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Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And every bosky 11 bourn from side to side,
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood ;
And if your stray attendants be yet lodged,
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
From her thatched pallet rouse: if otherwise,
I can conduct you, lady, to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe
Till further quest.
Shepherd, I take thy word, And trust thy honest-offered courtesy, Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds With smoky rafters, than in tap’stry halls And courts of princes, where it first was named, And yet is most pretended : in a place Less warranted than this, or less secure, I cannot be, that I should fear to change it. Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial To my proportioned strength! Shepherd, lead on.
Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou fair moon, That wont'st 12 to love the traveller's benizon, Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
In double night of darkness and of shades ;
Or if your influence be quite dammed up
With black usurping mists, some gentle taper,
Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole
Of some clay habitation, visit us
With thy long levelled rule of streaming light,
And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
Or Tyrian Cynosure.
Or, if our eyes Be barred that happiness, might we but hear The folded flocks penned in their wattled cotes, Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops, Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock Count the night watches to his feathery dames, ’T would be some solace yet, some little cheering, In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs. But oh, that hapless virgin, our lost sister ! Where may she wander now ? whither betake her From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and thistles ? Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now;
Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
Leans her unpillowed head, fraught with sad fears.
What if in wild amazement and affright?
Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp
Of savage Hunger, or of savage Heat ?
- Peace, brother ! be not over-exquisite
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils ;
For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
What need a man forestall his date of grief,
And run to meet what he would most avoid ?
Or if they be but false alarms of fear,
How bitter is such self-delusion !
I do not think my sister so to seek,
Or so unprincipled in Virtue's book,
And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,
Is that the single want of light and noise
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)
Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
And put them into misbecoming plight.
Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon
Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self
Oft seeks to sweet retiréd Solitude,
Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings,
That in the various bustle of resort
Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impaired.
He that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i’ the centre, and enjoy bright day;
But lie that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts,