Page images

A certain music, never known before, *
Here lull'd the pensive melancholy mind;
Full easily obtain'd. Behooves no more,
But sidelong to the gently-waving wind,
To lay the well-tun'd instrument reclind,
From which, with airy-flying fingers light,
Beyond each mortal touch the most refin'd,

The god of winds drew sounds of deep delight, Whence, with just cause, the harp of Æolus it hight.

Ah me! what hand can touch the string so fine?
Who up the lofty diapason roll
Such sweet, such sad, such solemn airs divine,
Then let them down again into the soul ?
Now, rising love they fann'd; now, pleasing dole
They breath'd in tender musings through the heart;
And now a graver sacred strain they stole,

As when seraphic hands an hymn impart;
Wild-warbling Nature all, above the reach of art!

Such the gay splendor, the luxurious state
Of Caliphs old, who, on the Tigris shore,
In mighty Bagdat, populous and great,
Held their bright court, where was of ladies store,
And verse, love, music, still the garland wore.
When sleep was coy, the bard, in waiting there,
Cheer'd the lone midnight with the Muses' lore:

Composing music bade his dreams be fair,
And music lent new gladness to the morning air.

Near the pavilions where we slept still ran
Soft tinkling streams, and dashing waters fell,
And sobbing waters sigh’d, and oft began
(So work'd the wizard) wintry storms to swell,

* The Æolian harp, just then invented.

As heaven and earth they would together mell; At doors and windows threatening seem'd to call The demons of the tempest growling fell;

Yet the least entrance found they none at all, Where sweeter grew our sleep, secure in mossy hall.

One great amusement of our household was,
In a huge crystal magic globe to spy,
Still as you turn'd it, all things that do pass
Upon this ant-hill earth; where constantly
Of idly-busy men the restless fry
Run bustling to and fro with foolish haste
In search of pleasures vain that from them fly,

Or which obtain'd the caitiffs dare not taste:
When nothing is enjoy'd, can there be greater waste?

Of vanity the mirror this was call’d.
Here you a muckworm of the town might see
At his dull desk, amid his ledgers stallid,
Ate up with carking care and penurie,
Most like to carcase parch'd on gallows tree.
“A penny saved is a penny got;"
Firm to this scoundrel-maxim keepeth he,

Ne of its rigor will he bate a jot,
Till it has quench'd his fire and banishéd his pot.

Strait from the filth of this low grub, behold!
Comes fluttering forth a gaudy spendthrift heir,
All glossy gay, enamell’d all with gold,
The silly tenant of the summer air.
In folly lost, of nothing takes he care;

Pimps, lawyers, stewards, harlots, flatterers vile, · And thieving tradesmen him among them share;

His father's ghost from Limbo Lake the while Sees this, which more damnation doth

him pile.


Of all the gentle tenants of the place,
There was a man of special grave remark ;*
A certain tender gloom o'erspread his face,
Pensive, not sad ; in thought involv'd, not dark;
As soot this man would sing as morning lark,
And teach the noblest morals of the heart;
But these his talents were yburied stark ;

Of the fine stores he nothing would impart,
Which or boon Nature gave, or nature-painting Art.

To noontide shades incontinent he

Where purls the brook with sleep-inviting sound,
Or when Dan Sol to slope his wheels began,
Amid the broom he bask'd him on the ground,
Where the wild thyme and camomil are found;
There would he linger, till the latest ray
Of light sate trembling on the welkin's bound;

Then homeward through the twilight shadows stray
Sauntering and slow: so had he passèd many a day.

Yet not in thoughtless slumber were they past;
For oft the heavenly fire, that lay conceal'd
Beneath the sleeping embers, mounted fast,
And all its native light anew reveal'd.
Oft as he travers’d the cerulean field,
And mark'd the clouds that drove before the wind
Ten thousand glorious systems would he build,

Ten thousand great ideas fill’d his mind;
But with the clouds they fled, and left no trace behin'i

With him was sometimes join'd in silent walk, (Profoundly silent, for they never spoke,) * Who this person was, does not appear to have been discovned.

One shier still,* who quite detested talk;
Oft stung by spleen, at once away he broke
To groves of pine and broad o'ershadowing oak;
There, inly thrillid, he wander'd all alone,
And on himself his pensive fury wroke,

Ne never utter'd word save when first shone
The glittering star of eve—“Thank Heaven, the day is done!”

Here lurk’d a wretch who had not crept abroad
For forty years, ne face of mortal

In chamber brooding like a loathly toad,
And sure his linen was not very clean;
Through secret loop-holes that had practis'd been
Near to his bed, his dinner vile he took ;
Unkempt and rough, of squalid face amd mien,

Our Castle's shame; whence, from his filthy nook,
We drove the villain out, for fitter lair to look.

One day there chaunc'd into these hills to rove
A joyous youth,t who took you at first sight;
Him the wild wave of pleasure hither drove
Before the sprightly tempest tossing light;
Certes, he was a most engaging wight,
Of social glee, and wit humane tho' keen,
Turning the night to day and day to night;
For him the merry bells had



ween, If in this nook of quiet bells had ever been.

But not e'en pleasure to excess is good;
What most elates, then sinks the soul as low;

* Supposed to be Armstrong.

† Probably the author's friend Patterson, his deputy in the office of Surveyor-General of the Leeward Islands.

When spring-tide joy pours in with copious flood,
The higher still th' exulting billows flow,
The farther back again they flagging go,
And leave us grovelling on the dreary shore.
Taught by this son of Joy, we found it so,

Who, whilst he staid, kept in a gay uproar
Our madden'd Castle all, the abode of Sleep no more.

As when in prime of June a burnish'd fly,
Sprung from the meads, o'er which he sweeps along,
Cheer'd by the breathing bloom and vital sky,


amid these airy halls his song,
Soothing at first the gay reposing throng;
And oft he sips their bowl; or, nearly drown'd,
He, thence recovering, drives their beds among,

And scares their tender sleep with trump profound, Then out again he flies to wing his mazy


Another guest there was of sense refin'd, *
Who felt each worth, for every worth he had;
Serene, yet warm; humane, yet firm his mind;
As little touch'd as any man's with bad :
Him through their inmost walks the Muses lad,
To him the sacred love of Nature lent,
And sometimes would he make our valley glad ;

When as we found he would not here be pent,
To him the better sort this friendly message sent-

“Come, dwell with us, true son of Virtue ! come ;
But if, alas ! we cannot thee persuade
To lie content beneath our peaceful dome
Ne ever more to quit our quiet glade,

the Lord Lyttleton.

« PreviousContinue »