1762
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Innocence.

Poems on Several Subjects. To which is prefix'd, an Essay on the Lyric Poetry of the Ancients; in Two Letters inscribed to the Right Honourable James Lord Deskfoord. By John Ogilvie, A.M.

Rev. John Ogilvie


An allegorical ode in ten quatrains — an uncommon choice in this kind of poetry. Like Akenside, Collins, and Joseph Warton earlier, John Ogilvie demonstrates his poetical versatility by varying the measure in his odes. Spenser had done much the same in Shepheardes Calender. There is indeed an equivalence between such eighteenth century collections of odes and the eclogues that ambitious poets once wrote at the commencement of their careers.



'Twas when the slow-declining ray
Had ting'd the cloud with evening gold;
No warbler pour'd the melting lay,
No sound disturb'd the peeping fold.

When by a murmuring rill reclin'd
Sat wrapt in thought a wandering swain;
Calm Peace compos'd his musing mind;
And thus he rais'd the flowing strain.

"Hail Innocence! celestial maid!
What joys thy blushing charms reveal!
Sweet, as the arbour's cooling shade,
And milder than the vernal gale.

On Thee attends a radiant Quire,
Soft-smiling Peace, and downy Rest;
With Love that prompts the warbling Lyre,
And Hope that soothes the throbbing breast.

O sent from heav'n to haunt the grove,
Where squinting Envy ne'er can come!
Nor pines the cheek with luckless love,
Nor Anguish chills the living bloom.

But spotless Beauty rob'd in white
Sits on yon moss-grown hill reclin'd;
Serene as heav'n's unsully'd light,
And pure as Delia's gentle mind.

Grant, heavn'ly power! thy peaceful sway
May still my ruder thoughts controul;
Thy hand to point my dubious way,
Thy voice to soothe the melting soul.

Far in the shady sweet retreat
Let Thought beguile the lingering hour;
Let Quiet court the mossy seat,
And twining olives form the bower.

Let dove-ey'd Peace her wreath bestow,
And oft' sit listening in the dale,
While Night's sweet warbler from the bough
Tells to the grove her plaintive tale.

Soft as in Delia's snowy breast,
Let each consenting passion move;
Let Angels watch its silent rest,
And all its blissful dreams be Love."

[pp. 36-37]