William Collins.


469   Ode to Simplicity

   O THOU, by Nature taught
   To breathe her genuine thought
In numbers warmly pure and sweetly strong:
   Who first on mountains wild,
   In Fancy, loveliest child,
Thy babe and Pleasure’s, nursed the pow’rs of song!

   Thou, who with hermit heart
   Disdain’st the wealth of art,
And gauds, and pageant weeds, and trailing pall:
   But com’st a decent maid,
   In Attic robe array’d,
O chaste, unboastful nymph, to thee I call!

   By all the honey’d store
   On Hybla’s thymy shore,
By all her blooms and mingled murmurs dear,
   By her whose love-lorn woe,
   In evening musings slow,
Soothed sweetly sad Electra’s poet’s ear:

   By old Cephisus deep,
   Who spread his wavy sweep
In warbled wand’rings round thy green retreat;
   On whose enamell’d side,
   When holy Freedom died,
No equal haunt allured thy future feet!

   O sister meek of Truth,
   To my admiring youth
Thy sober aid and native charms infuse!
   The flow’rs that sweetest breathe,
   Though beauty cull’d the wreath,
Still ask thy hand to range their order’d hues.

   While Rome could none esteem,
   But virtue’s patriot theme,
You loved her hills, and led her laureate band;
   But stay’d to sing alone
   To one distinguish’d throne,
And turn’d thy face, and fled her alter’d land.

   No more, in hall or bow’r,
   The passions own thy pow’r.
Love, only Love her forceless numbers mean;
   For thou hast left her shrine,
   Nor olive more, nor vine,
Shall gain thy feet to bless the servile scene.

   Though taste, though genius bless
   To some divine excess,
Faint’s the cold work till thou inspire the whole;
   What each, what all supply,
   May court, may charm our eye,
Thou, only thou, canst raise the meeting soul!

   Of these let others ask,
   To aid some mighty task,
I only seek to find thy temperate vale;
   Where oft my reed might sound
   To maids and shepherds round,
And all thy sons, O Nature, learn my tale.

470   How sleep the Brave

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;
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There Honour comes, a pilgrim grey,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there!

471   Ode to Evening

IF aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
     Like thy own solemn springs,
     Thy springs and dying gales;

O nymph reserved, while now the bright-hair’d sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
     With brede etheral wove,
     O’erhang his wavy bed:

Now air is hush’d save where the weak-eyed bat
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,
     Or where the beetle winds
     His small but sullen horn,

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.