1746
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Peace.

Odes on Several Descriptive and Allegorical Subjects.

William Collins


An allegorical ode in which the "British lion" might recall Una's friend, or that beneath the feet of Mercilla-Elizabeth in Faerie Queene 5.9.33.3-5: "Whylest underneath her feete, there as she sate, | An huge great Lyon lay, that mote appall | An hardie courage."

George Dyer: "The illustrations of Shakespeare, the workmanship of some of our greatest painters, planned an published by Mr. Alderman Boydell, show to admiration, how poetry may assist painting; and Collins's descriptive and allegorical odes, how poetry may be assisted by painting. For Collins's odes are all painting; and it seems not improbable that he derived some of his ideas from the art itself" Poetics (1812) 2:152-53.

Robert Southey: "The truer lyric strain and higher poetical character of Collins obtained no notice. It is a fact which ought never to be forgotten by those who would know what is the worth of contemporary opinion, when left to itself, that Collins's Odes remained, for many years after their publication, utterly neglected, and almost unknown; insomuch that when the poet acquired a small fortune by bequest, he returned to the bookseller the sum which he had received for the copyright, repaid him all his expences, and committed the large remains of the impression to the flames. It was not till nearly thirty years after his death, that Cowper had ever heard his name. He saw it first in Johnson's Lives of the Poets, and was so little impressed by what he saw there, that he called him a poet of no great fame, and appears not to have formed the slightest conception of his powers" "Hayley's Memoirs" Quarterly Review 31 (1824-25) 287.



I.
O Thou, who bad'st thy Turtles bear
Swift from his Grasp thy golden Hair,
And sought'st thy native Skies:
When War, by Vultures drawn from far,
To Britain bent his Iron Car,
And bad his Storms arise!

II.
Tir'd of his rude tyrannic Sway,
Our Youth shall fix some festive Day,
His sullen Shrines to burn:
But Thou who hear'st the turning Spheres,
What Sounds may charm thy partial Ears,
And gain thy blest Return!

III.
O Peace, thy injur'd Robes up-bind,
O rise, and leave not one behind
Of all thy beamy Train:
The British Lion, Goddess sweet,
Lies stretch'd on Earth to kiss thy Feet,
And own thy holier Reign.

IV.
Let others court thy transient Smile,
But come to grace thy western Isle,
By warlike Honour led!
And, while around her Ports rejoice,
While all her Sons adore thy Choice,
With Him for ever wed!

[pp. 39-40]