On Collins’s Ode On The Passions, As Recited By Mrs. Esten

Beneath a sad and silent shade
Afflicted Poetry was laid;
The shepherd train, the virgin choir,
No longer listen'd to her lyre;
But, all neglected and alone,
Her feeling and her fire were gone.
No zephyr fondly sued her breast,
No nightingale came there to rest;
The faded visions fled her eyes--
The visions of her ecstasies.
And if perchance she sought delight,
It was amid the gloom of night,--
It was the hour the screechowls cry,
Or roaring whirlwinds rend the sky,
To pour her melancholy strain,
And catch a pleasure from the pain.

Esten beheld her haggard air
At twilight as she wander'd there,
And felt the sympathetic woe
That Taste and Feeling ever know;
Then eager sought the city's throng
To vindicate the force of song.
She chose an ode divinely wild,
Wrote by the Muses' favourite child;
From Collins was the magic lay,
That subject Passions all obey:
The crowd the varying influence prove
Of Rage, and Hope, and Fear, and Love;
They still implor'd her to rehearse,
And own'd the thrilling power of verse!

O thou, sweet Bard! who now mayst be
A shadow fleeting o'er the sea,
A vapour on the morning rose,
A whispering wind at evening's close;
Or if thy spirit love to dwell
Awhile within the violet's bell,
Then, in beatitude of change,
From star to star exulting range;
Live in the lustre of the day,
Or float upon the lunar ray;
Or rapturous join the hallow'd voice
Where endless Seraphim rejoice;
O Collins! whatsoe'er thou art,
Deign, deign to bless thy Esten's heart;
A portion of those joys reveal
Which sure she well deserves to feel!

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