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time. A passage in a wood has been often trod, but we tread it again. The pleasure is ever young, though the path is old. So

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.
There in close covert by some brook,
Where no profaner eye may look,
Hide me from day's garish eye,
While the bee with honied 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 aery stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
Softly on my eye-lids 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.

PENSEROSO.

In the Arcades, a Marque performed at Harefield before the Countess of Derby, one of these genii makes his appearance. Two noble shepherds coming forward are met by the “genius of the wood.” We will close our article with him as a proper harmonious personage, who unites the spirit of the Greek and Roman demonology. He need not have troubled himself, perhaps, with “curling” the groves; and his “tassel'dhorn is a little fine and particular, — not remote enough or audible. But the young poet was writing to please young patricians. The “tassel” was for their nobility; the rest is for his own.

Stay, gentle swains; for though in this disguise,
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes;
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung
Of that renowned flood, so often sung,
Divine Alpheus, who by secret sluce
Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse;
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskined nymphs, as great and good;
I know, this quest of yours, and free intent,
Was all in honour and devotion meant
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine;
And, with all helpful service, will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
And lead ye, where ye may more near behold
What shallow-searching fame hath left untold;
Which I full oft, amidst these shades alone,
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon ;
For know, by lot from Jove, I am the power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,
To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove
With ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove.
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill;
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew,
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites.
When evening gray doth rise, I fetch my round
Over the mount and all this hallow'd ground;
And early, ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tassel'd horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout
With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless.
But else in deep of night, when drowsiness
Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I
To the celestial Syrens' harmony,
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres,
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,

And turn the adamantine spindle round,
On which the fate of gods and men is wound.
Such sweet compulsion doth in musick lie,
To lull the daughters of necessity.

This is a passage to read at twilight; or before putting out the candles, in some old country house.

There is yet one more passage which we must quote from Milton, about a genius. It concerns also a very demoniacal circumstance, the cessation of the heathen oracles. See with what regret the poet breaks up the haunt of his winged beauties, and sends them floating away into dissolution with their white bodies out of the woods.

The oracles are dumb,
No voice or hideous hum

Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance, or breathed spell,
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetick cel},

The lonely mountains o'er,
And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
From haunted spring and dale,
Edg'd with poplar pale,

The parting Genius is with sighing sent:
With flower-inwoven tresses torn
The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn

In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,

The Lars, and Lemures, mourn with midnight plaint;
In urns, and altars round,
A drear and dying sound

Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint;
And the chill marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted seat.

He proceeds to dismiss the idols of Palestine, and the brute gods of Egypt,

Trampling the unshowered grass with lowings loud.

We do not feel for those, nor does he ; but the little household gods of Rome, trembling like kittens on the hearth, and the nymphs of Greece mourning their flowery shades, he loses with an air of tenderness. He forgets that he and the other poets had gathered them into their own Elysium.

FAIRIES

[graphic]

HE word fairy, in the sense of a little minia

ture being, is peculiar to this country, and is a southern appellation applied to a northern idea. It is the fee and fata of the French

and Italians; who mean by it an imaginary lady of any sort, not of necessity small and generally of the human size. With us, it is the elf of our northern ancestors, and means exclusively the little creature inhabiting the woods and caverns, and dancing on the grass.

The progress of knowledge, which humanizes everything, and enables our fancies to pick and choose, has long rendered the English fairy a harmless being, rarely seen of eye and known quite as much, if not more, through the pleasant fancies of the poets, than the earthier creed of the common people. In Germany, also, the fairy is said to have become a being almost entirely benevolent. But among our kinsmen of the North, the Swedes and Danes, and especially the insular races of Iceland and Rugen, the old opinions appear to be in force; and, generally speaking, the pigmy world may be divided into four classes.

First, the white or good fairies, who live above ground, dancing on the grass, or sitting on the leaves of trees — the fairy of our poets. They are fond of sunshine, and are ethereal little creatures.

Second, the dark or under-ground fairies (the dwarfs, trolls, and hill-folk of the continent), an irritable race, workers in mines and smithies, and doing good or evil offices, as it may happen.

Third, the house or homestead fairy, our Puck, Robin Goodfellow, Hobgoblin, &c. (the Nis of Denmark and Norway, the kobold of Germany, the brownie of Scotland, and tomtegubbe, or old man of the house in Sweden). He is of a similar temper, but good upon the whole, and fond of cleanliness, rewarding and helping the servants for being tidy, and punishing them for the reverse. .

And fourth, the water fairy, the kelpie of Scotland, and Nick, Neck, Nickel, Nickar, and Nix, of other countries, the most dangerous of all, appearing like a horse, or a mermaid, or a beautiful girl, and enticing people to their destruction. He is supposed by some, however, not to do it out of ill will, but in order to procure companions in the spirits of those who are drowned.

All the fairies have qualities in common; and for the most part, eat, drink, marry, and are governed like human beings; and all without exception are thieves, and fond of power. In other words, they are like the human beings that invented them. They do the same good and ill of

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