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Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek ;
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe ;
And in thy right hand lead with thee
The Mountain Nymph, sweet Liberty ;
And if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the Lark begin his flight
And singing startle the dull night
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise ;
Then to come in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow,
Through the Sweet-Briar, or the Vine,
Or the twisted Eglantine ;
While the Cock with lively din
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the Barn-door,
Stoutly struts his Dames before ;
Oft listening how the Hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn,
From the side of some hoar Hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill.
Some time walking not unseen
By hedge-row Elms, on Hillocks green,
Right against the Eastern gate,
Where the great Sun begins his state,
Robed in flames and Amber light,
The clouds in thousand Liveries dight;


60 70

48. Eglantine] sweet-briar, here for ‘honeysuckle’ (?). 62. dight] adorned.


While the Plowman near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrow'd Land,
And the Milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the Mower whets his scythe,
And every Shepherd tells his tale
Under the Hawthorn in the dale.

Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
Whilst the Landskip round it measures ;
Russet Lawns, and Fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray,
Mountains on whose barren breast
The labouring clouds do often rest;
Meadows trim with Daisies pied,
Shallow Brooks, and Rivers wide :
Towers and Battlements it sees
Bosom’d high in tufted Trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes,
From betwixt two agèd Oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of Herbs, and other Country Messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses ;
And then in haste her Bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the Sheaves ;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tann'd Haycock in the Mead.

Sometimes with secure delight
The upland Hamlets will invite,
When the merry Bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks sound
To many a youth and many a maid
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;

67. tells his tale) counts his flock. 80. cynosure) pole-star, centre of attraction. 94. rebeck] three-stringed fiddle.

90 Іоо



and old come forth to play
On a sunshine Holyday,
Till the livelong daylight fail ;
Then to the spicy nut-brown Ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How Faery Mab the junkets eat;
She was pinch'd and pull'd, she said,
And he by Friar's Lanthorn led ;
Tells how the drudging Goblin swet,
To earn his Cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of

His shadowy Flail hath 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 crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first Cock his Matin rings.
Thus done the Tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering Winds soon lull’d asleep.

Tower'd 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 mask, and antique Pageantry ;

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102. eat) ate.

104. and he by Friar's] and he, who said he had been led astray by a will-o'-the-wisp, tells of Robin Goodfellow. He and she are chance speakers. 105. swet] old past tense, 120. weeds) garments. 132. sock] the low shoe of comedy, see 171, 1. 102, note on buskin. 138. meeting] coming in response.

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,
Or sweetest Shakespear, Fancy's child,
Warble his native Wood-notes wild.

And ever against eating Cares
Lap me in soft Lydian Airs
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the meeting 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 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.


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Stop and consider ! life is but a day ;
A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way
From a tree's summit; a poor Indian's sleep
While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep
Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan ?
Life is the rose's hope while yet unblown ;

The reading of an ever-changing tale ;
The light uplifting of a maiden's veil ;
A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air ;
A laughing school-boy, without grief or care,
Riding the springy branches of an elm.



The Human Seasons

Four Seasons fill the measure of the year ;

There are four seasons in the mind of man : He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear

Takes in all beauty with an easy span : He has his Summer, when luxuriously Spring's honey'd cud of youthful thought he

To ruminate, and by such dreaming high

Is nearest unto Heaven : quiet coves
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings

He furleth close ; contented so to look
On mists in idleness—to let fair things

Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook : He has his Winter too of pale misfeature, Or else he would forego his mortal nature.


178 The Seven Ages of Man

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players :
They have their exits and their entrances ;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

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