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The Poetical Works of William Collins - With a Memoir
by William Collins
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We have a few poets who have not possessed erudition; for genius will overcome all deficiencies of art and labour, such as Shakespeare, Chatterton, Burns, and Bloomfield: but it cannot be questioned that erudition is a mighty aid. Milton could never have been what he was without profound and laborious erudition. Another necessary knowledge is the knowledge of the human heart, which no industry and learning will give. It is an intuitive gift, which mainly depends on an acute and correct imagination, and a sympathetic sensibility of the human passions. Among the innumerable rich endowments of Shakespeare this was the first; it was the predominant brilliance of his knowledge which gave him correctness of description, sentiment, and observation, and clearness, force, and eloquence of language.

Collins had only reached the age of twenty-six when his Odes were published: what inconceivable power would the maturity of age have given him? It is lamentable that he had no familiar friend and companion from that period capable of apprehending and remembering his conversations. In his lucid intervals he must have said many wise, many learned, and many brilliant things; perhaps his very disease, in its vacillation between light and darkness, may have struck out many unexpected and surprising beauties, which common attendants were utterly incapable of appreciating. The flushes of the mind under the unnatural impulses of malady are sometimes inimitably splendid. His reason, at times, was sound, for his reason was fervid to the last. But it is said that his shrieks sometimes resounded through the cathedral cloisters of Chichester till the horror of those who heard him was insupportable.

All these speculations may appear tedious to those whose curiosity is confined to facts: but new facts regarding Collins are not to be had: and what are facts unless they are accompanied by reflections, conclusions, and sentiments? The use of facts is to teach us to think, to judge, and to feel: and facts, regarding men of genius, are valuable in enabling us to contemplate how far the gifts of high intellect contribute to our happiness, or afford guides for the rest of mankind; in what respects they have the possessors upon an equality with the herd of the people; and where they expose them to temptations from which others are free. For these purposes the ill fated Collins is a melancholy illustration: the Muse had touched the lips of his infancy, and infused her spirit into him; she had given him a piercing understanding, and an amiable disposition and temper; she enabled him to come forth with poetry of the first class, in the earliest bloom of youth; and to deserve, if not to win, the envied laurel, which millions have reached at in vain! What seeming glories and blessings were these! Yet to how few was so much misery dispensed as to this once envied being! May we not hope that his spirit now has its mighty reward?

Let it not be denied that there is high virtue in the culture of the mind, when directed to pure and elevated objects, and accustoming itself to travel in lofty paths! The mind cannot attain the necessary refinement, nor have its sight cleared of the film of earthly grossness, unless the heart throws off the dregs of coarser feeling, and keeps its wings afloat on a lighter and airier atmosphere. It may be said, that there have been bad men who have been great poets: but this position remains to be proved. The dissolute men who have written verses have not been great poets. Were Dante, Petrarch, Tasso, Spenser, Shakespeare, Dryden, Pope, Thomson, Burns, bad men? We know that Milton's character was great and holy, whatever were his politics: and who could be more virtuous than Gray, Beattie, Cowper, and Kirke White? And have we not virtuous poets among the living,—men whose native splendour and intellectual culture have almost purified them into spirits? Let us never cease to meditate on the dejected inspiration, which could pour forth such strains as these:

"With eyes upraised, as one inspired, Pale Melancholy sat retired; And from her wild sequester'd seat, In notes by distance made more sweet, Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul: And, dashing soft from rocks around, Bubbling runnels join'd the sound; Through glades and glooms the mingled measures stole, Or o'er some haunted stream with fond delay Round a holy calm diffusing, Love of peace and lonely musing, In hollow murmurs died away."

There are those who will think the praises thus bestowed upon Collins extravagant. It is now sixty years since I became familiar with him; and I still think of him with unabated admiration. When the calm judgment of age confirms the passion of youth and boyhood, we cannot be much mistaken in the merit we ascribe to him who is the object of it.

S. E. B.



ORIENTAL ECLOGUES.

WRITTEN ORIGINALLY FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT OF THE LADIES OF TAURIS.

AND NOW TRANSLATED.

——Ubi primus equis Oriens adflavit anhelis. VIRG.



The First Edition was entitled, "Persian Eclogues, written originally for the Entertainment of the Ladies of Tauris. And now first translated, &c.

Quod si non hic tantus fructus ostenderetur, et si ex his studiis delectatio sola peteretur; tamen, ut opinor, hanc animi remissionem humanissimam ac liberalissimam judicaretis.

CIC. pro Arch. Poeta."



PREFACE.

It is with the writings of mankind, in some measure, as with their complexions or their dress; each nation hath a peculiarity in all these, to distinguish it from the rest of the world.

The gravity of the Spaniard, and the levity of the Frenchman, are as evident in all their productions as in their persons themselves; and the style of my countrymen is as naturally strong and nervous, as that of an Arabian or Persian is rich and figurative.

There is an elegancy and wildness of thought which recommends all their compositions; and our geniuses are as much too cold for the entertainment of such sentiments, as our climate is for their fruits and spices. If any of these beauties are to be found in the following Eclogues, I hope my reader will consider them as an argument of their being original. I received them at the hands of a merchant, who had made it his business to enrich himself with the learning, as well as the silks and carpets of the Persians. The little information I could gather concerning their author, was, that his name was Abdallah, and that he was a native of Tauris.

It was in that city that he died of a distemper fatal in those parts, whilst he was engaged in celebrating the victories of his favourite monarch, the great Abbas.[10] As to the Eclogues themselves, they give a very just view of the miseries and inconveniences, as well as the felicities, that attend one of the finest countries in the East.

The time of writing them was probably in the beginning of Sha Sultan Hosseyn's reign, the successor of Sefi or Solyman the Second.

Whatever defects, as, I doubt not, there will be many, fall under the reader's observation, I hope his candour will incline him to make the following reflection:

That the works of Orientals contain many peculiarities, and that, through defect of language, few European translators can do them justice.



ORIENTAL ECLOGUES.

ECLOGUE I.

SELIM; OR, THE SHEPHERD'S MORAL.

SCENE, A valley near Bagdat. TIME, The morning.

'Ye Persian maids, attend your poet's lays, And hear how shepherds pass their golden days. Not all are blest, whom fortune's hand sustains With wealth in courts, nor all that haunt the plains: Well may your hearts believe the truths I tell; 5 'Tis virtue makes the bliss, where'er we dwell.'

Thus Selim sung, by sacred Truth inspired; Nor praise, but such as Truth bestow'd, desired: Wise in himself, his meaning songs convey'd Informing morals to the shepherd maid; 10 Or taught the swains that surest bliss to find, What groves nor streams bestow, a virtuous mind.

When sweet and blushing, like a virgin bride, The radiant morn resumed her orient pride; When wanton gales along the valleys play, 15 Breathe on each flower, and bear their sweets away; By Tigris' wandering waves he sat, and sung This useful lesson for the fair and young.

'Ye Persian dames,' he said, 'to you belong— Well may they please—the morals of my song: 20 No fairer maids, I trust, than you are found, Graced with soft arts, the peopled world around! The morn that lights you, to your loves supplies Each gentler ray delicious to your eyes: For you those flowers her fragrant hands bestow; 25 And yours the love that kings delight to know. Yet think not these, all beauteous as they are, The best kind blessings heaven can grant the fair! Who trust alone in beauty's feeble ray Boast but the worth[11] Balsora's pearls display: 30 Drawn from the deep we own their surface bright, But, dark within, they drink no lustrous light: Such are the maids, and such the charms they boast, By sense unaided, or to virtue lost. Self-flattering sex! your hearts believe in vain 35 That love shall blind, when once he fires, the swain; Or hope a lover by your faults to win, As spots on ermine beautify the skin: Who seeks secure to rule, be first her care Each softer virtue that adorns the fair; 40 Each tender passion man delights to find, The loved perfections of a female mind!

'Blest were the days when Wisdom held her reign, And shepherds sought her on the silent plain! With Truth she wedded in the secret grove, 45 Immortal Truth, and daughters bless'd their love. O haste, fair maids! ye Virtues, come away! Sweet Peace and Plenty lead you on your way! The balmy shrub, for you shall love our shore, By Ind excell'd, or Araby, no more. 50

'Lost to our fields, for so the fates ordain, The dear deserters shall return again. Come thou, whose thoughts as limpid springs are clear, To lead the train, sweet Modesty, appear: Here make thy court amidst our rural scene, 55 And shepherd girls shall own thee for their queen: With thee be Chastity, of all afraid, Distrusting all, a wise suspicious maid, But man the most:—not more the mountain doe Holds the swift falcon for her deadly foe. 60 Cold is her breast, like flowers that drink the dew; A silken veil conceals her from the view. No wild desires amidst thy train be known; But Faith, whose heart is fix'd on one alone: Desponding Meekness, with her downcast eyes, 65 And friendly Pity, full of tender sighs; And Love the last: by these your hearts approve; These are the virtues that must lead to love.'

Thus sung the swain; and ancient legends say The maids of Bagdat verified the lay: 70 Dear to the plains, the Virtues came along, The shepherds loved, and Selim bless'd his song.

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 8. No praise the youth, but hers alone desired:

13. When sweet and odorous, like an eastern bride,

30. Balsora's pearls have more of worth than they:

31. Drawn from the deep, they sparkle to the sight, And all-unconscious shoot a lustrous light:

46. The fair-eyed Truth, and daughters bless'd their love.

53. O come, thou Modesty, as they decree, The rose may then improve her blush by thee.

69. Thus sung the swain, and eastern legends say

FOOTNOTES:

[10] In the Persian tongue, Abbas signifieth "the father of the people."

[11] The gulf of that name, famous for the pearl fishery.



ECLOGUE II.

HASSAN; OR, THE CAMEL DRIVER.

SCENE, The desert. TIME, Midday.

In silent horror o'er the boundless waste The driver Hassan with his camels past: One cruise of water on his back he bore, And his light scrip contain'd a scanty store; A fan of painted feathers in his hand, 5 To guard his shaded face from scorching sand. The sultry sun had gain'd the middle sky, And not a tree, and not an herb was nigh; The beasts with pain their dusty way pursue; Shrill roar'd the winds, and dreary was the view! 10 With desperate sorrow wild, the affrighted man Thrice sigh'd, thrice struck his breast, and thus began: 'Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day, 'When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!'

