Page images
PDF

it, PENSEROSO:

Hence vain deluding Joys,
The brood of Folly, without father bred,

How little you bested,
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 sunbeams;

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 ;
Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem;
Or that starred Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended 1
Yet thou art higher far descended,
Thee bright haired Westa long of yore
To solitary Saturn bore;
His daughter she, (in Saturn's reign
Such mixture was not held a stain,)
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades
He met her, and in secret shades

Of woody Ida's inmost grove,
While yet there was no fear of Jove.
Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,
Sober, steadfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,
And sable stole of Cyprus lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step and musing gait;
And looks commercing 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 accustomed oak ;

[graphic]

Sweet bird that shunn'st the noise of folly, Most musical, most melancholy Thee, chauntress, oft the woods among, I woo to hearthy evening 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 heaven's wide pathless way; And oft, as if her head she bowed, Stooping through a fleecy cloud. Oft on a p, at of rising ground, I hear the far off curfew sound, Over some wide watered 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, Where I 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 demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptred 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 buskined 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 owned the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wondrous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride;
And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of tourneys 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 silver-suited morn appear;
Not trickt and frounced as she was wont,
With the Attic boy to hunt,

But kerchiefed in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or ushered 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 fling
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 heaved stroke,
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallowed 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 honied thigh,
That at her flowery work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such concert as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feathered sleep :
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings, in airy stream
Of lively portraiture displayed,
Softly on my eyelids laid.
And, as I wake, sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some spirit to mortals good,
Or the unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister's pale,

« PreviousContinue »