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POEMS

ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.

L'ALLEGRO.*

HENCE, loathed Melancholy,

Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born,

In Stygian cave forlorn, 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights un.

holy!
Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings,
And the night-raven sings;
There under ebon shades, and low brow'd rocks,
As ragged as thy locks,

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou goddess fair and free
In heaven yclep'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth,
With two sister Graces more
To ivy-crown'd Bacchus bore;
The frolic wind that breathes the spring,
Or whether (as some sages sing)
Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-Maying ;
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew,
Fill'd her with thee, a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonaire.

* L. Allegro is the cheerful merry man; and in this poem he describes the course of mirth in the country and in the city from morning to noon, and froin noon to night.

N

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 pleasure 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 list'ning how the hounds and horn Cheerly rouse the slumb'ring 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, Rob'd in flames, and amber light, The clouds in thousand liveries dight, While the ploughman near at hand

Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milk-maid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,
While the landscape round it measures,
Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray,
Mountains on whose barren breast
The lab’ring clouds do often rest;
Meadows trim with daises pied,
Shallow brooks and rivers wide:
Towers and battlements it sees
Bosom'd high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighb'ring 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 meat-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 tann'd haycock in the mead.

Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecs sound
To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade ;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sun-shine holiday,
Till the live-long day-light fail ;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How fairy Mab the junkets eat,

She was pinch’d, and pull’d, she said,
And he, by friar's 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 hath thresh'd the corn,
Chat ten day-lab’rors could not end ;
Then lies him down the lubbar-fiend,
And stretch'd 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 whisp'ring winds soon lull’d asleep.
Tower'd 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 judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
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 Shakepseare, 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, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,

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