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That ten day-labourers could not end ;
Then lies him down the lubber 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 matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep, By whispering winds soon lull’d asleep.
Tower'd 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 Shakspeare, 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 meeting 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 flowers, 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 canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
Hence, vain deluding Joys,
The brood of Folly without father bred ! How little you bestead
Or fill the fixéd mind with all your toys ! Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess
As thick and numberless
As the gay motes that people the sunbeans,
Or likest hovering dreams
The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
But hail, thou goddess sage and holy,
Hail, divinest Melancholy !
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore to our weaker view
O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue ;
Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The sea nymphs, and their powers offended :
Yet thou art higher far descended :
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta, long of yore,
To solitary Saturn bore ;
His daughter she ; in Saturn's reign
Such mixture was not held a stain :
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades
He met her, and in secret shades
Of woody Ida's inmost grove,
While yet there was no fear of Jove.
Come, pensive nun, devout and pure, Sober, steadfast, and demure, All in a robe of darkest grain Flowing with majestic train, And sable stole of cypres lawn Over thy decent shoulders drawn : Come, but keep thy wonted state, With even step, and musing gait, And looks commercing with the skies, Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes : There, held in holy passion still, Forget thyself to marble, till With a sad leaden downward cast Thou fix them on the earth as fast : And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet, Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet, And hears the Muses in a ring Aye round about Jove's altar sing : And add to these retired Leisure That in trim gardens takes his pleasure :But first, and chiefest, with thee bring Him that yon soars on golden wing Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne, The cherub Contemplation ; And the mute Silence hist along, 'Less Philomel will deign a song In her sweetest saddest plight, Smoothing the rugged brow of Night, While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke Gently o'er the accustom'd oak. -Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly, Most musical, most melancholy ! Thee, chauntress, 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 heaven's wide pathless way, And oft, as if her head she bow'd, Stooping through a fleecy cloud.
Oft, on a plat of rising ground
I hear the far-off curfeu sound
Over some wide-water'd shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar :
Or, if the air will not permit,
Some still removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom;
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the belman's drowsy charm
To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lamp at midnight hour
Be seen in some high lonely tower,
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold
What worlds or what vast regions hold
The immortal mind, that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nock :
And of those demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In scepter'd pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine ;
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage.
But, O sad Virgin, that thy power
Might raise Musaeus from his bower,
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek
And made Hell grant what Love did seek!
Or call up him that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
And who had Canacé to wife
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass ;
And of the wondrous horse of brass
On which the Tartar king did ride :
And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung
Of turneys, and of trophies hung,
Of forests, and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited Morn appear,
Not trick'd and frounced as she was wont
With the Attic Boy to hunt,
But kercheft in a comely cloud
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or usher'd with a shower still,
When the gust hath blown his fill,
Ending on the rustling leaves
With minute drops from off the eaves.
And when the sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, goddess, bring
To archéd walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves,
Of pine, or monumental oak,
Where the rude axe, with heavéd stroke,
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt.
There in close covert by some brook
Where no profaner eye may look,
Hide me from day's garish eye,
While the bee with honey'd thigh
That at her flowery work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such concert as they keep
Entice the dewy-featherd Sleep;
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings in aery stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
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,