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L'ALLEGRO.

Hence, loathed melancholy, Of Cerberus, and Blackest Midnight born, In Stygian cave forlorn, 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unnoly, Find out some uncouth cell, Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night raven sings; There under ebon shades and low browed rocks As ragged as thy locks, In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell. Z But come thou goddess fair and free, In Heaven yelept Euphrosyne, And by men, heart-easing Mirth, 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 the spring, Zephyr, with Aurora playing, As he met her once a-maying, There on beds of violets blue, And fresh blown roses washed in dew, Filled her with 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;
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 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,
Sometime walking not unseen
By hedge row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great sun begins his state,
Rohed in flames, and amber light,

The clouds in thousand liveries dight,
While the plowman near at hand
Whistles o'er the furrowed land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower wets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
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 brook and rivers wide.
Towers and battlements it sees
Bosomed 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 Phyllis dresses;
And then in haste her bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or if the earlier season lead
To the tanned 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 chequered shade;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday :
Till the live-long daylight fail;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How fairy Mab the junkets eat,
She was pinched and pulled, she said,
And he, by friars, lantern 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 threshed the corn
That ten day labourers could not end;
Then lays him down the lubber fiend,
And stretched 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 lulled asleep.
Towered 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 adjudge the prize,
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear

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In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And Pomp, and Feast, and Revelry,
With Mask, and antique Pageantry,
Such sights as youthful poets dream,
On summer eves by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Johnson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, 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 of 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 heaped Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto to have quite set free
His half-regained Eurydice.
These delights, if thou canst give, -
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

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