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SONG.

THE SENTIMENTS BORROWED FROM SHAKESPEARE.

YOUNG Damon of the vale is dead,

Ye lowland hamlets, moan:

A dewy turf lies o'er his head,

And at his feet a stone.

His shroud, which Death's cold damps destroy,
Of snow-white threads was made:
All mourn'd to see so sweet a boy

In earth for ever laid.

Pale pansies o'er his corpse were plac'd,
Which, pluck'd before their time,
Bestrew'd the boy, like him to waste
And wither in their prime.

But will he ne'er return, whose tongue
Could tune the rural lay?
Ah, no! his bell of peace is rung,
His lips are cold as clay.

They bore him out at twilight hour,
The youth who lov'd so well:

Ah me! how many a true-love shower
Of kind remembrance fell!

Each maid was woe-but Lucy chief,
Her grief o'er all was tried;
Within his grave she dropp'd in grief,
And o'er her lov'd-one died.

OBSERVATIONS

ON THE

ORIENTAL ECLOGUES.

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Accordingly we find that the most ancient poems treat of agriculture, astronomy, and other objects within the rural and natural systems.

What constitutes the difference between the georgic and the pastoral, is love and the colloquial or dramatic form of composition peculiar to the latter: this form of composition is sometimes dispensed with, and love and rural imagery alone are thought sufficient to distinguish the pastoral. The tender passion, however, seems to be essential to this species of poetry, and is hardly ever excluded from those pieces that were intended to come under this denomination: even in those eclogues of the Amæbean kind, whose only purport is a trial of skill between contending shepherds, love has its usual share, and the praises of their respective mistresses are the general subjects of the competitors.

It is to be lamented that scarce any oriental compositions of this kind have survived the ravages of ignorance, tyranny, and time; we cannot doubt that many such bave been extant, possibly as far down as that fatal period, never to be mentioned in the world of letters without horrour, when the glorious monuments of human ingenuity perished in the ashes of the Alexandrian library.

Those ingenious Greeks whom we call the parents of pastoral poetry were, probably, no more than imitators, that derived their harmony from higher and remoter sources, and kindled their poetical fires at those then unextinguished lamps which burned within the tombs of oriental genius.

It is evident that Homer has availed himself of those magnificent images and descriptions so frequently to be met with in the books of the Old Testament; and why may not Theocritus, Moschus, and Bion, have found their archetypes in other eastern writers, whose names have perished with their works? Yet, though it may not be illiberal to admit such a supposition, it would certainly be invidious to conclude, what the malignity of cavillers alone could suggest with regard to Homer, that they destroyed the sources from which they borrowed, and, as it is fabled of the young of the pelican, drained their supporters to death.

THE genius of the pastoral, as well as of every other respectable species of poetry, had its origin in the East, and from thence was transplanted by the Muses of Greece; but whether from the continent of the lesser Asia, or from Egypt, which, about the era of the Grecian pastoral, was the hospitable nurse of letters, it is not easy to determine. From the subjects, and the manner, of Theocritus, one As the Septuagint-translation of the Old Testawould incline to the latter opinion, while the historyment was performed at the request, and under the of Bion is in favour of the former.

However, though it should still remain a doubt, through what channel the pastoral travelled westward, there is not the least shadow of uncertainty concerning its oriental origin.

patronage, of Ptolemy Philadelphus, it were not to be wondered if Theocritus, who was entertained at that prince's court, had borrowed some of his pastoral imagery from the poetical passages of those books. I think it can hardly be doubted that the In those ages, which, guided by sacred chrono-Sicilian poet had in his eye certain expressions of logy, from a comparative view of time, we call the the prophet Isaiah, when he wrote the following early ages, it appears from the most authentic lines:

historians, that the chief; of the peuple employed | Nυν τα μεν φορεοιτε βατοι, φορέοιτε δ ̓ ακανθαι,

themselves in rural exercises, and that astronomers

and legislators were at the same time shepherds.

