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Ode to Pity

William Taylor Collins 1721 (Sussex) – 1759 (Sussex)

O THOU, the Friend of Man assign'd,
With balmy Hands his Wounds to bind,
  And charm his frantic Woe:
When first Distress with Dagger keen
Broke forth to waste his destin'd Scene,
  His wild unsated Foe!


By Pella's Bard, a magic Name,
By all the Griefs his Thoughts could frame,
  Receiue my humble Rite:
Long, Pity, let the Nations view
Thy sky-worn Robes of tend'rest Blue,
  And Eyes of dewy Light!

But wherefore need I wander wide
To old Ilissus' distant Side,
  Deserted Stream, and mute?
Wild Arun too has heard thy Strains,
And Echo, 'midst my native Plains,
  Been sooth'd by Pity's Lute.

There first the Wren thy Myrtles shed
On gentlest Otway's infant Head,
  To Him thy Cell was shown;
And while He sung the Female heart,
With Youth's soft Notes unspoil'd by Art,
  Thy Turtles mix'd their own.

Come, Pity, come, by Fancy's Aid,
Ev'n now my Thoughts, relenting Maid,
  Thy Temple's Pride design:
Its Southern Site, its Truth compleat
Shall raise a wild Enthusiast Heat,
  In all who view the Shrine.

There Picture's Toils shall well relate,
How Chance, or hard involving Fate,
  O'er mortal Bliss prevail:
The Buskin'd Muse shall near her stand,
And sighing prompt her tender Hand,
  With each disastrous Tale.

There let me oft, retir'd by Day,
In Dreams of Pasion melt away,
  Allow'd with Thee to dwell:
There waste the mournful Lamp of Night,
Till, Virgin, Thou again delight
  To hear a British shell!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:20 min read

William Taylor Collins

William Collins was an English poet. Second in influence only to Thomas Gray, he was an important poet of the middle decades of the 18th century. more…

All William Taylor Collins poems | William Taylor Collins Books

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