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JOHN DYER. 1700–1758

GRONGAR HILL.

SILENT nymph, with curious eyes'
Who, the purple evening, lies
On the mountain's lonely van,
Beyond the noise of busy man;
Painting fair the form of things,
While the yellow linnet sings;
Or the tuneful nightingale.
Charms the forest with her tale ;
Come with all thy various dues,
Come and aid thy sister Muse;
Now, while Phoebus, riding high,
Gives lustre to the land and sky!
Grongar Hill invites my song,
Draw the landscape bright and strong;
Grongar, in whose mossy cells
Sweetly musing Quiet dwells;
Grongar, in whose silent shade,
For the modest Muses made,
So oft I have, the evening still,
At the fountain of a rill,
Sate upon a flowery bed,
With my hand beneath my head;
While stray'd my eyes o'er Towy's flood,
Over mead and over wood,
From house to house, from hill to hill,
Till Contemplation had her fill.

About his checker'd sides I wind,
And leave his brooks and meads behind,
And groves and grottoes where I lay,
And vistas shooting beams of day:
Wide and wider spreads the vale,
As circles on a smooth canal:
The mountains round, unhappy fate !
Sooner or later, of all height,

Withdraw their summits from the skies,
And lessen as the others rise :
Still the prospect wider spreads,
Adds a thousand woods and meads ;
Still it widens, widens still,
And sinks the newly-risen hill.

Now, I gain the mountain's brow,
What a landscape lies below!
No clouds, no vapours intervene;
But the gay, the open scene
Does the face of Nature show,
In all the hues of heaven's bow !
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.

Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Proudly towering in the skies !
Rushing from the woods, the spires
Seem from hence ascending fires !
Half his beams Apollo sheds
On the yellow mountain-heads !
Gilds the fleeces of the flocks,
And glitters on the broken rocks!

Below me trees unnumber'd rise,
Beautiful in various dyes :
The gloomy pine, the poplar blue,
The yellow beach, the sable yew,
The slender fir that taper grows,
The sturdy oak with broad-spread boughs
And beyond the purple grove,
Haunt of Phyllis, queen of love!
Gaudy as the opening dawn,
Lies a long and level lawn,
On which a dark hill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wandering eye!
Deep are his feet in Towy's flood,
His sides are clothed with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his brow,
That cast an awful look below;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps ;

So both a safety from the wind
On mutual dependance find.
'Tis now the raven's bleak abode;
'Tis now th' apartment of the toad :
And there the fox securely feeds ;
And there the poisonous adder breeds,
Conceal'd in ruins, moss, and weeds ;
While, ever and anon, there falls
Huge heaps of hoary mouldering walls.
Yet Time has seen, that lifts the low,
And level lays the lofty brow,
Has seen this broken pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state;
But transient is the smile of Fate!
A little rule, a little sway,
A sunbeam in a winter's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave.

And see the rivers, how they run
Through woods and meads, in shade and sun,
Sometimes swist, sometimes slow,
Wave succeeding wave, they go
A various journey to the deep,
Like human life to endless sleep!
Thus is Nature's vesture wrought,
To instruct our wandering thought;
Thus she dresses green and gay,
To disperse our cares away.

Ever charming, ever new,
When will the landscape tire the view!
The fountain's fall, the river's flow,
The woody valleys, warm and low;
The windy summit, wild and high,
Roughly rushing on the sky!
The pleasant seat, the ruin'd tower,
The naked rock, the shady bower;
The town and village, dome and farm,
Each give each a double charm,
As pearls upon an Ethiop's arm.

See on the mountain's southern side,
Where the prospect opens wide,
Where the evening gilds the tide ;
How close and small the hedges lie!
What streaks of meadows cross the eye!
A step, methinks, may pass the stream,
So little distant dangers seem ;
So we mistake the future's face,
Eyed through Hope's deluding glass;
As yon summit, soft and fair,
Clad in colours of the air,
Which to those who journey near,
Barren, brown, and rough appear;
Still we tread the same coarse way,
The present's still a cloudy day.

Oh may I with myself agree,
And never covet what I see!
Content me with an humble shade,
My passions tamed, my wishes laid;
For, while our wishes wildly roll,
We banish quiet from the soul :
'Tis thus the busy beat the air,
And misers gather wealth and care.

Now, ev'n now, my joys run high,
As on the mountain-turf I lie;
While the wanton Zephyr sings,
And in the vale perfumes his wings;
While the waters murmur deep;
While the shepherd charms his sheep;
While the birds unbounded fly,
And with music fill the sky,
Now, ev'n now, my joys run high.

Be full, ye courts; be great who will ;
Search for Peace with all your skill :
Open wide the lofty door,
Seek her on the marble floor.
In vain you search, she is not there;
In vain you search the domes of Care !
Grass and flowers Quiet treads,
On the meads and mountain-heads;

Along with Pleasure, close allied,
Ever by each others' side ;
And often, by the murmuring rill,
Hears the thrush, while all is still,
Within the groves of Grongar Hill.

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Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep! He, like the world, his ready visit pays Where Fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes ; Swist on his downy pinion flies from wo, And lights on lids unsullied with a tear.

From short (as usual) and disturb'd repose, I wake: How happy they who wake no more! Yet that were vain, if dreams infest the grave. I wake, emerging from a sea of dreams Tumultuous; where my wreck’d, desponding thought From wave to wave of fancied misery, At random drove, her helm of reason lost. Though now restored, 'tis only change of pain (A bitter change !), severer for severe. T'he day too short for my distress; and night, Ev'n in the zenith of her dark domain, Is sunshine to the colour of my fate.

Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne, In rayless majesty now stretches forth Her leaden sceptre o'er a slumbering world. Silence, how dead! and darkness, how profound ! Nor eye nor listening ear an object finds ; Creation sleeps. 'Tis as the general pulse Of life stood still, and nature made a pause ; An awful pause! prophetic of her end.

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