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Poem by Samuel Johnson


Parody of a Translation from the Medea of Euripides


Ere shall they not, who resolute explore
Times gloomy backward with judicious eyes;
And scanning right the practice of yore,
Shall deem our hoar progenitors unwise.

They to the dome where smoke with curling play
Announced the dinner to the regions round,
Summon'd the singer blithe, and harper gay,
And aided wine with dulcet-streaming sound.

The better use of notes, or sweet or shrill,
By quivering string or modulated wind;
Trumpet or lyre - to their harsh bosoms chill
Admission ne'er had sought, or could not find.

Oh! send them to the sullen mansions dun,
Her baleful eyes where sorrow rolls around;
Where gloom-enamour'd mischief loves to dwell
And murder, all blood-bolter'd, schemes the wound.

When cates luxuriant pile the spacious dish,
And purple nectar glads the festive hour;
The guest, without a want, without a wish,
Can yield no room to music's soothing power.



Samuel Johnson


Samuel Johnson's other poems:
  1. To Myrtilis - The New Year's Offering
  2. On Hearing Miss Thrale Consulting with a Friend About a Gown and Hat
  3. Drury-Lane Prologue Spoken By Mr. Garrick
  4. On Lyce - An Elderly Lady
  5. From the Medea of Euripides


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