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Seem'd a huge heap of stone together cast
In nice disorder and wild symmetry,

Urns, broken freezes, statues half defac'd, And pedestals with antique imagery Emboss'd, and pillars huge of costly porphyry.

Aloft on this strange basis was ypight
With girlonds gay adorn'd a golden chair,
In which aye smiling with self-bred delight,
In careless pride reclin'd a lady fair,
And to soft music lent her idle ear;

The which with pleasure so did her enthral,
That for aught else she had but little care,
For wealth, or fame, or honour feminal,
Or gentle love, sole king of pleasures natural.

Als by her side, in richest robes array'd, An eunuch sate, of visage pale and dead, Unseemly paramour for royal maid! Yet him she courted oft and honoured, And oft would by her place in princely sted, Though from the dregs of earth he springen were, And oft with regal crowns she deck'd his head, And oft, to sooth her vain and foolish ear, She bade him the great names of mighty Kesars bear.

Thereto herself a pompous title bore,
For she was vain of her great ancestry,
But vainer still of that prodigious store
Of arts and learning, which she vaunts to lie
In the rich archives of her treasury.

These she to strangers oftentimes would show, With grave demean and solemn vanity,

Then proudly claim as to her merit due, The venerable praise and title of Vertù.

Vertù she was yclept, and held her court
With outward shows of pomp and majesty,
To which natheless few others did resort,
But men of base and vulgar industry.
Or such perdy as of them cozen'd be,
Mimes, fiddlers, pipers, eunuchs squeaking fine,
Painters and builders, sons of masonry,

Who well could measure with the rule and line, And all the orders five right craftily define.

But other skill of cunning architect,

How to contrive the house for dwelling best,
With self-sufficient scorn they wont neglect,
As corresponding with their purpose least;
And herein be they copied of the rest,
Who aye pretending love of science fair,
generous purpose to adorn the breast
With liberal arts, to Vertù's court repair,

Yet nought but tunes and names, and coins away do


For long, to visit her once-honour'd seat
The studious sons of learning have forbore:
Who whilom thither ran, with pilgrim feet,
Her venerable reliques to adore,

And load their bosom with the sacred store,
Whereof the world large treasure yet enjoys.
But sithence she declin'd from wisdom's lore,
They left her to display her pompous toys
To virtuosi vain, and wonder-gaping boys.

BORN 1721.-DIED 1756.

COLLINS published his Oriental eclogues while at college, and his lyrical poetry at the age of twentysix. Those works will abide comparison with whatever Milton wrote under the age of thirty. If they have rather less exuberant wealth of genius, they exhibit more exquisite touches of pathos. Like Milton, he leads us into the haunted ground of imagination; like him, he has the rich economy of expression haloed with thought, which by single or few words often hints entire pictures to the imagination. In what short and simple terms, for instance, does he open a wide and majestic landscape to the mind, such as we might view from Benlomond or Snowden, when he speaks of the hut

"That from some mountain's side
Views wilds and swelling floods,"

And in the line "Where faint and sickly winds for ever howl around," he does not merely seem to describe the sultry desart, but brings it home to the senses.

A cloud of obscurity sometimes rests on his highest conceptions, arising from the fineness of his associations, and the daring sweep of his allusions; but the shadow is transitory, and interferes

very little with the light of his imagery, or the warmth of his feelings. The absence of even this speck of mysticism from his Ode on the Passions is perhaps the happy circumstance that secured its unbounded popularity. Nothing is common-place in Collins. The pastoral eclogue, which is insipid in all other English hands, assumes in his a touching interest, and a picturesque air of novelty. It seems that he himself ultimately undervalued those eclogues, as deficient in characteristic manners; but surely no just reader of them cares any more about this circumstance than about the authenticity of the tale of Troy.

In his Ode to Fear he hints at his dramatic ambition, and he planned several tragedies. Had he lived to enjoy and adorn existence, it is not easy to conceive his sensitive spirit and harmonious ear descending to mediocrity in any path of poetry; yet it may be doubted if his mind had not a passion for the visionary and remote forms of imagination too strong and exclusive for the general purposes of the drama. His genius loved to breathe rather in the preternatural and ideal element of poetry, than in the atmosphere of imitation, which lies closest to real life; and his notions of poetical excellence, whatever vows he might address to the manners, were still tending to the vast, the undefinable, and the abstract. Certainly, however, he carried sensibility and tenderness into the highest regions of abstracted thought: his enthusiasm spreads a glow

even amongst "the shadowy tribes of mind," and his allegory is as sensible to the heart as it is visible to the fancy.


Ir aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,

May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear, Like thy own solemn springs,

Thy springs, and dying gales;

O nymph reserv'd, while now the bright-hair'd sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
With brede ethereal wove,
O'erhang his wavy bed:

Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-ey'd bat, With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing, Or where the beetle winds

His small but sullen horn,

As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path,

Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:
Now teach me, maid compos'd,

To breathe some soften'd strain,

Whose numbers stealing through thy darkening vale,

May not unseemly with its stillness suit,

As, musing slow, I hail

Thy genial lov'd return!

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