Page images
PDF
EPUB

Amid Siberia's unrejoicing wilds
Who pines all lonesome, in the chambers hoar
Of some high castles shut, whose windows dim
In distant ken discover trackless plains,
Where Winter ever whirls his icy car;
While still repeated objects of his view,
The gloomy battlements, and ivied spires,
That crown the solitary dome, arise;
While from the topmost turret the slow clock,
Far heard along the inhospitable wastes,
With sad-returning chime awakes new grief;
Ev'n he far happier seems than is the proud,
The potent Satrap, whom he left behind
'Mid Moscow's golden palaces, to drown
In ease and luxury the laughing hours.

Illustrious objects strike the gazer's mind
With feeble bliss, and but allure the sight,
Nor rouse with impulse quick the' unfeeling heart.
Thus seen by shepherd from Hymettus' brow,
What dædal landscapes smile! here palmy groves,
Resounding once with Plato's voice, arise,
Amid whose umbrage green her silver head
The' unfading olive lifts ; here vine-clad hills
Lay forth their purple store, and sunny vales
In prospect vast their level laps expand,
Amid whose beauties glistering Athens towers.
Though through the blissful scenes Ilissus roll
His sage inspiring flood, whose winding marge
The thick-wove laurel shades; though roseate Morn
Pour all her splendors on the empurpled scene;
Yet feels the hoary hermit truer joys,
As from the cliff, that o'er his cavern hangs,
He views the piles of fall’n Persepolis
In deep arrangement hide the darksome plain.
Unbounded waste! the mouldering obelisk
Here, like a blasted oak, ascends the clouds;
Here Parian domes their vaulted halls disclose
Horrid with thorn, where lurks the' unpitying thief,
Whence fits the twilight-loving bat at eve,
And the deaf adder wreathes her spotted train,

The dwellings once of elegance and art.
Here temples rise, amid whose hallow'd bounds
Spires the black pine, while through the naked

street,
Once haunt of tradeful merchants, springs the grass :
Here columns heap'd on prostrate columns, torn
From their firm base, increase the mouldering mass.
Far as the sight can pierce, appear the spoils
Of sunk magnificence ! a blended scene
Of moles, fanes, arches, domes, and palaces,
Where, with his brother Horror, Ruin sits.
O come then, Melancholy, queen of thought !
O come with saintly look, and stedfast step,
From forth thy cave embower'd with mournful yew,
Where ever to the curfew's solemn sound
Listening thou sitt'st, and with thy cypress bind
Thy votary's hair, and seal him for thy son.
But never let Euphrosyne beguile
With toys of wanton mirth my fixed mind,
Nor in my path her primrose-garland cast,
Though 'mid her train the dimpled Hebe bare
Her rosy bosom to the enamour'd view;
Though Venus, mother of the Smiles and Loves,
And Bacchus, ivy-crown'd, in citron bow'r
With her on nectar-streaming fruitage feast :
What though 'tis hers to calm the lowering skies,
And at her presence mild the' embattled clouds
Disperse in air, and o'er the face of Heav'n
New day diffusive gleam at her approach ;
Yet are these joys that Melancholy gives,
Than all her witless revels happier far;
These deep-felt joys, by Contemplation taught.

Then ever, beauteous Contemplation, hail !
From thee began, auspicious maid, my song,
With thee shall end ; for thou art fairer far
Than are the nymphs of Cirrha's mossy grot;
To loftier rapture thou canst wake the thought,
Than all the fabling poet's boasted pow'rs.
Hail, queen divine! whom, as tradition tells,
Once in his evening walk a druid found,

Far in a hollow glade of Mona's woods,
And piteous bore with hospitable hand
To the close shelter of his oaken bow'r.
There soon the sage admiring mark'd the dawn
Of solemn musing in your pensive thought ;
For when a smiling babe, you lov'd to lie
Oft deeply listening to the rapid roar
Of wood-hung Menai, stream of druids old.

INSCRIPTION

In a Hermitage, at Ansley Hall in Warwickshire.
ENEATH this stony roof reclin’d,

I soothe to peace my pensive mind;
And while, to shade my lowly cave,
Embowering elms their umbrage wave;
And while the maple dish is mine,
The beechen cup, unstain'd with wine;
I scorn the gay licentious crowd,
Nor heed the toys that deck the proud.

[ocr errors]

Within my limits lone and still
The blackbird pipes in artless trill ;
Fast by my couch, congenial guest,
The wren has wove her mossy nest;
From busy scenes, and brighter skies,
To lurk with innocence, she flies;
Here hopes in safe repose to dwell,
Nor aught suspects the silvan cell.

At morn I take my custom'd round,
To mark how buds yon shrubby mound;
And every opening primrose count,
That trimly paints my blooming mount:
Or o'er the sculptures, quaint and rude,
That grace my gloomy solitude,
I teach in winding wreaths to stray
Fantastic ivy's gadding spray.

At eve, within yon studious nook,
I ope my brass-embossed book,
Pourtray'd with many a holy deed
Of martyrs, crown'd with heavenly meed:
Then, as my taper waxes dim,
Chant, ere I sleep, my measur'd hymn;
And, at the close, the gleams behold
of parting wings bedropt with gold.

While such pure joys my bliss create,
Who but would smile at guilty state?
Who but would wish his holy lot
In calm Oblivion's humble grot?
Who but would cast his pomp away,
To take my staff, and amice gray;
And to the world's tumultuous stage
Prefer the blameless hermitage?

ODE TO SLEEP.

ON
N this my pensive pillow, gentle sleep!

Descend, in all thy downy plumage drest: Wipe with thy wing these eyes that wake to weep, And place thy crown of poppies on my breast.

O steep my senses in oblivion's balm,
And soothe iny throbbing pulse with lenient hand

: This tempest of my boiling blood becalm !*Despair grows mild at thy supreme command.

Yet ah! in vain, familiar with the gloom,
And sadly toiling through the tedious night,
I seek sweet slumber, while that virgin bloom,
For ever hovering haunts my wretched sight.

Nor would the dawning day my sorrows charm:
Black midnight and the blaze of noon alike
To me appear, while with uplifted arm
Death stands prepar’d, but still delays, to strike..

JOSEPH WARTON.

ODE TO FANCY.

O Parent of each lovely Muse!

Thy spirit o'er my soul diffuse; O'er all my artless songs preside, My footsteps to thy temple guide; To offer at thy turf-built shrine, In golden cups no costly wine; No murder'd fatling of the flock, But flowers and honey from the rock. O nymph! with loosely-flowing hair, With buskin'd leg, and bosom bare; Thy waist with myrtle-girdle bound, Thy brows with Indian feathers crown'd; Waving in thy snowy hand An all-commanding magic wand; Of pow'r to bid fresh gardens blow 'Mid cheerless Lapland's barren snow; Whose rapid wings thy flight convey, Through air, and over earth and sea : While the vast, various landscape lies Conspicuous to thy piercing eyes ; O lover of the desert, hail ! Say, in what deep and pathless vale, Or on what hoary mountain's side, 'Midst falls of water, you reside; 'Midst broken rocks, a rugged scene, With green and grassy dales between ; 'Midst forests dark of aged oak, Ne'er echoing with the woodman's stroke; Where never human art appear'd, Nor ev'n one straw-rooft cot was rear'd; Where Nature seems to sit alone, Majestic on a craggy throne. Tell me the path, sweet wanderer, tell, To thy unknown sequester'd cell ;

« PreviousContinue »