Thus Strabo informs us, that the history of the creation was communicated to the Egyptians by a Chaldean shepherd.

From these circumstances it is evident, not only that such shepherds were capable of all the dignity and elegance peculiar to poetry, but that whatever poetry they attempted would be of the pastoral kind; would take its subjects from those scenes of rural simplicity in which they were conversant, and, as it was the offspring of Harmony and Nature,

VOL. Xil

A δε καλα Ναρκισσος επ' αρκεύθοισι κομαται·

Παντα δ ̓ εναλλα γένοιτο, και ά πιτυς οχίας ενεικαί,
-και τας κύνας ώλαφος έλκοι.

Let vexing brambles the blue violet bear,
On the rude thorn Narcissus dress his hair-
All, all revers'd-The pine with pears be crown'd,
And the bold deer shall drag the trembling hound.

The cause, indeed, of these phenomena is very dif-
ferent in the Greek from what it is in the Hebrew
poet; the former employing them on the death,

P

the latter on the birth, of an important person: but the marks of imitation are nevertheless ob

vious.

of the four: but it is by no means the least valuable. The moral precepts which the intelligent shepherd delivers to his fellow-swains and the virtheir companions, are such as would infallibly promote the happiness of the pastoral life.

In impersonating the private virtues, the poet has observed great propriety, and has formed their genealogy with the most perfect judgment, when he represents them as the daughters of Truth and Wisdom.

It might, however, be expected, that if Theocri-gins, tus had borrowed at all from the sacred writers, the celebrated epithalamium of Solomon, so much within his own walk of poetry, would not certainly have escaped his notice. His epithalamium on the marriage of Helena, moreover, gave him an open field for imitation; therefore, if he has any obligations to the royal bard, we may expect to find them there. The very opening of the poem is in the spirit of the Hebrew song:

Ουτω δη πρωΐζα κατέδραθες, ο φιλε γαμβρο; The colour of imitation is still stronger in the following passage:

Αως αντελλο:τα καλον διέφανε πρόσωπον, Ποτνια νυξ άτε, λευκον εαρ χειμώνος ανέντος, Ωδε και ἃ χρυσέα 'Ελενα διέφαίνετ' εν άμιν, Πιειρη, μεγάλη, άτ' ανέδραμεν ογμος αρουρα Η καπω κυπαρισσος, η άρματι Θεσσαλος ἱππος. This description of Helen is infinitely above the style and figure of the Sicilian pastoral-" She is like the rising of the golden morning, when the night departeth, and when the winter is over and gone. She resembleth the cypress in the garden, the horse in the chariots of Thessaly." These figures plainly declare their origin; and others, equally imitative, might be pointed out in the same Idyllium.

This beautiful and luxuriant marriage pastoral of Solomon is the only perfect form of the oriental eclogue that has survived the ruins of time, a happiness for which it is, probably, more indebted to its sacred character than to its intrinsic merit. Not that it is by any means destitute of poetical excellence: like all the eastern poetry, it is bold, wild, and unconnected in its figures, allusions, and parts, and has all that graceful and magnificent daring which characterizes its metaphorical and comparative imagery.

In consequence of these peculiarities, so ill adapted to the frigid genius of the North, Mr. Collins could make but little use of it as a precedent for his oriental eclogues; and even in his third eclogue, where the subject is of a similar nature, he has chosen rather to follow the mode of the Doric and the Latin pastoral.

The scenery and subjects then of the following eclogues alone are oriental; the style and colouring are purely European; and, for this reason, the author's preface, in which he intimates that he had the originals from a merchant who traded to the East, is omitted, as being now altogether superfluous.

With regard to the merit of these eclogues, it may justly be asserted, that in simplicity of description and expression, in delicacy and softness of numbers, and in natural and unaffected tenderness, they are not to be equalled by any thing of the pastoral kind in the English language,

ECLOGUE I.

