1794
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Despair.

European Magazine 26 (December 1794) 437-38.

Horatio


An irregular ode in five octosyllabic stanzas signed "Horatio." Raymond Dexter Havens includes this ode in his catalogue of Milton imitations: in addition to its octosyllabic lines, it employs the "hence" formula: "Avaunt, foul fiend; I cannot bear | Thy curst alluring voice to hear. | Despair, avaunt; I bid thee hence, | And vow a life of penitence." In 1790 the European Magazine had published an allegorical ode on this subject by Thomas Adney.



Uncouth Hag of evening hour,
Wait around this ivy bower;
And whilst owls and bats do cry,
And foretel Man's destiny,
do thou, Despair, still haunt my tortur'd breast,
Nor grant its master one short hour of rest.

Come, come, I call — my footsteps guide
To the river's margent side—
There despondence rush me in.
Fatal Fury, urge thy course
As the swift and speedy horse,
And bid my woe begin.—
Hark, I hear Religion say,
"Guide thy steps another way;
Patience shall accomplish all
For which thy soul can ever call:
Wait at my resplendent lamp betimes,
And bid defiance to a race of crimes."

Avaunt, foul fiend; I cannot bear
Thy curst alluring voice to hear.
Despair, avaunt; I bid thee hence,
And vow a life of penitence;
The Gods have seen me on the verge of fate,
And snatch'd me from destruction ere too late.

Retract, retract, thy impious call,
Nor e'er again my heart enthrall,
But let me shun thy power.
How can the virtuous ever bear
To taste of thee, uncouth Despair,
Whom grief attends each hour!

Henceforth, Despair, I bid adieu
To all who ever trust in you;
Kind meek Religion be my guide,
Whose patient path is open wide;
Whose dictates tell thy fatal craft is vain,
Whose records charge thee with a field of slain.

[pp. 427-38]