui the heavens, which he borrowed from Anaxagoras, and posfermoient un accord parfait. Quelqu'un y avoit ajouté la sibly suggested to Descartes. lettre, que la nature avoit oubliée, et la faisoit chanter en 4 Heraclides, upon the allegories of Homer, conjectures forme de trio, dont l'air étoit fort agréable."- Chap. xix. that the idea of the harmony of the spheres originated with art. II. The author adds, a poet might imagine that these this poet, who, in representing the solar beams as arrows, sbells were used by the syrens at their concerts.
supposes them to emit a peculiar sound in the air. : According to Cicero, and his commentator, Macrobius, 5 In the account of Africa which D'Ablancourt has transthe lunar tone is the gravest and faintest on the planetary | lated, there is mention of a tree in that country, whose beptachord. “Quam ob causam summus ille cæli stellifer branches when shaken by the hand produce very sweet cursus, cujus conversio est concitatior, acuto et excitato sounds. “Le même auteur (Abenzégar) dit, qu'il y a un movetur sono; gravissimo autem hic lunaris atque infimus." certain arbre, qui produit des gaules comme d'osier, et qu'en - Somn. Scip. Because, says Macrobius, " spiritu ut in les prenant à la main et les branlant, elles font une espèce extremitate languescente jamn volvitur, et propter angustias d'harmonie fort agréable,” &c. &c. – L'Afrique de Marmol. quitas penultimus orbis arctatur impetu leniore convertitur." 6 Alluding to the extinction, or at least the disappearance, - lo Sorrn. Scip. lib. ii. cap. 4. In their musical arrangement of some of those fixed stars, which we are taught to consider of the heavenly bodies, the ancient writers are not very intel- as suns, attended each by its system. Descartes thought that ligible. - See Ptolem. lib. iii.
our earth might formerly have been a sun, which became obLeone Hebreo, in pursuing the idea of Aristotle, that the scured by a thick incrustation over its surface. This probably heavens are animal, attributes their harmony to perfect and suggested the idea of a central fire. reciprocal love. “Non pero manca fra loro il perfetto et i Porphyry says, that Pythagoras held the sea to be a tear, reciproco amore : la causa principale, che ne mostra il loro Tmy FanATTAN HSV izanu uva daxquor (De Vita); and some one else, if I mistake not, has added the planet Saturn as the 8 There are some verses of Orpheus preserved to us, which source of it. Empedocles, with similar affectation, called the contain sublime ideas of the unity and magnificence of the sea “ the sweat of the earth :"idgwice TVS 705. See Ritters- | Deity. For instance, those which Justin Martyr has prohusius upon Porphyry, Num. 41.
Since thy aërial spell
Oh! think what visions, in that lonely hour,
Stole o'er his musing breast ;
What pious ecstasy
Where she, who wak'd its early swell, Whose seal upon this new-born world imprest 9
The various forms of bright divinity! Walks o'er the great string of my Orphic Lyre;? Or, dost thou know what dreams I wove, Or guides around the burning pole
'Mid the deep horror of that silent bower, 10 The winged chariot of some blissful soul : 2 Where the rapt Samian slept his holy slumber? While thou
From earthly chain,
From wreaths of pleasure and from bonds of
pain, Which I've imbued with breathing melody ;3 His spirit flew through fields above, And there, when night-winds down the current die, Drank at the source of nature's fontal number, 11 Thou'lt hear how like a harp its waters sigh : And saw, in mystic choir, around him move A liquid chord is every wave that flows,
The stars of song, Heaven's burning minstrelsy! An airy plectrum every breeze that blows.4
Such dreams, so heavenly bright,
By the great diadem that twines my hair,
And by the seven gems that sparkle there 12, And I will send thee such a godlike dream,
Mingling their beams As never bless'd the slumbers even of him, 5 In a soft iris of harmonious light, Who, many a night, with his primordial lyre, 6 Oh, mortal! such shall be thy radiant dreams.
Sate on the chill Pangæan mount,
And, looking to the orient dim,
From which his soul had drunk its fire.
duced : | The system of the harmonized orbs was styled by the
Ούτος μεν χαλαιον ες ουρανόν έστηρικται ancients the Great Lyre of Orpheus, for which Lucian thus
X quouw 196 gora, %. 5... Ad Græc. Cohortat. accounts :-ή δε Λυρη επταμιτος εουσα την των κινουμενων αστρων αρμονιαν συνεβαλλετο, κ. τ. λ. in Astrolog.
