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Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy !
Thee, chantress, oft the woods among,
I woo to hear thy ev'ning song;
And missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth shaven green,
To behold the wand'ring Moon,
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the Heav'ns' 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,
Qver 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 charin, To bless the doors from nightly harm. Or let my lamp at midnight hour Be seen on some high lonely tow'r, Where I may oft outwatch the Bear, With thrice great Hermes, or unsphere The spirit of Plato, to unfold What worlds, or what vast regions hold Th' 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 buskin'd stage.
But, O sad virgin! that thy pow'r
Might raise Musæus from his bow'r,
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 wond'rous 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 civil-suited Morn appear.
Not trick'd and frounc'd 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 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 ax 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 honey'd thigh,
That at her flow'ry work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such concert 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 eyelids laid:
And as I wake sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some spirit to mortals good,
Or th' unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail,
To walk the studious cloister's pale,
And love the high imbowed 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-voiced quire below,
In service high, and anthems clear,
As may with sweetness, through mine ear
Dissolve me into ecstacies,
And bring all Heav'n 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 ev'ry star that Heav'n doth shew,
And ev'ry 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.
THESE are thy glorious works, Parent of good;
Almighty! thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair! thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these Heav'ns,
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowliest works: yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and pow'r divine.
Speak ye, who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs
And coral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heav'n,
On earth join all ye creatures to extol
Him first, him last, bim midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall'st.
Moon, that now meet'st the orient Sun, now fly'st
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wand'ring fires, that move
In mystic dance, not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix,
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists, and exhalations, that now rise
From hill or streaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the Sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds th' uncolour'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling show'rs,
Rising, or falling, still advance his praise.
His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
With ev'ry plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices all ye living souls; ye birds,
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings, and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or ev’n,
To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord! be bounteous still
To give us only good and if the night
Have gather'd aught of evil, or conceal'd,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.
THE PROGRESS OF LIFE.
ALL the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely play'rs:
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts;
His acts being seven ages. First the infant,
Muling and puking in the nurse's arms,
And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel;
Seeking the bubble reputation