Page images
PDF
EPUB

ODE TO EVENING.

Ir aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to sooth thy modest ear,

Like thy own solemn springs,

Thy springs and dying gales; Oh nymph reserved, while now the bright-hair'd sun Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,

With brede ethereal wove,

O’erhang his wavy bed: Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-eyed bat, With short, shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,

Or where the beetle winds

His small but sullen horn,
As oft he rises midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:

Now teach me, maid.composed,

To breathe some soften'd strain, Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale, May not unseemly with its stillness suit,

As, musing slow, I hail

Thy genial loved return!
For when thy folding star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp

The fragrant hours, and elves

Who slept in buds the day, And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with

sedge, And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still,

The pensive pleasures sweet,

Prepare thy shadowy car.
Then let me rove some wild and heathy seene;
Or find some ruin midst its dreary dells,

Whose walls more awful nod
By thy religious gleams.

Or if chill, blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut

That from the mountain's side

Views wild and swelling floods,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all

Thy dewy fingers draw

The gradual dusky veil. While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont, And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!

While Summer loves to sport

Beneath thy lingering light:
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,

Affrights thy shrinking train,

And rudely rends thy robes :
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,

Thy gentlest influence own,
And love thy favourite name!

THE PASSIONS,

When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Throng'd around her magic cell,
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possess'd beyond the Muse's painting ;
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturb’d, delighted, raised, refined;
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspired,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatch'd her instruments of sound,

And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each, for madness ruled the hour,
Would prove his own expressive power.
First Fear his hand, its skill to try,

Amid the chords bewilder'd laid,
And back recoil'd, he knew not why,

E'en at the sound himself had made.

Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire,

In lightnings own'd his secret stings, In one rude clash he struck the lyre,

And swept with hurried hands the strings, With woful measures wan Despair

Low sullen sounds his grief beguiled, A solemn, strange, and mingled air,

'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild. But thou, oh Hope, with eyes so fair,

What was thy delightful measure? Still it whisper'd promised pleasure,

And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail ! Still would her touch the strain prolong,

And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, She callid on Echo still through all the song;

And where her sweetest theme she chose,

A soft responsive voice was heard at every close, And hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden

hair. And longer had she sung—but, with a frown,

Revenge impatient rose,
He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down,

And, with a withering look,
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sound so full of wo.

And ever and anon he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat;

VOL. I.-Co

And though sometimes, each dreary pause be

tween,
Dejected Pity at his side

Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien,
While each strain'd ball of sight seem'd bursting

from his head.

Thy numbers, Jealousy, to naught were fix'd,

Sad proof of thy distressful state, Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd, And now it courted Love, now, raving, callid on

Hate.

With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
Pale Melancholy sat retired,
And from her wild sequester'd seat,
In notes by distance made more sweet,
Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul:

And dashing soft from rocks around,

Bubbling runnels joind the sound; Through glades and glooms the mingled measura

stole, Or o'er some haunted streams with fond delay,

Round an holy calm diffusing,

Love of peace and lonely musing,
In hollow murmurs died away.
But oh, how alter'd was its sprightlier tone!
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,

Her bow across her shoulder flung,
Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew,
Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung.

The hunter's call to Faun and Dryad known;
The oak-crown'd sisters, and their chaste-eyed

queen,
Satyrs and sylvan boys were seen,

Peeping from forth their alleys green ;
Brown Exercise rejoiced to hear,

And Sport leap'd up, and seized his beechen spear

Last came Joy's ecstatic trial,
He, with viny crown advancing,

First to the lively pipe his hand address’d,
But soon he saw the brisk-awakening viol,
Whose sweet entrancing voice he loved the best.

They would have thought, who heard the strain,
They saw in Tempé's vale her native maids,

Amidst the festal-sounding shades,
To some unwearied minstrel dancing,

While, as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings,
Love framed with Mirth a gay fantastic round.
Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound,

And he, amidst his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.

Oh Music, sphere-descended maid,
Friend of Pleasure, Wisdom's aid,
Why, goddess, why, to us denied,
Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre aside ?
As in that loved Athenian bower
You learn'd an all-commanding power,
Thy mimic soul, oh nymph endear'd,
Can well recall what then it heard.
Where is thy native, simple heart,
Devote to Virtue, Fancy, Art ?
Arise, as in that elder time,
Warm, energic, chaste, sublime !
Thy wonders in that godlike age
Fill thy recording sister's page.
'Tis said, and I believe the tale,
Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Than all which charms this laggard age,
E'en all at once together found,
Cæcilia's mingled world of sound.
Oh, bid our vain endeavours cease,
Revive the just designs of Greece,
Return in all thy simple state!
Confirm the tales her sons relate!

« PreviousContinue »