Page images

With which I'll pave and overspread
My bottom, where her foot shall tread.
The best of fishes in my flood
Shall give themselves to be her food.
The trout, the dace, the pike, the bream,
The eel, that loves the troubled stream,
The miller's thumb, the hiding loach,
The perch, the ever-nibbling roach,
The shoates with whom is Tavy fraught,
The foolish gudgeon, quickly caught,
And last the little minnow fish,
Whose chief delight in gravel is.

Amongst the rest the tamarisk there stood,
For housewives' besoms only known most good.
The cold place-loving birch, and servis tree :
The walnut-loving vales and mulberry,
The maple, ash, that do delight in fountains,
Which have their currents by the sides of mountains.
The laurel, myrtle, ivy, date, which bold
Their leaves all winter, be it ne'er so cold.
The fir, that oftentimes doth rosin drop ;
The beech, that scales the welkin with his top.
All these, and thousand more within this grove,
By all the industry of nature strove
To frame an arbor that might keep within it
The best of beauties that the world hath in it. • *



Then walked they to a grove but near at hand, Where fiery Titan had but small command, Because the leaves conspiring kept his beams, For fear of hurting, when he is in extremes, The under-flowers, which did enrich the ground . With sweeter scents than in Arabia found. [hale, The earth doth yield, which they through pores exEarth's best of odors, the aromatical : Like to that smell, which oft our sense descries Within a field which long unploughéd lies, Somewhat before the setting of the sun ; And where the rainbow in the horizon Doth pitch her tips ; or as when in the prime, The earth being troubled with a drought long time, The hand of heaven his spongy clouds doth strain, And throws into her lap a shower of rain ; She sendeth up (conceived from the sun) A sweet perfume and exhalation. Not all the ointments brought from Delos' isle, Nor from the confines of seven-headed Nile ; Nor that brought whence Phænicians have abodes ; Nor Cyprus' wild vine-flowers; nor that of Rhodes ; Nor rose's oil from Naples, Capua ; Saffron confected in Cilicia ; Nor that of quinces, nor of marjoram, That ever from the isle of Coös came. Nor these, nor any else, though ne'er so rare, Could with this place for sweetest smells compare. There stood the elm, whose shade so mildly dim Doth nourish all that groweth under him. Cypress that like pyramids run topping, And hurt the least of any by their dropping. The alder, whose fat shadow nourisheth, Each plant set near to him long flourisheth. The heavy-headed plane-tree, by whose shade The grass grows thickest, men are fresher made. The oak, that best endures the thunder shocks ; The everlasting ebony, cedar, box; The olive that in wainscot never cleaves ; The amorous vine which in the elm still weaves. The lotus, juniper, where worms ne'er enter : The pine, with whom men through the ocean venture; The warlike yew, by which (more than the lance) The strong-armed English spirits conquered France.


As I have seen upon a bridal day
Full many maids clad in their best array,
In honor of the bride, come with their flaskets
Filled full with flowers, others in wicker-baskets
Bring from the marish rushes, to o'erspread
The ground, whereon to church the lovers tread;
Whilst that the quaintest youth of all the plain
Ushers their way with many a piping strain :
So, as in joy, at this fair river's birth,
Triton came up a channel with his mirth, (turn,
And called the neighboring nymphs, each in her
To pour their pretty rivulets from their urn,
To wait upon this new-delivered spring.'
Some running through the meadows, with them bring
Cowslip and mint; and 't is another's lot
To light upon some gardener's curious knot,
Whence she upon her breast (love's sweet repose)
Doth bring the queen of flowers, the English rose.
Some from the fen bring reeds, wild-thyme from

downs ;
Some from a grove the bay that poets crowns ;
Some from an aged rock the moss hath torn,
And leaves him naked unto winter's storm :
Another from her banks, in mere good will,
Brings nutriment for fish, the camomill.
Thus all bring somewhat, and do overspread
The way the spring unto the sea doth tread.


