1801 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

Leigh Hunt, "The Shade of Collins. An Ode" Morning Chronicle (3 October 1801).



Who shall awake with magic song
The wildly-throbbing soul?
Who dart the Muse's light along,
And bid her thunders roll?
Or who with strain of gentlest note
In low and liquid warblings float,
Soft stealing thro' the silent air,
While PITY breathes her mildest lay,
And from her eye's Aprilian ray,
Slow drops a quivering tear?

Rude MADNESS, idiot King of Power,
Who from the Muse's breast
Tore him that in her sacred bower
She knew and lov'd the best;
Stare not in gloomy silence more,
Rage all thy storms of passion o'er,
And weave the wildrings of the soul:
Pale COLLINS dropt his sacred lyre;
He saw thy frenzied orbs of fire,
Thy meteor eyeballs roll!

SUBLIMITY'S enraptur'd child,
Say, whither art thou fled?
Gone to awake with music wild
The slumbers of the dead?
Or dost thou still, O tearful Bard,
Lorn MELANCHOLY'S wand'rings guard
In some remote and solemn grove;
With dewy garlands deck the grave,
Where FREEDOM lulls her hapless brave,
Or dress the tomb of Love?

Lorn tearful Bard, whose wild-wove lay
Each thrilling Passion sung;
When Music now soft died away,
Now wild and warlike rung;
I see, I see thy solemn shade
Quick starting from yon haunted glade
With tresses tost, and eyes that weep;
High o'er the gulf screams danger loud,
And FEAR on phantoms wrapt in cloud
Howls dreadfully and deep!

Fell ANGER with his clenching hand
Rude dashes on the lyre;
Wild throws it on the trembling land,
And grasps his torch of fire!
Look, look no more — In murm'ring low
I hear the sigh of anguish flow!
Sad JEALOUSY, away: — 'tis thine!
Thy hollow smile and fitful sob
Too wildly bid my bosom throb;
I do not call thee mine!—

Hark! 'Tis REVENGE, while thunders peal,
With blast of threat'ning breath,
Calls on the fiends that darkling deal
The hidden point of Death!
Fierce as he winds the stormy strain,
Rise visages that writhe with pain,
And hands the purple steel that grasp;
At each dread pause wild groans DESPAIR,
And dying PITY on the air
Slow heaves a ling'ring gasp!

But sounds arise more soft and sweet,
Melodiously forlorn;
They breathe thro' yonder green retreat
From MELANCHOLY'S horn!
Ye glades, repeat the soothing sound—
Ye runnets, steal in warblings round.
From yonder gloom bright visions break!
See, HOPE her golden tresses wave,
And JOY, whose songs contentment gave,
The smiling Morn awake!

Soul-soothing Bard, in what bright sphere
Now breathes thy sacred Lyre?
What Angel-youths enraptur'd hear;
What heavenly Themes inspire?
Thy hand no more sublimely flings
Empassion'd Horror on its strings—
Deep and majestically wild;
Peace breathes thro' every softer Lay,
And INSPIRATION'S gentlest ray
Plays round his warbling Child!

Farewel, sweet Bard — thy grave around
Shall still with flow'rs be dress'd,
While SYMPATHY and LOVE be found,
To warm the human breast!
There TRUTH and FRIENDSHIP, hand in hand,
Shall dew with tears the blooming land,
And scatter wreaths of ev'ry hue!
Still, as she goes, the Muse would stay,
Still seems to hear thy thrilling lay,
And weeps a last adieu!