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Though awfully silent, and shaggy, and rude,
I am charm'd with the peace ye afford,
Your shades are a temple where none will intrude,
The abode of my lover and Lord.
I am sick of thy splendour, O fountain of day, And here I am hid from its beams,
Here safely contemplate a brighter display Of the noblest and holiest of themes.
Ye forests, that yield me my sweetest repose, Where stillness and solitude reign,
To you I securely and boldly disclose The dear anguish of which I complain.
Here, sweetly forgetting and wholly forgot
By the world and its turbulent throng,
The birds and the streams lend me many a note
That aids meditation and song.
Here wandering in scenes that are sacred tonight,
Love wears me and wastes me away,
And often the sun has spent much of his light
Ere yet I perceive it is day.
While a mantle of darkness envelopes the sphere,
My sorrows are sadly rehearsed,
To me the dark hours are all equally dear,
And the last is as sweet as the first.
Here I and the beasts of the desert agree,
Mankind are the wolves that I fear,
They grudge me my natural right to be free,
But nobody questions it here.
Though little is found in this dreary abode
That appetite wishes to find,
My spirit is soothed by the presence of God,
And appetite wholly resign'd.
Ye desolate scenes, to your solitude led,
My life I in praises employ, And scarce know the source of the tears that I shed,
Proceed they from sorrow or joy.
There's nothing I seem to have skill to discern,
I feel out my way in the dark,
Love reigns in my bosom, I constantly burn,
Yet hardly distinguish the spark.
I live, yet I seem to myself to be dead,
Such a riddle is not to be found, I am nourish'd without knowing how I am fed,
I have nothing, and yet I abound.
Oh love! who in darkness art pleased to abide,
Though dimly, yet surely I see That these contrarieties only reside
In the soul that is chosen of thee.
Ah send me not back to the race of mankind,
Perversely by folly beguiled, For where, in the crowds I have left, shall I find
The spirit and heart of a child.
Here let me, though fix'd in a desert, be free;
A little one whom they despise, Though lost to the world, if in union with thee,
Shall be holy and happy and wise.
TRANSLATIONS OF THE LATIN AND ITALIAN POEMS OF MILTON.
TO CHARLES DEODATL
At length, my friend, the far sent letters come,
Charged with thy kindness, to theirdestined home;
They come, at length, from Deva's Western side,
Where prone she seeks the salt Vergivian tide.
Trust me, my joy is great that thou shouldst be,
Though born of foreign race, yet born for me,
And that my sprightly friend, now free to roam,
Must seek again so soon his wonted home.
I well content, where Thames with influent tide
My native city laves, meantime reside,
Nor zeal nor duty now my steps impel
To reedy Cam, and my forbidden cell.
Nor aught of pleasure in those fields have I,
That to the musing bard all shade deny.
'Tis time that I a pedant's threats disdain,
And fly from wrongs my soul will ne'er sustain.
If peaceful days, in letter'd leisure spent
Beneath my father's roof, be banishment,
Then call me banish'd, I will ne'er refuse
A name expressive of the lot I choose.
TRANSLATIONS FROM MILTON. 129
I would that, exiled to the Pontic shore,
Rome's hapless bard had suffer'd nothing more.
He then had equal'd even Homer's lays,
And, Virgil! thou hadst won but second praise:
For here I woo the muse, with no control,
And here my books—my life—absorb me whole.
Here too I visit, or to smile or weep,
The winding theatre's majestic sweep;
The grave or gay colloquial scene recruits
My spirits, spent in learning's long pursuits;
Whether some senior shrew'd, or spendthrift heir,
Suitor, or soldier, now unarm'd, be there,
Or some coif'd brooder o'er a ten years' cause,
Thunder the Norman gibberish of the laws.
The lacquey, there, oft dupes the wary sire,
And, artful, speeds the enamour'd son's desire.
There, virgins oft, unconscious what they prove,
What love is know not, yet, unknowing, love.
Or, if impassion'd tragedy wield high
The bloody sceptre, give her locks to fly,
Wild as the winds, and roll her haggard eye,
I gaze, and grieve, still cherishing my grief.
At times, e'en bitter tears yield sweet relief,
As, when from bliss untasted torn away,
Some youth dies, hapless, on his bridal day;
Or when the ghost, sent back from shades below,
Fills the assassin's heart with vengeful woe;
When Troy, or Argos, the dire scene affords,
Or Creon's hall laments its guilty lords.
Nor always city-pent, or pent at home,
Vol. in. 10
I dwell; but, when spring calls me forth to roam,
Expatiate in our proud suburban shades
Of branching elm that never sun pervades.
Here many a virgin troop I may descry,
Like stars of mildest influence, gliding by.
Oh forms divine! Oh looks that might inspire
E'en Jove himself, grown old, with young desire,
Oft have I gazed on gem-surpassing eyes,
Out-sparkling every star that gilds the skies:
Necks whiter than the ivory arm bestow'd
By Jove on Pelops, or the milky road!
Brightlocks, love's golden snare! these fallinglow,
Those playing wanton o'er the graceful brow!
Cheeks, too, more winning sweet than after shower
Adonis turn'd to Flora's favourite flower!
Yield, heroines, yield, and ye who shared the em-
Of Jupiter in ancient times, give place! [brace
Give place, ye turban'd fair of Persia's coast!
And ye, not less renown'd, Assyria's boast!
Submit, ye nymphs of Greece! ye, once the bloom
Of Ilion! and all ye, of haughty Rome,
Who swept, of old, her theatres with trains
Redundant, and still live in classic strains!
To British damsels beauty's palm is due;
Aliens! to follow them is fame for you.
Oh city, founded by Dardanian hands,
Whose towering front the circling realm com-
Too blest abode! no loveliness we see
In all the earth, but it abounds in thee.