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O thou whose spirit most possest
my meed decree, And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee !*
The bird of dawning singeth all night long :.
which have been thus translated ;
Et quotiês redeunt natalia tempora Christi
* It is difficult to keep entirely separate the active and passive qualitie of allegorical personages: difficult to say whether such a thing as Fears should be the agent in inspiring, or the victim agitated by the passion. In this ode the latter idea prevails; for Fear appears in the character of a nymph pursued, like D.iyden's Honoria, by the ravening brood of Fate. She is distracted by the ghastly train conjured up by Danger, and hunted through the world without being suffered to take repose: yet this idea is somewhat departed from, when the poet endeavours to propitiate Fear, by offering her, as a suitable abode, the cell where Rape and Murder dwell;
ODE TO SIMPLICITY.
O thou by Nature taught,
To breathe her genuine thought,
Who first on mountains wild,
In Fancy, loveliest child,
Thou, who with hermit heart
Disdain'st the wealth of art,
But com’st a decent maid,
In Attic robe array’d,
By all the honey'd store
or a cave whence she may hear the cries of drowning seamen. She then becomes the Power who delights in inflicting fear. But perhaps the reader is an enemy to his own gratitication, who investigates the attributes of these shadowy beings, with too nice and curious an eye.-B.
* Hybla is a mountain in Sicily; but this allegorical imagery of the honey store, the blooms, and murmurs of Hybla, alludes to the sweetness and beauty of the Attic poetry.-L..
By all her blooms, and mingled murmurs dear,
By her, whose love-lorn woe,
In evening musings slow,
By old Cephisus deept
Who sproad his wavy sweep
On whose enamel'd side,
When holy Freedom died,
• Milton, in bis 8th sonnet, says
“ The repeated air of sad Electra's poet, had the power
To save th’ Athenian walls from ruin bare." This refers to a story in Plutarch: that when Lysander had taken Athens, and intended to destroy that city, he was diverted from his purpose by bearing some lines sung from the Electra of Euripides. But Collins alludes to the Electra of Sophocles, and to the following passage in that drama.
Νηπιος δεις των οικίρως
The melancholy bird, Jove's messenger.-C. of Cephisus is tlre name of a river in Beotia, and of another which runs near Athens. Vid. Cellar. Geo. L 2, C 13.-C.
O sister meek of Truth,
To my admiring youth,
The flowers that sweetest breathe,
While Rome could none esteem,
But victue's patriot theme,
But staid to sing alo
To one distinguish'd throne, *
No more, in hall or bower,
The passions own thy power,
For thou hast left her shrine,
Nor olive more, nor vine,
Tho' taste, tho' genius bless
* The Poet cuts off the prevalence of simplicity among the Romans with the age of Augustus; and indeed it did not continue much longer; most of the compositions after that date giving into false and artificial ornaments.
“No more in hall or bower,'' &c. In these lines, the writings of the Provencal poets are principally alluded to, in which simplicity is generally sacrificed to rhapsodies of romantic love.-L.
Faint's the cold work till thou inspire the whole ;
What each, what all supply,
May court, may charm our eye,
Of these let others ask,
To aid some mighty task,
Where oft my reed might sound
To maids and shepherds round,
ODE ON THE POETICAL CHARACTER.
As once, if not with light regard,
Lo! to each other nymph in turn applied,
As if, in air unseen, some hovering hand,
* Florimel, See Spenser. Leg. 4th.