1810 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

William Hersee, "Ode written by Moonlight, in the City of Chichester" Poems Rural and Domestic (1810) 151-52.



Hail thou fair orb! bright lamp of silent night!
Empress supreme of midnight's shining train!
In silver rays of mildly-beaming light
How welcome thou upon the tractless plain!
But not less welcome to my pensive mind
While on this city's walls I sit reclin'd.

Yon' ancient dome and high cathedral tow'r
Look solemn rising to my lonely view;
The heavy bell tolls out the night's latest hour,
And slowly on the tombs descends the dew;
Here let me pause, and gaze upon the scene;
A moral lesson awfully serene!

Upon this very spot, where now I stand,
With eyes uplifted to yon' spangled arch,
How oft, perhaps, has pensive COLLINS plann'd
Some ode sublime! or pac'd in raptur'd march!
And often too upon this sacred ground
The poet mus'd, while wrapt in thought profound!

Within the cloister'd walls, or lofty aisle,
With frenzied look and bosom all on fire,
Perchance he walk'd; or round the soaring pile
Aloud re-echo'd his enchanting lyre!
That heav'nly lyre which now no more will breathe
For oh! its master lies yon turf beneath!

In worldly life the hapless days he knew
Of wayward fortune's hard and fickle pow'r;
Her bright and sunny days to him were few,
And e'er they shone he saw her tempest low'r:
But now he rests; and honouring his name,
Pure Sculpture witnesses the Poet's fame.