1793
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Rapture.

The Oracle (30 November 1793).

Mary Robinson


An allegorical ode in four irregular stanzas signed "Laura Maria." The idea for this ode appears to be derived in part from Collins's Ode on the Passions, and in part from his Ode on the Poetical Character. Nature is amusing herself by drawing the several passions, "'Till RAPTURE, darting o'er her sight, | Inspir'd her glowing breast with NEW and fierce DELIGHT!" Rapture proves a challenger to the painter, but once invented the new passion is dispatched to morals to "show, thy magic thrill was giv'n, | To prove on EARTH, a transient HEAV'N!" In 1793 The Oracle replaced The World as the newspaper most closely associated with Della Cruscan poetry.

Headnote: "The Muse of Collins gave to the Passions their favourite instruments of Sound — that of our lovely Poet has exhibited the finest effects of Nature's Pencil, when she gave the evanescent blush to Sensibility."



NATURE, with colours heavenly pure,
Her proudest attributes display'd!
ALL that could fascinate, allure,
Inspire, or soothe, her skill essay'd:
She trac'd the PASSIONS, at command,
Each yielded to her potent hand!
LOVE — PITY — HOPE — by turns she drew,
To each she found HER PENCIL TRUE!
'Till RAPTURE, darting o'er her sight,
Inspir'd her glowing breast with NEW and fierce DELIGHT!

NATURE, astonish'd at those charms,
Which fill'd her soul with wild alarms!
Then seiz'd her magic pencil, gay,
Dipt in the Rainbow's brightest ray:
She trac'd the BLUSH! the sparkling EYE!
The snowy BOSOM, beating high!
Yet, o'er the languid Form,
Extatic! tender! timid! warm!
A sweet CONFUSION seem'd to steal—
SUCH as NATURE'S pencil, faint,
Trembling try'd, but could not paint;
Yet, SUCH AS SHE ALONE could FEEL!

Now, wond'ring, at the work she made,
She thus address'd the beauteous shade!
With throbbing pulses, quiv'ring sighs,
And fond, adoring eyes!
"Fairest off'spring of the sky!
Swift to MORTAL regions fly,
Go, in all thy softness drest,
Soothe, the sensate, yielding breast!
And show, thy magic thrill was giv'n,
To prove on EARTH, a transient HEAV'N!"

As NATURE spoke, half madd'ning at the view,
The glowing PHANTOM fainter grew!
Till, like a meteor, glimm'ring thro' a shade,
TOO EXQUISITE TO LAST! the FLEETING FORM DECAY'D!

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