THIS eclogue, which is entitled Selim, or The Shepherd's Moral, as there is nothing dramatic in the subject, may be thought the least entertaining

The characteristics of Modesty and Chastity are extremely happy and peinturesque :

"Come thou, whose thoughts as limpid springs are clear,

To lead the train, sweet Modesty, appear: With thee be Chastity, of all afraid, Distrusting all, a wise, suspicious maid; Cold is her breast, like flowers that drink the dew, A silken veil conceals her from the view." The two similes borrowed from rural objects are not only much in character, but perfectly natural and expressive. There is, notwithstanding, this defect in the former, that it wants a peculiar propriety; for purity of thought may as well be applied to Chastity as to Modesty; and from this instance, as well as from a thousand more, we may see the necessity of distinguishing, in characteristic poetry, every object by marks and attributes peculiarly its own.

It cannot be objected to this eclogue, that it wants both those essential criteria of the pastoral, love and the drama; for though it partakes not of the latter, the former still retains an interest in it, and that too very material, as it professedly consults the virtue and happiness of the lover, while it informs what are the qualities

-that must lead to love.

ECLOGUE II.

ALL the advantages that any species of poetry can derive from the novelty of the subject and scenery, this eclogue possesses. The route of a camel-driver is a scene that scarce could exist in the imagination of an European, and of its attendant distresses he could have no idea.-These are very happily and minutely painted by our descriptive poet. What sublime simplicity of expression! what nervous plainness in the opening of the poem!

"In silent horrour o'er the boundless waste The driver Hassan with his camels pass'd." The magic pencil of the poet brings the whole scene before us at once, as it were by enchantment, and in this single couplet we feel all the effect that

Iarises from the terrible wildness of a region unenlivened by the habitations of men. The verses, that describe so minutely the camel-driver's little provisions, have a touching influence on the imagination, and prepare the reader to enter more feelingly into his future apprehensions of distress:

"Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall thirst assuage, When fails this cruse, his unrelenting rage !" It is difficult to say whether his apostrophe to the mute companions of his toils, is more to be admired for the elegance and beauty of the poetical imagery, or for the tenderness and humanity of

the sentiment. He who can read it without being affected, will do his heart no injustice, if he concludes it to be destitute of sensibility:

"Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear
In all my griefs a more than equal share!
Here, where no springs in murmurs break away,
Or moss-crown'd fountains mitigate the day,
In vain ye hope the green delights to know,
Which plains more blest or verdant vales bestow:
Here rocks alone and tasteless sands are found,

And faint and sickly winds for ever howl around." Yet in these beautiful lines there is a slight errour, which writers of the greatest genius very frequently fall into. It will be needless to observe to the accurate reader, that in the fifth and sixth verses there is a verbal pleonasm where the poet speaks of the green delights of verdant vales. There is an oversight of the same kind in the Manners, an Ode; where the poet says

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This fault is indeed a common one, but to a reader of taste it is nevertheless disgustful; and it is mentioned here as the errour of a man of genius and judgment, that men of genius and judgment may guard against it.

Mr. Collins speaks like a true poet, as well in sentiment as expression, when, with regard to the thirst of wealth, he says,

"Why heed we not, while mad we haste along, The gentle voice of Peace, or Pleasure's song? Or wherefore think the flowery mountain's side, The fountain's murmurs, and the valley's pride, Why think we these less pleasing to behold, Than dreary deserts, if they lead to gold?"

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"Farewell the youth, whom sighs could not detain, Whom Zara's breaking heart implor'd in vain! Yet, as thou go'st, may every blast ariseWeak and unfelt as these rejected sighs!" But this, perhaps, is rather an artificial prettiness, than a real, or natural beauty.

ECLOGUE III.

which, in the first eclogue, was allowed to constitute THAT innocent and native simplicity of manners, the happiness of love, is here beautifully described in its effects. The sultan of Persia marries a Georgian shepherdess, and finds in her embraces that genuine felicity which unperverted Nature alone can bestow. The most natural and beautiful parts of this eclogue are those where the fair sultana refers with so much pleasure to her pastoral amusements, and those scenes of happy innocence in which she had passed her early years; particujarly when, upon her first departure,

"Oft as she went, she backward turn'd her view, And bade that crook and bleating flock adieu." This picture of amiable simplicity reminds one of that passage, where Proserpine, when carried off by Pluto, regrets the loss of the flowers she has been gathering.

