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Sent by some spirit to mortal's 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 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, thro' mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies,
And bring all heav'n before nine 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.
L'ALLEGRO. HENCE, loathed Melancholy!
Of Cerberus, and blackest midnight born! In Stygian cave forlorn, 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights
unholy ! 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 heav'n yclep'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth,
With two sister graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore;
Or whether, (as some sager sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the spring,
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 debonair.
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, adinit me of thy crew;
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the lark begin his fight,
And singing startle the dull Night,
From his watch-tow'r 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 and 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 rouze the slumb'ring morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill:
Some time 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,
Whilst 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 daisies 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 Thirsis met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs, and other country-messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses :
And then in haste her bow'r she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or if the earlier season lead
To the tana'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 holy-day.
Till the live-long daylight fail ;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How Fairy Mab the junkets ate.
She was pinch'd, and pull'd, she said,
And he by friars lanthorn led.
Tells how the drudging goblin swet,
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy fail hath thresh'd the corn
That ten day-lab'rers 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 mattin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whisp'ring winds soon lull'd asleep.
Tow'red 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 Jonson's learned sock be on, .
Or sweetest Shakespeare, 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 melting soul may pierce
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flow'rs, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain'd Eurydice.
These delights if thou can'st give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
TO THE NIGHTINGALE.
O Nightingale, that on yon bloomy spray
Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still! Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill, While the jolly Hours lead on propitious May. Thy liquid notes, that close the eye of Day,
First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill, Portend success in love: 0 if Jove's will Have link'd that amorous power to thy soft lay,
Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate Foretel my hopeless doom in some grove nigh;
As thou, from year to year, hast sung too late For my relief, yet hadst no reason why.
Whether the Muse or Love call thee his mate, Both them I serve, and of their train am I.