Page images
PDF
EPUB

Where I may oft out-watch the Bear,
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions hold
The immortal mind, that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook :
And of those demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Some time let gorgeous Tragedy,
In sceptred pall, come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine,
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage.
But, O sad virgin, that thy power
Might raise Musæus from his bower,
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made hell grant what love did seek.
Or call up him that left half told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That own’d the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wondrous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride;
And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of turneys and of trophies hung,
Of forests, and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited Morn appear,
Not trick'd and frounced as she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt,
But kerchef'd in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or usher'd with a shower still,
When the gust hath blown his fill,
Ending on the rustling leaves,
With minute drops from off the eaves.
And, when the sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, goddess, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves,
Of pine, or monumental oak,
Where the rude axe, with heaved stroke,
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt.

ear.

There in close covert by some brook Where no profaner eye may look, Hide me from day's garish eye, While the bee, with honey'd thigh, That at her flowery work doth sing, And the waters murmuring, With such consort as they keep, Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep ; And let some strange mysterious dream Wave at his wings in-airy stream Of lively portraiture display'd, Softly on my eyelids laid. And, as I wake, sweet music breathe Above, about, or underneath, Sent by some spirit to mortals good Or the unseen genius of the wood But let my due feet never fail To walk the studious cloisters pale, And love the high embower'd roof, With antique pillars massy proof, And storied windows richly dight, Casting a dim religious light : There let the pealing organ blow, To the full voiced choir below, In service high, and anthems clear, As may with sweetness, through mine ear, Dissolve me into ecstasies, And bring all heaven before mine eyes. And may at last my weary age Find out the peaceful hermitage, The hairy gown and mossy cell, Where I may sit and rightly spell Of every star that heaven doth show, And every herb that sips the dew; Till old experience do attain To something like prophetic strain. These pleasures, Melancholy, give, And I with thee will choose to live.

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small]

HENCE, loathed Melancholy,

Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born, In Stygian cave forlorn,

'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy, Find out some uncouth cell,

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 heaven yclept Euphrosyne,
And, by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus, at a birth,
With two sister Graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore;
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,
Fillid 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 spite 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 listening how the hounds and horn Cheerly rouse the slumbering 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 state, Robed in flames, and amber light, The clouds in thousand liveries dight; While the ploughman, near at hand, Whistles o'er the furrow'd land, And the milkmaid singeth blithe, And the mower whets his scythe, And every shepherd tells his tale Under the hawthorn in the dale. Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures, Whilst the landscape 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 Phillis dresses; And then in haste the bower she leaves,

Х

With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tann'd haycock 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 daylight 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 lantern 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 hath thresh'd the corn,
That ten day-labourers could not end ;
Then lies him down the lubber fiend,
And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lull’d asleep.
Tower'd 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 contend
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 Jonson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, 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

« PreviousContinue »