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They had engag'd their wand'ring ste.ps teo far,
And envious darkness, ere they could return,
Had stole them from me; else O thievish Night 195
"Why wouldst thou, but for some felonious end,
In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars,
That Nature hung in Heav'n, and fill'd their lamps
With everlasting oil, to give due light
To the misled and lonely traveller? 200

This is the place, as well as I may guess,
Whence even now the tumult of loud Mirth
Was rife, and perfect in my list'ning ear,
Yet nought but single darkness do I find.
What might this be? A thousand fantasies 205
Begin to throng into my memory,
Of calling shapes, and beck'ning shadows dire,
And aery tongues, that syllable men's names
On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses.
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound
The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
By a strong siding champion, Conscience.—

0 welcome pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope,
Thou hovering angel girt with golden wings,
And thou unblemish'd form of Chastity j 2r5

1 see ye visibly, and now believe

That he, the Supreme Good, to' who mall things ill
Are but as slavish oflicers of vengeance,
Would send a glist'ring guardian if need were
To keep my life and honour unassail'd. 220

Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
1

I did not err, there does a sable cloud

Turn forth her silver lining on the night,

And casts a gleam over this tufted grove. 215

I cannot hallow to my brothers, but

Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest

I'll venture, for my new inliven'd spirits

Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off*.

SONG.

Sweet Echo, sweetest npmph, thatliv'st unseen

Within thy aery shell, 431

By slow Meander's margent green, And in the violet-embroider'd vale,

Where the love-lorn nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well; 235
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair

That likest thy Narcissus are?
O if thou have
Hid them in some flow'ry cave,

Tell me but where, 240

Sweet queen of Parly, daughter of the Sphere, So may'st thou be translated to the skies, Andgiveresoundinggraceto allHeav'n's harmonies.

Com. Can any mortal mixture of Earth's mold Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment? 845 Sure something holy lodges in that breast, And with these raptures moves the vocal Air To testify his hidden residence: How sweetly did they flote upon the wings Of Silence, through the empty vaulted Night, »5«

At every fall smoothing the raven down
Of darkness till it smil'd! I have oft heard
My mother Circe with the Sirens three,
Amidst the flow'ry-kirtled Naiades
Culling their potent herbs, and baleful drugs, 255
Who as they sung, would take the prison'd soul,
And lap it in Elysium; Scylla wept,
And chid her barking waves into attention,
And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause:
Yet they in pleasing slumber lull'd the sense, 16o
And in sweet madness robb'd it of itself;
But such a sacred and home-felt delight,
Such sober certainty of waking bliss
1 never heard till now. I'll speak to her,
And she shall be my queen. Hail foreign wonder,
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed,
Unless the goddess that in rural shrine
Dwell'st here with Pan, or Silvan, by blest song
Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog 16 j

To touch the prosp'rous growth of this tall wood.
La. Nay gentle Shepherd, ill is lost" that praise
That is address'd to unattending ears;
Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift
How to regain my sever'd company,
Compell'd me to awake the courteous Echo 27 $
To give me answer from her mossy couch, [thus?
Com. What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you
La. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth.
Com. Could that divide you from near-ushering
La. They left me weary on agrassyturf. [guid«9
Volume III. O

Com. By falsehood, ordiscourtesy, or why? zti La. To seek i'th' valley some cool friendly spring. Com. And left your fair side allunguarded,Lady? La. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick

return. Com. Perhaps forestalling Night prevented them. La. How easy my misfortune is to hit! 186

Com. Imports their loss, beside the present need? La. No less than if I should my brothers lose. Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful

bloom? • •
L A. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips.
Com. Two such I saw, what time the labor'd ox
In his loose traces from the furrow came,
And the swinkt hedger at his supper sat;
I saw them under a green mantling vine
That crawls along the side of yon small hill, 29 j
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots;
Their port was more than human, as they stood i
I took it for a faery vision
Of«ome gay creatures of the element,
That in the colors of the rainbow live, 300

And play i? th' plighted clouds. I was awe-struck,
And as I past, I worshipt; if those you seek,
It were a journey like the path to Heav'n,
To help you find them.

La. Gentle Villager, 305

What readiest way would bring me to that place? Com. Due west it rises from this shrubby point. La. To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose

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In such a scant allowance of. star-light,
Would over-task the best land-pilot's art,
Without the sure guess of well-practis'd feet. 310

Com. I know each lane, and every alley green,
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And every bosky bourn from side to side,
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood;
And if your stray-attendence be yet lodg'd, 31J
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
From her thatcht pallat rouse; if otherwise
X can conduct you, Lady, to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe 31fc

Till further quest.

La. Shepherd, I take thy word, And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy, Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls And courts of princes, where it first was nam'd, 325 And yet is most pretended: in a place Less warranted than this, or less secure, I cannot be, that I should fear, to change it. Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial To my proportion'd strengh. Shepherd, lead on.

Tbetwo Brothers. [Moon, E.bro. Unmuffle ye faint Stars, and thou fair Thatwont'st to love the traveller's benizon, Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here

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