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Such, no doubt, were the privileges which the poet expected, and such were the advantages he derived from the descriptive and allegorical nature of his themes.
seems to have been the whole industry of our author (and it is, at the same time, almost all the claim to moral excellence his writings can boast) to promote the influence of the social virtues, by painting them in the fairest and happiest lights.
if, therefore, it should appear to some readers, that he has been more industrious to cultivate description than sentiment; it may be observed, that his descriptions themselves are sentimental, and answer the whole end of that species of writing, by embellishing every feature of virtue, and by conveying, through the effects of the pencil, the finest moral lessons to the mind.
After these apologies for the descriptive turn of the following odes, something remains to be said on the origin and use of allegory in poetical composition.
It is not the verbal but the sentimental allegory, not allegorical expression (which, indeed, might come under the term of metaphor) but allegorical imagery, that is here in question.
At the birth of letters, in the transition from hieroglyphi
cal to literal expression, it is not to be wondered if the custom of expressing ideas by personal images, which had so long prevailed, should still retain its influence on the mind, though the use of letters had rendered the practical application of it superfluous. Those who had been accustomed to express strength by the image of an elephant, swiftness by that of a panther, and courage by that of a lion, would make no scruple of substituting, in letters, the symbols for the ideas they had been used to represent.
Here we plainly see the origin of allegorical expression, that it arose from the ashes of hieroglyphics; and if to the same cause we should refer that figurative boldness of style and imagery which distinguish the oriental writings, we shall, perhaps, conclude more justly, than if we should impute it to the superior grandeur of eastern genius.
From the same source with the verbal, we are to derive the sentimental allegory, which is nothing more than a continuation of the metaphorical or symbolical expression of the several agents in an action, or the different objects in a:
The latter most peculiarly comes under the denomination of allegorical imagery; and in this species of allegory we include the impersonation, of passions, affections, virtues and vices, &c. on account of which, principally, the following odes were properly termed by their author, allegorical.-L.
ODE TO PITY.
O THOU, the friend of man assign’d,
And charm bis frantic woe:
His wild unsated foe !
By Pella’s Bard,* a magic name,
Receive my humble rite:
And eyes of dewy light!
But wherefore need I wander wide
Deserted stream, and mute?
Been sooth'd by Pity's lute.
* Euripides, who was buried at Pella, a city of Macedonia, after residing . there about three years.-C.
+ A river in Sussex.-The mention of Otway, born as well as Collins near the Arun, probably suggested to his melaycholy and indignant mind, an
There first the wren thy myrtles shed
To him thy cell was shewn;
Thy turtles mix'd their own.
Come, Pity, come, by fancy's aid,
Thy temple's pride design:
In all who view the shrine.
There Picture's toil shall well relate,
O’er mortal bliss prevail:
With each disastrous tale.
There let me oft, retir'd by day,
Allow'd with thee to dwell:
analogy in their fates which he has forborne to express. They both were the objects of pity, from that circumstance which a liberal mind would least wish to become so-pecuniary distresses.-B.
There waste the mournful lamp of night,
To hear a British shell !
ODE TO FEAR.
THOU, to whom the world unknown
Ah Fear ! ah frantic Fear?
I see, I see thee near.