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By all her blooms, and mingled murmurs dear,
By her, whose love-lorn woe,
In evening musings slow,
By old Cephisus deept
Who sproad his wavy sweep
On whose enamel'd side,
When holy Freedom died,
* Milton, in his 8th sonnet, says
“ The repeated air Of sad Electra's poet, had the power
To save th' Athenian walls from ruin bare." This refers to a story in Plutarch : that when Lysander had taken Athens, and intended to destroy that city, he was diverted from his purpose by bearing some lines
sung from the Electra of Euripides. But Collins alludes to the Electra of Sophocles, and to the following passage in that drama.
Νηπιος δεις των οικερως
Ορνις αλυζομενη, Διος αγfέλος. v. 145.
The melancholy bird, Jove's messenger.-C. + Cephisus is the name of a river in Beotia, and of another which runs near Athens. Vid. Cellar. Geo. L 2, C 13.-C.
O sister meek of Truth,
To my admiring youth,
The flowers that owcetest breathe,
While Rome could none esteem,
But yirtue's patriot theme, You lov'd her bills, and led her laureate band :
But staid to sing alone
To one distinguish'd throne, And turn’d thy face, and fled her alter'd land.
No more, in hall or bower,
The passions own thy power, 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.
Tho'taste, tho' genius bless
* The Poet cuts off the prevalence of simplicity among the Romans with the age of Augustus; and indeed it did not continue much longer; most of the compositions after that date giving into false and artificial ornaments,
“No more in hall or bower,” &c. In these lines, the writings of the Provencal poets are principally alluded to, in which simplicity is generally sacrificed to rhapsodies of romantic love.-L.
Faint's the cold work till thou inspire the whole;
What each, what all supply,
May court, may charm our eye,
Of these let others ask,
To aid some mighty task,
Where oft my reed might sound
To maids and shepherds round,
ODE ON THE POETICAL CHARACTER..
As once, if not with light regard,
Lo! to each other nymph in turn applied,
As if, in air unseen, some hovering hand,
* Florimel, See Spenser. Leg. 4th.
Some chaste and angel-friend to virgin-fame,
With whisper'd spell had burst the starting band, It left unblest her loath'd dishonour'd side;
Happier hopeless Fair, if never
Her baffled hand with vain endeavour
To whom, prepar'd and bath'd in heaven,
To gird their blest prophetic loins,
* It is difficult to reduce to any thing like a meaning, this strange, and by no means reverential, fiction concerning the Divine Being. Probably the obscure idea that floated in the mind of the author was this : that true poetry being a representation of nature, must have its archetype in those ideas of the supreme mind which originally gave birth to nature ; and therefore, that no one should attempt it without being conversant with the fair and beautiful, the true and perfect, both in moral ideas, the shadowy tribes of mind, and the productions of the natural world.-B.
No one who is acquainted with Collins's writings will suspect him, here or elsewhere, of the least intentional irreverence. But to say of the Deity, that he is at any time, or upon any occasion, in a diviner mood, is an
Retiring, sate with her alone,
unguarded expression, and neither reverend nor true. The works of his creation may be more or less divine ; but He himself is the same in all his perfections, whether creating the soul of a man, or the body of a worm.-C.
* The tarsol is the gyr-lawk: tarsol, or tiercelet, being an old term iv falconry.-B.