POEMS BY WILLIAM COLLINS
ODE TO SIMPLICITY
by: William Collins (1721-1759)
- THOU, by
- To breathe her genuine thought
- In numbers warmly pure and sweetly strong:
- Who first on mountains wild,
- In Fancy, loveliest child,
- Thy babe and Pleasure's, nursed the pow'rs of song!
- Thou, who with hermit heart
- Disdain'st the wealth of art,
- And gauds, and pageant weeds, and trailing pall:
- But com'st a decent maid,
- In Attic robe array'd,
- O chaste, unboastful nymph, to thee I call!
- By all the honey'd store
- On Hybla's thymy shore,
- By all her blooms and mingled murmurs dear,
- By her whose love-lorn woe,
- In evening musings slow,
- Soothed sweetly sad Electra's poet ear:
- By old Cephisus deep,
- Who spread his wavy sweep
- In warbled wand'rings round thy green retreat;
- On whose enamell'd side,
- When holy Freedom died,
- No equal haunt allured thy future feet!
- O sister meek of Truth,
- To my admiring youth
- Thy sober aid and native charms infuse!
- The flow'rs that sweetest breathe,
- Though beauty cull'd the wreath,
- Still ask thy hand to range their order'd hues.
- While Rome could none esteem,
- But virtue's patriot theme,
- You loved her hills, and led her laureate band;
- But stay'd to sing alone
- To one distinguished throne,
- And turn'd thy face, and fled her alter'd land.
- No more, in hall or bow'r,
- The passions own thy pow'r.
- Love, only Love her forceless numbers mean;
- For thou hast left her shrine,
- Nor olive more, nor vine,
- Shall gain thy feet to bless the servile scene.
- Though taste, though genuine bless
- To some divine excess,
- Faint's the cold work till thou inspire the whole;
- What each, what all supply,
- May court, my charm our eye,
- Thou, only thou, canst raise the meeting soul!
- Of these let others ask,
- To aid some mighty task,
- I only seek to find thy temperate vale;
- Where oft my reed might sound
- To maids and shepherds round,
- And all thy sons, O Nature, learn my tale.