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The Manners - An O D E



FAREWELL, for clearer Ken design'd,
The dim-discover'd Tracts of Mind:
Truths which, from Action's Paths retir'd,
My silent Search in vain requir'd!
No more my Sail that Deep explores,
No more I search those magic Shores,
What Regions part the World of Soul,
Or whence thy Streams, Opinion, roll:
If e'er I round such Rairy Field,
Some Pow'r impart the Spear and Shield,
At which the Wizzard Passions fly,
By which the giant Follies die!
Farewell the Porch, whose Roof is seen,
Arch'd with th'enlivening Olive's Green:
Where Science, prank'd in tissued Vest,
By Reason, Pride, and Fancy drest,
Comes like a Bride so trim array'd,
To wed with Doubt in Plato's Shade!
Youth of the quick uncheated Sight,
Thy Walks, Observance, more invite!
O Thou, who lov'st that ampler Range,
Where Life's wide Prospects round thee change,
And with her mingling Sons ally'd,
Throw'st the prattling Page aside:
To me in Converse sweet impart,
To read in Man the native Heart,
To learn, where Science sure is found,
From Nature as she lives around:
And gazing oft her Mirror true,
By turns each shifting Image view!
Till meddling Art's officious Lore,
Reverse the lessons taught before,
Alluring [him] from a safer Rule,
To dream in her enchanted School;
Thou Heav'n, whate'er of Great we boast,
Hast blest this social Science most.
Retiring hence to thoughtful Cell,
As Fancy breathes her potent Spell,
Not vain she finds the charmful Task,
In Pageant quaint, in motley Mask,
Behold before her musing Eyes,
The countless Manners round her rise;
While ever varying as they pass,
To some Contempt applies her Glass:
With these the white-rob'd Maids combine,
And those the laughing Satyrs join!
But who is He whom now she views,
In Robe of wild contending Hues?
Thou by the Passions nurs'd, I greet
The comic Sock that binds thy Feet!
O Humour, Thou whose Name is known,
To Britain's favor'd Isle alone:
Me too amidst thy Band admit,
There where the young-eyed healthful Wit,
(Whose Jewels in his crisped Hair
Are plac'd each other's Beams to share,
Whom no Delights from Thee divide)
In Laughter loos'd attends thy Side!
By old Miletus who so long
Has ceas'd his Love-inwoven Song:
By all you taught the Tuscan Maids,
In chang'd Italia's modern Shades:
By Him, whose Knight's distinguish'd Name
Refin'd a Nation's Lust of Fame;
Whose Tales ev'n now, with Echos sweet,
Castilia's Moorish Hills repeat:
Or Him, whome Seine's blue Nymphs deplore,
In watchet Weeds on Gallia's Shore,
Who drew the sad Sicilian Maid,
By Virtues in her Sire betray'd:
O Nature boon, from whom proceed
Each forceful Thought, each prompted Deed;
If but from Thee I hope to feel,
On all my Heart imprint thy Seal!
Let some retreating Cynic find,
Those oft-turn'd Scrolls I leave behind,
The Sports and I this Hour agree,
To rove thy Scene-full World with Thee!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:37 min read
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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…

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