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WILLIAM COLLINS

ODE TO SIMPLICITY

But staid to sing alone [Publ. 1747]

To one distinguish'd throne ;

And turn'd thy face, and fled her alter'd land. O Thou, by Nature taught, To breathe her genuine thought,

No more, in hall or bower, In numbers warmly pure, and sweetly The Passions own thy power; strong;

Love, only Love her forceless numbers Who first, on mountains wild,

mean : In Fancy, loveliest child,

For thou hast left her shrine ; Tby babe, or Pleasure's, nursed the powers | Nor olive more, nor vine, of song!

Shall gain thy feet to bless the servile scene.

Thou, who, with hermit heart,

Though taste, though genius, bless Disdain'st the wealth of art,

To some divine excess, And gauds, and pageant weeds, and trail- Faints the cold work till thou inspire the ing pall;

whole ; But comest a decent maid,

10 What each, what all supply, In attic robe array'd,

May court, may charm, our eye ; O chaste, unboastful Nymph, to thee I call ! | Thou, only thou, canst raise the meeting

soul ! By all the honey'd store On Hybla's thymy shore ;

Of these let others ask, By all her blooms, and mingled murmurs To aid some mighty task, dear;

I only seek to find thy temperate vale ; By her 1 whose lovelorn woe,

| Where oft my reed might sound In evening musings slow,

To maids and shepherds round, Soothed sweetly sad Electra's poet's ear: And all thy sons, O 'Nature, learn my tale.

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By old Cephisus deep,
Who spread his wavy sweep,

ODE
In warbled wanderings, round thy green
retreat ;

WRITTEN IN THE BEGINNING OF THE On whose enamel'd side,

YEAR 1746 When holy Freedom died,

[Publ. 1747] No equal haunt allured thy future feet.

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest, O sister meek of Truth,

By all their country's wishes bless'd ! To my admiring youth,

When Spring, with dewy fingers cold, Thy sober aid and native charms infuse ! Returns to deck their hallow'd mould, The flowers that sweetest breathe,

She there shall dress a sweeter sod Though Beauty cull'd the wreath, 29 Than Fancy's feet bave ever trod. Still ask thy hand to range their order'd hues.

By fairy hands their knell is rung; While Rome could none esteem

By forms unseen their dirge is sung; But virtue's patriot theme,

There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray, You loved her hills, and led her laureat To bless the turf that wraps their clay ; 10 band :

And Freedom shall a while repair, 1 The answv, or nightingale.

| To dwell a weeping hermit there!

ODE TO LIBERTY

[Publ. 1747]

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, Atonce the breathof fearand virtueshedding,

Applauding Freedom loved of old to view ? What new Alcæus, fancy-blest, Shall sing the sword, in myrtles drest, At Wisdom's shrine awhile its flame con

cealing, (What place so fit to seal a deed renown'd?) 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

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.

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, Till they, 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 2 joins the theme Though least, not last in thy esteem: 1 The Medici.

· San Marino

Strike, louder strike the ennobling strings
To those, whose merchant sons were kings;
To him,? who, deck'd with pearly pride,
In Adria weds his green-hair'd bride;
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 ' bleeding state.
Ah no! more pleased thy haunts I seek, 50
On wild Helvetia's 4 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):
Or dwell in willow'd meads more near,
With those to whom thy stork is dear:
Those whom the rod of Alva bruised,
Whose crown a British queen refused! 59
The magic works, thou feel'st the strains,
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!

The Gaul, 'tis held of antique story, Saw Britain linked to his now adverse strand,

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 con

founding, Withering her giant sons with strange un

conth surprise.
This pillard 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, 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 be

stow'd,
A fair attendant on her sovereign pride:

I The Venetiang. ? The Doge of Venice.
3 Genoa.

• Switzerland.

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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, 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 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, 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,

1 Story,

110 Here 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, What hands unknown that fabric raised ? Even now before his favour'd eyes, In gothic pride, it seems to rise! Yet Græcia'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 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 ! 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 Rage drops his steel, and storms grow calm: Her let our sires and matrons hoar Welcome to Britain's ravaged shore;

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Old Edward's sous, 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,

And wish the avenging fight.

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But lo, where, sunk in deep despair, Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkHer garments torn, her bosom bare

ening vale, Impatient Freedom lies !

May not unseemly with its stillness suit; Her matted tresses madly spread,

As, musing slow, I hail To every sod, which wraps the dead,

Thy genial loved return ! She turns her joyless eyes.

For when thy folding-star arising shows Ne'er shall she leave that lowly ground His paly circlet, at his warning lamp Till notes of triumph bursting round

The fragrant Hours, and Elves
Proclaim her reign restored:

Who slept in buds the day,
Till William seek the sad retreat,
And, bleeding at her sacred feet,

And many a Nymph who wreathes her
Present the sated sword.

brows with sedge,

And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier If, weak to soothe so soft a heart,

still, These pictured glories nought impart, 50 The pensive Pleasures sweet, To dry thy constant tear:

Prepare thy shadowy car. If yet, in Sorrow's distant eye, Exposed and pale thou see'st him lie, Then let me rove some wild and heathy Wild War insulting near:

scene;

Or find some ruin, 'midst its dreary dells, 30 Where'er from time thou court'st relief,

Whose walls more awful nod The Muse shall still, with social grief,

By thy religious gleams. Her gentlest promise keep; Even humbled Harting's cottaged vale Or, if chill blustering winds, or driving Shall learn the sad repeated tale,

rain, And bid her shepherds weep.

Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut,

That from the mountain's side,

Views wilds, and swelling floods,
ODE TO EVENING
[Publ. 1747]

And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd

spires ; IF aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song, And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest

all
ear,

Thy dewy fingers draw
Like thy own brawling springs,

The gradual dusky veil.
Thy springs, and dying gales;

While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft O nymph reserved, while now the bright

he wont, bair'd sun

And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,

Eve!
With brede ethereal wove,

While Summer loves to sport
O'erbang his wavy bed:

Beneath thy lingering light; Now air is hush’d, save where the weak | While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with eyed bat

leaves; With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air, wing;

Affrights thy shrinking train, Or where the beetle winds

And rudely rends thy robes; His small but sullen horn,

So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path, | Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:
Now teach me, maid composed,

Thy gentlest influence own,
To breathe some soften'd strain,

And love thy favourite name!

Peace,

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ODE TO PEACE

[Publ. 1747] 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,

And bade bis storms arise!

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 band the strings. With woful measures wan Despair

Low, sullen sounds his grief beguiled; A solemn, strange, and mingled air

'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.

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Let others court thy transient smile, But come to grace thy western isle,

By warlike Honour led ; And, while around her ports rejoice, While all her sons adore thy choice,

With him for ever wed!

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; 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; He threw his blood-stain'd sword, in thun

der, 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:

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 mien, 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; And now it courted Love, now raving

call'd on Hate.

THE PASSIONS

AN ODE FOR MUSIC

WAEN 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,
Possest beyond the Muse's painting:
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturbid, delighted, raised, refined;
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired,
Fill’d with fury, rapt, inspired,
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)
Would prove his own expressive power.

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First Fear his hand, its skill to try,

Amid the chords bewilderd laid,

With eyes upraised, as one inspired, Pale Melancholy sate retired; And, from her wild seqnester'd seat, | In notes by distance made more sweet, 60

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