« PreviousContinue »
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 Shakspere, 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 running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony :
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heaped Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regained Eurydice.
These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
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 sunbeams; 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 starred Ethiop queen that strove To set her beauty's praise above The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended ; Yet thou art higher far descended: Thee, bright-haired Vesta, long of yore, To solitary Saturn bore; Oft in glimmering bowers and glades He met her, and in secret shades Of woody Ida's inmost grove, Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove. Come, pensive nun, devout and pure, Sober, stedfast, and demure, All in a robe of darkest grain, Flowing with majestic train, And sable stole, of Cyprus lawn, Over thy decent shoulders drawn. Come, but keep thy wonted state, With even step, and musing gait; And looks commercing with the skies, Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes : There, held in holy passion still, Forget thyself to marble, till
With a sad leaden downward cast Thou fix them on the earth as fast: And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet, Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet, And hears the Muses in a ring, Aye round about Jove's altar sing ; And add to these retired Leisure, That in trim gardens takes his pleasure ; But first, and chiefest, with thee bring, Him that yon soars on golden wing, Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne, The cherub Contemplation ; And the mute silence hist along, 'Less Philomel will deign a song, In her sweetest, saddest plight, Smoothing the rugged brow of Night, While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke, Gently o'er the accustom'd oak: Sweet bird, that shun'st the noise of folly, Most musical, most melancholy ! Thee, chantress, oft, the woods among, I woo, to hear thy evening-song; And, missing thee, I walk unseen On the dry smooth-shaven green, To behold the wandering Moon Riding near her highest noon, Like one that had been led astray Through the Heaven's wide pathless way; And oft, as if her head she bowed, Stooping through a fleecy cloud. Oft, on a plat of rising ground, I hear the far-off curfew sound, Over some wide-watered shore, Swinging slow with sullen roar : Or, if the air will not permit, Some still removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom;
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the bellman's drowsy charm,
To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lamp, at midnight hour,
Be seen in some high lonely tower,
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,
hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptered 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 buskined 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 a that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
, 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 tourneys and of trophies hung,
Of forests and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career
Till silver-suited Morn appear,
Not trickt and frounced as she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt,
But kercheft in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or ushered 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 hallowed 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 airy stream