Page images

For thou canst place me near my love ,
Canst fold in visionary bliss,
And let me think I steal a kiss.

When young-ey'd Spring profusely throws-
From her green lap the pink and rose;
When the soft, turtle of the dale
To Summer tells her tender tale ,
When Autumn cooling caverns-seeks,
And stains with wine his jolly cheeks f.
When "Winter like poor pilgrim old t
Shakes his silver beard with cold ,
At ev'ry season let my ear
Thy solemn whispers , Fancy , hear..

0 warm enthusiastic maid,
Without thy pow'rful vital aid ,.
That breathes an energy divine ,
That gives a soul to ev'ry line;
Ne'er may I strive with lips profane
To.utter an unhallowrd strain ,.
Nor dare to touch the sacred string,.
Save when with smiles thou bid'st me sing.

O hear our prayer, O hither come
From thy lamented Shakespear's tomb ,
On which thou lov'st to sit at eve ,
Musing o'er thy darling grave;
0 Queen of numbers onco again.
Animate some chosen swain,.
Who fill'd with unexhausted fire
May boldly strike the sounding lyre>
May rise above the rhyming throng
And with some new unequall'd song
O'er all our list'ning passions reign ,
O'erwhelm. our souls with joy and pain ;,
With terror shake, with pity move ,. *
Rouse with revenge, or melt with love.
O deign t' attend his evening walk ,.
With him in groves and grottoes talk :.
Teach him to scorn with frigid art
Feebly to touch th' enraptur'd heart;.
Like lightning let his mighty verse
The bosom's inmost foldings pierce :.

With native beauties win applause,

Beyond cold critic's studied laws:

O let each Muse's fame increase.

O bid Britannia rival Greece. Wahtox.

[ocr errors]

Chap. XVI.
L' Allegro.

-EKCE loathed Melancholy, Of Cerberus , and blackest midnight born , In Stygian cave forlorn "Mongst horrid shapes , and shrieks , and sighs

unholy , Find out some uncouth cell ,

Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night raven sings;

There under ebon shades and low brow'd rocks, As ragged as thy locks,

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.

But come , thou goddess fair and free ,

In heav'n yclep'd Euphrosyne,

And by men , heart-easing Mirth t

Whom lovely Venus at a birth

With two sister Graces more

To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore?

Or whether (as some sages sing)

The frolic wind that breathes tfie spring,.

Zephyr with Aurora playing ,

A* he met her once a Maying ,

There on beds of violets blue,

And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew,

Fill'd her with thee a daughter fair,

So buxom blithe , and debonair.

Haste thee , Nymph ! and bring with thee

Jest and youthful Jollity ,

Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,

Nods , and Becks and wreathed Smiles ,,

Such as hang on Hebe's cheek ,

And love to live in dimple sleek 5

Sport that wrinkled Care derides,

And Laughter holding both his sides ,

Come , and trip it as you 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 lire 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 list'ning how the hounds and horn

Cheerly rouse the slumb'rine morn ,

From the side of some hoar nill ,

Through the high wood echoing shrill j

Some time walking net unseen

By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green ,

Right against the eastern gate,

Where the great sun begins his state ,

Rob'd in flames , and amber light,

The clouds in thousand liveries dight;

While the ploughman near at hand

Whistles o'er the furrow'd land ,

And the milk-maid 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 t

Whilst the landscape 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 aged 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 bow'r she leaves,

With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;

Or if the earlier season lead ,

To the tann'd hay-cock 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 t

Dancing in the chequer'd shade;

And young and old come forth to play

On a sunshine holiday ,

Till the live-long day-light fail;

Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,

With stories told of many a feat,

How fairy 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 sweat

To earn his cream-bowl duly set,

When in one night, ere glimpse of morn ,

His shadowy flail had 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 mattin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep ,
By -whispering winds soon lull'd asleep.

Tow'red 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 s
There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe , with taper clear;
And Pomp , and Feast, and Revelry ,
With Mask and antique Pageantry,
Such sights as yeuthful poets dream ,
On summer eves by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon t
If Jonson's learned sock be on ,
Or sweetest Shakespeare , Fancy's child T
Warble his native wood-notes wild.

And ever against eating cares ,
Lap me in 6oft Lydian airs i,
.Married to immortal verse,
Such as the melting soul may pierce ,
In notes , with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out ,
TVith wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running.
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden souls of Harmony:
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heapt Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto , to have quite set free-
His half-regain'd Eurydics.

These delights if thou canst give ,
Mirth , with thee I mean to live.. Milioh.

« PreviousContinue »