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Meadows trim with daisies pied,
And then in haste her bower, she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tanned haycock in the mead.
Sometimes, with secure delight, The upland hamlets will invite, When the merry bells ring round, And the jocund rebecks sound To many a youth, and many a maid Dancing in the chequered shade; And young and old come forth to
play On a sunshine holiday, Till the livelong daylight fail; Then to the spicy nut-brown ale, With stories told of many a feat, How Fairy Mab the junkets eat; She was pinched and pulled, she
And he by friar's lantern led;
His shadowy flail had thrashed the corn.
That ten day-laborers could not end; Then lies him down the lubber fiend,
And, stretched 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 matin rings. Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lulled asleep.
Towered 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
Rain influence, and judge the prize
There let Hymen oft appear
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
From golden slumber on a bed
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
These delights if thou canst give, Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
Hence, vain deluding joys,
How little you bestead,
Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes
possess, As thick and numberless As the gay motes that people the sunbeams, Or likest hovering dreams, The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
But hail, thou goddess, sage and
Hail, divinest Melancholy!
Black, but such as in esteem
Or that starred Ethiop queen, that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes:
Spare Fast, that oft with Gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring
And add to these retired Leisure, That in trim gardens takes his pleasure;
But first and chiefest with thee bring,
Gently o'er the accustomed oak; Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy! Thee, chantress, oft the woods
among, I woo to hear thy even-song; And missing thee, I walk unseen On the dry smooth-shaven green, To behold the wandering moon, Riding near her highest noon, Like one that had been led astray Through the heavens' wide pathless
And oft, as if her head she bowed,
Oft on a plat of rising ground
Or if the air will not permit,
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom;
Or let my lamp at midnight hour Be seen on some high lonely tower, Where I may oft outwatch the Bear, With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold
Whose power hath a true consent
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
But, O sad Virgin! that thy power
Or call up him that left half told
And of the wondrous horse of brass,
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale
'Till civil-suited Morn appear,
With the Attic boy to hunt,
And when the sun begins to fling His flaring beams, me, goddess, bring To arched walks of twilight groves, And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves,
Of pine or monumental oak, Where the rude axe with heaved stroke
Was never heard, the Nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallowed haunt.
There in close covert by some brook,
Wave at his wings in airy stream
Of lively portraiture displayed,
Softly on my eyelids laid:
And as I wake, sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath.
Sent by some spirit to mortals good,
Or the 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 antic pillars massy proof, And storied windows richly dight, Casting a dim religious light. There let the pealing organ blow, To the full-voiced choir below, In service high, and anthems clear, As may with sweetness, through
mine ear, Dissolve me into ecstasies, And bring all heaven before mine
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 every star that heaven doth shew, And every 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.
SONG ON MA T MORNINO.
Now the bright morning star, day's
harbinger, Comes dancing from the east, and
leads with her The flowery May, who from her
green lap throws The yellow cowslip, and the pale
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth and youth and warm desire; Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song.
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
STANZAS FROM "HYMN ON THE
It was the winter wild.
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies; Nature in awe to Him Had doffed her gaudy trim, With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her
Only with speeches fair
To hide her guilty front with innocent Snow. And on her naked shame, Pollute with sinful blame. The saintly veil of maiden white to throw,
Confounded that her Maker's eyes Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
But He, her fears to cease,
came softly sliding
clouds dividing, And. waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes a universal peace through
sea and land.
No war, or battle's sound,
The idle spear and shield were high up hung, The hooked chariot stood, Unstained with hostile blood, The trumpet spake not to the armed throng, And kings sat still with awful eye, As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by.
But peaceful was the night,
The winds with wonder whist
Who now hath quite forgot to rave, While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
ON HIS BLINDNESS.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark
world and wide, And that one talent which is death
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide:
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need Either man'swork or his owngifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
ON REACHING TWENTY-THREE.
How soon hath Time, the subtle
thief of youth, Stolen on his wing my three-and
twentieth year! My hasting days fly on with full
But my late spring no bud or blossom sheweth. Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth.
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits indu'th. Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and
the will of Heaven; All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great Task-master's
TO A VIRTUOUS VOUNG LADY.
Lady, that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunned the broad
way and the green, And with those few art eminently
That labor up the hill of heavenly truth,
The better part with Mary and with Ruth
Chosen thou hast; and they that
overween. And at thy growing virtues fret
their spleen, No anger find in thee, but pity and
Thy care is fixed, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light,
And hope that reaps not shame.
Therefore be sure Thou, when the bridegroom with his
feastful friends Passes to bliss at the mid-hour of
Hast gained thy entrance, virgin wise and pure.
[From Paradise Lost.] THE BOWER OF ADAM AND EVE.
Of thickest covert was inwoven shade. Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
Of firm and fragrant leaf: on either side
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub
Fenced up the verdant wall; each
beauteous flower, Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine Reared high their flourished heads
between, and wrought Mosaic: under foot the violet, Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay Broidered the ground, more colored
than with stone Of costliest emblem. Other creature
Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst
enter none: Such was their awe of Man. In
shadier bower More sacred and sequestered, though
but feigned, Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor
Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweetsmelling herbs,
Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed.
And heavenly choirs the Hymenoe&n sung,
What day the genial angel to our sire Brought her in naked beauty more adorned,
More lovely than Pandora, whom the gods