'Ah! little thought I of the blasting wind, 15 The thirst, or pinching hunger, that I find! Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall thirst assuage, When fails this cruise, his unrelenting rage? Soon shall this scrip its precious load resign; Then what but tears and hunger shall be thine? 20

'Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear In all my griefs a more than equal share! Here, where no springs in murmurs break away, Or moss-crown'd fountains mitigate the day, In vain ye hope the green delights to know, 25 Which plains more blest, or verdant vales bestow: Here rocks alone, and tasteless sands, are found, And faint and sickly winds for ever howl around. 'Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day, 'When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!' 30

'Curst be the gold and silver which persuade Weak men to follow far fatiguing trade! The lily peace outshines the silver store, And life is dearer than the golden ore: Yet money tempts us o'er the desert brown, 35 To every distant mart and wealthy town. Full oft we tempt the land, and oft the sea; And are we only yet repaid by thee? Ah! why was ruin so attractive made? Or why fond man so easily betray'd? 40 Why heed we not, whilst mad we haste along, The gentle voice of peace, or pleasure's song? Or wherefore think the flowery mountain's side, The fountain's murmurs, and the valley's pride, Why think we these less pleasing to behold 45 Than dreary deserts, if they lead to gold? 'Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day, 'When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!'

'O cease, my fears!—all frantic as I go, When thought creates unnumber'd scenes of woe, 50 What if the lion in his rage I meet!— Oft in the dust I view his printed feet: And, fearful! oft, when day's declining light Yields her pale empire to the mourner night, By hunger roused, he scours the groaning plain, 55 Gaunt wolves and sullen tigers in his train: Before them Death with shrieks directs their way, Fills the wild yell, and leads them to their prey. 'Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day, 'When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!' 60

'At that dead hour the silent asp shall creep, If aught of rest I find, upon my sleep: Or some swoln serpent twist his scales around, And wake to anguish with a burning wound. Thrice happy they, the wise contented poor, 65 From lust of wealth, and dread of death secure! They tempt no deserts, and no griefs they find; Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind. 'Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day, 'When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!' 70

'O hapless youth!—for she thy love hath won, The tender Zara will be most undone! Big swell'd my heart, and own'd the powerful maid, When fast she dropt her tears, as thus she said: "Farewell the youth whom sighs could not detain; 75 Whom Zara's breaking heart implored in vain! Yet, as thou go'st, may every blast arise Weak and unfelt, as these rejected sighs! Safe o'er the wild, no perils mayst thou see, No griefs endure, nor weep, false youth, like me." 80 O let me safely to the fair return, Say, with a kiss, she must not, shall not mourn; O! let me teach my heart to lose its fears, Recall'd by Wisdom's voice, and Zara's tears.'

He said, and call'd on heaven to bless the day, 85 When back to Schiraz' walls he bent his way.

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 1. In silent horror o'er the desert waste

83. Go teach my heart to lose its painful fears.



ECLOGUE III.

ABRA; OR, THE GEORGIAN SULTANA.

SCENE, A forest. TIME, The evening.

In Georgia's land, where Tefflis' towers are seen, In distant view, along the level green, While evening dews enrich the glittering glade, And the tall forests cast a longer shade, What time 'tis sweet o'er fields of rice to stray, 5 Or scent the breathing maize at setting day; Amidst the maids of Zagen's peaceful grove, Emyra sung the pleasing cares of love.

Of Abra first began the tender strain, Who led her youth with flocks upon the plain. 10 At morn she came those willing flocks to lead, Where lilies rear them in the watery mead; From early dawn the livelong hours she told, Till late at silent eve she penn'd the fold. Deep in the grove, beneath the secret shade, 15 A various wreath of odorous flowers she made: Gay-motley'd[12] pinks and sweet jonquils she chose, The violet blue that on the moss-bank grows; All sweet to sense, the flaunting rose was there; The finish'd chaplet well adorn'd her hair. 20

Great Abbas chanced that fated morn to stray, By love conducted from the chase away; Among the vocal vales he heard her song, And sought, the vales and echoing groves among; At length he found, and woo'd the rural maid; 25 She knew the monarch, and with fear obey'd. 'Be every youth like royal Abbas moved, 'And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!'

The royal lover bore her from the plain; Yet still her crook and bleating flock remain: 30 Oft, as she went, she backward turn'd her view, And bade that crook and bleating flock adieu. Fair, happy maid! to other scenes remove, To richer scenes of golden power and love! Go leave the simple pipe and shepherd's strain; 35 With love delight thee, and with Abbas reign! 'Be every youth like royal Abbas moved, 'And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!'

Yet, 'midst the blaze of courts, she fix'd her love On the cool fountain, or the shady grove; 40 Still, with the shepherd's innocence, her mind To the sweet vale, and flowery mead, inclined; And oft as spring renew'd the plains with flowers, Breathed his soft gales, and led the fragrant hours, With sure return she sought the sylvan scene, 45 The breezy mountains, and the forests green. Her maids around her moved, a duteous band! Each bore a crook, all rural, in her hand: Some simple lay, of flocks and herds, they sung; With joy the mountain and the forest rung. 50 'Be every youth like royal Abbas moved, 'And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!'

And oft the royal lover left the care And thorns of state, attendant on the fair; Oft to the shades and low-roof'd cots retired, 55 Or sought the vale where first his heart was fired: A russet mantle, like a swain, he wore, And thought of crowns, and busy courts, no more. 'Be every youth like royal Abbas moved, 'And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!' 60

Blest was the life that royal Abbas led: Sweet was his love, and innocent his bed. What if in wealth the noble maid excel? The simple shepherd girl can love as well. Let those who rule on Persia's jewel'd throne 65 Be famed for love, and gentlest love alone; Or wreathe, like Abbas, full of fair renown, The lover's myrtle with the warrior's crown. O happy days! the maids around her say; O haste, profuse of blessings, haste away! 70 'Be every youth like royal Abbas moved, 'And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!'

VARIATION.

Verses 5 and 6 were inserted in the second edition.

FOOTNOTES:

[12] That these flowers are found in very great abundance in some of the provinces of Persia, see the Modern History of the ingenious Mr. Salmon. C.



ECLOGUE IV.

AGIB AND SECANDER; OR, THE FUGITIVES.

SCENE, A mountain in Circassia. TIME, Midnight.

In fair Circassia, where, to love inclined, Each swain was blest, for every maid was kind; At that still hour, when awful midnight reigns, And none, but wretches, haunt the twilight plains; What time the moon had hung her lamp on high, 5 And past in radiance through the cloudless sky; Sad, o'er the dews, two brother shepherds fled, Where wildering fear and desperate sorrow led: Fast as they press'd their flight, behind them lay Wide ravaged plains, and valleys stole away: 10 Along the mountain's bending sides they ran, Till, faint and weak, Secander thus began.

SECANDER.

O stay thee, Agib, for my feet deny, No longer friendly to my life, to fly. Friend of my heart, O turn thee and survey! 15 Trace our sad flight through all its length of way And first review that long extended plain, And yon wide groves, already past with pain! Yon ragged cliff, whose dangerous path we tried! And, last, this lofty mountain's weary side! 20

AGIB.

Weak as thou art, yet, hapless, must thou know The toils of flight, or some severer woe! Still, as I haste, the Tartar shouts behind, And shrieks and sorrows load the saddening wind: In rage of heart, with ruin in his hand, 25 He blasts our harvests, and deforms our land. Yon citron grove, whence first in fear we came, Droops its fair honors to the conquering flame: Far fly the swains, like us, in deep despair, And leave to ruffian bands their fleecy care. 30

SECANDER.

Unhappy land, whose blessings tempt the sword, In vain, unheard, thou call'st thy Persian lord! In vain thou court'st him, helpless, to thine aid, To shield the shepherd, and protect the maid! Far off, in thoughtless indolence resign'd, 35 Soft dreams of love and pleasure soothe his mind: 'Midst fair sultanas lost in idle joy, No wars alarm him, and no fears annoy.

AGIB.

Yet these green hills, in summer's sultry heat, Have lent the monarch oft a cool retreat. 40 Sweet to the sight is Zabran's flowery plain, And once by maids and shepherds loved in vain! No more the virgins shall delight to rove By Sargis' banks, or Irwan's shady grove; On Tarkie's mountain catch the cooling gale, 45 Or breathe the sweets of Aly's flowery vale: Fair scenes! but, ah! no more with peace possest, With ease alluring, and with plenty blest! No more the shepherds' whitening tents appear, Nor the kind products of a bounteous year; 50 No more the date, with snowy blossoms crown'd! But ruin spreads her baleful fires around.

SECANDER.

In vain Circassia boasts her spicy groves, For ever famed for pure and happy loves: In vain she boasts her fairest of the fair, 55 Their eyes' blue languish, and their golden hair! Those eyes in tears their fruitless grief must send; Those hairs the Tartar's cruel hand shall rend.

AGIB.

Ye Georgian swains, that piteous learn from far Circassia's ruin, and the waste of war; 60 Some weightier arms than crooks and staves prepare, To shield your harvests, and defend your fair: The Turk and Tartar like designs pursue, Fix'd to destroy, and steadfast to undo. Wild as his land, in native deserts bred, 65 By lust incited, or by malice led, The villain Arab, as he prowls for prey, Oft marks with blood and wasting flames the way; Yet none so cruel as the Tartar foe, To death inured, and nurst in scenes of woe. 70

He said; when loud along the vale was heard A shriller shriek, and nearer fires appear'd: The affrighted shepherds, through the dews of night, Wide o'er the moonlight hills renew'd their flight.

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 49. No more the shepherds' whitening seats appear,

51. No more the dale, with snowy blossoms crown'd!

END OF THE ECLOGUES.



ODES

ON SEVERAL DESCRIPTIVE AND ALLEGORICAL SUBJECTS.

Eien heurysiepes anageisthai Prosphoros en Moisan diphro: Tolma de kai amphilaphes dynamis Espoito. Pindar. Olymp. Th.

ODES.

ODE TO PITY.

O thou, the friend of man, assign'd With balmy hands his wounds to bind, And charm his frantic woe: When first Distress, with dagger keen, Broke forth to waste his destined scene, 5 His wild unsated foe!

By Pella's[13] bard, a magic name, By all the griefs his thought could frame, Receive my humble rite: Long, Pity, let the nations view 10 The sky-worn robes of tenderest blue, And eyes of dewy light!

But wherefore need I wander wide To old Ilissus' distant side, Deserted stream, and mute? 15 Wild Arun[14] too has heard thy strains, And Echo, 'midst my native plains, Been soothed by Pity's lute.

There first the wren thy myrtles shed On gentlest Otway's infant head, 20 To him thy cell was shown; And while he sung the female heart, With youth's soft notes unspoil'd by art, Thy turtles mix'd their own.

Come, Pity, come, by Fancy's aid, 25 E'en now my thoughts, relenting maid, Thy temple's pride design: Its southern site, its truth complete, Shall raise a wild enthusiast heat In all who view the shrine. 30

There Picture's toils shall well relate How chance, or hard involving fate, O'er mortal bliss prevail: The buskin'd Muse shall near her stand, And sighing prompt her tender hand, 35 With each disastrous tale.

