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One day there chaunced into these halls to rove
A joyous youth who took you at first sight;
Him the wild wave of pleasure hither drove,
Before the sprightly tempest-tossing light:
Certes, he was a most engaging wight,
Of social glee, and wit humane, though keen,
Turning the night to day, and day to night:
For him the merry bells had rung, I ween,
If in this nook of quiet bells had ever been.
But not ev'n pleasure to excess is good;
What most elates then sinks the soul as low :
When springtide joy pours in with copious flood,
The higher still th exulting billows flow,
The farther back again they flagging go,
And leave us grovelling on the dreary shore:
Taught by this son of joy, we found it so;
Who, whilst he staid, kept in a gay uproar
Our madden'd castle all, th' abode of sleep no more.
As when in prime of June a burnish'd fly,
Sprung from the meads, o'er which he sweeps
Cheer'd by the breathing bloom and vital sky,
Tunes up amid these airy halls his song,
Soothing at first the gay reposing throng:
And oft he sips their bowl; or, nearly drown'd.
He, thence recovering, drives their beds among,
And scares their tender sleep with trump profound;
Then out again he flies, to wing his mazy round.
Another guest there was, of sense refined,
Who felt each worth, for every worth he had ;
Serene, yet warm; humane, yet firm his mind;
As little touch'd as any man's with bad :
Him through their inmost walks the Muses lad,
To him the sacred love of nature lent,
And sometimes would he make our valley glad.
When, as we found he would not here be pent, To him the better sort this friendly message sent:
"Come, dwell with us! true son of virtue, come! But if, alas! we cannot thee persuade To lie content beneath our peaceful dome, Ne ever more to quit our quiet glade; Yet when at last thy toils but ill apaid Shall dead thy fire, and damp its heavenly spark, Thou wilt be glad to seek the rural shade, There to indulge the Muse, and nature mark: We then a lodge for thee will rear in Hagley Park.”
Here whilom ligg'd th' Esopus of the age; But call'd by fame, in soul ypricked deep, A noble pride restored him to the stage, And roused him like a giant from his sleep. Ev'n from his slumbers we advantage reap: With double force th' enliven'd scene he wakes, Yet quits not nature's bounds. He knows to keep Each due decorum: now the heart he shakes, And now with well-urged sense th' enlighten'd judg
A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard beseems;
Who, void of envy, guile, and lust of gain,
On virtue still, and nature's pleasing themes,
Pour'd forth his unpremeditated strain:
The world forsaking with a calm disdain,
Here laugh'd he careless in his easy seat;
Here quaff'd, encircled with the joyous train,
Oft moralizing sage; his ditty sweet
He loathed much to write, ne cared to repeat.
Say, mighty Love, and teach my song,
To whom thy sweetest joys belong,
And who the happy pairs
Whose yielding hearts and joining hands
Find blessings twisted with their bands,
To soften all their cares.
Not the wild herd of nymphs and swains
That thoughtless fly into thy chains,
As custom leads the way :
If there be bliss without design,
Ivies and oaks may grow and twine,
And be as bless'd as they.
Not sordid souls of earthly mould,
Who, drawn by kindred charms of gold,
To dull embraces move :
So two rich mountains of Peru
May rush to wealthy marriage too,
And make a world of love.
Not the mad tribe that hell inspires
With wanton flames; those raging fires
On Ætna's top let furies wed,
And sheets of lightning dress the bed,
T'improve the burning joy.
Nor the dull pairs whose marble forms
None of the melting passions warms,
Can mingle hearts and hands :
Logs of green wood, that quench the coals,
Are married just like Stoic souls,
With osiers for their bands.
Not minds of melancholy strain,
Still silent or that still complain,
Can the dear bondage bless :
As well may heavenly concerts spring
From two old lutes with ne'er a string,
Or none besides the bass.
Nor can the soft enchantments hold
Two jarring souls of angry mould,
The rugged and the keen :
Samson's young foxes might as well
In bonds of cheerful wedlock dwell,
With firebrands tied between.
Nor let the cruel fetters bind
A gentle to a savage mind;
For Love abhors the sight :
Loose the fierce tiger from the deer,
For native rage and native fear
Rise and forbid delight.
Two kindest souls alone must meet,
'Tis friendship makes the bondage sweet,
And feeds their mutual loves : Bright Venus on her rolling throne Is drawn by gentlest birds alone,
And Cupids yoke the doves.
AMBROSE PHILIPS. 1671-1749.
Bless'd as the immortal gods is he,
The youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee all the while
Softly speak and sweetly smile.
"Twas this deprived my soul of rest,
And raised such tumults in my breast;
For while I gazed, in transport toss'd,
My breath was gone, my voice was lost.
My bosom glow'd: the subtle flame
Ran quickly through my vital frame :
O'er my dim eyes a darkness hung,
My ears with hollow murmurs rung
In dewy damps my limbs were chill'd,
My blood with gentle horrors thrill'd;
My feeble pulse forgot to play,
I fainted, sunk, and died away.
WILLIAM COLLINS. 1720-1756.
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest, By all their country's wishes bless'd! When Spring, with dewy fingers cold, Returns to deck their hallow'd mould, She there shall dress a sweeter sod Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
Their Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay,
And Freedom shall a while repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there!