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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 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 accustom'd oak:
Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy !
Thee, chauntress, oft the woods among,
I woo, to hear thy even-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 bow'd,
Stooping through a fleecy cloud.
Oft, on a plat of rising ground, ,
I hear the far off curfew sound,
Over some wide-water'd 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,
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 scepter'd 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 buskin'd stage.
But, osad 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 own'd the virtuous ring and glass ;
And of the wonderous 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 turneys, 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 civil-suited Morn appear, Not trick'd and flounced, as she was wont, With the Attic boy to hunt, But kerchief'd in a comely cloud, While rocking winds are piping loud; Or usher'd with a shower still, When the gust had blown his fill, Ending on the russling leaves,
With minute drops from off the caves.
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 hallow'd 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 consort as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep;
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings, in airy stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
Softly on my eye-lids laid.
And as I wake, sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some spirit, to mortals good,
Or the unseen Ĝenius of the wood.
But let my dew feet never fail
To walk the studious cloisters pale,
And love the high embowed roof,
With antique pillars, massy proof,
And storied windows, richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voic'd quire below,
In service high, and anthems clear,
As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstacies,
And bring all Heaven before mine eyes !
And may, at last, my weary age Find out the peaceful hermitage, The hairy gown, and mossy cell, Where I may sit, and rightly spell Of every star that Heaven doth shew, And
every herb that sips the dew; Till old experience do attain To something like prophetic strain.
These pleasures, Melancholy, give, And I with thee will choose to live,
Part of an Entertainment presented to the Countess
Dowager of Derby at Harefield, by some noble persons of her family; who appear on the scene in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat of state with this Song.
Look, nymphs, and shepherds, look,
What sudden blaze of majesty
Is that which we from hence descry?
Too divine to be mistook :
This, this is she,
To whom our vows and wishes bend;
Here our solemn search hath end.
Fame, that her high worth to raise,
Seem'd erst so lavish and profuse,
We may justly now accuse
Of detraction from her praise ;
Less than half we find express'd,
Envy bid conceal the rest.
Mark, what radiant state she spreads,
In circle round her shining throne,
Shooting her beams like silver threads ;
This, this, is she alone,
Sitting like a goddess bright,
In the centre of her light.
Might she the wise Latona be
Or the tower'd Cybele,
Mother of a hundred Gods?
Juno dares not give her odds :
Who had thought this clime had hel
A deity so unparallel'd ?
As they come forward, the Genius of the wood appears, and turning toward them, speaks.
Stay, gentle swains, for though in this disguise,
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes ;
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung
Of that renown'd flood, so osten sung,
Divine Alpheus, who, by secret sluice,
Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse ;
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskin'd nymphs, as great and good,
I know this quest of yours, and free intent,
Was all in honour, and devotion meant,
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence, I adore as mine;
And, with all helpful service, will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
And lead ye where ye may more near behold;
What shallow-searching fame hath left untold;
Which I, full oft, amidst these shades alone,
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon :
For know, by lot from Jove, I am the power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,
To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove
With ringlets quaint, & wanton windings wove.
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill :
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew,
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites.
When evening gray doth rise, I fetch my round
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground;
And early, ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tassellid horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout,
With puissant words, & murmurs made to bless.
But else in deep of night, when drowsiness
then listen I
To the celestial Syrens' harmony,
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres,
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,
And turn the adamantine spindle round,
On which the fate of gods and men is wound.
Such-sweet compulsion doth in music lie,