There let me oft, retired by day, In dreams of passion melt away, Allow'd with thee to dwell: There waste the mournful lamp of night, 40 Till, Virgin, thou again delight To hear a British shell!

FOOTNOTES:

[13] Euripides, of whom Aristotle pronounces, on a comparison of him with Sophocles, that he was the greater master of the tender passions, en tragikoteros. C.

[14] The river Arun runs by the village of Trotton in Sussex, where Otway had his birth.



ODE TO FEAR.

Thou, to whom the world unknown, With all its shadowy shapes, is shown; Who seest, appall'd, the unreal scene, While Fancy lifts the veil between: Ah Fear! ah frantic Fear! 5 I see, I see thee near. I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye! Like thee I start; like thee disorder'd fly. For, lo, what monsters in thy train appear! Danger, whose limbs of giant mould 10 What mortal eye can fix'd behold? Who stalks his round, an hideous form, Howling amidst the midnight storm; Or throws him on the ridgy steep Of some loose hanging rock to sleep: 15 And with him thousand phantoms join'd, Who prompt to deeds accursed the mind: And those, the fiends, who, near allied, O'er Nature's wounds, and wrecks, preside; Whilst Vengeance, in the lurid air, 20 Lifts her red arm, exposed and bare: On whom that ravening[15] brood of Fate, Who lap the blood of sorrow, wait: Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see, And look not madly wild, like thee! 25

EPODE.

In earliest Greece, to thee, with partial choice, The grief-full Muse addrest her infant tongue; The maids and matrons, on her awful voice, Silent and pale, in wild amazement hung.

Yet he, the bard[16] who first invoked thy name, 30 Disdain'd in Marathon its power to feel: For not alone he nursed the poet's flame, But reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot's steel.

But who is he whom later garlands grace, Who left a while o'er Hybla's dews to rove, 35 With trembling eyes thy dreary steps to trace, Where thou and furies shared the baleful grove?

Wrapt in thy cloudy veil, the incestuous[17] queen Sigh'd the sad call[18] her son and husband heard, When once alone it broke the silent scene, 40 And he the wretch of Thebes no more appear'd.

O Fear, I know thee by my throbbing heart: Thy withering power inspired each mournful line: Though gentle Pity claim her mingled part, Yet all the thunders of the scene are thine! 45

ANTISTROPHE.

Thou who such weary lengths hast past, Where wilt thou rest, mad Nymph, at last? Say, wilt thou shroud in haunted cell, Where gloomy Rape and Murder dwell? Or, in some hollow'd seat, 50 'Gainst which the big waves beat, Hear drowning seamen's cries, in tempests brought? Dark power, with shuddering meek submitted thought, Be mine to read the visions old Which thy awakening bards have told: 55 And, lest thou meet my blasted view, Hold each strange tale devoutly true; Ne'er be I found, by thee o'erawed, In that thrice hallow'd eve, abroad, When ghosts, as cottage maids believe, 60 Their pebbled beds permitted leave; And goblins haunt, from fire, or fen, Or mine, or flood, the walks of men!

O thou, whose spirit most possest The sacred seat of Shakespeare's breast! 65 By all that from thy prophet broke, In thy divine emotions spoke; Hither again thy fury deal, Teach me but once like him to feel: His cypress wreath my meed decree, 70 And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee!

FOOTNOTES:

[15] Alluding to the Kynas aphyktous of Sophocles. See the Electra. C.

[16] AEschylus. C.

[17] Jocasta. C.

[18] ——oud' et' ororei boe, En men siope; phthegma d' exaiphnes tinos Thouxen auton, hoste pantas orthias Stesai phobo deisantas exaiphnes trichas.

See the OEdip. Colon. of Sophocles. C.



ODE TO SIMPLICITY.

O thou, by Nature taught To breathe her genuine thought, In numbers warmly pure, and sweetly strong; Who first, on mountains wild, In Fancy, loveliest child, 5 Thy babe, or Pleasure's, nursed the powers of song!

Thou, who, with hermit heart, Disdain'st the wealth of art, And gauds, and pageant weeds, and trailing pall; But com'st a decent maid, 10 In attic robe array'd, O chaste, unboastful Nymph, to thee I call!

By all the honey'd store On Hybla's thymy shore; By all her blooms, and mingled murmurs dear; 15 By her[19] whose lovelorn woe, In evening musings slow, Soothed sweetly sad Electra's poet's ear:

By old Cephisus deep, Who spread his wavy sweep, 20 In warbled wanderings, round thy green retreat; On whose enamel'd side, When holy Freedom died, No equal haunt allured thy future feet.

O sister meek of Truth, 25 To my admiring youth, Thy sober aid and native charms infuse! The flowers that sweetest breathe, Though Beauty cull'd the wreath, Still ask thy hand to range their order'd hues. 30

While Rome could none esteem But virtue's patriot theme, You lov'd her hills, and led her laureat band: But staid to sing alone To one distinguish'd throne; 35 And turn'd thy face, and fled her alter'd land.

No more, in hall or bower, The Passions own thy power, Love, only Love her forceless numbers mean: For thou hast left her shrine; 40 Nor olive more, nor vine, Shall gain thy feet to bless the servile scene.

Though taste, though genius, bless To some divine excess, Faints the cold work till thou inspire the whole; 45 What each, what all supply, May court, may charm, our eye; Thou, only thou, canst raise the meeting soul!

Of these let others ask, To aid some mighty task, 50 I only seek to find thy temperate vale; Where oft my reed might sound To maids and shepherds round, And all thy sons, O Nature, learn my tale.

FOOTNOTES:

[19] The aedon, or nightingale, for which Sophocles seems to have entertained a peculiar fondness. C.



ODE ON THE POETICAL CHARACTER.

As once,—if, not with light regard, I read aright that gifted bard, —Him whose school above the rest His loveliest elfin queen has blest;— One, only one, unrival'd[20] fair, 5 Might hope the magic girdle wear, At solemn turney hung on high, The wish of each love-darting eye;

—Lo! to each other nymph, in turn, applied, As if, in air unseen, some hovering hand, 10 Some chaste and angel friend to virgin fame, With whisper'd spell had burst the starting band, It left unblest her loathed dishonour'd side; Happier, hopeless Fair, if never Her baffled hand, with vain endeavour, 15 Had touch'd that fatal zone to her denied! Young Fancy thus, to me divinest name, To whom, prepared and bathed in heaven, The cest of amplest power is given: To few the godlike gift assigns, 20 To gird their blest prophetic loins, And gaze her visions wild, and feel unmix'd her flame!

The band, as fairy legends say, Was wove on that creating day, When He, who call'd with thought to birth 25 Yon tented sky, this laughing earth, And dress'd with springs and forests tall, And pour'd the main engirting all, Long by the loved enthusiast woo'd, Himself in some diviner mood, 30 Retiring, sat with her alone, And placed her on his sapphire throne; The whiles, the vaulted shrine around, Seraphic wires were heard to sound, Now sublimest triumph swelling, 35 Now on love and mercy dwelling; And she, from out the veiling cloud, Breathed her magic notes aloud: And thou, thou rich-hair'd youth of morn, And all thy subject life was born! 40 The dangerous passions kept aloof, Far from the sainted growing woof: But near it sat ecstatic Wonder, Listening the deep applauding thunder; And Truth, in sunny vest array'd, 45 By whose the tarsel's eyes were made; All the shadowy tribes of mind, In braided dance, their murmurs join'd, And all the bright uncounted powers Who feed on heaven's ambrosial flowers. 50 —Where is the bard whose soul can now Its high presuming hopes avow? Where he who thinks, with rapture blind, This hallow'd work for him design'd?

High on some cliff, to heaven up-piled, 55 Of rude access, of prospect wild, Where, tangled round the jealous steep, Strange shades o'erbrow the valleys deep, And holy Genii guard the rock, Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock, 60 While on its rich ambitious head, An Eden, like his own, lies spread: I view that oak, the fancied glades among, By which, as Milton lay, his evening ear, From many a cloud that dropp'd ethereal dew, 65 Nigh sphered in heaven, its native strains could hear; On which that ancient trump he reach'd was hung: Thither oft, his glory greeting, From Waller's myrtle shades retreating, With many a vow from Hope's aspiring tongue, 70 My trembling feet his guiding steps pursue; In vain—Such bliss to one alone, Of all the sons of soul, was known; And Heaven, and Fancy, kindred powers, Have now o'erturn'd the inspiring bowers; 75 Or curtain'd close such scene from every future view.

FOOTNOTES:

[20] Florimel. See Spenser, Leg. 4th. C.



ODE,

WRITTEN IN THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR 1746.

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest, By all their country's wishes bless'd! When Spring, with dewy fingers cold, Returns to deck their hallow'd mould, She there shall dress a sweeter sod 5 Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.

By fairy hands their knell is rung; By forms unseen their dirge is sung; There Honour comes, a pilgrim-gray, To bless the turf that wraps their clay; 10 And Freedom shall awhile repair, To dwell a weeping hermit there!

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 5. She then shall dress a sweeter sod

7. By hands unseen the knell is rung;

8. By fairy forms their dirge is sung;



ODE TO MERCY.

STROPHE.

O Thou, who sitt'st a smiling bride By Valour's arm'd and awful side, Gentlest of sky-born forms, and best adored; Who oft with songs, divine to hear, Winn'st from his fatal grasp the spear, 5 And hidest in wreaths of flowers his bloodless sword! Thou who, amidst the deathful field, By godlike chiefs alone beheld, Oft with thy bosom bare art found, Pleading for him the youth who sinks to ground: 10 See, Mercy, see, with pure and loaded hands, Before thy shrine my country's genius stands, And decks thy altar still, though pierced with many a wound.

ANTISTROPHE.

When he whom even our joys provoke, The fiend of nature join'd his yoke, 15 And rush'd in wrath to make our isle his prey; Thy form, from out thy sweet abode, O'ertook him on his blasted road, And stopp'd his wheels, and look'd his rage away. I see recoil his sable steeds, 20 That bore him swift to salvage deeds, Thy tender melting eyes they own; O maid, for all thy love to Britain shown, Where Justice bars her iron tower, To thee we build a roseate bower; 25 Thou, thou shalt rule our queen, and share our monarch's throne!



ODE TO LIBERTY.

STROPHE.