- THE COURSE AND ACTION OF A STREAX. Thus while the flood which yet the rock up-pent, And suffered not with jocund merriment To tread rounds in his spring, came rushing forth, As angry that his waves, he thought, of worth Should not have liberty, nor help the prime. And as some ruder swain, composing rhyme, Spends many a gray goose-quill unto the handle, Buries within his socket many a candle, Blots paper by the quire, and dries up ink, As Xerxes' army did whole rivers drink, Hoping thereby his name his work should raise, That it should live until the last of days ; Which finished, he boldly doth address Him and his works to undergo the press ;

1 See Spenser's Faëry Queene, b. i., c. i., st. 8, 9.

When, lo, O fate! his work not seeming fit
To walk in equipage with better wit,
Is kept from light, there gnawn by moths and worms,
At which he frets : right so this river storms.
But broken forth, as Tavy creeps upon
The western vales of fertile Albion,
Here dashes roughly on an aged rock,
That his intended passage doth up-lock ;
There intricately 'mongst the woods doth wander,
Losing himself in many a wry meander ;
Here amorously bent, clips some fair mead ;
And, then dispersed in rills, doth measure tread
Upon her bosom 'mongst her flowery ranks ;
There in another place bears down the banks
Of some day-laboring wretch ; here meets a rill,
And with their forces joined cut out a mill
Into an island, then in jocund guise
Surveys his conquest, lauds his enterprise ;
Here digs a cave at some high mountain's foot ;
There undermines an oak, tears up his root ;
Thence rushing to some country farm at hand,
Breaks o'er the yeoman's mounds, sweeps from his
His harvest hope of wheat, of rye, or peas, [land
And makes that channel which was shepherd's lease.


The mounting lark (day's herald) got on wing,
Bidding each bird choose out his bough and sing.
The lofty treble sung the little wren ;
Robin the mean, that best of all loves men ;
The nightingale the tenor, and the thrush
The counter-tenor sweetly in a bush :
And, that the music might be full in parts,
Birds from the groves flew with right willing hearts;
But, as it seemed, they thought (as do the swains
Who tune their pipes on sacked Hibernia's plains)
There should some droning part be, therefore willed
Some bird to fly into a neighboring field,
In embassy unto the king of bees,
To aid his partners on the flowers and trees :
Who condescending gladly flew along
To bear the bass to his well-tuned song.
The crow was willing they should be beholden
For his deep voice ; but, being hoarse with scolding,
He thus lends aid : upon an oak doth climb,
And, nodding with his head, so keepeth time.

0, true delight! enharboring the breasts
Of those sweet creatures with the plumy crests.
Had Nature unto man such simpl’esse given,
He would like birds, be far more near to heaven. *

THE SHEPHERDS' HOLIDAY ; DANCE ; NAMES. Come, drive your sheep to their appointed feeding, And make you one at this, our merry meeting. Full many a shepherd with his lovely lass Sit telling tales upon the clover grass ; There is the merry shepherd of the hole ; Thenot, Piers, Nilkin, Duddy, Hobbinoll, Alexis, Silvan, Teddy of the glen, Rowly, and Perigot, here by the fen, With many more, I cannot reckon all That meet to solemnize this festival.

I grieve not at their mirth, said Doridon ; Yet had there been of feasts not any one, Appointed or commanded, you will say, Where there's content 't is ever holiday.'

Leave further talk, quoth Remond, let 's be gone, I'll help you with your sheep, the time draws on. Fida will call the hind, and come with us.

Thus went they on, and Remond did discuss Their cause of meeting, till they won with pacing The circuit chosen for the maiden's tracing. SCENE OF THE DANCE DESCRIBED ; THE MUSIC AND MAIDS.

It was a rundle seated on a plain, That stood as sentinel unto the main, Environed round with trees and many an arbor, Wherein melodious birds did nightly harbor ; And on a bough wit" in the quickening spring, Would be a-teaching of their young to sing ; Whose pleasing notes the tired swain have made To steal a nap at noontide in the shade. Nature herself did there in triumph ride, And made that place the ground of all her pride. Whose various flowers deceived the rasher eye, In taking them for curious tapestry. A silver spring forth of a rock did fall, That in a drought did serve to water all.


