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ODE TO FEAR.
“ On that thrice hallow'd eve, &c.” Mr. Collins, who had often determined to apply There is an old traditionary superstition, that op himself to dramatic poetry, seems here, with the St. Mark's eve the forms of all such persons as same view, to have addressed one of the principal shall die within the ensuing year, make their sopowers of the drama, and to implore that mighty lemn entry into the churches of their respective influence she bad given to the genius of Shake- parishes, as St. Patrick swam over the channel, speare:
without their heads, “ Hither again thy fury deal, Teach me but once like him to feel : His cypress wreath my meed decree,
ODE TO SIMPLICITY. And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee !""'
The measure of the ancient ballad seems to bave In construction of this nervous ode the author has been made choice of for this ode, on account of the shown equal power of judgment and imagination. subject, and it has, indeed, an air of simplicity not Nothing can be more striking than the violent and altogether unaffecting : abrupt abbreviation of the measure in the fifth and
“ By all the honey'd store sixth verses, when he feels the strong influence of
On Hybla's thymy shore, the power he invokes :
By all her blooms, and mingled murmurs dear, “ Ah, Fear, ah, frantic Fear!
By her whose love-lorn woe, I see, I see thee near."
In evening musings slow, The editor of these poems has met with nothing in
Sooth'd sweetly sad Electra's poet's ear.” the same species of poetry, either in his own, or in This allegorical imagery of the honey'd store, the any other language, equal, in all respects, to the blooms, and mingled murmurs of Hybla, alluding following description of Danger:
to the sweetness and beauty of the Attic poetry, “ Danger, whose limbs of giant mould,
has the finest and the happiest effect: yet, possiWhat mortal eye can fix'd behold?
bly, it will bear a question, whether the ancient Who stalks bis round, a hideous form,
Greek tragedians had a general claim to simplicity Howling amidst the midnight storm,
in any thing more than the plans of their drama. Or throws him on the ridgy steep
Their language, at least, was infinitely metaphoriOf some louse hanging rock to sleep.”
cal; yet it must be owned that they justly copied
Nature and the passions, and so far, certainly, they It is impossible to contemplate the image conveyed were entitled to the palm of true simplicity: the in the two last verses without those emotions of ter- following most beautiful speech of Polynices will rour it was intended to excite. It has, moreover, be a monument of this so long as poetry shall the entire advantage of novelty to recommend it, last. for there is too much originality in all the circum
-πολυδακρυς δ' αφιαομην stances, to suppose that the author had in his eye Χρονιος ιδων μελαθρα, και βωμους θιαν, that description of the penal situation of Catiline in | Γυμνασια ε, οισιν ενετραφην, Διρκης 9' εδω: the ninth Æneid:
"Ων ου δικαιως απελαθεις, ξενων πολιν - Te, Catilina, minaci
Ναι», δι' οσσων ομμ' έχων δακρυρροεν. Pendentem scopulo.
Αλλ' (εκ γαρ αλγους αλγος) αυ σε δερκομια, The archetype of the Eaglish poet's idea was in Kapa Suprxés, tab mindov; uenayxiuejus Nature, and probably to her alone he was indebted Exputay.
Eurip. Phæniss, ver. 369. , for the thought. From her, likewise, he derived “ But staid to sing alone
that magnificence of conception, that horrible gran- To one distinguish'd throne." deur of imagery, displayed in the following lines :
The poet cuts off the prevalence of simplicity “ And those, the fiends, who near allied, among the Romans with the reign of Augustus; O'er Nature's wounds and wrecks preside ; and, indeed, it did not continue much longer, most While Vengeance, in the lurid air,
of the compositions, after that date, giving inte Lifts her red arm, expos'd and bare:
false and artificial ornament. On whom that ravening brood of Fate,
“ No more, in hall or bower, Who.lap the blood of Sorrow, wait.”
