Page images
PDF
EPUB

Her sanctuary; now the city's pomp,

Her palaces, her domes, that tow'r amidst

A grove of olive; now the peaceful scenes

Of pastoral repose, the shepherd's car, 33 5

The wand'ring herds, the vineyards overspread

With purple radiance, and the deep shades

Of rocks and woods which on thy waters sleep.

But ere thou minglest with the ocean's wave,
Lead me, Peneus, by thy winding banks, 340
To Tempe, to that deep sequester'd vale,
The theme of poets and th' abode of Gods;
There let me wander. Tow'ring on each side,
The mighty bulwarks of these flow'ry fields,
Stand Ossa and Olympus, giant forms; ;' 345

Awful they rise, like those two sons of earth,
Who here with sov'reign Jove wag'd impious war,
Briareus and Typhon; their broad cliffs
Riven by the tempest into wildest shapes
Of tow'r and minaret, or massive arch, 3 50

Bold pushing forward, meet the glare of day,
Or deep recede into the purple gloom
Of glen and cavern, where no wand'ring beam

D

Can enter; down their rugged sides thick copse

Of bay, of wild-fig, and pomegranate spreads 855

Beneath the storm-bleach'd oak; and bindweed hangs

Its filaments, in long and easy curves,

O'er ev'ry shatter'd crag and mould'ring stone.

And lovely is the scene of peace which sleeps

Beneath the moving shadow of that cloud; 360

How calm reposes ev'ry dell and vale

Embosom'd in the mountain; yon gray knoll

Tufted with trees, and gently sloping dawn

To meet the glitt'ring stream, where it expands

Into a lake of crystal, is the spot 36 5

Where Pan, surrounded with the joyous choir

Of nymphs and swains, erst revell'd to the sound

Of his soft rustic reed; e'en now it breathes

Silence and pastoral tranquillity;

The peasant there still warbles his rude song 3 70

To oaten pipe, and thence at dawn of day

Leads forth his goats to pasture. Nature here

Wantons luxuriant; to yonder elm

The vine clings gracefully, and round his vast

And wither'd limbs her pliant tendrils throws, 37 5 Like Beauty leaning on the arm of Age.

The ivy clust'ring o'er the knotted trunk

Of oak or olive, intermingles close

Its leaves, and, blending its deep sombre hues

With their more vivid foliage, forms a bow'r 3 80

Impenetrable to the noon-day sun,

Thy haunt, Peneus, when through thickets wild

Of bay and platane woods, which bow their heads

To taste thy waters, thou roll'st murmVing on,

Transported with the scenes which round thee rise. 38 5

Happy the ancient bard, whose mental eye,
Clear'd from the film that veils our duller sight,
Beheld in ev'ry mountain, tree, and rill,
A beauteous race of sylvan Deities,

The wild creation of poetic taste. 390

When he thro' Tempe's valley musing roam'd,

Around his steps, from ev'ry oak and pine,

The Dryads came, and wav'd their moss-grown boughs

In murmurs o'er his head; the Naiads pour*d

Their sparkling waters from their marble urns 39 5

In streams that gush'd across his upland path,

Or in the slumb'ring lake, whose limpid breast

Reflected clear each rock and pendent shrub,

Dash'd from their snowy limbs the pearly wave

Disporting, whilst from ev'ry purple hill 400

The bending Oreads listen'd to his lyre.

He saw their graceful forms, he felt their pow'r,

And bolder struck upon the ringing chords

The strain of inspiration, fit to greet

Celestial audience. Bards of later days, 405

Although no heav'nly guests attend your steps,

Mourn not the chauge; your vivid minds supply

From Fancy's treasures an ideal race,

To fill the solitudes of Tempe's vale.

Lo! at your voice the mighty spirits rise, 410

And ev'ry passion of the soul by turns

Assumes a shape congenial to the scene,

Gloomy or gay, terrific or sublime,

As ye command.—On lawn, in shady bow'r,

Close by a stream whose murm'ring eddies curl 41 5

Round stone, or golden sand, or broken bough,

Hope sits enamour'd of the calm retreat,

Watching, with eye uprais'd, the morning sun

Spread o'er the mountains. But where pointed cliffs

Rise bleak and savage, and the gathered shade 420

Of melancholy cypress veils the day;

Where not a sound is heard, save the dank drop

Of water from a cave, or falling leaf

Breaking the death-like silence, there the form

Of Madness rests upon his bed of flint: 425

His hand is clench'd across his throbbing breast,

His pale limbs, shrinking to the blast, are bound

With tatter'd rags, his matted hair entwin'd

With reed and wither'd flow'rs, half shrouds a cheek

That never smiles, an eye that cannot weep. 430

'Tis noon, and the fierce sun, with ray intense,
Glares on Thessalia's plain; its breast receives
The broad effulgence, and reflects it back
E'en to the cope of Heav'n, which glows above,
Vaulted with fire; dreary and sad the view 43 5

Expands around, an arid waste, a sea
Of sand, which to th' horizon's utmost verge
Stretches; no breeze is felt from hill or vale
Wafting fresh odours, but each herb and flow'r
Declines its head; and ev'ry reed that shades 440
The river's bank is still; the fever'd herds

« PreviousContinue »