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But all mote nought avail such harm to chase. Then Una fair 'gan droop her princely mien, Eke Florimel, and all my faery race:
Belinda far surpass'd my beauties sheen, Beļinda, subject meet for such soft lay, I ween,
Like as in village troop of birdlings trim, Where Chanticleer his red crest high doth hold, And quacking ducks, that wont in lake to swim, And turkeys proud, and pigeons nothing bold; If chance the peacock doth his plumes unfold, Eftsoons their meaner beauties all decaying, He glisteneth purple and he glisteneth gold, Now with bright green, now blue, himself arraying.
[ing. Such is thy beauty bright, all other beauties sway.
But why do I descant this toyish rhyme,
And fancies light in simple guise portray,
Listing to cheer thee at this rueful time,
While as black Death doth on thy heartstrings
Yet rede aright, and if this friendly lay
Thou nathless judgest all too slight and vain,
Let my well meaning mend my ill essay:
So may I greet thee with a nobler strain, When soon we meet for aye in yon star-sprinkled
plain.' Last came a bard of more majestic tread, And Thyrsis* hight by Dryad, Fawn, or Swain, Whene'er he mingled with the shepherd train ;
* Thyrsis hight.] i. e. Milton. Lycidas and the Epitaphium Damonis are the only Pastorals we bave of Milton's; in the Jatter of which, where he lamients Car. Deodatus under the name of Damon, he calls himself Thyrsis.
But seldom that; for higher thoughts he fed;
For him full oft the heavenly Muses led
To clear Euphrates, and the secret mount,
To Araby and Eden, fragrant climes ;
All which the sacred bard would oft recount:
And thus in strain, unused in silvan shade,
To sad Musæus rightful homage paid.
Thrice hail, thou heaven-taught warbler! last
Of all the train! Poet, in whom conjoin'd
All that to ear or heart or head could yield
Rapture; harmonious, manly, clear, sublime.
Accept this gratulation: may it cheer
Thy sinking soul ; nor these corporeal ills
Aught daunt thee, or appal. Know, in high heaven
Fame blooms eternal o'er that spirit divine
Whobuilds immortal verse. There thy bold Muse,
Which while on earth could breathe Mæonian
fire, Shall soar seraphic heights; while to her voiee Ten thousand hierarchies of angels harp Symphonious, and with dulcet harmonies Usher the song rejoicing. I, meanwhile, To soothe thee in these irksome hours of pain, Approach, thy visitant, with mortal praise To praise thee mortal. First, for Rhyme subdued; Rhyme, erst the minstrel of primeval Night, And Chaos, Anarch old : She near their throne Oft taught the rattling elements to chime With tenfold din; till late to earth upborne On strident plume, what time fair Poesie Emerged from Gothic cloud, and faintly shot Rekindling gleams of lustre. Her the fiend Oppress’d; forcing to utter uncouth dirge,
Runic, or Leonine; and with dire chains
Fetter'd her scarce fledged pinion. I such bonds
Aim'd to destroy, hopeless that Art could ease
Their thraldom, and to liberal use convert.
This wonder to achieve Musæus came;
Thou camest, and at thy magic touch the chains
Off dropp'd, and (passing strange!) soft wreathed
Of flowers their place supplied: which well the
Might wear for choice not force; obstruction none,
But loveliest ornament. Wondrous this, yet here
The wonder rests not; various argument
Remains for me, uncertain, where to cull
The leading grace, where countless graces charm.
Various this peaceful cave; this mineral roof;
This 'semblage meet of coral, ore, and shell;
These pointed crystals through the shadowy clefts
Bright glistering; all these slowly-dripping rills,
That tinkling wander o'er the pebbled floor:
Yet not this various peaceful cave, with this
Its mineral roof; nor this assemblage meet
Of coral, ore, and shell; nor mid the shade
These pointed crystals, glistering fair; nor rills,
That wander tinkling o'er the pebbled floor,
Deal charms more various to each raptured sense
Than thy mellifluous lay-
Cease, friendly swain (Musæus cried, and raised his aching head); All praise is foreign, but of true desert; Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart. Ah! why recall the toys of thoughtless youth, When flowery fiction held the place of truth? Ere sound to sense resign'd the silken rein, And the light lay ran musically vain.
Oh! in that lay had richest fancy iow'd,
The Syrens warbled, and the Graces glow'd;
Had liveliest nature, happiest art combined,
That lent each charm, and this each charm refined;
Alas! how little were my proudest boast!
The sweetest trifler of my tribe at most.
“Tosway the judgment, while he soothes the ear;
To curb mad passion in its wild career;
To wake by sober touch the useful lyre,
And rule, with reason's rigour, fancy's fire;
Be this the poet's praise. And this possess'd,
Take, Dulness and thy dunces ! take the rest.
• Come then that honest fame, whose tempe
Or gilds the satire or the moral lay;
Which dawns, though thou, rough Donne! hew
out the line :
But beams, sage Horace! from each strain of thine.
Oh, if like these, with conscious freedom bold,
One Poet more his manly measures rollid,
Like these led forth the indignant Muse to brave
The venal statesman and the titled slave;
To strip from frontless Vice her stars and strings,
Nor spare her basking in the smile of kings-
If grave, yet lively ; rational, yet warm;
Clear to convince, and eloquent to charm;
He pour'd, for Virtue's cause, serene along
The purest precept in the sweetest song-
If, for her cause, his heaven-directed plan
Mark'd each meander in the maze of man ;
Unmoved by sophistry, unawed by name,
No dupe to doctrines, and no fool to fame;
Led by no system's devious glare astray,
That meteorlike but glitters to betray-
Yes, if his soul to reason's rule resign'd,
And Heaven's own views fair opening on his mind,
Caught from bright nature's flame the living ray,
Through passion's cloud pour'd in resistless day;
And taught mankind, in reasoning Pride's despite,
That God is wise, and all that is is right-
If this his boast, pour here the welcome lays;
Praise less than this is mockery of praise.'
* To pour that praise be mine,' fair Virtue cried;
And shot, all radiant, through an opening cloud !
But ah! my Muse, how will thy voice express
The' immortal strain, harmonious, as it flow'd ?
Ill suits immortal strain Doric dress :
And far too high already hast thou soar'd.
Enough for thee, that when the lay was o'er,
The goddess clasp'd him to her throbbing breast.
But what might that avail ? Blind Fate before
Had oped her shears, to cut his vital thread!
And who may dare gainsay her stern behest?
Now thrice he waved the hand, thrice bow'd the
And sigh'd his soul to rest.
[head, Now wept the Nymphs; witness, ye waving shades !
[weep : Witness, ye winding streams! the Nymphs did The heavenly goddess too with tears did steep Her plaintive voice, that echo'd through the
Now wept the Nymphs, &c.]
Extinctum Nymphæ crudelí funere Daphnim
Flebant: vos coryli testes et flumina Nymphis;
Cam, complexa sai corpus miserabile nati,
Atque deos atque astra vocat crudelia Mater.
Non ulli pastos illis egêre diebus
Frigida, Dapboi, boves ad flumina; nulla neque amnem
Libavit quadrupes, nec graminis attigit herbam.
Virg. Eel. 5.