Page images
PDF
EPUB

Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night raven sings;

There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks,
As ragged as thy locks,

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come thou Goddess fair and free,
In heav'n yelep'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth
With two sister Graces more
To ivy.crowned Bacchus bere;
Or whether (as some sages sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the spring,
Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a Maying,
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew.
Fill'd her with thee a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair.

Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,
Quips, and Cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods and Becks, and wreathed Smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And laughter holding both his sides,
Come, and trip it as you go
On the light fantastic toe,
And in thy right hand lead with thee
The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty ;
And, if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night,

From his watch tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise ;
Then to come in spight of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow,
Through the sweet-briar, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine :
While the cock with lively din
Scatters the rear of darkness thin
And to the stack, or the barn-door,
Stoutly struts his dames before :
Oft list'ning how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumb'ring morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill :
Some time walking not unseen
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great sun begins his sta te,
Rob'd in flames, and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight
While the plough-man near at hand
Whisles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milk-maid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his sythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.

Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,
Whilst the landskip round it measures,
Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray
Mountains on whose barren breast
The labouring clouds do often rest,
Meadows trim with daisies pied,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide,
Towers and battlements it sees,
Bosom’d high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes.

Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes,
From betwixt two aged oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phyllis dresses ;
And then in haste her bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves ;
Or if the earlier season lead
To the tan'd hay-cock in the mead.

Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks sound
To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday,
Till the live long day-light fail;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How fairy Mab the junkets eat ;
She was pinch'd and pull'd she said,
And he, by friar's lanthorn led,
Tells how the drudging Goblin sweat
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail had thresh'd the corn
That ten day-labourers could not end;
Then lies him down the lubber fiend,
And strech'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
And cropful out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lulled asleep.

Tow'red cities please us then, And the busy hum of men,

Where throngs of knights and barons bold
In weeds of peace high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contenid
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask and antique pageantry,
Such sights as youthful poets dream,
On summer eves by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Johnson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's Child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.

And ever against eating cares
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes ruining,
Untwisting all the chains

that tie
The hidden souls of Harmony;
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heapt Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain’d Eurydice.

These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

MILTON.

Bb

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

HENCE vain deluding joys,
The brood of Folly, without father bred!
How little you bested,

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
As thick and numberless

As the gay motes that people the sun-beams,
Or likest hovering dreams,

The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
But hail thou Goddess, sage and holy,
Hail divinest Melancholy,
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore to our weaker view,
O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue ;
Black, but such as in esteem,
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starrid Ethiope queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The sea nymphs, and their powers offended :
Yet thou art higher far descended;
The bright hair'd Vesta, long of yore,
To solitary Saturn bore;
His daughter she (in Saturn's reign
Such mixture was not held a stain)
Oft in glimmering bowers, and glades
He met her, and in secret shades
Of woody Ida's in most grove,
While yet there was no fear of Jove.

Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,
Sober, stedfast, and demure,

« PreviousContinue »