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HENCE, vain deluding joys,
The brood of folly without father bred ! 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 Sun Beams,
Or likest 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 ...
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 Cypres Lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn :
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step, and musing gait,
And looks commércing 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, that oft with gods doth diet,
And hears 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 fiery-wheeled throne,
The Cherub Contemplation;
And the mute Silence hist along,
’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 the accustom’d Oak.
Sweet Bird, that shunn'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 Green,
To behold the wandering Moon,
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the Heavens' 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 in some high lonely Tower,
may oft out-watch the Bear
With thrice great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato to unfold
What Worlds, or what vast Regions hold
The immortal mind that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook :
And of those Dæmons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
hath a true consent
With Planet, or with Element.
Sometime let Gorgeous Tragedy
In Scepter'd Pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' 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 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 ought else great Bards beside
and solemn 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 frounced as she was wont
With the Attic Boy to hunt,
But kercheft 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 Aling
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 heavéd 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 honey'd thigh,
That at her flowery work doth sing,
And the Waters murmuring,
122. civil-suited] soberly clad. 123. tricked) adorned.
123. frounced) with hair curled.
124. Attic Boy] Cephalus. 130. minute] as in ‘minute-guns.' 134. brown] dusky.
With such consort as they keep
Entice the dewy-feather's Sleep;
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his Wings in Airy stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
Softly on my eye-lids laid.
And as I wake, sweet musick breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some spirit to mortals good,
Or th' unseen Genius of the Wood.
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.
160 There let the pealing Organ blow To the full-voiced Quire below In Service high and Anthems clear, As may with sweetness, through mine ear, Dissolve me into extasies, And bring all Heav'n 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 Heav'n doth shew,
And every Herb that sips the dew ;
Till old experience do attain
To something like Prophetic strain.