But as when some kind nurse doth long time keep Her pretty babe at suck, whom fallen asleep She lays down in his cradle, stints his cry With many a sweet and pleasing lullaby ; Whilst the sweet child, not troubled with the shock, As sweetly slumbers as his nurse doth rock. So laid the maid, the amazed swain sat weeping, And death in her was dispossessed by sleeping. The roaring voice of winds, the billows raves, Nor all the muttering of the sullen waves, Could once disquiet, or her slumber stir ; But lulled her more asleep than wakened her. Such are their states whose souls from foul offence Enthronéd sit in spotless innocence.

NIGHT, THE NIGHTINGALE, AND THE LOVER. Now had the glorious sun ta'en up his inn, And all the lamps of heaven enlightened been, Within the gloomy shades of some thick spring, Sad Philomela 'gan on the hawthorn sing Whilst every beast at rest was lowly laid The outrage done upon a silly maid. All things were hushed, each bird slept on his bough; And night gave rest to him day-tired at plough ; Each beast, each bird, and each day-toiling wight, Received the comfort of the silent night ; Free from the gripes of sorrow every one, Except poor Philomel and Doridon ; She on a thorn sings sweet though sighing strains; He on a couch more soft, more sad complains ; Whose in-pent thoughts him long time having pained, He sighing wept, and weeping thus complained. **

A MORNING CONCERT OP BIRDS. Two nights thus passed. The lily-banded morn Saw Phæbus stealing dew from Ceres' corn.

[ocr errors]

Upon the edges of a grassy bank,
A tuft of trees grew circling in a rank,
As if they seemed their sports to gaze upon,
Or stood as guard against the wind and sun :
So fair, so fresh, so green, so sweet a ground,
The piercing eyes of heaven yet never found.
Here Doridon already met doth see,
(0, who would not at such a meeting be ?)
Where he might doubt, who gave to other grace,
Whether the place the maids, or maids the place.
Here 'gan the reed and merry bagpipe play,
Shrill as a thrush upon a morn of May
(A rural music for a heavenly train),
And every shepherdess danced with her swain.

Gentle nymphs, be not refusing,
Love's neglect is Time's abusing,

They and beauty are but lent you ;
Take the one and keep the other :
Love keeps fresh what age doth smother,

Beauty gone you will repent you. 'T will be said, when ye have proved, Never swains more truly loved ;

0, then fly all nice behavior. Pity fain would, as her duty, Be attending still on beauty,

Let her not be out of favor. Disdain is now so much rewarded, That pity weeps since she is unregarded.


[blocks in formation]

As when some gale of wind doth nimbly take A fair, white lock of wool, and with it make Some pretty driving ; here it sweeps the plain, There stays, here hops, there mounts, and turns Yet all so quick, that none so soon can say (again; That now it stops, or leaps, or turns away : So was their dancing, none looked thereupon, But thought their several motions to be one.

A crooked measure was their first election, Because all crooked tends to best perfection. And as I ween this often bowing measure Was chiefly framed for the women's pleasure, Though, like the rib, they crooked are and bending, Yet to the best of forms they aim their ending : Next in an (I) their measure made a rest, Showing when love is plainest it is best. Then in a (Y) which thus doth love commend, Making of two at first, one in the end. And lastly closing in a round do enter, Placing the lusty shepherds in the centre : About the swains they dancing seemed to roll, As other planets round the heavenly pole. Who, by their sweet aspect or chiding frown, Could raise a shepherd up or cast him down.

Thus were they circled till a swain came near,
And sent this song unto each shepherd's ear :
The note and voice so sweet, that for such mirth
The gods would leave the heavens and dwell on earth:

Happy are you so enclosed,
May the maids be still disposéd,

In their gestures and their dances,
So to grace you with entwining,
That envy wish in such combining,

Fortune's smile with happy chances.
Here it seems as if the graces
Measured out the plain in traces,

In a shepherdess disguising.
Are the spheres so nimbly turning,
Wand'ring lamps in heaven burning,

To the eye so much enticing ?
Yes, heaven means to take these thither,
And add one joy to see both dance together.

