1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

Anne Grant, in "On Reading MSS Poems ... by a Young Lady" The Highlander (1808) 232-33.



When Thomson's harp of charming tone,
Giv'n to the favour'd bard alone,
(Its tuneful master snatch'd away)
Midst whispering reeds impervious lay;
The winds awak'd its mournful swell,
The wood-nymphs join'd the solemn knell.
Her yellow locks mild Autumn tore,
Wild Winter mourn'd in mantle hoar;
Sweet Spring in weeping buds was dress'd,
And Summer rent her flow'ry vest;
Sad Nature caught th' Aeolian strain,
And bade it echo through the plain;
And Fate proclaim'd, no daring hand
Should Thomson's sacred harp command;
While Collins sooth'd the mourners round
With magic lyre of dulcet sound:
But when the Bard by Arun's stream
Indulg'd each sadly tender theme,
And with enchantment wild combin'd
The countless "shadowy tribes of mind;"
Or wept o'er valour's early tomb,
Bedeck'd with wreaths of freshest bloom;
Or bade the pictur'd passions rise,
In fancy'd forms, to human eyes,—
The fair creation rose confess'd,
And dazzled reason sunk oppress'd:
No more he feels the Muse inspire,
In slumber lay the magic lyre;
Again he lifts his languid eyes,
To wake its strain in vain he tries;
Then ere he sought th' Elysian plain,
Resign'd the magic lyre to Jane!