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After describing the traveller lost in the snow, the poet thus con
In vain for him the officious wife prepares
The fire fair blazing, and the vestment warm;
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their sire
The deadly winter seizes, shuts up sense,
Lays him along the snows a stiffened corpse,
As long as human passions shall animate or disturb the world, COLLINS's masterly Ode will doubtless be perused and prized: yet the gifted author suffered from 'neglect and poverty, and ultimately became the victim of mental disease. Some evil genius seemed to have presided over his destiny, for in early life he fell in love with a fair damsel, who was born a day before himself, and she refused to respond to his appeals. "Your case is a hard one," said a friend. "It is so indeed," replied Collins, "for I came into the world a day after the fair." When at Magdalen College, Oxford, he was entertaining a few friends at tea. Hampton, the translator of Polybius, unexpectedly entered, and finding no one disposed to dispute with him, deliberately upset the tea-table, scattering its contents across the room. Collins, although constitutionally somewhat choleric, was so utterly confounded at the unexpected demonstration, that he took no notice of the aggressor, but calmly began picking up the broken pieces of china, mildly quoting this line of Horace :—
"Invenias etiam disjecti membra poeta."
Now for his masterly Ode :
When Music, heavenly maid, was young, While yet in early Greece she sung, The Passions oft, to hear her shell, Thronged around her magic cell, Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting, Possest beyond the muse's painting; By turns they felt the glowing mind Disturbed, delighted, raised, refined; Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired, Filled with fury, rapt, inspired, From the supporting myrtles round, They snatched her instruments of sound; And, as they oft had heard apart Sweet lessons of her forceful art, Each (for madness ruled the hour) Would prove his own expressive power.
First Fear his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords, bewildered laid, And back recoiled, he knew not why,
Even at the sound himself had made.
Next Anger rushed, his eyes on fire,
In lightnings owned his secret stings; In one rude clash he struck the lyre,
And swept with hurried hand the strings. With woful measures wan Despair,
Low, sullen sounds his grief beguiled; A solemn, strange, and mingled air;
'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.
But thou, oh Hope, with eyes so fair,
Still would her touch the strain prolong;
She called on Echo still, through all the song;
And longer had she sung;-but, with a frown,
Revenge impatient rose;
He threw his blood-stained sword, in thunder, down,
And, with a withering look,
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe!
And, ever and anon, he beat
The double drum with furious heat;
And though sometimes, each dreary pause between,
Dejected Pity at his side,
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild, unaltered mien,
While each strained ball of sight seemed bursting from his head.
In notes by distance made more sweet,
Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul;
And, dashing soft from rocks around,
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole,
Or o'er some haunted stream, with fond delay,
Love of peace and lonely musing,
In hollow murmurs died away.
But O! how altered was its sprightlier tone,
Her buskins gemmed with morning dew,
The hunter's call, to Faun and Dryad known!
Satyrs and Sylvan Boys, were seen,
Peeping from forth their alleys green:
Brown Exercise rejoiced to hear;
And Sport leapt up, and seized his beechen spear.
Last came Joy's ecstatic trial:
He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand addrest ;
But soon he saw the brisk, awakening viol,
Love framed with Mirth, a gay fantastic round:
As if he would the charming air repay,
Oh, Music! sphere-descended maid,
Thy mimic soul, oh, nymph endeared,
Collins's grand lines, The Patriot's Grave, are among the finest of
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,