BLEST Pæan, come, propitious to my pray'r,
Illustrious pow'r, whom Memphian tribes revere,
Slayer of Tityus, and the God of health,
Lycorian Phbus, fruitful source of wealth .
Spermatic, golden-lyr'd, the field from thee 5
Receives it's constant, rich fertility.
Titanic, Grunian, Smynthian, thee I sing, 7
Python-destroying, hallow'd, Delphian king:
Rural, light-bearer, and the Muse's head,
Noble and lovely, arm'd with arrows dread: 10
Far-darting, Bacchian, two-fold, and divine, 11
Pow'r far diffused, and course oblique is thine.
O, Delian king, whose light-producing eye
Views all within, and all beneath the sky:
Whose locks are gold, whose oracles are sure, 15
Who, omens good reveal'st, and precepts pure:
Hear me entreating for the human kind,
Hear, and be present with benignant mind;
For thou survey'st this boundless æther all,
And ev'ry part of this terrestrial ball 20
Abundant, blessed; and thy piercing sight,
Extends beneath the gloomy, silent night;
Beyond the darkness, starry-ey'd, profound,
The stable roots, deep fix'd by thee are found.
The world's wide bounds, all-flourishing are thine, 25
Thyself all the source and end divine:
'Tis thine all Nature's music to inspire,
With various-sounding, harmonising lyre;
Now the last string thou tun'ft to sweet accord, 29
Divinely warbling now the highest chord; 30
Th' immortal golden lyre, now touch'd by thee,
Responsive yields a Dorian melody.
All Nature's tribes to thee their diff'rence owe,
And changing seasons from thy music flow
Hence, mix'd by thee in equal parts, advance 35
Summer and Winter in alternate dance;
This claims the highest, that the lowest string,
The Dorian measure tunes the lovely spring .
Hence by mankind, Pan-royal, two-horn'd nam'd, 39
Emitting whistling winds thro' Syrinx fam'd; 40 40
Since to thy care, the figur'd seal's consign'd, 41
Which stamps the world with forms of ev'ry kind.
Hear me, blest pow'r, and in these rites rejoice,
And save thy mystics with a suppliant voice.
161:7 Ver. 7.] Grunian. According to Strabo, lib. xiii. Grynæus is a town of Myrinæus: likewise, a temple of Apollo, and a most ancient oracle and temple, sumptuously built of white stone. Gyrald. Syntag. p. 237.
161:11 Ver. 11.] Far-darting.ἑκατηϐελετησ Proclus, on Plato's Cratylus, informs us he is so called, ὅτι χορηγὸσ ὤς, καὶ εξερομενοσ ἐπὶ παντασ ποιεῖ τας ενεργείας. i. e, "because since he is the choragus or leader of the choir of the Muses, he produces energies in all things."
162:29 Ver. 29.] Now the last string, &c. Gesner well observes, in his notes to this Hymn, that the comparison and conjunction of the musical and astronomical elements are most ancient; being derived from Orpheus and Pythagoras, to Plato. Now, according to the Orphic and Pythagoric doctrine, the lyre of Apollo is an image of the celestial harmony, or the melody caused by the orderly revolutions of thc celestial spheres. But I cannot believe that Orpheus and Pythagoras considered this harmony as attended with sensible sounds, according to the vulgar acceptation of the word: for it is surely more rational to suppose, that they meant nothing more by the music of the spheres, than their harmonical proportions to each other. Indeed these wise men, to whom metaphors were familiar, may be easily conceived p. 163 by vulgar sound and vulgar harmony to insinuate internal sound, and harmony subsisting in its origin and cause. Hence we may consider the souls of the celestial spheres, together with the soul of the world, as composing the choir of the nine Muses; (who are called by the Platonists nine Syrens) and dancing in numerical order round Apollo the sun of the intellectual world. But these nine Muses are far different from the marine Syrens of the poets who, resident as it were in the sea of material delights, draw us aside by their alluring melody, from the paths of rectitude. For these are divine Syrens inviting us to the proper end of our nature; and forming from the eight tones of the eight spheres, one perfect and everlasting harmony.
The following quotation from the Platonic Nichomachus, Harm. i. p. 6. illustrates the meaning of the Hypate and Nete, or the highest and lowest string. From the motion of Saturn, (says he) "The most remote of the planets, the appellation of the gravest sound, Hypate, is derived: but from the lunar motion, which is the lowest of all, the most acute sound is called νεάτη, Nete, or the lowest." But Gesner observes, that a more ancient, and as it were archetypal appellation, is derived from the ancient triangular lyre, a copy of which was found among the pictures lately dug out of the ruins of Herculaneum; where the highest chord next to the chin of the musicians is the longest, and consequently (says he) the sound is the most grave. Gesner proceeds in observing, that the three seasons of the year are so compared together in a musical ratio, that Hypate signifies the Winter, Nete the Summer, and the Dorian measure represents the intermediate seasons, Spring and Autumn. Now the reason why the Dorian melody is assigned to the Spring, is because that measure wholly consists in temperament and moderation, as we learn from Plut. de Mus. p. 1136. E. and consequently p. 164 is with great propriety attributed to the Spring, considered as placed between Summer and Winter; and gratefully tempering the fervent heat of the one, and the intense cold of the other.
164:39 Ver. 39.] Pan-royal. See the notes to the Hymn to Pan, to Hercules, and the Sun.
164:40 Ver. 40.] Emitting whistling winds. Johannes Diaconus, in Allegorcis Theogoniæ Hesiodi, quotes the following lines from Orpheus.
Ζεὺς δέ τε πάντων ἐςὶ ϑεὸς, πάντων τε κεραςὴς,
Πνέυμασι συζι#ων, ( ) φωναῖσι τε ἀερομικτοις·
That is, "But Jupiter is the God of all, and the mingler of all things; whistling with the breathing winds and aerial voices." And this perfectly agrees with Apollo, considered as Jupiter, or the sun of the intelligible world.
164:41 Ver. 41.] The figur'd seal. Since Apollo in the intelligible world is the demiurgus of the universe, and consequently comprehends in his essence the archetypal ideas of all sensible forms, he may with great propriety be said to posses the figured seal, of which every visible species is nothing more than an impression. It is however necessary to observe, that in the great p. 165 seal of ideas, all forms subsist in indivisible union and immaterial perfection: but in their imitative impressions in bodies, they are found full of boundless multitude, and material imperfection.