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performances should generally end with a chain of couplets. In these the moral of the whole piece is usually conveyed; and that assistance which the memory borrows from rhyme, as it was probably the original cause of it, gives it usefulness and propriety even there.

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.

By this we are not to understand the trope in the schools, which is defined aliud verbis, aliud sensu ostendere; and of which Quintilian says, usus est, ut tristia dicamus melioribus verbis, aut bonæ rei gratia quædam contrariis significemus, &c.

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.

When we endeavour to trace this species of figurative sentiment to its origin, we find it coeval with literature itself. It is generally agreed, that the most ancient productions are poetical; and it is certain that the most ancient

poems abound with allegorical imagery.

If, then, it be allowed that the first literary productions were poetical, we shall have little or no difficulty in discovering the origin of allegory.

At the birth of letters, in the transition from hieroglyphical 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 scene.

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.

With respect to the utility of this figurative writing, the same arguments that have been advanced in favour of descriptive poetry will be of weight likewise here. It is, indeed, from impersonation, or, as it is commonly termed, personification, that poetical description borrows its chief powers and graces. Without the aid of this, moral and intellectual painting would be flat and unanimated, and even the scenery of material objects would be dull, without the introduction of fictitious life.

These observations will be most effectually illustrated by the sublime and beautiful odes that occasioned them; in those it will appear how happily this allegorical painting may be executed by the genuine powers of poetical genius, and they will not fail to prove its force and utility by passing through the imagination to the heart.


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* By Pella's bard, a magic name,
By all the griefs his thought could frame,

Receive my humble rite :
Long, Pity, let the nations view
Thy sky worn robes of tenderest blue,

And eyes of dewy light!”

The propriety of invoking Pity, through the mediation of Euripides is obvious.—That admirable poet had the keys of all the tender passions, and therefore could not but stand in the highest esteem with a writer of Mr. Collins's sensibility.He did, indeed, admire him as much as Milton professedly did, and probably for the same reasons; but we do not find that he has copied him so closely as the last mentioned poet has sometimes done, and particularly in the opening of Samson Agonistes, which is an evident imitation of the following passage in the Phænissæ :

Ηγού πάροιθε, θύγατερ, ώς τυφλή ποδι
Οφθαλμός ει συ, ναυτίλοισιν άστρον ώς:
Δεύρ' εις το λευρόν πέδον ίχνος τιθεϊσ' εμόν,

Act III. Sc. I.

The “ eyes of dewy light" is one of the happiest strokes of imagination, and may be ranked among those expressions which

“ – give us back the image of the mind.”
“ Wild Arun too has heard thy strains,
And Echo, ʼmidst my native plains,

Been soothed with Pity's lute.”
“There first the wren thy myrtles shed
On gentlest Otway's infant head.”

Sussex, in which county the Arun is a small river, had the honour of giving birth to Otway as well as to Collins : both these poets, unhappily, became the objects of that pity by which their writings are distinguished. There was a similitude in their genius and in their sufferings. There was a resemblance in the misfortunes and in the dissipation of their lives; and the circumstances of their death cannot be remembered without pain.

The thought of painting in the temple of Pity the history of human misfortunes, and of drawing the scenes from the tragic muse, is very happy, and in every respect worthy the imagination of Collins.

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