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PRIMEVAL Hope, the Aonian Muses say, When man and nature mourned their first decay; When every form of death, and every woe, Shot from malignant stars to earth below; When Murder bared his arm, and rampant War Yoked the red dragons of his iron car; When Peace and Mercy, banished from the plain, Sprung on the viewless winds to heaven again ; All, all forsook the friendless, guilty mind, But Hope, the charmer, lingered still behind.



Now when the world with sin ’gan to abound,
Astræa, loathing longer here to space,
Mongst wicked men, in whom no truth she found,
Returned to heaven, whence she derived her race;
Where she hath now an everlasting place,
Mongst those twelve Signs, which nightly we do see
The heaven's bright-shining baldric * to enchase,

And is the Virgin, sixth in her degree,
And next herself her righteous balance hanging be.


* Bildric, belt, girdle, the Zodiac.


All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail,
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale,
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend.


YEA, Truth and Justice then

Will down return to men,
Orbed in a rainbow, and, like glories wearing,

Mercy will sit between,

Throned in celestial sheen, With radiant feet the tissued clouds down-steering, And Heaven, as at some festival, Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.



song. Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen

Within thy aëry shell,
By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet-embroidered vale,

Where the love-lorn nightingale

Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well ;
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
That likest thy Narcissus are ?

O, if thou have
Hid them in some flowery cave,

Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parley, daughter of the sphere,

So mayst thou be translated to the skies, And give resounding grace to all heaven's harmonies.


[Milton has imitated the story of Narcissus in the account which he makes Eve give of the first sight of herself, reflected in the fountain.]

That day I oft remember when from sleep
I first awaked, and found myself reposed
Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved,
Pure as the expanse of heaven ; I thither went
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake that to me seemed another sky.

As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watery gleam appeared,
Bending to look on me. I started back ;
It started back: but pleased I soon returned ;
Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks
Of sympathy and love. There had I fixed
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warned me : “What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself;" &c.



[The author, Thomas Blacklock, was blind from the age of six months, in consequence of small pox. Yet he paints flowers with artist-like precision.]

LET long-lived pansies here their scents bestow,
The violet languish, and the roses glow;
In yellow glory let the crocus shine,
Narcissus here his lovesick head recline ;
Here hyacinths in purple sweetness rise,
And tulips tinged with beauty's fairest dyes.



SINCE still my passion-pleading strains

Have failed her heart to move,
Show, mirror, to that lovely maid,

The charms that make me love.

Reflect on her the thrilling beam

Of magic from her eye ;
So, like Narcissus, she shall gaze,

And, self-enamoured, die.


And round about the same her yellow hair,
Having through stirring loosed their wonted band,
Like to a golden border did appear,
Framéd in goldsmith’s forge with cunning hand.
Yet goldsmiths' cunning could not understand
To frame such subtle wire, so shiny clear ;
For it did glisten like the golden sand,

The which Pactolus, with his waters sheer, Throws forth upon the rivage round about him near.


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