Page images

Till the livelong daylight fail; Then to the spicy nutbrown ale, With stories told of many a feat, How fairy Mab the junkets ate; She was pinch'd, and pull'd, she said, And he by friar's lantern led; Tells how the drudging goblin sweat To earn his cream-bowl duly set, When in one night, ere glimpse of morn, His shad'wy flail had thresh'd the corn, That ten day-labourers could not end; Then lies him down the lubber fiend, And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length, Basks at the fire his hairy strength, And, cropful, out of doors he flings, Ere the first cock his matin rings. Thus done the tales, to bed they creep, By whispring winds soon lull'd asleep. Tow’red cities please us then, And the busy hum of men, Where throngs of knights and barons bold In weeds of peace high triumphs hold, With store of ladies, whose bright eyes Rain influence, and judge the prize Of wit, or arms, while both contend To win her grace, whom all commend. There let Hymen oft appear In saffron robe, with taper clear, And pomp, and feast, and revelry, With masque and antique pageantry, Such sights as youthful poets dream, On summer eves, by haunted stream. Then to the well-trod stage anon, If Jonson's learned sock be on, Cr sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child, Warble his native woodnotes wild. And ever against eating cares Lap me in soft Lydian airs, Married to immortal verse, Such as the melting soul may pierce,

In notes with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of Harmony;
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flow'rs, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half regain'd Eurydice.
These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live. MILTON.


Hence vain deluding joys,
The brood of Folly, without father bred 1
How little you bestead,
Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
As thick and numberless
As the gay motes that people the sunbeams,
Or likest hov'ring dreams,
The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
But hail, thou Goddess, sage and holy
Hail divinest Melancholy
Whose saintiy visage is too bright,
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore to our weaker view
O'erlaid with black, staid wisdom's hue:
Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen, that strove
To set her beauty's praise above

The sea-nymphs, and their pow'rs offended :
Yet thou art higher far descended;

Thee bright-hair'd Westa long of yore To solitary Saturn bore; * His daughter she (in Saturn's reign : *

Such mixture was not held a stain). Oft in glimm'ring bow'rs and glades He met her, and in secret shades Of woody Ida's inmost grove, While yet there was no fear of Jove. Come, pensive nun, devout and pure, . Sober, steadfast, and demure, All in a robe of darkest grain Flowing with majestic train, And sable stole of cypress lawn, Over thy decent shoulders drawn. Come, but keep thy wonted state, With even step and musing gait, And looks commercing with the skies, Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes; There, held in holy passion still, Forget thyself to marble, till With a sad 1eaden downward cast, Thou fix them on the earth as fast; And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet, Spare Fast, that oft with Gods doth diet, And hear the Muses in a ring Aye round about Jove's altar sing; And add to these retired Leisure, That in trim gardens takes his pleasure; But first and chiefest with thee bring Him that yon soars on golden wing, Guiding the firy-wheeled throne, The cherub Contemplation; And the mute Silence hist along, * ‘Less Philomel will deign a song, In his sweetest, saddest plight ** Smoothing the rugged brow of Night, While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke, Gently o'er th’ accustom'd oak;

Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy 1
Thee, chantress, oft the woods annong,
I woo to hearthy ev'ning song;
And missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth shaven green,
To behold the wand'ring Moon,
Riding near her highest moon,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the Heav'ns' wide pathless way;
And oft, as if her head she bow'd,
Stooping through a fleecy cloud.
Oft on a plat of rising ground
I hear the far-off curfew sound,
Over some wide-water'd shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar.
Or if the air will not permit,
Some still, removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom,
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the bellman's drowsy charm,
To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lamp at midnight hour
Be seen on some high lonely tow'r,
Where I may oft outwatch the Bear,
With thrice great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions hold
Th’ immortal mind, that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook;
And of those demons that are found , ,
In fire, air, flood, or under ground, . . . . . .
Whose power hath a true consent . . . .
With planet, or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptred pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine,

[ocr errors]

Or what (though rare) of later age,
Ennobled hath the buskiu'd stage.
But, O sad virgin' that thy pow'r
Might raise Musaeus from his bow'r,
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made Hell grant what Love did seek; i.
Or call up him that left half told

The story of Cambuscan bold, : Of Camball, and of Algarsife, And who had Canace to wife, #

That own'd the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wond’rous horse of brass, - - - -
On which the Tartar king did ride; . . )
And if aught else great bards beside -
In sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of tourneys and of trophies hung;
Of forests and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Thus Night oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited Morn appear.
Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont.
With the attic boy to hunt, -
But kerchief'd in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or usher'd with a shower still, . ."
When the gust hath blown his fill,
Ending on the rustling leaves,
With minute drops from off the eaves.
And when the sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, Goddess, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves,
Of pine or monumental oak, -
Where the rude ax with heaved stroke
Was never heard, the Nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt.
There in close covert by some brook,
Where no profaner eye may look,

« PreviousContinue »