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WILLIAM COLLINS, a distinguished modern poet, of disorder in his mind, perceptible to any but himwas born at Chichester, in 1720 or 1721, where his self. He was reading the New Testament. I father exercised the trade of a hatter. He received have but one book," said he, "but it is the best." his education at Winchester College, whence he en-He was finally consigned to the care of his sister, in tered as a commoner of Queen's College, Oxford. whose arms he finished his short and melancholy In 1741, he procured his election into Magdalen course, in the year 1756. college as a demy; and it was here that he wrote It is from his Odes, that Collins derives his chief his poetical "Epistle to Sir Thomas Hanmer," poetical fame; and in compensation for the neglect and his Oriental Eclogues;" of both which with which they were treated at their first appearpieces the success was but moderate. In 1744, he ance, they are now almost universally regarded as came to London as a literary adventurer, and va- the first productions of the kind in our language, rious were the projects which he formed in this with respect to vigor of conception, boldness and capacity. In 1746, however, he ventured to lay variety of personification, and genuine warmth of before the public a volume of "Odes, Descriptive feeling. They are well characterized in an essay and Allegorical;" but so callous was the national prefixed to his works, in an ornamented edition pubtaste at this time, that their sale did not pay for the lished by Cadell and Davies, with which we shall printing. Collins, whose spirit was high, returned conclude this article. "He will be acknowledged to the bookseller his copy-money, burnt all the un- (says the author) to possess imagination, sweetness, sold copies, and as soon as it lay in his power, in- bold and figurative language. His numbers dwell demnified him for his small loss; yet among these on the ear, and easily fix themselves in the memory. odes, were many pieces which now rank among the His vein of sentiment is by turns tender and lofty, finest lyric compositions in the language. After always tinged with a degree of melancholy, but not this mortification, he obtained from the booksellers possessing any claim to originality. His originality a small sum for an intended translation of Aristotle's consists in his manner, in the highly figurative garb Poetics, and paid a visit to an uncle, Lieutenant-in which he clothes abstract ideas, in the felicity of Colonel Martin, then with the army in Germany. his expressions, and his skill in embodying ideal The Colonel dying soon after, left Collins a legacy creations. He had much of the mysticism of poetry, of 2000l., a sum which raised him to temporary and sometimes became obscure by aiming at imopulence; but he now soon became incapable of pressions stronger than he had clear and well-defin'd every mental exertion. Dreadful depression of ideas to support. Had his life been prolonged, and spirits was an occasional attendant on his malady, with life had he enjoyed that ease which is necessary for which he had no remedy but the bottle. It was for the undisturbed exercise of the faculties, he about this time, that it was thought proper to con- would probably have risen far above most of his fine him in a receptacle of lunatics. Dr. Johnson contemporaries." paid him a visit at Islington, when there was nothing
Come, Pity, come, by Fancy's aid,
There Picture's toil shall well relate,
The buskin'd Muse shall near her stand,
With each disastrous tale.
There let me oft, retir'd by day,
Allow'd with thee to dwell:
ODE TO FEAR.
THOU, to whom the world unknown With all its shadowy shapes is shown; Who see'st appall'd th' unreal scene, While Fancy lifts the veil between :
Ah, Fear! ah, frantic Fear! I see, I see thee near.
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
But who is he, whom later garlands grace,
In earliest Greece, to thee, with partial choice The grief-full Muse address'd her infant tongue; 'The maids and matrons, on her awful voice,
Silent and pale, in wild amazement hung.
Yet he, the bard* who first invok'd thy name,
But reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot's steel.
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,
And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
O thou, whose spirit most possest The sacred seat of Shakspeare's breast! 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, And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee!
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1746. How sleep the brave, who sink to rest, By all their country's wishes blest! When Spring, with dewy fingers cold, Returns to deck their hallow'd mould, She there shall dress a sweeter sod, Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By Fairy hands their knell is rung,
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Thy gentlest influence own, And love thy favorite name!
ODE TO LIBEPTY.
WHO shall awake the Spartan fife,
Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing, It 'eap'd in glory forth, and dealt her prompted
O goddess, in that feeling hour,
When most its sounds would court thy ears,
Let not my shell's misguided power
With heaviest sound, a giant-statue, fell,
And all the blended work of strength and grace
Yet, e'en where'er the least appear'd,
In jealous Pisa's olive shade!
See small Marino joins the theme,
Ah, no! more pleas'd thy haunts I seek,
Or dwell in willow'd meads more near, With those to whom the stork* is dear: Those whom the rod of Alva bruis'd, Whose crown a British queen refus'd! The magic works, thou feel'st the strains, One holier name alone remains;
The perfect spell shall then avail, Hail, nymph, ador'd by Britain, hail!
Beyond the measure vast of thought,
To the blown Baltic then, they say,
The wild waves found another way, Where Orcas howls, his wolfish mountains rounding; Till all the banded west at once 'gan rise,
wide wild storm e'en Nature's self confounding, Withering her giant sons with strange uncouth surprise.
This pillar'd earth so firm and wide,
And down the shouldering billows borne
Mona,t once hid from those who search the main,
And Wight, who checks the westering tide,
For thee consenting Heaven has each bestow'd, A fair attendant on her sovereign pride:
To thee this blest divorce she ow'd,
For thou hast made her vales thy lov'd, thy last abode!
Then too, 'tis said, an hoary pile, 'Midst the green navel of our isle,
*The Dutch, amongst whom there are very severe pen. alties 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.
†This tradition is mentioned by several of our old his torians. Some naturalists, too, have endeavored 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.
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.
Thy shrine in some religious wood,
How may the poet now unfold,
Ye forms divine, ye laureate 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 E'en Anger's blood-shot 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 ravag'd shore, Our youths, enamour'd of the fair, Play with the tangles of her hair, 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!"
AN ODE FOR MUSIC.
WHEN Music, heavenly maid, was young,
From the supporting myrtles round
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.
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
Low sullen sounds his grief beguil'd, 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? Still it whisper'd promis'd 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 smil'd, and wav'd her golden hair.
And longer had she sung-but, with a frown,
He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down.
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
Were ne'er prophetic sound so full of woe.