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Nor in my path her primrose garland cast.
Though 'mid her traiu the dimpled Hebe bare
Her rosy bosom to the 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 louring skies,
And at her presence mild the 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.
AT ANSLEY HALL, IN WARWICKSHIRE.
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.
Within my limits lone and still
The blackbird pipes in artless trill;
Fast by my couch, congenial guest,
The wren has wove her mossy nest;
From busy scenes, and brighter skies,
To lurk with innocence, she flies;
Here hopes in safe repose to dwell,
Nor aught suspects the sylvau cell.
At morn I take my custom'd round,
To mark how buds yon shrubby mound :
And every opening primrose count
That trimly paints my blooming mount:
Or o'er the sculptures, quaint and rude,
That grace my gloomy solitude,
I teach in winding wreaths to stray
Fantastic ivy's gadding spray.
At eve, within yon studious nook,
I ope my brass-embossed book,
Portray'd with many a holy deed
Of martyrs, crown’d with heavenly meed :
Then, as my taper waxes dim,
Chant, ere I sleep, my measured hymn;
And, at the close, the gleams behold
Of parting wings bedropt with gold.
While such pure joys my bliss create,
Who but would smile at guilty state ?
Who but would wish his holy lot
In calm Oblivion's humble grot ?
Who but would cast his pomp away,
To take my staff, and amice gray;
And to the world's tumultuous stage
Prefer the blameless hermitage ?
WRITTEN IN WHICHWOOD FOREST.
The hinds how blest, who, ne'er beguiled
To quit their hamlet's hawthorn wild ;
Nor haunt the crowd, nor tempt the main,
For splendid care, and guilty gain!
When morning's twilight-tinctured beam
Strikes their low thatch with slanting gleam,
They rove abroad in ether blue,
To dip the scythe in fragrant dew;
The sheaf to bind, the beech to fell,
That nodding shades a craggy dell.
'Midst gloomy glades, in warbles clear,
Wild nature's sweetest notes they hear :
On green untrodden banks they view
The hyacinth's neglected hue :
In their lone haunts, and woodland rounds,
They spy the squirrel's airy bounds,
And startle from her ashen spray,
Across the glen, the screaming jay:
Each native charm their steps explore
Of Solitude's sequester'd store.
For them the moon with cloudless ray,
Mounts, to illume their homeward way:
Their weary spirits to relieve,
The meadows' incense breathe at eve.
No riot mars the simple fare,
That o'er a glimmering hearth they share;
But when the curfew's measured roar
Duly, the darkening valleys o'er,
Has echoed from the distant town,
They wish no beds of cygnet-down,
No trophied canopies, to close
Their drooping eyes in quick repose.
Their little sons,
who spread the bloom
Of health around the clay-built room,
Or through the primrosed coppice stray,
Or gambol in the new-mown hay;
Or quaintly braid the cowslip-twine,
Or drive afield the tardy kine;
Or hasten from the sultry hill,
To loiter at the shady rill;
Or climb the tall pine's gloomy crest,
To rob the raven's ancient nest.
Their humble porch with honey'd flowers
The curling woodbine's shade imbowers ;
From the small garden's thymy mound
Their bees in busy swarms resound:
Nor fell Disease, before his time,
Hastes to consume life's golden prime:
But when their temples long have wore
The silver crown of tresses hoar;
As studious still calm peace to keep,
Beneath a flowery turf they sleep.
Beneath the beech, whose branches bare,
Smit with the lightning's livid glare,
O’erhang the craggy road,
And whistle hollow as they wave;
Within a solitary grave,
A slayer of himself holds his accursed abode.
Lourd the grim morn, in murky dyes,
Damp mists involved the scowling skies,
And dimni'd the struggling day;
As by the brook, that lingering laves
Yon rush-grown moor with sable waves,
Full of the dark resolve he took his sullen way.
I mark'd his desultory pace,
His gestures strange, and varying face,
With many a mutter'd sound;
And ah! too late aghast I view'd
The reeking blade, the hand imbrued; He fell, and groaning, grasp'd in agony the ground.