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Or heifers rustling through the brake, alarms
Th' illuded sense, and mars the golden dream.
These are delights that absence drear has made
Familiar to my soul, e'er since the form
Of young Sapphira, beauteous as the Spring,
When froin her violet-woveu couch awaked
By frolic Zephyr's hand, her tender cheek
Graceful she lifts, and blushing from her bower
Issues to clothe in gladsome-glistering green
The genial globe, first met my dazzled sight :
These are delights unknown to minds profane,
And which alone the pensive soul can taste.
The taper'd choir, at the late hour of prayer,
Oft let me tread, while to th' according voice
The many-sounding organ peals on high,
The clear slow-dittied chant, or varied hymn,
Till all my soul is bathed in ecstasies,
And lapp'd in Paradise." Or let me sit
Far in sequester'd aisles of the deep dome,
There lonesome listen to the sacred sounds,
Which, as they lengthen through the Gothic vaults,
In hollow murmurs reach my ravish'd ear.
Nor when the lamps expiring yield to night,
And solitude returns, would I forsake
The solemn mansion, but attentive mark
The due clock swinging slow with sweepy sway,
Measuring Time's flight with momentary sound.
Nor let me fail to cultivate my mind
With the soft thrillings of the tragic Muse,
Divine Melpomene, sweet Pity's nurse,
Queen of the stately step, and flowing pall
Now let Monimia mourn with streaming eyes
Her joys incestuous, and polluted love :
Now let soft Juliet in the gaping tomb
Print the last kiss on her true Romeo's lips,
His lips yet reeking from the deadly draught :
Or Jaffier kneel for one forgiving look.
Nor seldom let the Moor on Desdemone
Pour the misguided threats of jealous rage.
By soft degrees the manly torrent steals
From my swollen eyes; and at a brother's woe
My big heart melts in sympathizing tears.
What are the splendours of the gaudy court,
Its tinsel trappings, and its pageant pomps ?
To me far happier seems the banish'd lord,
Amid Siberia's unrejoicing wilds
Who pines all lonesome, in the chambers hoar
Of some high castle shut, whose windows dim
In distant ken discover trackless plains,
Where Winter ever whirls his icy car ;
While still repeated objects of his view,
The gloomy battlements, and ivied spires,
That crown the solitary dome, arise ;
While from the topmost turret the slow clock,
Far heard along th' inhospitable wastes,
With sad-returning chime awakes new grief;
Even he far happier seems than is the proud,
The potent satrap, whom he left behind
'Mid Moscow's golden palaces, to drown
In ease and luxury the laughing hours.
Illustrious objects strike the gazer's mind
With feeble bliss, and but allure the sight,
Nor rouse with impulse quick th' unfeeling heart.
Thus seen by shepherd from Hymettus' brow,
What dædal landscapes smile! here palmy groves,
Resounding once with Plato's voice, arise,
Amid whose umbrage green her silver head
Th’ unfading olive lifts ; here vine-clad hills
Lay forth their purple store, and sunny vales
In prospect vast their level laps expand,
Amid whose beauties glistering Athens towers.
Though through the blissful scenes Ilissus roll
His sage-inspiring flood, whose winding marge
The thick-wove laurel shades ; though roseate Morn
Pour all her splendours on th’empurpled scene;
Yet feels the hoary hermit truer joys,
As from the cliff that o'er his cavern hangs
He views the piles of fallen Persepolis
In deep arrangement hide the darksome plain.
Unbounded waste! the mouldering obelisk
Here, like a blasted oak, ascends the clouds ;
Here Parian domes their vaulted halls disclose
Horrid with thorn, where lurks th' unpitying thief,
Whence flits the twilight-loving bat at eve,
And the deaf adder wreaths her spotted train,
The dwellings once of elegance and art.
Here temples rise, amid whose hallow'd bounds
Spires the black pine, while through the naked street,
Once haunt of tradeful merchants, springs the grass :
Here columns heap'd on prostrate columns, torn
From their firm base, increase the mouldering mass.
Far as the sight can pierce, appear the spoils
Of sunk magnificence! a blended scene
Of moles, fanes, arches, domes, and palaces,
Where, with his brother Horror, Ruin sits.
O come then, Melancholy, queen of thought !
O come with saintly look, and steadfast step,
From forth thy cave embower'd with mournful yew,
Where ever to the curfew's solemn sound
Listening thou sitt'st, and with thy cypress bind
Thy votary's hair, and seal him for thy son.
But never let Euphrosyne beguile
With toys of wanton mirth my fixed mind,
Nor in my path her primrose-garland cast.
Though ʼmid her train the dimpled Hebe bare
Her rosy bosom to th' enamour'd view;
Though Venus, mother of the Smiles and Loves,
And Bacchus, ivy-crown'd, in citron bower
With her on nectar-streaming fruitage feast :
What though 'tis hers to calm the lowering skies,
And at her presence mild th' embattled clouds
Disperse in air, and o'er the face of heaven
New day diffusive gleam at her approach ;
Yet are these joys that Melancholy gives,
Than all her witless revels happier far;
These deep-felt joys, by Contemplation taught.
Then, ever-beauteous Contemplation, hail !
From thee began, auspicious maid, my song,
With thee shall end; for thou art fairer far
Than are the nymphs of Cirrha's mossy grot;
To loftier rapture thou canst wake the thought,
Than all the fabling Poet's boasted powers.
Hail, queen divine ! whom, as tradition tells,
Once in his evening walk a Druid found,
Far in a hollow glade of Mona's woods ;
And piteous bore with hospitable hand
To the close shelter of his oaken bower.
There soon the sage admiring mark'd the dawn
Of solemn musing in your pensive thought ;
For when a smiling babe, you loved to lie
Oft deeply listening to the rapid roar
Of wood-hung Menai, stream of Druids old.
INSCRIPTION IN A HERMITAGE
AT ANSLEY HALL IN WARWICKSHIRE.
1 BENEATH this stony roof reclined,
I soothe to peace my pensive mind;
And while, to shade my lowly cave,
Embowering elms their umbrage wave;
And while the maple dish is mine,
The beechen cup, unstain'd with wine;
I scorn the gay licentious crowd,
Nor heed the toys that deck the proud.
2 Within my limits lone and still
The blackbird pipes in artless trill ;
Fast by my couch, congenial guest,
The wren has wove her
From busy scenes, and brighter skies,
To lurk with innocence, she flies;
Here hopes in safe repose to dwell,
Nor aught suspects the sylvan cell.
3 At morn I take my customi'd round,
To mark how buds yon shrubby mound;
And every opening primrose count,
That trimly paints my blooming mount :