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ODE TO FEAR.
Mr. Collins, who had often determined to apply himself to dramatic poetry, seems here, with the same view, to have addressed one of the principal powers of the drama, and to implore that mighty influence she had given to the genius of Shakespeare :
“ Hither again thy fury deal,
In the construction of this nervous ode, the author has shown equal power of judgment and imagination. Nothing can be more striking than the violent and abrupt abbreviation of the measure in the fifth and sixth verses, when he feels the strong influence of the power he invokes :
Ah, Fear, ah, frantic Fear!
The editor of these poems has met with nothing in the same species of poetry, either in his own, or in any other language, equal, in all respects, to the following description of Danger :
“ Danger, whose limbs of giant mould
It is impossible to contemplate the image conveyed in the two last verses, without those emotions of terror it was intended to excite.
It has, moreover, the entirel advantage of novelty to recommend it; for t) tre is too much originality in all the circumstances, to suppose that the author had in his eye that description of the penal situation of Catiline in the ninth Æneid :
Te, Catilina, minaci
Pendentem scopulo." The archetype of the English poet's idea was in nature, and, probably, to her alone he was indebted for the thought. From her, likewise, he derived that magnificence of conception, that horrible grandeur of imagery, displayed in the following lines :
“ And those, the fiends, who, near allied,
That nutritive enthusiasm, which cherishes the seeds of poetry, and which is, indeed, the only soil wherein they will grow to perfection, lays open the mind to all the influences of fiction. A passion for whatever is greatly wild or magnificent in the works of nature seduces the imagination to attend to all that is extravagant, however unnatural. Milton was notoriously fond of high romance and gothic diableries; and Collins, who in genius and enthusiasm bore no very distant resemblance to Milton, was wholly carried away by the same attachments.
“ Be mine to read the visions old,
There is an old traditionary superstition, that on St. Marķ's eve, the forms of all such persons as shall die within the ensuing year, make their solemn entry into the churches of their respective parishes, as St. Patrick swam over the Channel, without their heads.
ODE TO SIMPLICITY.
The measure of the ancient ballad seems to have been made choice of for this ode, on account of the subject; and it has, indeed, an air of simplicity, not altogether unaffecting :
By all the honied store
By her whose love-lorn woe,
This allegorical imagery of the honied store, the blooms, and mingled murmurs of Hybla, alluding to the sweetness and beauty of the Attic poetry, has the finest and the happiest effect : yet, possibly, it will bear a question, whether the ancient Greek tragedians had a general claim to simplicity in any thing more than the plans of their drama. Their language, at least, was infinitely metaphorical; yet it must be owned that they justly copied nature and the passions, and so far, certainly, they were entitled to the palm of true simplicity; the following most beautiful speech
of Polynices will be a monument of this, so long as poetry shall last:
πολύδακρυς δ' άφικόμην
Eurip. Phæniss. ver. 369.
The poet cuts off the prevalence of simplicity among the Romans with the reign of Augustus ; and, indeed, it did not continue much longer, most of the compositions, after that date, giving into false and artificial ornament.
“ No more, in hall or bower,
The passions own thy power,
In these lines the writings of the Provençal poets are principally alluded to, in which simplicity is generally sacrificed to the rhapsodies of romantic love.