Who shall awake the Spartan fife, And call in solemn sounds to life, The youths, whose locks divinely spreading, Like vernal hyacinths in sullen hue, At once the breath of fear and virtue shedding, 5 Applauding Freedom loved of old to view? What new Alcaeus,[21] fancy-blest, Shall sing the sword, in myrtles drest, At Wisdom's shrine awhile its flame concealing, (What place so fit to seal a deed renown'd?) 10 Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing, It leap'd in glory forth, and dealt her prompted wound! O goddess, in that feeling hour, When most its sounds would court thy ears, Let not my shell's misguided power[22] 15 E'er draw thy sad, thy mindful tears. No, Freedom, no, I will not tell How Rome, before thy weeping face, With heaviest sound, a giant-statue, fell, Push'd by a wild and artless race 20 From off its wide ambitious base, When Time his northern sons of spoil awoke, And all the blended work of strength and grace, With many a rude repeated stroke, And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments broke. 25

EPODE.

Yet, even where'er the least appear'd, The admiring world thy hand revered; Still, 'midst the scatter'd states around, Some remnants of her strength were found; They saw, by what escaped the storm, 30 How wondrous rose her perfect form; How in the great, the labour'd whole, Each mighty master pour'd his soul! For sunny Florence, seat of art, Beneath her vines preserved a part, 35 Till they,[23] whom Science loved to name, (O who could fear it?) quench'd her flame. And lo, an humbler relic laid In jealous Pisa's olive shade! See small Marino[24] joins the theme, 40 Though least, not last in thy esteem: Strike, louder strike the ennobling strings To those,[25] whose merchant sons were kings; To him,[26] who, deck'd with pearly pride, In Adria weds his green-hair'd bride; 45 Hail, port of glory, wealth, and pleasure, Ne'er let me change this Lydian measure: Nor e'er her former pride relate, To sad Liguria's[27] bleeding state. Ah no! more pleased thy haunts I seek, 50 On wild Helvetia's[28] mountains bleak: (Where, when the favour'd of thy choice, The daring archer heard thy voice; Forth from his eyrie roused in dread, The ravening eagle northward fled:) 55 Or dwell in willow'd meads more near, With those to whom thy stork[29] is dear: Those whom the rod of Alva bruised, Whose crown a British queen[30] refused! The magic works, thou feel'st the strains, 60 One holier name alone remains; The perfect spell shall then avail, Hail, nymph, adored by Britain, hail!

ANTISTROPHE.

Beyond the measure vast of thought, The works the wizard time has wrought! 65 The Gaul, 'tis held of antique story, Saw Britain link'd to his now adverse strand,[31] No sea between, nor cliff sublime and hoary, He pass'd with unwet feet through all our land. To the blown Baltic then, they say, 70 The wild waves found another way, Where Orcas howls, his wolfish mountains rounding; Till all the banded west at once 'gan rise, A wide wild storm even nature's self confounding, Withering her giant sons with strange uncouth surprise. 75 This pillar'd earth so firm and wide, By winds and inward labours torn, In thunders dread was push'd aside, And down the shouldering billows borne. And see, like gems, her laughing train, 80 The little isles on every side, Mona,[32] once hid from those who search the main, Where thousand elfin shapes abide, And Wight who checks the westering tide, For thee consenting heaven has each bestow'd, 85 A fair attendant on her sovereign pride: To thee this blest divorce she owed, For thou hast made her vales thy loved, thy last abode!

SECOND EPODE.

Then too, 'tis said, an hoary pile, 'Midst the green navel of our isle, 90 Thy shrine in some religious wood, O soul-enforcing goddess, stood! There oft the painted native's feet Were wont thy form celestial meet: Though now with hopeless toil we trace 95 Time's backward rolls, to find its place; Whether the fiery-tressed Dane, Or Roman's self o'erturn'd the fane, Or in what heaven-left age it fell, 'Twere hard for modern song to tell. 100 Yet still, if Truth those beams infuse, Which guide at once, and charm the Muse, Beyond yon braided clouds that lie, Paving the light embroider'd sky, Amidst the bright pavilion'd plains, 105 The beauteous model still remains. There, happier than in islands blest, Or bowers by spring or Hebe drest, The chiefs who fill our Albion's story, In warlike weeds, retired in glory, 110 Hear their consorted Druids sing Their triumphs to the immortal string. How may the poet now unfold What never tongue or numbers told? How learn delighted, and amazed, 115 What hands unknown that fabric raised? Even now before his favour'd eyes, In gothic pride, it seems to rise! Yet Graecia's graceful orders join, Majestic through the mix'd design: 120 The secret builder knew to choose Each sphere-found gem of richest hues; Whate'er heaven's purer mould contains, When nearer suns emblaze its veins; There on the walls the patriot's sight 125 May ever hang with fresh delight, And, graved with some prophetic rage, Read Albion's fame through every age. Ye forms divine, ye laureat band, That near her inmost altar stand! 130 Now soothe her to her blissful train Blithe Concord's social form to gain; Concord, whose myrtle wand can steep Even Anger's bloodshot eyes in sleep; Before whose breathing bosom's balm 135 Rage drops his steel, and storms grow calm: Her let our sires and matrons hoar Welcome to Briton's ravaged shore; Our youths, enamour'd of the fair, Play with the tangles of her hair, 140 Till, in one loud applauding sound, The nations shout to her around, O how supremely art thou blest, Thou, lady—thou shalt rule the west!

FOOTNOTES:

[21] Alluding to that beautiful fragment of Alcaeus:

En myrtou kladi to xiphos phoreso, Hosper Harmodios k' Aristogeiton, Hote ton tyrannon ktaneten. Isonomous t' Athenas epoiesaten. Philtath' Harmodi' ou ti pou tethnekas, Nesois d' en makaron se phasin einai, Hina per podokes Achileus, Tydeiden te phasin Diomedea. En myrtou kladi to xiphos phoreso, Osper Harmodios k' Aristogeiton, Hot' Athenaies en Thysiais Andra tyrannon Hipparchon ekaineten. Aei sphon kleos essetai kat' aian, Philtath' Harmodie, k' Aristogeiton, Hoti ton tyrannon ktaneton, Isonomous t' Athenas epoiesaton.

[22] Me me tauta legomes, ha dakryon egage Deoi. Callimach. Hymnos eis Demetra. C.

[23] The family of the Medici. C.

[24] The little republic of San Marino. C.

[25] The Venetians. C.

[26] The Doge of Venice. C.

[27] Genoa. C.

[28] Switzerland. C.

[29] The Dutch, amongst whom there are very severe penalties for those who are convicted of killing this bird. They are kept tame in almost all their towns, and particularly at the Hague, of the arms of which they make a part. The common people of Holland are said to entertain a superstitious sentiment, that if the whole species of them should become extinct, they should lose their liberties. C.

[30] Queen Elizabeth. C.

[31] This tradition is mentioned by several of our old historians. Some naturalists too have endeavoured to support the probability of the fact by arguments drawn from the correspondent disposition of the two opposite coasts. I do not remember that any poetical use has been hitherto made of it. C.

[32] There is a tradition in the Isle of Man, that a mermaid becoming enamoured of a young man of extraordinary beauty took an opportunity of meeting him one day as he walked on the shore, and opened her passion to him, but was received with a coldness, occasioned by his horror and surprise at her appearance. This, however, was so misconstrued by the sea lady, that, in revenge for his treatment of her, she punished the whole island by covering it with a mist: so that all who attempted to carry on any commerce with it, either never arrived at it, but wandered up and down the sea, or were on a sudden wrecked upon its cliffs. C.



ODE TO A LADY,

ON THE DEATH OF COLONEL ROSS, IN THE ACTION OF FONTENOY.

Written in May, 1745.

While, lost to all his former mirth, Britannia's genius bends to earth, And mourns the fatal day: While stain'd with blood he strives to tear Unseemly from his sea-green hair 5 The wreaths of cheerful May:

The thoughts which musing Pity pays, And fond Remembrance loves to raise, Your faithful hours attend; Still Fancy, to herself unkind, 10 Awakes to grief the soften'd mind, And points the bleeding friend.

By rapid Scheld's descending wave His country's vows shall bless the grave, Where'er the youth is laid: 15 That sacred spot the village hind With every sweetest turf shall bind, And Peace protect the shade.

Blest youth, regardful of thy doom, Aerial hands shall build thy tomb, 20 With shadowy trophies crown'd; Whilst Honour bathed in tears shall rove To sigh thy name through every grove, And call his heroes round.

The warlike dead of every age, 25 Who fill the fair recording page, Shall leave their sainted rest; And, half reclining on his spear, Each wondering chief by turns appear, To hail the blooming guest: 30

Old Edward's sons, unknown to yield, Shall crowd from Cressy's laurel'd field, And gaze with fix'd delight; Again for Britain's wrongs they feel, Again they snatch the gleamy steel, 35 And wish the avenging fight.

But lo, where, sunk in deep despair, Her garments torn, her bosom bare, Impatient Freedom lies! Her matted tresses madly spread, 40 To every sod, which wraps the dead, She turns her joyless eyes.

Ne'er shall she leave that lowly ground Till notes of triumph bursting round Proclaim her reign restored: 45 Till William seek the sad retreat, And, bleeding at her sacred feet, Present the sated sword.

If, weak to soothe so soft a heart, These pictured glories nought impart, 50 To dry thy constant tear: If, yet, in Sorrow's distant eye, Exposed and pale thou see'st him lie, Wild War insulting near:

Where'er from time thou court'st relief, 55 The Muse shall still, with social grief, Her gentlest promise keep; Even humbled Harting's cottaged vale[33] Shall learn the sad repeated tale, And bid her shepherds weep. 60

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 4. While sunk in grief he strives to tear

19. E'en now regardful of his doom Applauding Honour haunts his tomb, With shadowy trophies crown'd: Whilst Freedom's form beside her roves, Majestic through the twilight groves, And calls her heroes round.

19. O'er him, whose doom thy virtues grieve, Aerial forms shall sit at eve, And bend the pensive head; And, fallen to save his injured land, Imperial Honour's awful hand Shall point his lonely bed.

31. Old Edward's sons, untaught to yield,

49. If, drawn by all a lover's art,

58. Even humble Harting's cottaged vale

FOOTNOTES:

[33] Harting, a village adjoining the parish of Trotton, and about two miles distant from it.



ODE TO EVENING.

If aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song, May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear, Like thy own brawling springs, Thy springs, and dying gales;

O Nymph reserved, while now the bright-hair'd sun 5 Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts, With brede ethereal wove, O'erhang his wavy bed:

Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-eyed bat With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing; 10 Or where the beetle winds His small but sullen horn,

As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path, Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum: Now teach me, maid composed, 15 To breathe some soften'd strain,

Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale, May not unseemly with its stillness suit; As, musing slow, I hail Thy genial loved return! 20

For when thy folding-star arising shows His paly circlet, at his warning lamp The fragrant Hours, and Elves Who slept in buds the day,

And many a Nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge, 25 And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still, The pensive Pleasures sweet, Prepare thy shadowy car.

Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene; Or find some ruin, 'midst its dreary dells, 30 Whose walls more awful nod By thy religious gleams.

Or, if chill blustering winds, or driving rain, Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut, That, from the mountain's side, 35 Views wilds, and swelling floods,

And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires; And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all Thy dewy fingers draw The gradual dusky veil. 40

While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont, And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve! While Summer loves to sport Beneath thy lingering light;

While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves; 45 Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air, Affrights thy shrinking train, And rudely rends thy robes;

So long, regardful of thy quiet rule, Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace, 50 Thy gentlest influence own, And love thy favourite name!

VARIATIONS.

Ver 2. May hope, O pensive Eve, to soothe thine ear,

3. Like thy own solemn springs,

9. While air is hush'd, save where the weak-eyed bat

24. Who slept in flowers the day,

29. Then lead, calm vot'ress, where some sheety lake Cheers the lone heath, or some time-hallow'd pile,

31. Or upland fallows grey, Reflect its last cool gleam.

33. But when chill blustering winds, or driving rain, Forbid my willing feet, be mine the hut,

49. So long, sure-found beneath the sylvan shed, Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, rose-lipp'd Health, Thy gentlest influence own, And hymn thy favourite name!



ODE TO PEACE.

O thou, who bad'st thy turtles bear Swift from his grasp thy golden hair, And sought'st thy native skies; When War, by vultures drawn from far, To Britain bent his iron car, 5 And bade his storms arise!

Tired of his rude tyrannic sway, Our youth shall fix some festive day, His sullen shrines to burn: But thou who hear'st the turning spheres, 10 What sounds may charm thy partial ears, And gain thy blest return!

O Peace, thy injured robes up-bind! O rise! and leave not one behind Of all thy beamy train; 15 The British Lion, goddess sweet, Lies stretch'd on earth to kiss thy feet, And own thy holier reign.

Let others court thy transient smile, But come to grace thy western isle, 20 By warlike Honour led; And, while around her ports rejoice, While all her sons adore thy choice, With him for ever wed!



THE MANNERS.

AN ODE.

Farewell, for clearer ken design'd, The dim-discover'd tracts of mind; Truths which, from action's paths retired, My silent search in vain required! No more my sail that deep explores; 5 No more I search those magic shores; What regions part the world of soul, Or whence thy streams, Opinion, roll: If e'er I round such fairy field, Some power impart the spear and shield, 10 At which the wizard Passions fly; By which the giant Follies die!

Farewell the porch whose roof is seen Arch'd with the enlivening olive's green: Where Science, prank'd in tissued vest, 15 By Reason, Pride, and Fancy drest, Comes, like a bride, so trim array'd, To wed with Doubt in Plato's shade!

Youth of the quick uncheated sight, Thy walks, Observance, more invite! 20 O thou who lovest that ampler range, Where life's wide prospects round thee change, And, with her mingling sons allied, Throw'st the prattling page aside, To me, in converse sweet, impart 25 To read in man the native heart; To learn, where Science sure is found, From Nature as she lives around; And, gazing oft her mirror true, By turns each shifting image view! 30 Till meddling Art's officious lore Reverse the lessons taught before; Alluring from a safer rule, To dream in her enchanted school: Thou, Heaven, whate'er of great we boast, 35 Hast blest this social science most.

Retiring hence to thoughtful cell, As Fancy breathes her potent spell, Not vain she finds the charmful task, In pageant quaint, in motley mask; 40 Behold, before her musing eyes, The countless Manners round her rise; While, ever varying as they pass, To some Contempt applies her glass: With these the white-robed maids combine; 45 And those the laughing satyrs join! But who is he whom now she views, In robe of wild contending hues? Thou by the Passions nursed, I greet The comic sock that binds thy feet! 50 O Humour, thou whose name is known To Britain's favour'd isle alone: Me too amidst thy band admit; There where the young-eyed healthful Wit, (Whose jewels in his crisped hair 55 Are placed each other's beams to share; Whom no delights from thee divide) In laughter loosed, attends thy side.

By old Miletus,[34] who so long Has ceased his love-inwoven song; 60 By all you taught the Tuscan maids, In changed Italia's modern shades; By him[35] whose knight's distinguish'd name Refined a nation's lust of fame; Whose tales e'en now, with echoes sweet, 65 Castilia's Moorish hills repeat; Or him[36] whom Seine's blue nymphs deplore, In watchet weeds on Gallia's shore; Who drew the sad Sicilian maid, By virtues in her sire betray'd. 70

O Nature boon, from whom proceed Each forceful thought, each prompted deed; If but from thee I hope to feel, On all my heart imprint thy seal! Let some retreating cynic find 75 Those oft-turn'd scrolls I leave behind: The Sports and I this hour agree, To rove thy scene-full world with thee!

FOOTNOTES:

[34] Alluding to the Milesian tales, some of the earliest romances. C.

[35] Cervantes. C.

[36] Monsieur Le Sage, author of the incomparable Adventures of Gil Blas de Santillane, who died in Paris in the year 1745. C.



THE PASSIONS.

AN ODE FOR MUSIC.

Performed at Oxford, with Hayes's music, in 1750.

When Music, heavenly maid, was young, While yet in early Greece she sung, The Passions oft, to hear her shell, Throng'd around her magic cell, Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting, 5 Possest beyond the Muse's painting: By turns they felt the glowing mind Disturb'd, delighted, raised, refined; Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired, Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspired, 10 From the supporting myrtles round They snatch'd her instruments of sound; And, as they oft had heard apart Sweet lessons of her forceful art, Each (for Madness ruled the hour) 15 Would prove his own expressive power.

First Fear his hand, its skill to try, Amid the chords bewilder'd laid, And back recoil'd, he knew not why, E'en at the sound himself had made. 20

Next Anger rush'd; his eyes on fire, In lightnings own'd his secret stings: In one rude clash he struck the lyre, And swept with hurried hand the strings.

With woful measures wan Despair 25 Low, sullen sounds his grief beguiled; A solemn, strange, and mingled air; 'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.

But thou, O Hope, with eyes so fair, What was thy delighted measure? 30 Still it whisper'd promised pleasure, And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail! Still would her touch the strain prolong; And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, She call'd on Echo still, through all the song; 35 And, where her sweetest theme she chose, A soft responsive voice was heard at every close, And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair. And longer had she sung;—but, with a frown, Revenge impatient rose: 40 He threw his blood-stain'd sword, in thunder, down; And, with a withering look, The war-denouncing trumpet took, And blew a blast so loud and dread, Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe! 45 And, ever and anon, he beat The doubling drum, with furious heat; And though sometimes, each dreary pause between, Dejected Pity, at his side, Her soul-subduing voice applied, 50 Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mein, While each strain'd ball of sight seem'd bursting from his head. Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fix'd; Sad proof of thy distressful state; Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd; 55 And now it courted Love, now raving call'd on Hate.

With eyes upraised, as one inspired, Pale Melancholy sate retired; And, from her wild sequester'd seat, In notes by distance made more sweet, 60 Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul: And, dashing soft from rocks around, Bubbling runnels join'd the sound; Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole, Or, o'er some haunted stream, with fond delay, 65 Round an holy calm diffusing, Love of Peace, and lonely musing, In hollow murmurs died away.

But O! how alter'd was its sprightlier tone, When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue, 70 Her bow across her shoulder flung, Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew, Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung, The hunter's call, to Faun and Dryad known! The oak-crown'd Sisters, and their chaste-eyed Queen, 75 Satyrs and Sylvan Boys, were seen, Peeping from forth their alleys green: Brown Exercise rejoiced to hear; And Sport leapt up, and seized his beechen spear. Last came Joy's ecstatic trial: 80 He, with viny crown advancing, First to the lively pipe his hand addrest; But soon he saw the brisk awakening viol, Whose sweet entrancing voice he loved the best; They would have thought who heard the strain 85 They saw, in Tempe's vale, her native maids, Amidst the festal sounding shades, To some unwearied minstrel dancing, While, as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings, Love framed with Mirth a gay fantastic round: 90 Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound; And he, amidst his frolic play, As if he would the charming air repay, Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.

O Music! sphere-descended maid, 95 Friend of Pleasure, Wisdom's aid! Why, goddess! why, to us denied, Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre aside? As, in that loved Athenian bower, You learn'd an all commanding power, 100 Thy mimic soul, O Nymph endear'd, Can well recall what then it heard; Where is thy native simple heart, Devote to Virtue, Fancy, Art? Arise, as in that elder time, 105 Warm, energetic, chaste, sublime! Thy wonders, in that godlike age, Fill thy recording Sister's page— 'Tis said, and I believe the tale, Thy humblest reed could more prevail, 110 Had more of strength, diviner rage, Than all which charms this laggard age; E'en all at once together found, Cecilia's mingled world of sound— O bid our vain endeavours cease; 115 Revive the just designs of Greece: Return in all thy simple state! Confirm the tales her sons relate!

VARIATION.

Ver. 30. What was thy delightful measure?



ODE ON THE DEATH OF THOMSON.

THE SCENE IS SUPPOSED TO LIE ON THE THAMES NEAR RICHMOND.

In yonder grave a Druid lies, Where slowly winds the stealing wave; The year's best sweets shall duteous rise To deck its poet's sylvan grave.

In yon deep bed of whispering reeds 5 His airy harp[37] shall now be laid, That he, whose heart in sorrow bleeds, May love through life the soothing shade.

Then maids and youths shall linger here, And while its sounds at distance swell, 10 Shall sadly seem in pity's ear To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell.

Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore When Thames in summer wreaths is drest, And oft suspend the dashing oar, 15 To bid his gentle spirit rest!

And oft, as ease and health retire To breezy lawn, or forest deep, The friend shall view yon whitening[38] spire And 'mid the varied landscape weep. 20

But thou, who own'st that earthy bed, Ah! what will every dirge avail; Or tears, which love and pity shed, That mourn beneath the gliding sail?

Yet lives there one, whose heedless eye 25 Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimmering near? With him, sweet bard, may fancy die, And joy desert the blooming year.

But thou, lorn stream, whose sullen tide No sedge-crown'd sisters now attend, 30 Now waft me from the green hill's side, Whose cold turf hides the buried friend!

And see, the fairy valleys fade; Dun night has veil'd the solemn view! Yet once again, dear parted shade, 35 Meek Nature's Child, again adieu!

The genial meads,[39] assign'd to bless Thy life, shall mourn thy early doom; Their hinds and shepherd-girls shall dress, With simple hands, thy rural tomb. 40

Long, long, thy stone and pointed clay Shall melt the musing Briton's eyes: O! vales and wild woods, shall he say, In yonder grave your Druid lies!

