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THE CASTLE OF INDOLENCE. In lowly dale, fast by a river's side, With woody hill o'er hill encompass'd round, A most enchanting wizard did abide, Than whom a fiend more fell is nowhere found. It was, I ween, a lovely spot of ground: And there a season atween June and May Half prankt with spring, with summer half im
brown'd, A listless climate made, where, sooth to say, No living wight could work, ne cared even for play.
Was nought around but images of rest: Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between, And flow'ry beds that slumbrous influence kest, From poppies breath'd; and beds of pleasant green, Where never yet was creeping creature seen; Meantime unnumber'd glittering streamlets play'd, And hurled every where their waters sheen;. That, as they bicker'd through the sunny glade, Though restless still themselves, a lulling murmur
Join'd to the prattle of the purpling rills
Were heard the lowing herds along the vale,
And flocks loud-bleating from the distant hills,
And vacant shepherds piping in the dale ;
And now and then sweet Philomel would wail,
Or Stock-doves 'plain amid the forest deep,
That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale ;
And still a coil the grasshopper did keep:
Yet all these sounds yblent inclined all to sleep.
Full in the passage of the vale above,
A sable, silent, solemn forest stood :
Where nought but shadowy forms was seen to
As Idleness fancied in her dreaming mood;
And up the hills on either side a wood
Of blackening pines, ay waving to and fro,
Sent forth a sleepy horror through the blood ;
And where this valley winded out below,
The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely heard,
A pleasing land of drowsihed it was,
of dreams that wave before the half-shut eyes ;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever flushing round a summer sky;
There eke the soft delights that witchingly
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,
And calm the pleasures, always hover'd nigh,
But whate'er smack'd of noyance, or unrest,
Was far, far off expellid from this delicious nest.
The landscape such, inspiring perfect ease,
Where Indolence (for so the wizard hight)
Close hid his castle 'mid embow'ring trees,
That half shut out the beams of Phæbus bright,
And made a kind of chequer'd day and night :
Meanwhile, unceasing at the massy gate,
Beneath a spacious palm, the wicked wight
Was plac'd; and, to his lute, of cruel fate
And labour harsh complain'd, lamenting man's estate.
OF WHAT IS COMMONLY CALLED A LIFE OF PLEASURE.
THE spleen is seldom felt where Flora reigns;
The low'ring eye, the petulance, the frown,
And sullen sadness, that o'ershade, distort,
And mar the face of beauty, where no cause
For such immeasurable woe appears;
These Flora banishes, and gives the fair
Sweet smiles and bloom, less transient than her own.
It is the constant revolution, stale
And tasteless, of the same repeated joys,
That palls and satiates, and makes languid life
A pedler's pack, that bows the bearer down.
Health suffers, and the spirits ebb; the heart
Recoils from its own choice-at the full feast
Is famish'd-finds no music in the song,
No smartness in the jest, and wonders why.
Yet thousands still desire to journey, on,
Though halt, and weary of the path they tread.
The paralytic, who can hold her cards,
But cannot play them, borrows a friend's hand
To deal and shuffle, to divide and sort
Her mingled suits and sequences, and sits
Spectatress both and spectacle, a sad
And silent cipher, while her proxy plays.
Others are dragged to the crowded room
Between supporters; and, once seated, sit,
Through downright inability to rise,
Till the stout bearers lift the corpse again.
These speak a loud memento. Yet even these
Themselves love life, and cling to it; as he
That overhangs a torrent, to a twig.
They love it, and yet loathe it; fear to die,
Yet scorn the purposes for which they live.
Then wherefore not renounce them! No-the dread,
The slavish dread of solitude, that breeds
Reflection and remorse, the fear of shame,
And their invet'rate habits-all forbid.
Whom call we gay? That honour has been long
The boast of mere pretenders to the name.
The innocent are gay—the lark is gay,
That dries his feathers, saturate with dew,
Beneath the rosy cloud, while yet the beams
Of day-spring overshoot his humble nest.
The peasant too, a witness of his song,
Himself a songster, is as gay as he.
But save me from the gaiety of those
Whose head-aches nail them to a noon-day bed ;
And save me too from theirs whose haggard eyes
Flash desperation, and betray their pangs
For property stript off by cruel chance ;
From gaiety that fills the bones with pains,
The mouth with blasphemy, the heart with woe.
THE LADY OF THE LAKE.
THE boat had touch'd this silver strand,
Just as the hunter left his stand,
And stood conceal'd amid the brake,
To view this Lady of the Lake.
The maiden paused, as if again
She thought to catch the distant strain.
With head up-rais’d, and look intent,
and ear attentive bent,
And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art,
In listening mood, she seem'd to stand
The guardian Naiad of the strand.
And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace
A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,
Of finer form, or lovelier face!
What though the sun, with ardent frown,
Had slightly tinged her cheek with brown,-
The sportive toil, which, short and light,
Had dyed her glowing hue so bright,
Served too in hastier swell to show
Short glimpses of a breast of snow:
What though no rule of courtly grace
To measurd mood had train'd her pace,
A foot more light, a step more true,
Ne'er from the heath-flower dash'd the dew;
E'en the slight hare-bell rais'd its head,
Elastic from her airy tread:
What though upon her speech there hung
The accents of the mountain tongue,
Those silver sounds, so soft, so clear,
The list'ner held his breath to hear.
A chieftain's daughter seem'd the maid ;
Her satin snood, her silken plaid,
Her golden brooch such birih betray'd.
And seldom was a snood amid
Such wild luxuriant ringlets hid,
Whose glossy black to shame might bring
The plumage of the raven's wing ;
And seldom o'er a breast so fair,
Mantled a plaid with modest care,
And never brooch the folds combin'd
Above a heart more good and kind.
Her kindness and her worth to spy,
You need but gaze on Ellen's eye;
Not Katrine, in her mirror blue,
Gives back the shaggy banks more true,
Than every free-born glance confess'd
The guileless movements of her breast;
Whether joy danc'd in her dark eye,
Or woe or pity claim'd a sigh,
Or filial love was glowing there,
Or meek devotion pour'd a prayer,
Or tale of injury calla forth
The indignant spirit of the north,
One only passion, unreveald,
With maiden pride the maid conceal’d,
Yet not less purely felt, the flame;-
Oh need I tell that passion's name!
SWEET Highland Girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower!
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head:
And these gray rocks; this household lawn;
These trees, a veil just half withdrawn;
This fall of water that doth make
A murmur near the silent lake;