Come, Pity, come! By Fancy's aid,
Ev'n now my thoughts, relenting maid,
Thy temple's pride design:
Its southern site, its truth complete,
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 buskined Muse shall near her stand,
And sighing prompt her tender hand
With each disastrous tale.
There let me oft, retired by day,
In dreams of passion melt away,
Allowed with thee to dwell:
There waste the mournful lamp of night,
Till, virgin, thou again delight
To hear a British shell!
The "wild enthusiast heat" which Collins intends for his readers has everything to do with this poem, but presumably little to do with pity. That is, Collins's tone throughout is as jubilant as Milton's in "L'Allegro," the model for this poem. Yet looking at the temple of Pity, like looking at tragedy, should evoke pity; instead it evokes frequently enacted "dreams of passion." For instance, the poet describes the tragic scene--"How chance, or hard involving fate,/O'er mortal bliss prevail:"--only to give a domesticated image of a pitying response: "The buskined Muse shall near her stand,/ And sighing prompt her tender hand/ With each disastrous tale." This shows how far singing an ode to Tragedy is from singing a tragic Ode, and we might ask whether the image of Pity can survive such an ode (A Sentimental Journey is another one) unscathed.