VARIATION.

Ver. 21. But thou who own'st that earthly bed,

FOOTNOTES:

[37] The harp of AEolus, of which see a description in the Castle of Indolence. C.

[38] Richmond Church, in which Thomson was buried. C.

[39] Mr. Thomson resided in the neighbourhood of Richmond some time before his death.



ODE ON THE POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS OF THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND;

CONSIDERED AS THE SUBJECT OF POETRY; INSCRIBED TO MR. JOHN HOME.

I.

Home, thou return'st from Thames, whose Naiads long Have seen thee lingering with a fond delay, 'Mid those soft friends, whose hearts, some future day, Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song.[40] Go, not unmindful of that cordial youth[41] 5 Whom, long endear'd, thou leavest by Levant's side; Together let us wish him lasting truth, And joy untainted with his destined bride. Go! nor regardless, while these numbers boast My short-lived bliss, forget my social name; 10 But think, far off, how, on the southern coast, I met thy friendship with an equal flame! Fresh to that soil thou turn'st, where every vale Shall prompt the poet, and his song demand: To thee thy copious subjects ne'er shall fail; 15 Thou need'st but take thy pencil to thy hand, And paint what all believe, who own thy genial land.

II.

There must thou wake perforce thy Doric quill; 'Tis Fancy's land to which thou sett'st thy feet; Where still, 'tis said, the fairy people meet, 20 Beneath each birken shade, on mead or hill; There, each trim lass, that skims the milky store, To the swart tribes their creamy bowls allots; By night they sip it round the cottage door, While airy minstrels warble jocund notes. 25 There, every herd, by sad experience, knows How, wing'd with fate, their elf-shot arrows fly, When the sick ewe her summer food foregoes, Or, stretch'd on earth, the heart-smit heifers lie. Such airy beings awe the untutor'd swain: 30 Nor thou, though learn'd, his homelier thoughts neglect; Let thy sweet muse the rural faith sustain; These are the themes of simple, sure effect, That add new conquests to her boundless reign, And fill, with double force, her heart-commanding strain. 35

III.

E'en yet preserved, how often mayst thou hear, Where to the pole the Boreal mountains run, Taught by the father, to his listening son, Strange lays, whose power had charm'd a Spenser's ear. At every pause, before thy mind possest, 40 Old Runic bards shall seem to rise around, With uncouth lyres, in many-colour'd vest, Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd: Whether thou bidst the well taught hind repeat The choral dirge, that mourns some chieftain brave, 45 When every shrieking maid her bosom beat, And strew'd with choicest herbs his scented grave! Or whether, sitting in the shepherd's shiel,[42] Thou hear'st some sounding tale of war's alarms; When at the bugle's call, with fire and steel, 50 The sturdy clans pour'd forth their brawny swarms, And hostile brothers met, to prove each other's arms.

IV.

'Tis thine to sing, how, framing hideous spells, In Sky's lone isle, the gifted wizard seer, Lodged in the wintry cave with Fate's fell spear, 55 Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells: How they, whose sight such dreary dreams engross, With their own visions oft astonish'd droop, When, o'er the watery strath, or quaggy moss, They see the gliding ghosts unbodied troop. 60 Or, if in sports, or on the festive green, Their destined glance some fated youth descry, Who now, perhaps, in lusty vigour seen, And rosy health, shall soon lamented die. For them the viewless forms of air obey; 65 Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair: They know what spirit brews the stormful day, And heartless, oft like moody madness, stare To see the phantom train their secret work prepare.

V.

To monarchs dear, some hundred miles astray, 70 Oft have they seen Fate give the fatal blow! The seer, in Sky, shriek'd as the blood did flow, When headless Charles warm on the scaffold lay! As Boreas threw his young Aurora[43] forth, In the first year of the first George's reign, 75 And battles raged in welkin of the North, They mourn'd in air, fell, fell Rebellion slain! And as, of late, they joy'd in Preston's fight, Saw, at sad Falkirk, all their hopes near crown'd! They raved! divining, through their second sight,[44] 80 Pale, red Culloden, where these hopes were drown'd! Illustrious William![45] Britain's guardian name! One William saved us from a tyrant's stroke; He, for a sceptre, gain'd heroic fame, But thou, more glorious, Slavery's chain hast broke, 85 To reign a private man, and bow to Freedom's yoke!

VI.

These, too, thou'lt sing! for well thy magic muse Can to the topmost heaven of grandeur soar; Or stoop to wail the swain that is no more! Ah, homely swains! your homeward steps ne'er lose; 90 Let not dank Will[46] mislead you to the heath; Dancing in mirky night, o'er fen and lake, He glows, to draw you downward to your death, In his bewitch'd, low, marshy, willow brake! What though far off, from some dark dell espied, 95 His glimmering mazes cheer the excursive sight, Yet turn, ye wanderers, turn your steps aside, Nor trust the guidance of that faithless light; For watchful, lurking, 'mid the unrustling reed, At those mirk hours the wily monster lies, 100 And listens oft to hear the passing steed, And frequent round him rolls his sullen eyes, If chance his savage wrath may some weak wretch surprise.

VII.

Ah, luckless swain, o'er all unblest, indeed! Whom late bewilder'd in the dank, dark fen, 105 Far from his flocks, and smoking hamlet, then! To that sad spot where hums the sedgy weed: On him, enraged, the fiend, in angry mood, Shall never look with pity's kind concern, But instant, furious, raise the whelming flood 110 O'er its drown'd banks, forbidding all return! Or, if he meditate his wish'd escape, To some dim hill, that seems uprising near, To his faint eye the grim and grisly shape, In all its terrors clad, shall wild appear. 115 Meantime the watery surge shall round him rise, Pour'd sudden forth from every swelling source! What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs? His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthly force, And down the waves he floats, a pale and breathless corse! 120

VIII.

For him in vain his anxious wife shall wait, Or wander forth to meet him on his way; For him in vain at to-fall of the day, His babes shall linger at the unclosing gate! Ah, ne'er shall he return! Alone, if night 125 Her travel'd limbs in broken slumbers steep, With drooping willows drest, his mournful sprite Shall visit sad, perchance, her silent sleep: Then he, perhaps, with moist and watery hand, Shall fondly seem to press her shuddering cheek, 130 And with his blue swoln face before her stand, And, shivering cold, these piteous accents speak: "Pursue, dear wife, thy daily toils pursue, At dawn or dusk, industrious as before; Nor e'er of me one helpless thought renew, 135 While I lie weltering on the osier'd shore, Drown'd by the Kelpie's[47] wrath, nor e'er shall aid thee more!"

IX.

Unbounded is thy range; with varied skill Thy muse may, like those feathery tribes which spring From their rude rocks, extend her skirting wing 140 Round the moist marge of each cold Hebrid isle, To that hoar pile[48] which still its ruins shows: In whose small vaults a pigmy folk is found, Whose bones the delver with his spade upthrows, And culls them, wondering, from the hallow'd ground! 145 Or thither,[49] where, beneath the showery west, The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid; Once foes, perhaps, together now they rest, No slaves revere them, and no wars invade: Yet frequent now, at midnight's solemn hour, 150 The rifted mounds their yawning cells unfold, And forth the monarchs stalk with sovereign power, In pageant robes, and wreath'd with sheeny gold, And on their twilight tombs aerial council hold.

X.

But, oh, o'er all, forget not Kilda's race, 155 On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting tides, Fair Nature's daughter, Virtue, yet abides. Go! just, as they, their blameless manners trace! Then to my ear transmit some gentle song, Of those whose lives are yet sincere and plain, 160 Their bounded walks the rugged cliffs along, And all their prospect but the wintry main. With sparing temperance, at the needful time, They drain the scented spring; or, hunger-prest, Along the Atlantic rock, undreading climb, 165 And of its eggs despoil the solan's[50] nest. Thus, blest in primal innocence, they live Sufficed, and happy with that frugal fare Which tasteful toil and hourly danger give. Hard is their shallow soil, and bleak and bare; 170 Nor ever vernal bee was heard to murmur there!

XI.

Nor need'st thou blush that such false themes engage Thy gentle mind, of fairer stores possest; For not alone they touch the village breast, But fill'd, in elder time, the historic page. 175 There, Shakespeare's self, with every garland crown'd, Flew to those fairy climes his fancy sheen, In musing hour; his wayward sisters found, And with their terrors drest the magic scene. From them he sung, when, 'mid his bold design, 180 Before the Scot, afflicted, and aghast! The shadowy kings of Banquo's fated line Through the dark cave in gleamy pageant pass'd. Proceed! nor quit the tales which, simply told, Could once so well my answering bosom pierce; 185 Proceed, in forceful sounds, and colours bold, The native legends of thy land rehearse; To such adapt thy lyre, and suit thy powerful verse.

XII.

In scenes like these, which, daring to depart From sober truth, are still to nature true, 190 And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view, The heroic muse employ'd her Tasso's art! How have I trembled, when, at Tancred's stroke, Its gushing blood the gaping cypress pour'd! When each live plant with mortal accents spoke, 195 And the wild blast upheaved the vanish'd sword! How have I sat, when piped the pensive wind, To hear his harp by British Fairfax strung! Prevailing poet! whose undoubting mind Believed the magic wonders which he sung! 200 Hence, at each sound, imagination glows! Hence, at each picture, vivid life starts here! Hence his warm lay with softest sweetness flows! Melting it flows, pure, murmuring, strong, and clear, And fills the impassion'd heart, and wins the harmonious ear! 205

XIII.

All hail, ye scenes that o'er my soul prevail! Ye splendid friths and lakes, which, far away, Are by smooth Annan[51] fill'd or pastoral Tay,[51] Or Don's[51] romantic springs at distance hail! The time shall come, when I, perhaps, may tread 210 Your lowly glens, o'erhung with spreading broom; Or, o'er your stretching heaths, by Fancy led; Or, o'er your mountains creep, in awful gloom! Then will I dress once more the faded bower, Where Jonson[52] sat in Drummond's classic shade; 215 Or crop, from Tiviotdale, each lyric flower, And mourn, on Yarrow's banks, where Willy's laid! Meantime, ye powers that on the plains which bore The cordial youth, on Lothian's plains,[53] attend!— Where'er Home dwells, on hill, or lowly moor, 220 To him I lose, your kind protection lend, And, touch'd with love like mine, preserve my absent friend!

