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WHEN I have borne in memory what has tamed
ODE TO THE DEPARTING YEAR.*
Ιου, ιού, ώώ κακά.
Το μέλλον ήξει. Και συ μ' εν τάχει παρών
Æschyl Agam. 1225.
THE Ode commences with an address to the Divine Provi. dence, that regulates into one vast harmony all the events of time, however calamitous some of them may appear to mortals. The second Strophe calls on men to suspend their private joys and sorrows, and devote them for a while to the cause of human nature in general. The first Epode speaks of the Empress of Russia, who died of an apoplexy on the 17th of November, 1796; having just concluded a subsidiary treaty with the Kings combined against France. The first and second Antistrophe describe the image of the Departing Year, &c. as in a vision. The second Epode prophesies, in anguish of spirit, the downfall of this country.
SPIRIT who sweepest the wild harp of Time!
It is most hard, with an untroubled ear
This Ode was composed on the 24th, 25th, and 26th days of December, 1796; and was first published on the last day
of that year.
Yet, mine eye fixed on Heaven's unchanging
clime, Long had I listened, free from mortal fear,
With inward stillness, and a bowed mind;
When lo! its folds far waving on the wind, I saw the train of the departing Year! Starting from
silent sadness Then with no unholy madness Ere yet the entered cloud foreclosed my sight, I raised the impetuous song, and solemnized his
Hither, from the recent tomb,
From the prison's direr gloom,
From distemper's midnight anguish;
Love illumines manhood's maze ;
Hope has fixed her wistful gaze;
Hither, in perplexed dance,
By Time's wild harp, and by the hand
Whose indefatigable sweep
Raises its fateful strings from sleep,
And each domestic hearth,
Haste for one solemn hour;
And with a loud and yet a louder voice, O’er Nature struggling in portentous birth,
Weep and rejoice! Still echoes the dread name that o'er the earth Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of hell :
And now. advance in saintly jubilee Justice and Truth! They too have heard thy
spell ! They too obey thy name, divinest Liberty!
I marked Ambition in his war-array !
I heard the mailed Monarch's troublous cry— “ Ah! wherefore does the Northern Conqueress
Groans not her chariot on its onward way?”
Fly, mailed Monarch, fly!
No more on murder's lurid face
Manes of the unnumbered slain !
Ye that gasped on Warsaw's plain!
Fell in conquest's glutted hour,
Sudden blasts of triumph swelling, Oft, at night, in misty train,