1772
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Peace.

Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 15 (6 February 1772) 179

Anonymous


An allegorical ode in nine lyric stanzas, not signed. The poet, imitating Collins's Ode to Pity, catalogues the blessings of peace, concluding: "Make ev'ry man his neighbour's friend, | Then all the ills of life shall end, | And heav'n begin below." Raymond Dexter Havens includes this ode in his list of imitations of MIlton's L'Allegro; the Nativity Ode is probably a source as well. A note informs us that some of the lines were "Composed in time of war," suggesting that the poem was a least begun a decade before it was published.



Come, gentle Peace, celestial maid!
Come from the lonely silent shade,
With all thy smiling train,
Contentment blythe, and rosy Health,
With Innocence, the peasant's wealth,
And visit me again!

Long has my anxious lab'ring breast,
Oppress'd with woes, forgot the rest
Thy presence once inspir'd:
O wave thy olive o'er my soul,
Bid all its tumults cease to roll,
And bring the calm desir'd!

I see thee radiant on the throne
Where sits the great redeeming Son,
Jesu, the Prince of Peace!
He speaks, and straight I see thee fly
Thro' all the mansions of the sky,
And angels feel the grace.

Lo! he descends to Bethleh'm's inn,
His mortal race there to begin;
I see thee in his train!
Descending in a flood of day,
The angel-choirs assume the lay,
And swell the raptur'd strain:

"Hail, favour'd men! with joy attend,
Peace and Benevolence descend
To bless your longing eyes!"
The ravish'd shepherds catch the sound,
Resume the reed, and round and round
The joyful echo flies.

Blest gift of heav'n! balm of the mind!
Deign still to bless the human kind,
Nor leave the earth again:
Bid surly war and discord dire,
Bid sorrow wipe his tearful eye,
And drop his plaintive strain.

Bid Husbandry assume again
His plough and whistle on the plain,
To animate the toil;
Free from the rage of wasteful war,
May he drive home the loaded ear,
Fraught with the bounteous soil!

Beneath thy smile bid Science rise,
And shoot his thoughts up to the skies,
With big ideas fraught;
Bid busy Commerce swell her sail,
And pour her wealth o'er all our isle,
From distant Indies brought.

Thro' regal breasts thy calm diffuse,
Direct the politician's views,
To peace too oft a foe:
Make ev'ry man his neighbour's friend,
Then all the ills of life shall end,
And heav'n begin below.

[p. 179]