The measure and the song here being ended,
Each swain his thoughts thus to his love commended:
The first presents his dog, with these :

When I my flock near you do keep,
And bid my dog go take a sheep,
He clean mistakes what I bid do,
And bends his pace still towards you.

Poor wretch, he knows more care I keep

To get you than a silly sheep.
The second, his pipe, with these :

Bid me to sing, fair maid, my song shall prove,

That ne'er has truer pipe sung truer love.
The third, a pair of gloves, thus :

These will keep your hands from burning,
Whilst the sun is swiftly turning ;
But who can any veil devise
To shield


heart from your fair eyes? The fourth, an anagram. – Maiden aid men :

Maidens should be aiding men,

And for love give love again : * * *
The fifth, a ring, with a picture in a jewel on it :

Nature hath framed a gem beyond compare,

The world's the ring, but you the jewel are. The sixth, a nosegay of roses, with a nettle in it :

Such is the poesie love composes,

A stinging-nettle mixed with roses. The seventh, a girdle : This during light I give to clip your waist ; Fair, grant mine arms that place when day is past.


Whilst every one was offering at the shrine Of such rare beauties might be styled divine, This lamentable voice towards them flies : 0 Heaven, send aid, or else a maiden dies!' Herewith some ran the way the voice them led ; Some with the maidens stayed, who shook for dread; What was the cause time serves not now to tell. Hark! for my jolly wether rings his bell, And almost all our flocks have left to graze ; Shepherds, 't is almost night, hie home apace ; When next we meet, as we shall meet ere long, I'll tell the rest in some ensuing song.

Rural Odes for June.



Nor fell disease, before his time,
Hastes to consume life's golden prime :
But when their temples long have wore
The silver crown of tresses hoar ;
As studious still calm peace to keep,
Beneath a flowery turf they sleep.

THE hinds how blest, who, ne'er beguiled To quit their hamlet's hawthorn wild, Nor baunt the crowd, nor tempt the main, For splendid care, and guilty gain !


Dost thou idly ask to hear

At what gentle seasons Nymphs relent, when lovers near

Press the tenderest reasons ? Ah, they give their faith too oft

To the careless wooer ; Maidens' hearts are always soft,

Would that men's were truer !

Woo the fair one, when around

Early birds are singing ;
When, o'er all the fragrant ground,

Early herbs are springing :
When the brookside, bank, and grove,

All with blossoms laden, Shine with beauty, breathe of love,

Woo the timid maiden.

When morning's twilight-tinctured beam Strikes their low thatch with slanting gleam, They rove abroad in ether blue, To dip the scythe in fragrant dew, The sheaf to bind, the beech to fell, That, nodding, shades a craggy dell.

'Midst gloomy glades, in warbles clear, Wild nature's sweetest notes they hear : On green, untrodden banks they view The hyacinth's neglected hue ; In their lone haunts and woodland rounds, They spy the squirrel's airy bounds ; And startle from her ashen spray, Across the glen, the screaming jay ; Each native charm their stops explore Of Solitude's sequestered store.

For them the moon, with cloudless ray,
Mounts to illume their homeward way :
Their weary spirits to relieve,
The meadows incense breathe at eve.
No riot mars the simple fare,
That o'er a glimmering hearth they share :
But when the night-bell's measured roar
Duly, the darkening valleys o'er,
Has echoed from the distant town ;
They wish no beds of cygnet-down,
No trophied canopies, to close
Their drooping eyes in quick repose.

The little sons, who spread the bloom
Of health around the clay-built room,
Or through the primrosed coppice stray,
Or gambol in the new-mown hay,
Or quaintly braid the cowslip-twine,
Or drive afield the tardy kine ;
Or hasten from the sultry hill,
To loiter at the shady rill ;
Or climb the tall pine's gloomy crest,
To rob the raven's ancient nest.