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 44. Whether thou bidst the well taught hind relate

51. The sturdy clans pour'd forth their bony swarms,

56. Or in the gloom of Uist's dark forest dwells:

58. With their own visions oft afflicted droop,

66. Their bidding mark, and at their beck repair:

100. At those sad hours the wily monster lies;

111. O'er its drowned bank, forbidding all return!

124. His babes shall linger at the cottage gate!

127. With dropping willows drest, his mournful sprite

130. Shall seem to press her cold and shuddering cheek,

133. Proceed, dear wife, thy daily toils pursue,

135. Nor e'er of me one hapless thought renew,

138. Unbounded is thy range; with varied stile

164. They drain the sainted spring; or, hunger-prest,

193. How have I trembled, when, at Tancred's side, Like him I stalk'd, and all his passions felt; When charm'd by Ismen, through the forest wide, Bark'd in each plant a talking spirit dwelt!

201. Hence, sure to charm, his early numbers flow, Though strong, yet sweet—— Though faithful, sweet; though strong, of simple kind. Hence, with each theme, he bids the bosom glow, While his warm lays an easy passage find, Pour'd through each inmost nerve, and lull the harmonious ear.

204. Melting it flows, pure, numerous, strong, and clear,

216. Or crop from Tiviot's dale each—

220. Where'er he dwell, on hill, or lowly muir,

FOOTNOTES:

[40] How truly did Collins predict Home's tragic powers!

[41] A gentleman of the name of Barrow, who introduced Home to Collins. Ed. 1788.

[42] A summer hut, built in the high part of the mountains, to tend their flocks in the warm season, when the pasture is fine. Ed. 1788.

[43] By young Aurora, Collins undoubtedly meant the first appearance of the northern lights, which happened about the year 1715; at least it is most highly probable, from this peculiar circumstance, that no ancient writer whatever has taken any notice of them, nor even any modern one, previous to the above period. Ed. 1788.

[44] Second sight is the term that is used for the divination of the highlanders. Ed. 1788.

[45] The late Duke of Cumberland, who defeated the Pretender at the battle of Culloden. Ed. 1788.

[46] A fiery meteor, called by various names, such as Will with the Wisp, Jack with the Lantern, etc. It hovers in the air over marshy and fenny places. Ed. 1788.

[47] The water fiend.

[48] One of the Hebrides is called the Isle of Pigmies; where it is reported, that several miniature bones of the human species have been dug up in the ruins of a chapel there.

[49] Icolmkill, one of the Hebrides, where near sixty of the ancient Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian kings are interred.

[50] An aquatic bird like a goose, on the eggs of which the inhabitants of St. Kilda, another of the Hebrides, chiefly subsist. Ed. 1788.

[51] Three rivers in Scotland. Ed. 1788.

[52] Ben Jonson paid a visit on foot, in 1619, to the Scotch poet Drummond, at his seat of Hawthornden, within four miles of Edinburgh.

[53] Barrow, it seems, was at the Edinburgh University, which is in the county of Lothian. Ed. 1788.



AN EPISTLE,

ADDRESSED TO SIR THOMAS HANMER, ON HIS EDITION OF SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS.

SIR, A patriot's hand protects a poet's lays, While nursed by you she sees her myrtles bloom, Green and unwither'd o'er his honour'd tomb; Excuse her doubts, if yet she fears to tell 5 What secret transports in her bosom swell: With conscious awe she hears the critic's fame, And blushing hides her wreath at Shakespeare's name. Hard was the lot those injured strains endured, Unown'd by Science, and by years obscured: 10 Fair Fancy wept; and echoing sighs confess'd A fix'd despair in every tuneful breast. Not with more grief the afflicted swains appear, When wintry winds deform the plenteous year; When lingering frosts the ruin'd seats invade 15 Where Peace resorted, and the Graces play'd.

Each rising art by just gradation moves, Toil builds on toil, and age on age improves: The Muse alone unequal dealt her rage, And graced with noblest pomp her earliest stage. 20 Preserved through time, the speaking scenes impart Each changeful wish of Phaedra's tortured heart; Or paint the curse that mark'd the Theban's[54] reign, A bed incestuous, and a father slain. With kind concern our pitying eyes o'erflow, 25 Trace the sad tale, and own another's woe.

To Rome removed, with wit secure to please, The comic Sisters kept their native ease: With jealous fear, declining Greece beheld Her own Menander's art almost excell'd; 30 But every Muse essay'd to raise in vain Some labour'd rival of her tragic strain: Ilissus' laurels, though transferr'd with toil, Droop'd their fair leaves, nor knew the unfriendly soil. As Arts expired, resistless Dulness rose; 35 Goths, Priests, or Vandals,—all were Learning's foes. Till Julius[55] first recall'd each exiled maid, And Cosmo own'd them in the Etrurian shade: Then, deeply skill'd in love's engaging theme, The soft Provencal pass'd to Arno's stream: 40 With graceful ease the wanton lyre he strung; Sweet flow'd the lays—but love was all he sung. The gay description could not fail to move, For, led by nature, all are friends to love.

But Heaven, still various in its works, decreed 45 The perfect boast of time should last succeed. The beauteous union must appear at length, Of Tuscan fancy, and Athenian strength: One greater Muse Eliza's reign adorn, And e'en a Shakespeare to her fame be born! 50

Yet ah! so bright her morning's opening ray, In vain our Britain hoped an equal day! No second growth the western isle could bear, At once exhausted with too rich a year. Too nicely Jonson knew the critic's part; 55 Nature in him was almost lost in art. Of softer mould the gentle Fletcher came, The next in order, as the next in name; With pleased attention, 'midst his scenes we find Each glowing thought that warms the female mind; 60 Each melting sigh, and every tender tear; The lover's wishes, and the virgin's fear. His every strain[56] the Smiles and Graces own; But stronger Shakespeare felt for man alone: Drawn by his pen, our ruder passions stand 65 The unrival'd picture of his early hand.

With[57] gradual steps and slow, exacter France Saw Art's fair empire o'er her shores advance: By length of toil a bright perfection knew, Correctly bold, and just in all she drew: 70 Till late Corneille, with Lucan's[58] spirit fired, Breathed the free strain, as Rome and he inspired: And classic judgment gain'd to sweet Racine The temperate strength of Maro's chaster line.

But wilder far the British laurel spread, 75 And wreaths less artful crown our poet's head. Yet he alone to every scene could give The historian's truth, and bid the manners live. Waked at his call I view, with glad surprise, Majestic forms of mighty monarchs rise. 80 There Henry's trumpets spread their loud alarms, And laurel'd Conquest waits her hero's arms. Here gentler Edward claims a pitying sigh, Scarce born to honours, and so soon to die! Yet shall thy throne, unhappy infant, bring 85 No beam of comfort to the guilty king: The time[59] shall come when Glo'ster's heart shall bleed, In life's last hours, with horror of the deed; When dreary visions shall at last present Thy vengeful image in the midnight tent: 90 Thy hand unseen the secret death shall bear, Blunt the weak sword, and break the oppressive spear!

Where'er we turn, by Fancy charm'd, we find Some sweet illusion of the cheated mind. Oft, wild of wing, she calls the soul to rove 95 With humbler nature, in the rural grove; Where swains contented own the quiet scene, And twilight fairies tread the circled green: Dress'd by her hand, the woods and valleys smile, And Spring diffusive decks the enchanted isle. 100

O, more than all in powerful genius blest, Come, take thine empire o'er the willing breast! Whate'er the wounds this youthful heart shall feel, Thy songs support me, and thy morals heal! There every thought the poet's warmth may raise, 105 There native music dwells in all the lays. O might some verse with happiest skill persuade Expressive Picture to adopt thine aid! What wondrous draughts might rise from every page! What other Raphaels charm a distant age! 110

Methinks e'en now I view some free design, Where breathing Nature lives in every line: Chaste and subdued the modest lights decay, Steal into shades, and mildly melt away. And see where Anthony,[60] in tears approved, 115 Guards the pale relics of the chief he loved: O'er the cold corse the warrior seems to bend, Deep sunk in grief, and mourns his murder'd friend! Still as they press, he calls on all around, Lifts the torn robe, and points the bleeding wound. 120

But who[61] is he, whose brows exalted bear A wrath impatient, and a fiercer air? Awake to all that injured worth can feel, On his own Rome he turns the avenging steel; Yet shall not war's insatiate fury fall 125 (So heaven ordains it) on the destined wall. See the fond mother, 'midst the plaintive train, Hung on his knees, and prostrate on the plain! Touch'd to the soul, in vain he strives to hide The son's affection, in the Roman's pride: 130 O'er all the man conflicting passions rise; Rage grasps the sword, while Pity melts the eyes.

Thus generous Critic, as thy Bard inspires, The sister Arts shall nurse their drooping fires; Each from his scenes her stores alternate bring, 135 Blend the fair tints, or wake the vocal string: Those sibyl leaves, the sport of every wind, (For poets ever were a careless kind,) By thee disposed, no farther toil demand, But, just to Nature, own thy forming hand. 140

So spread o'er Greece, the harmonious whole unknown, E'en Homer's numbers charm'd by parts alone. Their own Ulysses scarce had wander'd more, By winds and waters cast on every shore: When, raised by fate, some former Hanmer join'd 145 Each beauteous image of the boundless mind; And bade, like thee, his Athens ever claim A fond alliance with the Poet's name.

Oxford, Dec. 3, 1743.

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 1. While, own'd by you, with smiles the Muse surveys The expected triumph of her sweetest lays: While, stretch'd at ease, she boasts your guardian aid, Secure, and happy in her sylvan shade: Excuse her fears, who scarce a verse bestows, In just remembrance of the debt she owes; With conscious, &c.

9. Long slighted Fancy with a mother's care Wept o'er his works, and felt the last despair: Torn from her head, she saw the roses fall, By all deserted, though admired by all:

near And "Oh!" she cried, "shall Science still resign 11 Whate'er is Nature's, and whate'er is mine? to Shall Taste and Art but show a cold regard, 22. And scornful Pride reject the unletter'd bard? Ye myrtled nymphs, who own my gentle reign, Tune the sweet lyre, and grace my airy train, If, where ye rove, your searching eyes have known One perfect mind, which judgment calls its own; There every breast its fondest hopes must bend, And every Muse with tears await her friend." 'Twas then fair Isis from her stream arose, In kind compassion of her sister's woes. 'Twas then she promised to the mourning maid The immortal honours which thy hands have paid: "My best loved son," she said, "shall yet restore Thy ruin'd sweets, and Fancy weep no more." Each rising art by slow gradation moves; Toil builds, &c.

25. Line after line our pitying eyes o'erflow,

27. To Rome removed, with equal power to please,

35. When Rome herself, her envied glories dead, No more imperial, stoop'd her conquer'd head; Luxuriant Florence chose a softer theme, While all was peace, by Arno's silver stream. With sweeter notes the Etrurian vales complain'd, And arts reviving told a Cosmo reign'd. Their wanton lyres the bards of Provence strung, Sweet flow'd the lays, but love was all they sung. The gay, &c.

