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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 in 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 words, 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 powers hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptr’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 buskind stage.
But, O sad Virgin, that thy power
Might raise Musæus from his bower,
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.
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 wondrous horse of brass, On which the Tartar king did ride; And if aught else great bards beside In sage and solemu tunes have sung, Of turneys 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 flounc'd, as she was wont With the Attic boy to hunt, But kerchieft in a comely cloud, While rocking winds are piping loud; Or usher'd with a shower still, When the gust hath blowu 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 axe 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,
Hide me from Day's garish eye,
While the bee with honied thigh,
That at her flow'ry work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring
With such concert as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep;
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings in airy stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
Softly on my eyelids laid;
And as I wake, sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some spirit to mortals good,
Or th' unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister's pale,
And love the high embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voic'd choir below,
A service high, and anthenis clear,
As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstacies,
And bring all heaven before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Find out the peaceful hermitage,
The hairy gown and mossy cell,
Where I may sit and rightly spell
Of every star that heaven doth shew,
And every herb that sips the dew;
Till old Experience do attain
To something like prophetic strain.
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
And I with thee will choose to live.
'Tis said of widow, maid, and wife,
That honour is a woman's life;
Unhappy sex! who only claim
A being in the breath of Fame,
Which tainted, not the quick’ning gales
That sweep Sabæa's spicy vales,
Nor all the healing sweets restore,
That breathe along Arabia's shore.
The trav'ller, if he chance to stray,
May turn uncensur'd to his way;
Polluted streams again are pure,
And deepest wounds admit a cure;
But woman! no redemption knows, The wounds of honour never close.
Though distant ev'ry hand to guide, Nor skill'd in life's tempestuous tide, If once her feeble bark recede, Or deviate from the course decreed, In vain she seeks the friendless shore, Her swifter folly flies before; The circling ports against her close, And shut the wand'rer from repose, 'Till, by conflicting waves oppress’d, Her found'ring pinnace sinks to rest.
Are there no offerings to atone For but a single error?- None. Though woman is avow'd, of old, No daughter of celestial mould, Her temp’ring not without allay, And form'd but of the finer clay, We challenge from the mortal dame The strength angelic natures claim; Nay more; for sacred stories tell, That e'en immortal angels fell.
Whatever fills the teeming sphere Of humid earth, and ambient air, With varying elements endu'd, Was form'd to fall, and rise renew'd.
The stars no fix'd duration know, Wide oceans ebb, again to flow,