Their humble porch with honoyed flowers
The curling woodbine's shade embowers ;
From the trim garden's thymy mound
Their bees in busy swarms resound :

Woo her, when, with rosy blush,

Summer eve is sinking ; When, on rills that softly gush,

Stars are softly winking ; When, through boughs that knit the bower,

Moonlight gleams are stealing ; Woo her, till the gentle hour

Wakes a gentler feeling. Woo her, when autumnal dyes

Tinge the woody mountain ; When the drooping foliage lies

In the half-choked fountain ;
Let the scene, that tells how fast

Youth is passing over,
Warn her, ere her bloom is past,

To secure her lover.

Woo her, when the north winds call

At the lattice nightly ;
When, within the cheerful hall,

Blaze the fagots brightly ;
While the wintry tempest round

Sweeps the landscape hoary, Sweeter in her ear shall sound

Love's delightful story.


[blocks in formation]

The Spirit of Beauty unfurls her light,
And wheels her course in a joyous flight :
I know her track through the balmy air,
By the blossoms that cluster and whiten there;
She leaves the tops of the mountains green,
And gems the valley with crystal sheen.
At morn, I know where she rested at night,
For the roses are gushing with dewy delight;
Then she mounts again, and around her flings
A shower of light from her purple wings,
Till the spirit is drunk with the music on high,
That silently fills it with ecstasy!
At noon, she hies to a cool retreat,
Where 'bowering elms o'er waters meet;
She dimples the wave, where the green leaves dip,
That smiles, as it curls, like a maiden's lip,
When her tremulous bosom would hide, in vain,
From her lover, the hope that she loves again.
At eve, she hangs o'er the western sky
Dark clouds for a glorious canopy ;
And round the skirts of each sweeping fold
She paints a border of crimson and gold,
Where the lingering sunbeams love to stay,
When their god in his glory has passed away.
She hovers around us at twilight hour,
When her presence is felt with the deepest power;
She mellows the landscape, and crowds the stream
With shadows that flit like a fairy dream :-
Still wheeling her flight through the gladsome air,
The spirit of Beauty is everywhere !

There is no cloud that sails along
The ocean of

yon sky,
But hath its own winged mariners

To give it melody,
Thou see'st their glittering fans outspread,

All gleaming like red gold ;
And, hark! with shrill pipe musical,

Their merry course they hold.
God bless them all, these little ones,

Who, far above this earth,
Can make a scoff of its mean joys,

And vent a nobler mirth.

But, soft ! mine ear upcaught a sound

From yonder wood it came ; The spirit of the dim green glade

Did breathe his own glad name. Yes, it is he! the hermit bird,

That, apart from all his kind, Slow spells his beads monotonous

To the soft western wind. Cuckoo ! cuckoo ! he sings again

His notes are void of art. But simplest strains do soonest sound

The deep founts of the heart.


Good Lord ! it is a gracious boon

For thought-crazed wight like me, To smell again these summer flowers,

Beneath this summer tree ! To suck once more,


every breath, Their little souls away, And feed my fancy with fond dreams

Of youth's bright summer day ; When rushing forth, like untamed colt,

The reckless truant boy Wandered through green woods all day long,

A mighty heart of joy!

They come ! the merry Summer months

Of beauty, love, and flowers ;
They come ! the gladsome months that bring

Thick leafiness to bowers.
Up, up, my heart! and walk abroad,

Fling work and care aside ;
Seek silent hills, or rest thyself

Where peaceful waters glide ;
Or underneath the shadow vast

Of patriarchal trees,
See through its leaves the cloudless sky

In rapt tranquillity.
The grass is soft ; its velvet touch

Is grateful to the hand;
And, like the kiss of maiden love,

The breeze is sweet and bland;
The daisy and the buttercup

Are nodding courteously ;

I'm sadder now — - I have had cause ;

But, 0 ! I'm proud to think
That each pure joy-fount loved of yore

I yet delight to drink ;
Leaf, blossom, blade, hill, valley, stream,

The calm, unclouded sky,
Still mingle music with my dream,

As in the days gone by.
When Summer's loveliness and light

Fall round me dark and cold,
I'll bear indeed life's heaviest curse,

A heart that hath waxed old.

« PreviousContinue »