The passions own thy power, That nutritive enthusiasm, which cherishes the seeds Love, only Love, her forceless numbers mean." of poetry, and which is, indeed, the only soil where in these lines the writings of the Provençal poets, in they will grow to perfection, lays open the mind
are principally alluded to, in which simplicity is to all the influences of fiction. A passion for what generally sacrificed to the rhapsodies of romantie ever is greatly wild, or magnificent in the works of love. Nature, seduces the imagination to attend to all that is extravagant, however unnatural. Milton was notoriously fond of high romance and Gothic
ODE ON THE POETICAL CHARACTER, dialleries; and Collins, who in genius and enthusiasm bore no very distant resemblance to Milton, Procul! 0! procul este profani! was wholly carried away by the same attachments.
Tuis ode is so infinitely abstracted and replete “ Be mine to read the visions old,
with high enthusiasm, that it will find few readers Which thy awakening bards have told:
capable of entering into the spirit of it, or of reAnd, lest thou meet my blasted view,
lishing its beauties. There is a style of sentiment Huld each strange tale devoutly true.”
as utterly unintelligible to common capacities, as
if the subject were treated in an unknown lan-, of the locks of the Spartan youths, and greatly guage; and it is on the same account that abs- superior to that description Jocasta gives us of the tracted poetry will never have many admirers. hair of Polynices. The authors of such poems must be content with
Βοστρυχων τε κυανοχρωτα χαιταις the approbation of those heaven-favoured geniuses,
Πλοχαμσν.. who, by a similarity of taste and sentiment, are
“ What new Alceus, fancy-blest, enabled to penetrate the high mysteries of in
Shall sing the sword, in myrtles drest, &c.” spired fancy, and to pursue the loftiest flights of enthusiastic imagination. Nevertheless, the praise This alludes to a fragment of Alcæus still remainof the distinguished few is certainly preferable to ing, in which the poet celebrates Harmodius and the applause of the undiscerning million ; for all Aristogiton, who slew the tyrant Hipparchus, and praise is valuable in proportion to the judgment of thereby restored the liberty of Athens. those who confer it.
The fall of Rome is here most nervously deAs the subject of this ode is uncommon, so are scribed in one line : the style and expression highly metaphorical and “ With heaviest sound, a giant-statue, fell.” abstracted; thus the Sun is called “the rich. The thought seems altogether new, and the imitahair'd youth of morn,” the ideas are termed tive harmony in the structure of the verse is ad“ the shadowy tribes of mind,” &c. We are
mirable. struck with the propriety of this mode of ex
After bewailing the ruin of ancient liberty, the pression here, and it affords us new proofs of the poet considers the influence it has retained, or still analogy that subsists between language and senti- retains among the moderns; and here the free rement. Nothing can be more loftily imagined than the Florence, indeed, only to be lamented on account
publics of Italy naturally engage his attention creation of the cestus of Fancy in this ode: the of losing its liberty under those patrons of letters, allegorical imagery is rich and sublime: and the the Medicean family; the jealous Pisa, justly so observation, that the dangerous passions kept aloof called in respect to its long impatience and regret during the operation, is founded on the strictest under the same yoke; and the small Marino, philosophical truth; for poetical fancy can exist which, however unrespectable with regard to power only in minds that are perfectly serene, and in some measure abstracted from the influences of to boast, that it has preserved its liberty longer
or extent of territory, has, at least, this distinction sense,
than any other state, ancient or modern, having, The scene of Milton's " inspiring hour” is per- without any revolution, retained its present mode fectly in character, and described with all those of government near 1400 years.
Moreover the wild-wood-appearances of which the great poet was
patron saint who founded it, and from whom it takes so enthusiastically fond :
its name, deserves this poetical record, as he is, “ I view that oak, the fancied glades among, perbaps, the only saint that ever contributed to By wbich as Milton lay, his evening ear, the establishment of freedom. Nigb spher'd in Heaven, its native strains could
“ Nor e'er her former pride relate, hear.”
To sad Liguria's bleeding state.”
In these lines the poet alludes to those ravages in ODE.
the state of Genoa, occasioned by the unhappy WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1746.
divisions of the Czelphs and Ghibelines. ODE TO MERCY.