45. But Heaven, still rising in its works, decreed

63. His every strain the Loves and Graces own;

71. Till late Corneille from epick Lucan brought The full expression, and the Roman thought:

101. O, blest in all that genius gives to charm, Whose morals mend us, and whose passions warm! Oft let my youth attend thy various page, Where rich invention rules the unbounded stage: There every scene the poet's warmth may raise, And melting music find the softest lays: O, might the Muse with equal ease persuade Expressive Picture to adopt thine aid! Some powerful Raphael should again appear, And arts consenting fix their empire here.

111. Methinks e'en now I view some fair design, Where breathing Nature lives in every line; Chaste and subdued, the modest colours lie, In fair proportion to the approving eye: And see where Anthony lamenting stands, In fixt distress, and spreads his pleading hands: O'er the pale corse the warrior seems to bend,

122. A rage impatient, and a fiercer air? E'en now his thoughts with eager vengeance doom The last sad ruin of ungrateful Rome. Till, slow advancing o'er the tented plain, In sable weeds, appear the kindred train: The frantic mother leads their wild despair, Beats her swoln breast, and rends her silver hair; And see, he yields! the tears unbidden start, And conscious nature claims the unwilling heart! O'er all the man conflicting passions rise;

136. Spread the fair tints, or wake the vocal string:

146. Each beauteous image of the tuneful mind;

FOOTNOTES:

[54] The OEdipus of Sophocles.

[55] Julius the Second, the immediate predecessor of Leo the Tenth.

[56] Their characters are thus distinguished by Mr. Dryden.

[57] About the time of Shakespeare, the poet Hardy was in great repute in France. He wrote, according to Fontenelle, six hundred plays. The French poets after him applied themselves in general to the correct improvement of the stage, which was almost totally disregarded by those of our own country, Jonson excepted.

[58] The favourite author of the elder Corneille.

[59] Turno tempus erit, magno cum optaverit emptum Intactum Pallanta, etc. VIRG.

[60] See the tragedy of Julius Caesar.

[61] Coriolanus. See Mr. Spence's Dialogue on the Odyssey.



DIRGE IN CYMBELINE,

SUNG BY GUIDERUS AND ARVIRAGUS OVER FIDELE, SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD.

To fair Fidele's grassy tomb Soft maids and village hinds shall bring Each opening sweet of earliest bloom, And rifle all the breathing spring.

No wailing ghost shall dare appear 5 To vex with shrieks this quiet grove; But shepherd lads assemble here, And melting virgins own their love.

No wither'd witch shall here be seen; No goblins lead their nightly crew: 10 The female fays shall haunt the green, And dress thy grave with pearly dew!

The redbreast oft, at evening hours, Shall kindly lend his little aid, With hoary moss, and gather'd flowers, 15 To deck the ground where thou art laid.

When howling winds, and beating rain, In tempests shake the sylvan cell; Or 'midst the chase, on every plain, The tender thought on thee shall dwell; 20

Each lonely scene shall thee restore; For thee the tear be duly shed; Beloved till life can charm no more, And mourn'd till Pity's self be dead.

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 1. To fair Pastora's grassy tomb

7. But shepherd swains assemble here,

11. But female fays shall haunt the green,

12. And dress thy bed with pearly dew!

17. When chiding winds, and beating rain, In tempest shake the sylvan cell; Or 'midst the flocks, on every plain,

21. Each lovely scene shall thee restore;

23. Beloved till life could charm no more,



VERSES

WRITTEN ON A PAPER WHICH CONTAINED A PIECE OF BRIDE-CAKE, GIVEN TO THE AUTHOR BY A LADY.

Ye curious hands, that, hid from vulgar eyes, By search profane shall find this hallow'd cake, With virtue's awe forbear the sacred prize, Nor dare a theft, for love and pity's sake!

This precious relic, form'd by magic power, 5 Beneath her shepherd's haunted pillow laid, Was meant by love to charm the silent hour, The secret present of a matchless maid.

The Cyprian queen, at Hymen's fond request, Each nice ingredient chose with happiest art; 10 Fears, sighs, and wishes of the enamour'd breast, And pains that please, are mix'd in every part.

With rosy hand the spicy fruit she brought, From Paphian hills, and fair Cythera's isle; And temper'd sweet with these the melting thought, 15 The kiss ambrosial, and the yielding smile.

Ambiguous looks, that scorn and yet relent, Denials mild, and firm unalter'd truth; Reluctant pride, and amorous faint consent, And meeting ardours, and exulting youth. 20

Sleep, wayward God! hath sworn, while these remain, With flattering dreams to dry his nightly tear, And cheerful Hope, so oft invoked in vain, With fairy songs shall soothe his pensive ear.

If, bound by vows to Friendship's gentle side, 25 And fond of soul, thou hop'st an equal grace, If youth or maid thy joys and griefs divide, O, much entreated, leave this fatal place!

Sweet Peace, who long hath shunn'd my plaintive day, Consents at length to bring me short delight, 30 Thy careless steps may scare her doves away, And Grief with raven note usurp the night.



TO MISS AURELIA C——R,

ON HER WEEPING AT HER SISTER'S WEDDING.

Cease, fair Aurelia, cease to mourn, Lament not Hannah's happy state; You may be happy in your turn, And seize the treasure you regret.

With Love united Hymen stands, 5 And softly whispers to your charms, "Meet but your lover in my bands, You'll find your sister in his arms."



SONNET.

When Phoebe form'd a wanton smile, My soul! it reach'd not here: Strange, that thy peace, thou trembler, flies Before a rising tear! From 'midst the drops, my love is born, 5 That o'er those eyelids rove: Thus issued from a teeming wave The fabled queen of love.



SONG.

THE SENTIMENTS BORROWED FROM SHAKESPEARE.[62]

Young Damon of the vale is dead, Ye lowly hamlets, moan; A dewy turf lies o'er his head, And at his feet a stone.

His shroud, which Death's cold damps destroy, 5 Of snow-white threads was made: All mourn'd to see so sweet a boy In earth for ever laid.

Pale pansies o'er his corpse were placed, Which, pluck'd before their time, 10 Bestrew'd the boy, like him to waste And wither in their prime.

But will he ne'er return, whose tongue Could tune the rural lay? Ah, no! his bell of peace is rung, 15 His lips are cold as clay.

They bore him out at twilight hour, The youth who loved so well: Ah, me! how many a true love shower Of kind remembrance fell! 20

Each maid was woe—but Lucy chief, Her grief o'er all was tried; Within his grave she dropp'd in grief, And o'er her loved one died.

VARIATION.

Ver. 2. Ye lowland hamlets, moan;

FOOTNOTES:

[62] It is uncertain where this poem appeared. It was inserted in the Edinburgh edition of the Poets, 1794. A manuscript copy in the collection recently belonging to Mr. Upcott, and now in the British Museum, is headed, "Written by Collins when at Winchester School. From a Manuscript."



ON OUR LATE TASTE IN MUSIC.[[63]]

——Quid vocis modulamen inane juvabat Verborum sensusque vacans numerique loquacis? MILTON.

Britons! away with the degenerate pack! Waft, western winds! the foreign spoilers back! Enough has been in wild amusements spent, Let British verse and harmony content! No music once could charm you like your own, 5 Then tuneful Robinson,[64] and Tofts were known; Then Purcell touched the strings, while numbers hung Attentive to the sounds—and blest the song! E'en gentle Weldon taught us manly notes, Beyond the enervate thrills of Roman throats! 10 Notes, foreign luxury could ne'er inspire, That animate the soul, and swell the lyre! That mend, and not emasculate our hearts, And teach the love of freedom and of arts. Nor yet, while guardian Phoebus gilds our isle, 15 Does heaven averse await the muses' toil; Cherish but once our worth of native race, The sister-arts shall soon display their face! Even half discouraged through the gloom they strive, Smile at neglect, and o'er oblivion live. 20 See Handel, careless of a foreign fame, Fix on our shore, and boast a Briton's name: While, placed marmoric in the vocal grove,[65] He guides the measures listening throngs approve. Mark silence at the voice of Arne confess'd, 25 Soft as the sweet enchantress rules the breast; As when transported Venice lent an ear, Camilla's charms to view, and accents hear![66] So while she varies the impassion'd song, Alternate motions on the bosom throng! 30 As heavenly Milton[67] guides her magic voice, And virtue thus convey'd allures the choice. Discard soft nonsense in a slavish tongue, The strain insipid, and the thought unknown; From truth and nature form the unerring test; 35 Be what is manly, chaste, and good the best! 'Tis not to ape the songsters of the groves, Through all the quiverings of their wanton loves; 'Tis not the enfeebled thrill, or warbled shake, The heart can strengthen, or the soul awake! 40 But where the force of energy is found When the sense rises on the wings of sound; When reason, with the charms of music twined, Through the enraptured ear informs the mind; Bids generous love or soft compassion glow, 45 And forms a tuneful Paradise below! Oh Britons! if the honour still you boast, No longer purchase follies at such cost! No longer let unmeaning sounds invite To visionary scenes of false delight: 50 When, shame to sense! we see the hero's rage Lisp'd on the tongue, and danced along the stage! Or hear in eunuch sounds a hero squeak, While kingdoms rise or fall upon a shake! Let them at home to slavery's painted train, 55 With siren art, repeat the pleasing strain: While we, like wise Ulysses, close our ear To songs which liberty forbids to hear! Keep, guardian gales, the infectious guests away, To charm where priests direct, and slaves obey. 60 Madrid, or wanton Rome, be their delight; There they may warble as their poets write. The temper of our isle, though cold, is clear; And such our genius, noble though severe. Our Shakespeare scorn'd the trifling rules of art, 65 But knew to conquer and surprise the heart! In magic chains the captive thought to bind, And fathom all the depths of human kind! Too long, our shame, the prostituted herd Our sense have bubbled, and our wealth have shared. 70 Too long the favourites of our vulgar great Have bask'd in luxury, and lived in state! In Tuscan wilds now let them villas rear[68] Ennobled by the charity we spare. There let them warble in the tainted breeze, 75 Or sing like widow'd orphans to the trees: There let them chant their incoherent dreams, Where howls Charybdis, and where Scylla screams! Or where Avernus, from his darksome round, May echo to the winds the blasted sound! 80 As fair Alcyone,[69] with anguish press'd, Broods o'er the British main with tuneful breast, Beneath the white-brow'd cliff protected sings, Or skims the azure plain with painted wings! Grateful, like her, to nature, and as just, 85 In our domestic blessings let us trust; Keep for our sons fair learning's honour'd prize, Till the world own the worth they now despise!

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