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A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth

9 Musaeus was a monody on the death of Pope


"Versailles May boast a thousand fountains that can cast The tortured waters to the distant heavens; Yet let me choose some pine-topped precipice Abrupt and shaggy, whence a foamy stream, Like Anio, tumbling roars; or some black heath Where straggling stands the mournful juniper, Or yew tree scathed."

The enthusiast haunts "dark forests" and loves to listen to "hollow winds and ever-beating waves" and "sea-mew's clang." Milton appears at every turn, not only in single epithets like "Lydian airs," "the level brine," "low-thoughted cares," "the light fantastic dance," but in the entire spirit, imagery, and diction of the poem. A few lines illustrate this better than any description.

"Ye green-robed Dryads, oft at dusky eve By wondering shepherds seen; to forest brown, To unfrequented meads and pathless wilds Lead me from gardens decked with art's vain pomp. . . But let me never fall in cloudless night, When silent Cynthia in her silver car Through the blue concave slides,. . . To seek some level mead, and there invoke Old midnight's sister, contemplation sage (Queen of the rugged brow and stern-fixed eye), To lift my soul above this little earth, This folly-fettered world: to purge my ears, That I may hear the rolling planet's song And tuneful turning spheres."

Mason's Miltonic

imitations, "Musaeus," "Il Bellicoso" and "Il Pacifico" were written in 1744--according to the statement of their author, whose statements, however, are not always to be relied upon. The first was published in 1747; the second "surreptitiously printed in a magazine and afterward inserted in Pearch's miscellany," finally revised and published by the author in 1797; the third first printed in 1748 in the Cambridge verses on the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. These pieces follow copy in every particular. "Il Bellicoso," _e.g._, opens with the invocation.

"Hence, dull lethargic Peace, Born in some hoary beadsman's cell obscure!"

The genealogies of Peace and War are recited, and contrasted pictures of peaceful and warlike pleasures presented in an order which corresponds as precisely as possible to Milton's in "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso."

"Then, to unbend my mind, I'll roam Amid the cloister's silent gloom; Or, where ranged oaks their shades diffuse, Hold dalliance with my darling Muse, Recalling oft some heaven-born strain That warbled in Augustan reign; Or turn, well pleased, the Grecian page, If sweet Theocritus engage, Or blithe Anacreon, mirthful wight, Carol his easy love-lay light. . . And joys like these, if Peace inspire Peace, with thee I string the lyre."[9]

"Musaeus" was a monody on the death of Pope, employing the pastoral machinery and the varied irregular measure of "Lycidas." Chaucer, Spenser, and Milton, under the names of Tityrus, Colin Clout, and Thyrsis, are introduced as mourners, like Camus and St. Peter in the original. Tityrus is made to lament the dead shepherd in very incorrect Middle English. Colin Clout speaks two stanzas of the form used in the first eclogue of "The Shepherd's Calendar," and three stanzas of the form used in "The Faerie Queene." Thyrsis speaks in blank verse and is answered by the shade of Musaeus (Pope) in heroic couplets. Verbal travesties of "Lycidas" abound--"laureate hearse," "forego each vain excuse," "without the loan of some poetic woe," etc.; and the closing passage is reworded thus:


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