“When the favour'd of thy choice,
The daring archer, heard thy voice." The Ode written in 1746, and the Ode to Mercy, seem to have been written on the same occasion, For an account of the celebrated event referred to viz. the late rebellion; the former in memory of in these verses, see Voltaire's Epistle to the King those heroes who fell in the defence of their coun
of Prussia. try, the latter to excite sentiments of compassion in « Those whom the rod of Alva bruis'd, favour of those unhappy and deluded wretches Whose crown a British queen refus'd !" who became a sacrifice to public justice.
The Flemings were so dreadfully oppressed by The language and imagery of both are very this sanguinary general of Philip the Second, that beautiful, but the scene and figures described in they offered their sovereignty to Elizabeth, but, the strophe of the Ode to Mercy are exquisitely happily for her subjects, she had policy and magstriking, and would afford a painter one of the nanimity enough to refuse it. Desormeaux, in his finest subjects in the world.
Abrégé Chronologique de l'Histoire d'Espagne, thus describes the sufferings of the Flemings : Le Duc
d'Albe achevoit de réduire les Flamands au désODE TO LIBERTY.
espoir. Après avoir inondé les echafauts du sang le The ancient states of Greece, perhaps the only plus noble et le plus précieux, il faisoit construire enes in which a perfect model of liberty ever des citadelles en divers endroits, et vouloit établir existed, are naturally brought to view in the open-l'Alcavala, ce tribut onéreux qui avoit été longing of the poem.
tems en usage parmi les Espagnols.---Abreg. “ Who shall awake the Spartan fife,
Chron. tom. iv,
Mona is properly the Roman name of the Isle of There is something extremely bold in this imagery) Anglesey, anciently so famous for its Druids; but
sometimes, as in this place, it is giren to the Isle From the following passage one might be in. of Man. Both those isles still retain much of the duced to think that the poet had it in view to genius of superstition, and are now the only places render his subject and his versification suitable to where there is the least chance of finding a fairy. each other on this occasion, and that, when he
addressed himself to the sober power of Evening,
be had thought proper to lay aside the foppery of ODE,
rhyme : TO A LADY, ON THE DEATH OF COLONEL CHARLES “ Now teach me, maid compos'd, ROSS IN THE ACTION AT FONTENOY.
To breathe some soften'd strain,
[vale, WRITTEN MAY, 1745.
Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening The iambic kind of numbers in which this ode is May not unseemly with its stillness suit, conceived, seems as well calculated for tender and As, musing slow, I hail plaintive subjects, as for those where strength or
Thy genial lov'd return !”. rapidity is required.—This, perhaps, is owing to But whatever were the numbers, or the versification the repetition of the strain in the same stanza; for of this ode, the imagery and enthusiasm it consorrow rejects variety, and affects an uniformity of tains could not fail of rendering it delightful. No complaint. It is necdless to observe that this ode other of Mr. Collins's odes is more generally chais replete with harmony, spirit, and pathos; and racteristic of bis genius. In one place we discover there, surely, appears no reason why the seventh his passion for visionary beings : and eighth stanzas should be omitted in that copy
“ For when thy folding-star arising shows printed in Dodsley's Collection of Poems.
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 The blank ode has for some time solicited ad
sedge, mission into the English poetry; but its efforts, And sheds the freshening dew, and lovelier still, bitherto, seem to have been vain, at least its re
The pensive pleasures sweet ception has been no more than partial. It remains
Prepare thy shadowy car.” a question, then, whether there is not something in the nature of blank verse less adapted to the In another we behold his strong bias to melan
choly: lyric than to the heroic measure, since, though it has been generally received in the latter, it is yet " Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene, unadopted in the former. In order to discover this, Or find some ruin 'midst its dreary dells, we are to consider the different modes of these Whose walls more awful nod different species of poetry. That of the heroic is By thy religious gleams." uniform; that of the lyric is various; and in these Then appears his taste for what is wildly grand and circumstances of uniformity and variety, probably, magnificent in nature; when, prevented by storins - ljes the cause why blank verse has been successful from enjoying his evening walk, he wishes for a in the one, and unacceptable in the other. While
situation, it presented itself only in one form, it was familiarized to the ear by custom ; but where it was
“ 'That from the mountain's side obliged to assume the different shapes of the lyric
Views wild and swelling floods;" Muse, it seemed still a stranger of uncouth figure, | And, through the whole, his invariable attachmentwas received rather with curiosity than pleasure, to the expression of painting : and entertained without that ease, or satisfaction,
and marks o'er all which acquaintance and familiarity produce.