It is thought by some, that these are to be reckoned amongst 2 Δειλε ψυχας ισάριθμους τους αστρους, Σειμι 9' έκαστην the fabrications, which were frequent in the early times of Teos IxQrTov, xai su 6.Curus'NS EIE OXHMA-"Distributing Christianity. Still, it appears doubtful to whom they are to the souls severally among the stars, and mounting each soul be attributed, being too pious for the Pagans, and too poetical upon a star as on its chariot." - Plato, l'imæus.
for the Fathers. 3 This musical river is mentioned in the romance of 9 In one of the Hymns of Orpheus, he attributes a figured Achilles Tatius. Ετει ποταμου .. ην δε ακουσαι θελης του seal to Apollo, with which he imagines that deity to have jà cetos acourtos. The Latin version, in supplying the hiatus stamped a variety of forms upon the universe. which is in the original, has placed the river in Hispania. 10 Alluding to the cave near Samos, where Pythagoras de“ In Hispaniâ quoque fluvius est, quem primo aspectu,” | voted the greater part of his days and nights to meditation and &c. &c.
the mysteries of his philosophy. lamblich. de Vit. This, as 4 These two lines are translated from the words of Achilles Holstenius remarks, was in imitation of the Magi. Tatius. Εαν γας ολιγος ανεμος εις τας δινας 6μτεση, το μεν 11 The tetractys, or sacred number of the Pythagoreans, on ύδως ως χορδη κρούεται. το δε πνευμα του ύδατος πληκτρον which they solemnly swore, and which they called razu γινεται. το ρευμα δε ώς κιθαρα λαλοι. - Lib. ii.
REYHOU Quries," the fountain of perennial nature." Lucian 5 Orpheus.
has ridiculed this religious arithmetic very cleverly in his 6 They called his lyre αρχαιοτροτον επταχορδον Ορφεως. Sale of Philosophers. See a curious work by a professor of Greek at Venice, entitled 19 This diadem is intended to represent the analogy be. “Hebdomades, sive septem de septenario libri." - Lib. iv. tween the notes of music and the prismatic colours. Wetind cap. 3. p. 177.
in Plutarch a vague intimation of this kindred harmony in i Eratosthenes, in mentioning the extreme veneration of colours and sounds. – 04 Skot azon, uste barvm * ** Orpheus for Apollo, says that he was accustomed to go to the φωτος την αρμονίαν επιφαινουσι, -- De Musica. Pangæan mountain at day-break, and there wait the rising of Cassiodorus, whose idea I may be supposed to have bor. the sun, that he might be the first to huil its beams. E71980- rowed, says, in a letter upon music to Boetius, “ Ut diadema ρομενος τι της νυκτος, κατα την εωθινης επι το ορος το καλουμινον oculis, varia luce gemmarum, sic cythara diversitate soni, Παγγαιον, προσιμενς τας ανατολας, ένα ιδη τον Ήλιον πρωτον. – blanditur auditui." This is indeed the only tolerable thought Καταστερισμ. 24.
in the letter. - Lib. ii. Variar.
See the Story in Apuleius. With respect to this beau- ations upon the ancient gems in the Museum Florentinum, tifal allegory of Love and Psyche, there is an ingenious idea vol. i. p. 156. suggested by the senator Buonarotti, in his “Osservazioni I cannot avoid remarking here an error into which the spra alcuni frammenti di vasi antichi." He thinks the fable is French Encyclopédistes have been led by M. Spon, in their taken from some very occult mysteries, which had long been article Psyche. They say“ Pétrone fait un récit de la pompe celebrated in honour of Love; and accounts, upon this sup- nuptiale de ces deux amans (Amour et Psyche). Déjà, positien, for the silence of the more ancient authors upon the dit-il," &c. &c. The Psyche of Petronius, however, is a serfutuject, as it was not till towards the decline of pagan super. vant-maid, and the marriage which he describes is that of the sticion, that writers could venture to reveal or discuss such young Pannychis. See Spon's Recherches curieuses, &c. erremoonies. Accordingly, observes this author, we find Lucian Dissertat. 5. and Plutarcb treating, without reserve, of the Dea Syria, as 2 Allusions to Mrs. Tighe's Poem. well as of Isis and Osiris ; and Apuleius, to whom we are in
3 Constancy. debted for the beautiful story of Cupid and Psyche, has also detailed some of the mysteries of Isis. See the Giornale di * By this image the Platonists expressed the middle state Litterati d'Italia, tom. xxvii. articol. 1. See also the obsery. of the soul between sensible and intellectual existence.
