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soon found its imitators, and became more generally successful than even in those countries from whence it was imported. But lyric blank verse las met with no such advantages; for Mr. Collins, whose genius and judgment in harmony might have given it 30 powerful an effects hath left us but one specimen of it in the Ode to Evening.
In the choice of his measure he seems to have liad in his eye Horace's Ode to Pyrrha,, for this Ode bears the nearest resemblance to that mixt kind of the asclepiad and pherecratic verse ; and that resemblance in some degree reconciles us to the want of rhyme, while it reminds us of those great miasters of antiquity, whose works had no need of this whimsical gingle of soundsi ::
Froin the following passage one might be induced to think that the poet had it in view to render his subject, and his versification, suitable to each other on this occasion, and that when he addressed himself to the sober power of Evening, he had thought proper to lay aside the foppery of rhyme;
Now teach me, Maid composà !
Thy genial lov'd'return.'
It might be a sufficient encomium on this benutiful Ode to observe, that it has been particularly admired by a lady to whom nature has giveu the most perfect principles of taste. She has not even complained of the want of rhyme in it, i circum&tance by no means
unfavourable to the cause of lyric blank verse; for surely if a fair reader can endure an Ode without bells and chimes, the masculine genius may dispense with them.
ODE X. TO PEACE:
ODE XI. TIE MANNERS:
From the subject and sentiments' of this Ode, 'it seems not improbable that the author wrote it about the time when he left the university, when, weary with the pursuit of academical studies, lre no longer confined himself to the search of theoretical knowledge, but commenced the scholar of humanity, to study Nature in her works, and man in society.
The following farewel to Science exhibits a very just, as well as striking picture; for however exalted in theory the Platonic doctrines may appear, it is certain that Platonism and Pyrrhonism are nearly
Farewel the porch whose roof is seen
and Fancy drest,
To wed with Doubt in Plato's shade. When the mind goes in pursuit of visionary systems it is not far from the regions of doubt; and the greater its capacity to think abstractedly, to reason and refine, the more it will be exposed to and be. wildered in uncertainty. From an enthusiastic řarmth of temper, indeed, we may for a while he encouraged to persist in some favourite doctrine, or to adhere to some adopted system ; but when that enthusiasm which is founded on the vivacity of the passions gradually cools and dies away with them, the opini. ons it supported drop from us, and we are thrown
upon the inhospitable shore of doubt.-A striking proof of the necessity of some moral rule of wisdom and virtue, and some systein of happiness, established by unerring knowledge, and unlimited power.
In the poet's address to Humour in this Ode, there is one image of singular beauty and propriety. The ornaments in the hair of Wit are of such a nature, and disposed in such a manner, as to be perfectly symbolical and characteristic;
Me too amidst thy band admit,
(Whose Jewels in his crisped hair,
Whom no delights from thee divide)
In laughter loos'd attends thy side. Nothing could be more expressive of wit, which consists in a happy collision of comparative and relative images, than this reciprocal reflection of light froin the disposition of the jewels;
O Humour! thou whose name is known
To Britain's favour'd isle alone. The author could only mean to apply this to the time when he wrote, since other nations had produced works of great humour, as he himself acknowledges afterwards ;
By old Milteus, &c.
By all you taught the Tuscan maids, &c. The Milesian and Tuscan romances were by no means distinguished for humour, but as they were the 110. dels of that species of writing in which humour was afterwards employed, they are probably for that reaşou only mentioned here.
- ODE XII. THE PASSIONS,
If the inusic which was composed for this Ode had equal merit with the Ode itself, it must have been
the most excellent performance of this kind, in which poctry and music have, in modern times, united. Other pieces of the same nature have derived their greatest reputation from the perfection of the music that accompanied them, having in themselves little more merit than that of an ordinary ballad; but in this we have the whole soul and power of poetry expression that, even without the aid of music, strikes to the heart'; and imagery of power enough to transport the attention, without the forceful alliance of corresponding sounds : what, then, must have been the effect of these united!
It is very observable, that though the measure is the same in which the musical efforts of Fear, An. ger, and Despair, are described, yet by the variation of the cadence the character and operation of each is strongly expressed; thus particularly of Despair;
With woeful measures wan Despair-
'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.
The picture of Hope, that follows this is beautiful almost beyond imitation. By the united powers of imagery and harmony, that delightful being is exhi. bited with all the charms and graces that pleasure and fancy have appropriated to her:
Relegat, qui semel percurrit;
Qui nunquam legit, legat.
Ode hal re ko
She call'd on Echo still thro' all the song;
Legat, qui nunquam legit,
Qui semel percurrit relegat, The descriptions of Joy, Jealousy, and Revenge, are excellent, though not equally so: those of Melan. choly and Cheerfulness are superior to every thing of the kind: and upon the whole, there may be
very little hazard in asserting that this is the finest Ode in the English language.
ODE XIII. ON THOMSON'S DEATII, The Ode on the death of Thomson
seems to have been written in an excursion to Richmond by water. The rural scenery has a proper effect in an Ode to the memory of a poet, much of whose merit lay in descriptions of the same kind, and the appellations of Druid and meek Nature's Child are happily characteristic. For the better understanding of this Ode, it is necessary to remember that Mr. Thomson lies buried in the church of Richmond,