Ode to Simplicity by William Collins

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, nurs’d the Pow’rs 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, whose Love-lorn Woe
In ev’ning Musings slow
Sooth’d sweetly sad Electra’s Poet’s Ear:

By old Cephisus deep,
Who spread his wavy Sweep
In warbled Wand’rings round thy green Retreat,
On whose enamel’d Side
When holy Freedom died
No equal Haunt allur’d thy future Feet.

O sister meek of Truth,
To my admiring Youth,
Thy sober Aid and native Charms infuse!
The Flow’rs that sweetest breathe,
Tho’ 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 Laureate 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 Bow’r,
The Passions own thy Pow’r,
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.

Tho’ Taste, tho 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 can’st raise the meeting Soul!

Of These let others ask,
To aid some mighty Task,
I only seek to find thy temp’rate Vale:
Where oft my Reed might sound
To Maids and Shepherds round,
And all thy Sons, O Nature, learn my Tale.

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