Still be the song to Psyche dear,
The song, whose gentle voice was given To be, on earth, to mortal ear,
An echo of her own, in heaven.
“ To where his setting splendours burn
Upon the western sea-maids urn“ Doth not, in all his course, behold “ Such eyes of fire, such hair of gold. “ Tell her, he comes, in blissful pride, “ His lip yet sparkling with the tide “ That mantles in Olympian bowls, – “ The nectar of eternal souls ! “ For her, for her he quits the skies, “ And to her kiss from nectar flies. “ Oh, he would quit his star-thron'd height, “ And leave the world to pine for light, “ Might he but pass the hours of shade, “ Beside his peerless Delphic maid, “ She, more than earthly woman blest,
He, more than god on woman's breast !"
THE HIGH PRIEST OF APOLLO
A VIRGIN OF DELPHI.1
Cum digno digna
“ Who is the maid, with golden hair,
Aphelia is the Delphic fair, 2
There is a cave beneath the steep, 4
There, there,” the god, impassion'd, said,
Along its shadowy pathway rolls-
Upon th' Euphrates' shining tide 6,-
Lighted by many an odorous fire,
“ Then tell the virgin to unfold, “ In looser pomp, her locks of gold, “ And bid those eyes more fondly shine “ To welcome down a Spouse Divine; “ Since He, who lights the path of years – “ Even from the fount of morning's tears
1 This poem, as well as a few others that occur after
Ει δε γε χρη και τας σοφον αντιφεριξαι, wards, formed part of a work which I had early projected,
Egtas. and even announced to the public, but which, luckily per
Αλλ' εις δαφνωδη γυαλα βησομαι ταδε. haps for myself, had been interrupted by my visit to America
EURIPID. Ion. 5. 76 in the year 1803.
4 The Corycian Cave, which Pausanias mentions.
The Among those impostures in which the priests of the pagan
inhabitants of Parnassus held it sacred to the Corycian temples are known to have indulged, one of the most favourite was that of announcing to some fair votary of the shrine, that nymphs, who were children of the river Plistus.
3 See a preceding note, p. 25, n. 2. It should seem that lunar the God himself had become enamoured of her beauty, and would descend in all his glory, to pay her a visit within the spirits were of a purer order than spirits in general, as recesses of the fane. An adventure of this description formed Pythagoras was said by his followers to have descended from
the regions of the moon. The heresiarch Manes, in the same an episode in the classic romance which I had sketched out;
manner, imagined that the sun and moon are the residence of and the short fragment, given above, belongs to an epistle by Christ, and that the ascension was nothing more than his flight which the story was to have been introduced.
to those orbs. 2 In the 9th Pythic of Pindar, where Apollo, in the same
6 The temple of Jupiter Belus, at Babylon ; in one of whose manner, requires of Chiron some information respecting the fair Cyrene, the Centaur, in obeying, very gravely apologizes assignations. “No man is allowed to sleep here," says Hero
towers there was a large chapel set apart for these celestial for telling the God what his omniscience must know so per- dotus ;“ but the apartment is appropriated to a female, whom, fectly already:
if we believe the Chaldæan priests, the deity selects from the women of the country, as his favourite." Lib.i. cap. 181.
PITy me, love! I'll pity thee,
Grow to my lip, thou sacred kiss,
Think on that look whose melting ray
For one sweet moment mix'd with mine, And for that moment seem'd to say,
“ I dare not, or I would be thine!”
Think on thy ev'ry smile and glance,
On all thou hast to charm and move ; And then forgive my bosom's trance,
Nor tell me it is sin to love.
A NIGHT THOUGHT.
How oft a cloud, with envious veil,
Obscures yon bashful light, Which seems so modestly to steal
Along the waste of night!
Oh, not to love thee were the sin ;
For sure, if Fate's decrees be done, Thou, thou art destin'd still to win,
As I am destin'd to be won !
Fontenelle, in his playful rifacimento of the learned materials of Van-Dale, has related in his own inimitable manner an adventure of this kind which was detected and exposed at Alexandria. See L'Histoire des Oracles, dissert. 2. chap. vii.
Crebillon, too, in one of his most amusing little stories, has made the Génie Mange-Taupes, of the Isle Jonquille, assert this privilege of spiritual beings in a manner rather formidable to the husbands of the island.