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Poem by William Collins

Ode to Pity


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! 

William Collins

William Collins's other poems:
  1. Abra; or, The Georgian Sultana
  2. Hassan; or, The Camel Driver
  3. Ode on the Grave of Thomson
  4. Selim; or, The Shepherd's Moral
  5. Ode on the Poetical Character

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Jane Austen Ode to Pity ("Ever musing I delight to tread")

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