Thy dewy fingers draw Moreover, the heroic blank verse obtained a sanc
The gradual dusky veil.” tion of infinite importance to its general reception, when it was adopted by one of the greatest poets the It might be a sufficient encomium on this beautiful world ever produced, and was made the vehicle of ode to observe, that it has been particularly adthe noblest poem that ever was written. When mired by a lady to whom Nature has given the this poem at length extorted that applause which most perfect principles of taste. She has not even ignorance and prejudice had united to withhold, the complained of the want of rhyme in it, a circumversification soon found its imitators, and became stance by no means unfavourable to the cause of more generally successful than even in those coun-lyric blank verse; for surely, if a fair reader can tries from whence it was imported. But lyric endure an ode without bells and chimes, the masblank verse had met with no such advantages; for culine genius may dispense with them. Mr. Collins, whose genius and judgment in harmody might have given it so powerful an effect, hath left us but one specimen of it in the Ode to
THE MANNERS. AN ODE. Evening.
From the subject and sentiments of this ode, it In the choice of his measure he seems to have seems not improbable that the author wrote it had in his eye Horace's Ode to Pyrrha; for this about the time when he left the University; when, ode bears the nearest resemblance to that mixt weary with the pursuit of academical studies, he kind of the asclepiad and pherecratic verse; and no longer confined himself to the search of theothat resemblance in some degree reconciles us to retical knowledge, but commenced the scholar of the want of rhyme, while it reminds us of those humanity, to study nature in her works, and man great masters of antiquity, whose works had no in society. teed of this whimsical jingle of sounds,
The following farewell to Science exhibits a
very just as well as striking picture; for, however without the aid of music, strikes to the heart; and exalted in theory the Platonic doctrines may ap- imagery of power enough to transport the attenpear, it is certain that Platonism and Pyrrhonism tion, without the forceful alliance of corresponding are allied :
sounds! what, then, must have been the effects of “ Farewell the porch, whose roof is seen,
these united ! Arch'd with th enlivening olive's green:
It is very observable that though the measure is Where Science, prank'd in tissued vest,
the same, in which the musical efforts of fear, By Reason, Pride, and Fancy drest,
anger, and despair, are described, yet by the Comes like a bride, so trim array'd,
variation of the cadence, the character and operaTo wed with Doubt in Plato's shade!”
tion of each is strongly expressed: thus parti
cularly of Despair : When the mind goes in pursuit of visionary systems, it is not far from the regions of doubt; and the
“ With woful measures wan Despair greater its capacity to think abstractedly, to reason
Low sullen sounds his grief beguild, and refine, the more it will be exposed to, and be- A solemn, strange, and mingled air, wildered in, uncertainty.-- From an enthusiastic 'Twas sad by fits, by starts 't was wild." warmth of temper, indeed, we may for a while be He must be a very unskilful composer who could encouraged to persist in some favourite doctrine, or
not catch the power of imitative harmony from to adhere to some adopted system; but when that these lines ! enthusiasm, which is founded on the vivacity of The picture of Hope that follows this is beautiful the passions, gradually cools and dies away with almost beyond imitation. By the united powers of them, the opinions it supported drop from us, and imagery and harmony, that delightful being is exwe are thrown upon the inhospitable shore of doubt. hibited with all the charms and graces that plea-A striking proof of the necessity of some moral sure and fancy have appropriated to her. rule of wisdom and virtue, and some system of happiness established by unerring knowledge and
Relegat, qui semel percurrit; uplimited power.
