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There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of seasons as they roll.
For me, when I forget the darling theme,
Whether the blossom blows, the summer ray
Russets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams,
Or winter rises in the blackening east-
Be my tongue mute my fancy paint no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat!
Should fate command me to the farthest verge
Of the green earth, to distant barb'rous climes,
Rivers unknown to song; where first the sun
Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
Flames on the Atlantic isles; 'tis nought to me-
Since God is ever present, ever felt,
In the void waste as in the city full-
And where HE vital spreads, there must be joy.
When even at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds.
I Cheerful will obey-there with new powers,
Will rising wonders sing-I cannot go,
Where UNIVERSAL LOVE smiles not around.
Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their suns-
From seeming evil still educing good,
And better thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression-but I lose
Myself in HIM, IN LIGHT INEFFABLE!
*Come then, expressive Silence, muse His praise.
Surround me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair,
Prevented with an universal blank
Of nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And wisdom, at one entrance, quite shut out.
So much the rather, thou, celestial light,
Shine inward, and the mind, through all her powers,
Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from thence,
Purge and disperse; that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
HI-L'Allegro, or the Merry Man-MILTON.
HENCE, loathed Melancholy :
Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn,
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy ;; Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night raven sings;
There under ebon shades, and low brow'd rocks,
As ragged as thy locks
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou goddess fair and free,
In heaven yclep'd Euphrosyne!
And by men, hearteasing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth,
With two Sister Graces more,
To ivy crowned Bacchus bore.
Haste thee, nymph and bring with thee
Jest and youthful jolity.
Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods and becks and wreathed smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport, that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter, holding both his sides,
Come! and trip it as you go
On the light fantastic toe;
And, in thy right hand lead with thee,
The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty
And, if I give thee honor due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free:
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing, startle the duli Night,
From his watchtower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to come in spite of sorrow
And at my window bid good morrow.
Through the sweet briar or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine;
While the cock, with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn door
Stoutly struts his dames before;
Oft list'ning how the hounds and horn,
Cheerly rouse the slumb'ring morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill
Sometime walking, not unseen,
By hedge row elms or hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great sun begins his state,
Rob'd in flames and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight,
While the ploughman, near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower whe's his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures; Whilst the landskip round it measures; Russet lawns and fallows gray, Where the nibbling flocks do stray, Mountains on whose barren breast The lab'ring clouds do often rest, Meadows trim, with daisies pied, Shallow brooks, and rivers wide, Towers and battlements it sees, Bosom'd high in tufted trees, Where, perhaps, some beauty lies, The Cynosure of neighboring eyes. Hard by a cottage chimney smokes, From betwixt two aged oaks, Where Corydon and Thyrsis met, Are at their savory dinner set. Of herbs and other country messes, Which the neat handed Phillis dresses ; And then in haste, her bower she leaves, With Thestylis to bind the sheaves; Or, if the earlier season lead, To the tann'd haycock in the mead. Towered cities please us then, And the busy hum of men, Where throngs of knights and barons bold; In weeds of peace high triumph hold; With store of ladies whose bright eyes Rain influence, and judge the prize.
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart:
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns:
To him no high, no lo, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects and equals all.
Cease, then, nor ORDER, imperfection name :
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point; this kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heaven bestows on thee.
Submit-In this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear;
Safe in the hand of one disposing Power,
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good;
And, spite of Pride, unerring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, "WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT."
III-Description of a Country Alehouse.-
NEAR yonder thern that lifts its head on high,
Where once the signpost caught the passing eye
Low lies that house, where nut brown draughts inspir'd;
Where gray beard mirth, and smiling toil retir'd;
Where village statesman talk'd, with looks profound,
And news, much older than their ale, went round.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace
The parlor splendors of that festive place;
The white wash'd wall; the nicely sanded floor;
The varnish'd clock, that click'd behind the door;
The chest, contriv'd a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;
The pictures plac'd for ornament and use,
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose;
The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day,
With aspen bouglis, and flowers and fennel gay:
While broken teacups, wisely kept for show,
Rang'd o'er the chimney glisten'd in a row.
Vain transitory splendors! could not all
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall!
Obscure it sinks; nor shall it more impart
An hour's importance to the poor man's heart.
Thither no more the peasant shall repair,
To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,
No more the wordman's ballad shall prevail;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his pond'rous strength, and lean to hear.
Go! and pretend your family is young,
Nor own your fathers have been fools so long.
What can ennoble sets, or slaves, or cowards?
Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
Look next on greatness-say where greatness lies.
"Where, but among the heroes and the wise?"
Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed,
From Macedonia's madman to the Swede:
The whole strange purpose of their lives to find,
Or make an enemy of all mankind!
Not one looks backward; onward still he goes;
Yet ne'er looks forward, farther than his nose.
No less alike the politic and wise;
All fly slow things with circumspective eyes.
Men in their loose, unguarded hours they take,
Not that themselves are wise, but others weak.
But grant that those can conquer; these can cheat:
'Tis phrase absurd to call a villain great.
Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave,
Is but the more a fool, the more a knave,
Who noble ends by noble means obtains,
Or, failing, smiles in exile or in chains;
Like good Aurelius let him reign, or bleed
Like Socrates-that man is great indeed.
What's fame? a faci'd life in others' breath,
A thing beyond us, e'en before our death.
All fame is foreign, but of true desert,
Plays round the head but comes not to the heart;
One self approving hour whole years outweighs
Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas:
And more true joy, Marcellus exil'd, feels,
Than Cesar, with a Senate at his heels.