« PreviousContinue »
His soul belied the features of his face;
Beauty was there, but beauty in disgrace.
A clownish mien, a voice with rustic sound,
And stupid eyes that ever loved the ground.
He look'd like Nature's error, as the mind
And body were not of a piece design'd,
But made for two, and by mistake in one were join'd.
The ruling rod, the father's forming care,
Were exercised in vain on wit's despair;
The more inform’d, the less he understood,
And deeper sunk by floundering in the mud.
Now scorn'd of all, and grown the public shame,
The people from Galesus changed his name,
And Cymon call’d, which signifies a brute;
So well his name did with his nature suit.
His father, when he found his labour lost,
And care employ'd that answerd not the cost,
Chose an ungrateful object to remove,
And loathed to see what nature made him love;
So to his country farm the fool confined ;
Rude work well suited with a rustic mind.
Thus to the wilds the sturdy Cymon went,
A squire among the swains, and pleased with banish-
His corn and cattle were his only care, [ment.
And his supreme delight, a country fair.
It happend on a summer's holyday,
That to the green-wood shade he took his way;
For Cymon shunn'd the church, and used not much
His quarter-staff, which he could ne'er forsake,
Hung half before and half behind his back.
He trudged along, unknowing what he sought,
And whistled as he went for want of thought.
By chance conducted, or by thirst constrain'd,
The deep recesses of the grove he gain'd;
Where, in a plain defended by the wood,
Crept through the matted grass a crystal flood,
By which an alabaster fountain stood;
And on the margin of the fount was laid
(Attended by her slaves) a sleeping maid.
Like Dian and her nymphs, when tired with sport,
To rest by cool Eurotas they resort:
The dame herself the goddess well express’d,
Not more distinguish'd by her purple vest
Than by the charming features of her face,
And ev’n in slumber a superior grace :
Her comely limbs composed with decent care,
Her body shaded with a slight cymar;
The fanning wind upon her bosom blows,
To meet the fanning wind the bosom rose;
The fanning wind and purling streams continue her
The fool of nature stood with stupid eyes,
And gaping mouth, that testified surprise,
Fix'd on her face, nor could remove his sight,
New as he was to love, and novice to delight:
Long mute he stood, and leaning on his staff,
His wonder witness'd with an idiot laugh;
Then would have spoke, but by his glimmering sense
First found his want of words, and fear'd offence :
Doubted for what he was he should be known,
By his clown accent and his country tone.
Through the rude chaos thus the running light
Shot the first ray that pierced the native night;
Then day and darkness in the mass were mix'd,
Till, gathered in a globe, the beams were fix'd.
Last shone the sun, who, radiant in his sphere,
Illumined heaven and earth, and roll'd around the
So reason in his brutal soul began,
[year. Love made him first suspect he was a man; Love made him doubt his broad barbarian sound; By love his want of words and wit he found; That sense of want prepared the future way To knowledge, and disclosed the promise of a day
FROM THE FLOWER AND THE LEAF.
ATTENDING long in vain, I took the way,
Which through a path but scarcely printed lay;
In narrow mazes oft it seem'd to meet,
And look'd as lightly press'd by fairy feet.
Wandering, I walk'd alone, for still methought
To some strange end so strange a path was wrought;
At last it led me where an arbour stood,
The sacred receptacle of the wood;
This place unmark'd, though oft I walk'd the green,
In all my progress I had never seen;
And, seized at once with wonder and delight,
Gazed all around me, new to the transporting sight.
'Twas bench'd with turf, and goodly to be seen,
The thick young grass arose in fresher green:
The mound was newly made, no sight could pass
Betwixt the nice partitions of the grass,
The well-united sods so closely lay,
And all around the shades defended it from day;
For sycamores with eglantine were spread,
A hedge about the sides, a covering over head.
And so the fragrant brier was wove between,
The sycamore and flowers were mix'd with green,
That Nature seem'd to vary the delight,
And satisfied at once the smell and sight.
The master workman of the bower was known
Through fairy-lands, and built for Oberon;
Who twining leaves with such proportion drew,
They rose by measure, and by rule they grew;
No mortal tongue can half the beauty tell,
For none but hands divine could work so well.
Both roof and sides were like a parlour made,
A soft recess, and a cool summer shade;
The hedge was set so thick, no foreign eye
The persons placed within it could espy;
But all that pass'd without with ease was seen,
As if nor fence nor tree was placed between.
'Twas border'd with a field; and some was plain
With grass, and some was sow'd with rising grain,
That (now the dew with spangles deck'd the ground)
A sweeter spot of earth was never found.
I look'd and look'd, and still with new delight,
Such joy my soul, such pleasures fill’d my sight;
And the fresh eglantine exhaled a breath,
Whose odours were of power to raise from death.
Nor sullen discontent, nor anxious care,
Ev'n though brought thither, could inhabit there ;
But thence they fed as from their mortal foe,
For this sweet place could only pleasure know.
Thus, as I mused, I cast aside my eye,
And saw a medlar-tree was planted nigh;
The spreading branches made a goodly show,
And full of opening blooms was every bough;
A goldfinch there I saw with gaudy pride
Of painted plumes, that hopp'd from side to side,
Still pecking as she pass'd, and still she drew
The sweets from every flower, and suck'd the dew;
Sufficed at length, she warbled in her throat,
And tuned her voice to many a merry note,
But indistinct, and neither sweet nor clear,
Yet such as soothed my soul and pleased my ear.
Her short performan
ance was no sooner tried, When she I sought, the nightingale, replied : So sweet, so shrill, so variously she sung, That the grove echoed and the valleys rung; And I so ravish'd with her heavenly note, I stood entranced, and had no room for thought, But, all o'erpower'd with ecstasy of bliss, Was in a pleasing dream of paradise. At length I waked, and, looking round the bower, Search'd every tree, and pried on every flower, If anywhere by chance I might espy The rural poet of the melody, For still, methought, she sung not far away: At last I found her on a laurel spray.
Close by my side she sat, and fair in sight,
Full in a line against her opposite;
Where stood with eglantine the laurel twined,
And both their native sweets were well conjoin'd.
On the green bank I sat, and listen'd long
(Sitting was more convenient for the song),
Nor till her lay was ended could I move,
But wish'd to dwell for ever in the grove;
Only methought the time too swiftly pass'd,
And every note I fear'd would be the last.
My sight, and smell, and hearing were employ'd.
And all three senses in full gust enjoy'd;
And what alone did all the rest surpass,
The sweet possession of the fairy place:
Single, and conscious to myself alone
Of pleasures to th' excluded world unknown;
Pleasures which nowhere else were to be found,
And all Elysium in a spot of ground.
Thus while I sat intent to see and hear,
And drew perfumes of more than vital air,
All suddenly I heard th' approaching sound
Of vocal music on th’ enchanted ground;
A host of saints it seem'd, so full the quire,
As if the bless'd above did all conspire
To join their voices and neglect the lyre.
At length there issued from the grove behind
A fair assembly of the female kind;
A train less fair, as ancient fathers tell,
Seduced the sons of heaven to rebel.
I pass their form and every charming grace,
Less than an angel would their worth debase;
But their attire, like liveries of a kind
All rich and rare, is fresh within my mind :
In velvet white as snow the troop was gown'd,
The seams with sparkling emeralds set around;
Their hoods and sleeves the same, and purfled o'er
With diamonds, pearls, and all the shining store
Of Eastern pomp; their long descending train,
With rubies edged and sapphires, swept the plain ;