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(m). Irregular Stanzas.
Most of the finest odes in our language are ex­ceedingly complex in structure, both in variety of metre and length of verse, and they are usually broken up into stanzas of varying length, from four to upwards of twenty lines. Amongst the most noted compositions of this kind may be enumerated Milton's Ode on the Nativity of Christ, Dryden's Alexander's Feast', Pope's Ode on St. Cecilia's Day, Gray's Bard and On a Distant Prospect of Eton Col­lege, Shelley's West Wind and The Cloud. Collins's Ode on the Passions is here quoted at length as a typical specimen.
When Music, heavenly maid, was young, While yet in early Greece she sung, The Passions oft, to hear her skill, Thronged around her magic cell.
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting, Possess'd beyond the Muse's painting; By turns they felt the glowing mind Disturbed, delighted, raised, refined; Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired, Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspired, From the supporting myrtles round They snatch'd her instruments of sound ; And as they oft had heard apart Sweet lessons of her forceful art, Each, for madness ruled the hour, Would prove his own expressive power.