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On an EAGLE confined in a College-Court.


1 IMperial bird, who wont to soar
2 High o'er the rolling cloud,
3 Where Hyperborean mountains hoar
4 Their heads in Ether shroud;
5 Thou servant of almighty JOVE,
6 Who, free and swift as thought, could'st rove
7 To the bleak north's extremest goal;
8 Thou, who magnanimous could'st bear
9 The sovereign thund'rer's arms in air,
10 And shake thy native pole!
11 Oh cruel fate! what barbarous hand,
12 What more than Gothic ire,
13 At some fierce tyrant's dread command,
14 To check thy daring fire,
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15 Has plac'd thee in this servile cell,
16 Where Discipline and Dulness dwell,
17 Where Genius ne'er was seen to roam;
18 Where ev'ry selfish soul's at rest,
19 Nor ever quits the carnal breast,
20 But lurks and sneaks at home!
21 Tho' dim'd thine eye, and clipt thy wing,
22 So grov'ling! once so great!
23 The grief-inspired Muse shall sing
24 In tend'rest lays thy fate.
25 What time by thee scholastic Pride
26 Takes his precise, pedantic stride,
27 Nor on thy mis'ry casts a care,
28 The stream of love ne'er from his heart
29 Flows out, to act fair pity's part;
30 But stinks, and stagnates there.
31 Yet useful still, hold to the throng
32 Hold the reflecting glass,
33 That not untutor'd at thy wrong
34 The passenger may pass:
35 Thou type of wit and fense confin'd,
36 Cramp'd by the oppressors of the mind,
37 Who study downward on the ground;
38 Type of the fall of Greece and Rome;
39 While more than mathematic gloom,
40 Envelopes all around!


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): On an EAGLE confined in a College-Court. ODE XIII.
Themes: imprisonment
Genres: ode

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Source edition

Poems on several occasions: By Christopher Smart, A. M. Fellow of Pembroke-Hall, Cambridge. London: printed for the author, by W. Strahan; and sold by J. Newbery, at the Bible and Sun, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, MDCCLII., 1752, pp. 31-32. [16],230p.,plates; 4⁰. (ESTC T42626; OTA K041581.000)

Editorial principles

The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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