Collecti flores tunicis cecidere remissis:
Tantaque simplicitas puerilibus adfuit annis,
Hæc quoque virgineum movit jactura dolorem.

ECLOGUE IV.

THE beautiful but unfortunate country, where the scene of this pathetic eclogue is laid, had been

But however just these sentiments may appear to recently torn in pieces by the depredations of its those who have not revolted from Nature and simplicity, had the author proclaimed them in Lombard-street, or Cheapside, he would not have been complimented with the understanding of the bellman.-A striking proof, that our own particular ideas of happiness regulate our opinions concerning

the sense and wisdom of others!

It is impossible to take leave of this most beautiful eclogue, without paying the tribute of admiration so justly due to the following nervous lines: "What if the lion in his rage I meet !— Oft in the dust I view his printed feet: And fearful! oft, when Day's declining light Yields her pale empire to the mourner Night,

By hunger rous'd, he scours the groaning plain,

Gaunt wolves and sullen tigers in his train: Before them Death with shrieks directs their way, Fills the wild yell, and leads them to their prey." This, amongst many other passages to be met with in the writings of Collins, shows that his genius was perfectly capable of the grand and magnificent in description, notwithstanding what a learned writer has advanced to the contrary. Nothing, certainly, could be more greatly conceived, or more adequately expressed, than the image in the last couplet.

That deception, sometimes used in rhetoric and poetry, which presents us with an object or sentiment contrary to what we expected, is here introduced to the greatest advantage:

Of

described its misfortunes. This ingenious man had savage neighbours, when Mr. Collins so affectedly not only a pencil to pourtray, but a heart to feel for the miseries of mankind; and it is with the utmost tenderness and humanity he enters into the narrative of Circassia's ruin, while he realizes the scene, and brings the present drama before us. every circumstance that could possibly contribute to the tender effect this pastoral was designed to produce, the poet has availed himself with the utmost art and address. Thus he prepares the heart to pi y the distresses of Circassia, by representing it as the scene of the happiest love.

"In fair Circassia, where, to love inclin❜d,

Each swain was blest, for every maid was kind."

To give the circumstances of the dialogue a more and describes the two shepherds in the very act of affecting solemnity, he makes the time midnight, flight from the destruction that swept over their country:

"Sad o'er the dews, two brother shepherds fled, Where wildering fear and desperate sorrow led:" There is a beauty and propriety in the epithet wildering, which strikes us more forcibly, the more we consider it.

The opening of the dialogue is equally happy, natural, and unaffected; when one of the shepherds, weary and overcome with the fatigue of flight, calls upon his companion to review the length of way they had passed. This is, certainly, painting

from nature, and the thoughts, however obvious, or destitute of refinement, are perfectly in character. But, as the closest pursuit of nature is the surest way to excellence in general, and to sublimity in particular, in poetical description, so we find that this simple suggestion of the shepherd is not unattended with magnificence. There is grandeur and variety in the landscape he describes:

"And first review that long-extended plain, And yon wide groves, already pass'd with pain! Yon ragged cliff, whose dangerous path we try'd! And last this lofty mountain's weary side!" There is, in imitative harmony, an act of express ing a slow and difficult movement by adding to the This is observusual number of pauses in a verse.

able in the line that describes the ascent of the mountain:

And last this lofty mountain's | weary side ||. Here we find the number of pauses, or musical bars, which, in a heroic verse, is commonly two, increased to three.

