Awake, Aeolian lyre, awake,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.
From Helicon's harmonious springs
A thousand rills their mazy progress take:
The laughing flowers, that round them blow,
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of music winds along
Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong.
Thro' verdant vales, and Ceres' golden reign:
Now rolling down the steep amain,
Headlong, impetuous, see it pour;
The rocks and nodding groves rebellow to the roar.
The central image of this poem, begun in the first stanza (above), is that of Poetry issuing forth among the continents, to find echoes in the objects of nature and the great poets of various ages. This is a strange career for the "Aeolian lyre," which is supposed to respond to the wind (i.e. the forces of nature, sensation). There is no indication in this poem that Poetry does so; its power is expressive, its occasion mysterious. Some few lines after this stanza, the poet will invoke the Muse (Poetry) in response to a vision, but here he has begun to play to soon--who's playing him?Related terms: