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Night is dull and dark,
2 No star with twinkling beam;
No moon looks from the skies.] An imitation explained by the Nightpiece.
And not a moon to light my way.
Looks from the cieling of the sky.
So fares a sailor on the stormy main,
Nor trembling Cynthia glimmers o'er the deeps. In the second copy, “ No star with green-trembling beam; no moon looks from the sky."
3 The lonely screech-owl groans.] In modern poetry, Blair's Grave, and Gray's inimitable Elegy, had rendered the screech-owl a familiar image ; but our translator, the very demon of poetry, seems to have discovered the original in Virgil. Æn. iv. 462.
Night is dull and dark. The clouds rest on the hills. No star with green-trembling beam; no moon looks from the sky. I hear the blast in the wood; bnt I hear it distant far. The stream of the valley murmurs; but its murmur is sullen and sad. From the tree at the grave of the dead the long howling owl is heurd. I see a dim form on the plain! It is a ghost! it fades, it flies. Some funeral shall pass this way: the meteor marks the path.
Solaque culminibus ferali carmine bubo
Hourly 'tis heard, when with a boding note
Save where from yonder ivy-mantled tower
Molest' her ancient, solitary reign. In the copy subjoined to Croma, " The lonely screech-owl groans," (Solaque culminibus, &c.) was altered to “ The long-howling owl is heard,” from the original, “ Hourly 'tis heard,” et longas in fletum ducere voces ; and Gray, who derived his ivy-mantled tower from the turret's height; “ the moping owl complains," from “ Solaque culminibus-bubo sæpe queri ;” and “ her solitary reign," from "The solitary screech-owl,” had some reason to exclaim, “ In short, this man is the very demon of poetry, or he has lighted upon a treasure hid for ages.” Gray's Works, iv. 59. n. 12mo.
4 Some dead shall pass this way.] The additional image in the second version, " The meteor marks the path," is from Thomson's Autumn.
The meteor sits and shews the narrow path. Vol. II.
The distant dog is howling;
3 She on the leafless tree,
He on the cloudy hill.] The owl and the howling dog were already abroad; but the howling fox is a beautiful repetition, from Windsor Forest, (Carthon 22 ) and the progressive improvement of the imagery is observable. “ She on a leafless tree; lie in a cloud on the hill." o Dark, panting, trembling, sad, The traveller has lost his way.] Thomson's Winter.
Lone on the midnight steep, and all aghast,
The dark, wayfaring stranger breathless toils. 7 He fears the rock and the pool,
He fears the ghost of the night.] Pope's Thebais of Statius, 524.
The distant dog is howling from the hut of the hill. The stag lies on the mountain' moss : the hind is at his side. She hears the wind in his branchy horns. She starts, but lies again.
The roe is in the cleft of the rock; the heath-cock's head is beneath his wing. No beast, no bird is abroad, but the owl and the howling fox. She on a leafless tree; he in a cloud on the hill.
Dark, panting, trembling, sad, the traveller has lost his way. Through shrubs, through thorns, he goes, along the gurgling rill. He fears the rock and the fen. He fars the ghost of night. The old tree groans to the blast; the falling branch resounds. The wind drives the withered burs, clung together, along the grass. It is the light tread of a ghost ! He trembles amidst the night.
Dark, dusky, howling, is the night, cloudy, windy, and full
So fares a sailor on the stormy main, &c.
While thunders roar, and lightning round him flies. 2 The old tree groans to the blast;
The falling branch resounds.] Antennæque gemant. Hor. Highlander, ii. 112.
The tapering firs, the elms, the aged oaks,
Groan as they fall, and tremble in the field.
Thus on some night when sable tempests roar,
But in each ruder gust the creak is lost. 9 The wind drives the clung thorn
Along the sighing grass.] In the second version, “ The withered burs, elung together, along the grass :" from Pore's Odyssey, v. 417. a frequent ioitation. See Cath-loda, i. ?.
As when a heap of gather'd thorns is cast,
Cloudy, windy, and full of ghosts;
THE wind is up on the mountain ;
to The wind is up on the mountain ;-
The wind is up, hark! how it howls ! Methinks
Doors creak, and windows clap. Here, “ The wind is up on the mountain," is a substitute for “ The spirit of the mountain shrieks ;” which was suppressed in the copies transmitted to Gray and Shenstone, as a dangerous imitation of Hone's Douglas. See Dar-thula 37.
Red came the river down, and loud and oft
The angry spirit of the waters shrieked.
Red from the hills innumerable streams
The river lift.
He falls, he shrieks, he dies.] Thomson's Autumn : supra,