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William Collins (Уильям Коллинз)

Ode to Simplicity

    O thou, by Nature taught
    To breathe her genuine thought,
  In numbers warmly pure, and sweetly strong;
    Who first, on mountains wild,
    In Fancy, loveliest child, 
  Thy babe, or Pleasure's, nursed the powers 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[19] whose lovelorn woe,
    In evening musings slow,
  Soothed sweetly sad Electra's poet's ear:

    By old Cephisus deep,
    Who spread his wavy sweep, 
  In warbled wanderings, round thy green retreat;
    On whose enamel'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 flowers 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 lov'd her hills, and led her laureat band:
    But staid to sing alone
    To one distinguish'd throne;
  And turn'd thy face, and fled her alter'd land.

    No more, in hall or bower,
    The Passions own thy power,
  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 genius, bless
    To some divine excess,
  Faints the cold work till thou inspire the whole; 
    What each, what all supply,
    May court, may 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.

  [19] The αηδων ~aêdôn~, or nightingale, for which Sophocles seems to
       have entertained a peculiar fondness. C.

William Collins's other poems:
  1. Abra; or, The Georgian Sultana
  2. Selim; or, The Shepherd's Moral
  3. Agib and Secander; or, The Fugitives
  4. Ode on the Grave of Thomson
  5. Ode to Fear

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