Page images
PDF

Of hcapt Elysian flowers, 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.

IL PENSEROSO.

ilEKCE vain deluding Joys,

The brood of Folly without Father bred, How little you bested,

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 sun-beams, Or likeliest hovering dreams

The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train. But hail thou Goddess, sage and holy, Hail divinest Melancholy, Whose saintly 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 lister might beseem, Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove To set her beauties' praiic above The sea-nymphs, and their pow'rs offended: Yet thou art higher far descended, Thee bright-hafr'd Vesta long of yore To solitary Saturn bore; His daughter she (in Saturn's reign, Suth mixture was not h;lii a stain,)

Oft in glimmering bowers 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, stedfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,
And sable stole of Cyprus 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 leaden downward cast
Thou fix them on the earth as fast:
And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet,
Spare Fast, and oft with gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring
Ay round about Jove's altar sipg:
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 fiery-wheeled throne,
The cherub Contemplation;
And the mute Silence hist a)ong,
Less Philomel will deign a song,

In her 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 shun'st the noise of folly,

Most musical, most melancholy!

Thee chauntress oft the woods among

I woo to hear thy even-song;

And missing thee, I walk unseen

On the dry smooth-shaven areen,

To behold the wand'ring moon,

Hidmg near her highest noon,

Like one that had been led astray

Through the Heav'n's 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 curfeu 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 belman's drousy charm,

To bless the doors from nightly harm:

Or let my lamp at midnight hour,

Be seen in some high lonely tow'r,

Where I may oft out-watch the Rear,
With thrice great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions, hold,
The mortal 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 clement.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptcr'd pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes', or Pelop's line,
Or the tale of Troy divine,
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage.
But, O sad Virgin, that thy power
Might raise Musaeus from his bower!
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes, as warbled to the string,
Crew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made Hell grant what Love did seek.
Or call up him that left half told,
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball, and of Algarsifc,
And who had Canacc to wife,
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wondrous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride;
And if ought else great bards beside

« PreviousContinue »