The liquid melody, and the numerous sweetness of expression in the following descriptive lines is almost inimitably beautiful:

"Sweet to the sight is Zabran's flowery plain, And once by nymphs and shepherds lov'd in vain! No more the virgins shall delight to rove By Sargis' banks, or Irwan's shady grove; On Tarkie's mountain catch the cooling gale, Or breathe the sweets of Aly's flowery vale." Nevertheless in this delightful landscape there is an obvious fault: there is no distinction between the plain of Zabran, and the vale of Aly: they are both flowery, and consequently undiversified. This could not proceed from the poet's want of judgment, but from inattention: it had not occurred to him that he had employed the epithet flowery twice within so short a compass; an oversight which those who are accustomed to poetical, or, indeed, to any other species of composition, know to be very possible.

Nothing can be more beautifully conceived, or more pathetically expressed, than the shepherd's apprehensions for his fair country-women, exposed to the ravages of the invaders.

"In vain Circassia boasts her spicy groves, For ever fam'd for pure and happy loves: In vain she boasts her fairest of the fair, Their eyes' blue languish, and their golden hair! Those eyes in tears their fruitless grief shall send; Those hairs the Tartar's cruel hand shall rend." There is, certainly, some very powerful charm in the liquid melody of sounds. The editor of these poems could never read or hear the following verse repeated, without a degree of pleasure otherwise entirely unaccountable:

“Their eyes' blue languish, and their golden hair." Such are the Oriental Eclogues, which we leave with the same kind of anxious pleasure, we feel upon a temporary parting with a beloved friend,

OBSERVATIONS

ON

THE ODES,

DESCRIPTIVE AND ALLEGORICAL

THE genius of Collins was capable of every degree of excellence in lyric poetry, and perfectly qualified for that high province of the Muse. Possessed of a native ear for all the varieties of harmony and modulation, susceptible of the finest feelings of tenderness and humanity, but above all, carried away by that high enthusiasm, which gives to imagination its strongest colouring, he was, at once, capable of soothing the ear with the melody of his numbers, of influencing the passions by the force of his pathos, and of gratifying the fancy by the luxury of his description.

In consequence of these powers, but more particularly in consideration of the last, he chose such subjects for his lyric essays as were most favourable for the indulgence of description and allegory; where he could exercise his powers in moral and personal painting; where he could exert his invention in conferring attributes on images or objects already known, and described, by a determinate number of characteristics; where he might give an uncommon eclat to his figures, by placing them in happier attitudes, or in more advantageous lights, and introduce new forms from the moral and intellectual world into the society of impersonated beings.

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.

It 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. Melior fieri tuendo,

would be no improper motto to his poems in general, but of his lyric poems it seems to be the whole moral tendency and effect. 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.

Horace speaks of the fidelity of the ear in preference to the uncertainty of the eye; but if the mind receives conviction, it is certainly of very little importance through what medium, or by which of the senses, it is conveyed. The impressions left on the imagination may, possibly, be thought less durable than the deposits of memory, but it may very well admit of a question, whether a conclusion of reason, or an impression of imagination, will soonest make its way to the heart. A moral precept, conveyed in words, is only an account of truth in its effects; a moral picture is truth exemplified; and which is most likely to gain upon the affections, it may not be difficult to determine.

This, however, must be allowed, that those works approach the nearest to perfection which unite these powers and advantages; which at once influence the imagination and engage the memory; the former by the force of animated and striking description, the latter by a brief, but harmonious, conveyance of precept: thus, while the heart is influenced through the operation of the passions or the fancy, the effect, which might otherwise have been transient, is secured by the co-operating power of the memory, which treasures up in a short aphorism the moral scene.

This is a good reason, and this, perhaps, is the only reason that can be given, why our dramatic 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 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 superiour 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 ac

count 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.

ODE TO PITY.

"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 reason; 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 Phoenissæ.

Ηγου προπαροιθε, θυγατερ, ὡς τυφλός ποδι
Οφθαλμός εί σύ, ναυβαταισιν αστρον ὡς,
Δευρ' εις το λευρον πεδίον ιχνος τιθειτ' εμον,
προβαινε.

Act. iii. sc. 1.

The "eyes of dewy light" is one of the happiest. strokes ef 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, 'midst my native plains, Been sooth'd 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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