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His vein of sentiment is by turns tender and lofty, always tinged with a degree of melancholy, but not possessing any claim to originality. His originality consists in his manner, in the highly figurative garb in which he clothes abstract ideas, in the felicity of his expressions, and his skill in embodying ideal creations. He had much of the mysticism of poetry, and sometimes became obscure by aiming at impressions stronger than he had clear and well-defined ideas to support. Had his life been prolonged, and with life had he enjoyed that ease which is necessary for the undisturbed exercise of the faculties, he would probably have risen far above most of his contemporaries."
ODE TO PITY.
O the friend of man assign'd,
When first Distress, with dagger keen,
By Pella's bard, a magic name,
By all the griefs his thought could frame,
Long, Pity, let the nations view
Thy sky-worn robes of tenderest blue,
But wherefore need I wander wide
Deserted stream, and mute? Wild Arun too has heard thy strains, And Echo, 'midst my native plains, Been sooth'd by Pity's lute.
There first the wren thy myrtles shed
To him thy cell was shown;
Come, Pity, come, by Fancy's aid,
There Picture's toil shall well relate,
The buskin'd Muse shall near her stand,
* A river in Sussex.
There let me oft, retir'd by day,
In dreams of passion melt away,
To hear a British shell!
ODE TO FEAR.
THOU, to whom the world unknown
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
On whom that ravening brood of Fate,
In earliest Greece, to thee, with partial choice,
Yet he, the bard* who first invok'd thy name,
But reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot's steel.
But who is he, whom later garlands grace,
Who left awhile o'er Hybla's dews to rove, With trembling eyes thy dreary steps to trace, Where thou and furies shar'd the baleful grove?
Wrapt in thy cloudy veil th' incestuous queen †,
Sigh'd the sad call her son and husband heard, When once alone it broke the silent scene,
And he the wretch of Thebes no more appear'd.
O Fear! I know thee by my throbbing heart,
Thy withering power inspir'd each mournful line; Though gentle Pity claim her mingled part, Yet all the thunders of the scene are thine.
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,
'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.
And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
O thou, whose spirit most possest