Qui nunquam legit, legat. In the poet's address to Humour in this ode, “ But thou, O Hope, with eyes so fair, there is one image of singular beauty and pro
What was thy delighted measure ! priety. The ornaments in the hair of Wit are of Still it whisper'd promis'd pleasure, such a nature, and disposed in such a manner, as
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail ! to be perfectly symbolical and characteristic: Still would her touch the strain prolong,
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, “ Me too amidst thy band admit,
She call'd on Echo still through all the song; There where the young-ey'd healthful Wit
And where her sweetest theme she chose, (Whose jewels in bis crisped hair
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close, Are plac'd each other's beams to share,
And Hope enchanted smil'd, and wav'd her golden Whom no delights from thee divide)
hair." In laughter loos'd attends thy side.” Nothing could be more expressive of wit, which place this great master of poetical imagery and
In what an exalted light does the above stanza consists in a happy collision of comparative and relative images, than this reciprocal reflection of what delicacy of judgment and expression ! how
harmony! what varied sweetness of numbers ! light from the disposition of the jewels.
characteristically does Hope prolong her strain, ** O Humour, thou whose name is known repeat her soothing closes, call upon her associate To Britain's favour'd isle alone.”
Echo for the same purposes, and display every The author could only mean to apply this to the pleasing grace peculiar to her! time when he wrote, since other nations had pro- “ And Hope enchanted smild, and wav'd her duced works of great humour, as he himself ac
golden hair." knowledges afterwards.
Legat, qui nunquam legit; “By old Miletus, &c.
Qui semel percurrit, relegat. By all you taught the Tuscan maids, &c.”
The descriptions of joy, jealousy, and revenge, The Milesian and Tuscan romances were by no are excellent; though not equally so; those of means distinguished for humour; but as they were melancholy and cheerfulness are superior to every the models of that species of writing in which hu- thing of the kind; and, upon the whole, there may mour was afterwards employed, they are, probably, be very little hazard in asserting that this is the for that reason only mentioned here,
finest ode in the English language.
ON HIS EDITION OF
THE PASSIONS. AN ODE FOR MUSIC.
AN EPISTLE If the music which was composed for this ode, had equal merit with the ode itself, it must have
TO SIR THOMAS HANMER, been the most excellent performance of the kind,
SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS. in which poetry and music have, in modern times, This poem was written by our author at the Uniunited. Other pieces of the same nature have versity, about the time when sir Thomas Hanmer's derived their greatest reputation from the per- pompous edition of Shakespeare was printed at fection of the music that accompanied them, Oxford. If it has not so much merit as the rest of having in themselves little more merit than that of his poems, it has still more than the subject dean ordinary ballad: but in this we have the whole serves. The versification is easy and genteel, and soul and power of poetry-Expression that, even the allusions always poetical. The character of the poet Fletcher in particular is very justly drawn /ful and tender as they are, without corresponding in this epistle.
emotions of pity, is surely impossible:
“ The tender thought on thee shall dwell. DIRGE IN CYMBELINE.
Each lonely scene shall thee restore,
For thee the tear be duly shed; ODE ON THE DEATH OF MR. THOMSON.
Belov'd, till life can charm no more; Mr. Collins had skill to complain, Of that
And mourn'd, till Pity's self be dead." mournful melody, and those tender images, which The ode on the death of Thomson seems to have are the distinguishing excellencies of such pieces been written in an excursion to Richmond by water. as bewail departed friendship, or beauty, he was The rural scenery has a proper effect in an ode to an almost unequalled master. He knew perfectly the memory of a poet, much of whose merit lay to exhibit such circumstances, peculiar to the ob- in descriptions of the same kind; and the appellajects, as awaken the influences of pity; and tions of “ Druid,” and “meek Nature's child," while, from his own great sensibility, he felt what are happily characteristic. For the better underhe wrote, he naturally addressed himself to the standing of this ode, it is necessary to remember, feelings of others.
that Mr. Thomson lies buried in the church of To read such lines as the following, all beauti- Richmond.