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They had engag'd their wandering steps too far,
And envious darkness, ere they could return,
Had stole them from me; else, O thievith Night, 195
Why should'st thou, but for some felonious end,
In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars,
That nature hung in Heav'n, and fillid their lamps
With everlasting oil, to give due light
To the milled and lonely traveller?
This is the place, as well as I may guess,
Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth
Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear,
Yet nought but single darkness do I find.
What might this be? A thousand fantasies

203
Begin to throng into my memory,
Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire,
And aery tongues, that syllable mens names
On sands, and thores, and defert wildernesses.
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound 210
The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
By a strong siding champion, conscience.---
O welcome pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope,
Thou hovering Angel girt with golden wings,
And thou unblemish'd form of Chastity;

215 I see you visibly, and now believe That he, the Supreme Good, t' whom all things ill Are but as Navish officers of vengeance, Would send a glistering guardian, if need were, To keep my life and honor unassail’d. Was I deceiv’d, or did a fable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night?

225

I did not err, there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her filver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.
I cannot hallow to my Brothers, but
Such noise as I can make to be heard fartheft
I'll venture, for my new inliven'd spirits
Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off.

S o N G. SWEET Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen

Within thy aery shell,

By flow Meander's margent green, And in the violet-embroider'd vale,

Where the love-lorn nightingale Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well; 235 Canst thou not tell one of a gentle pair

That likest thy Narcissus are?

O if thou have
Hid them in some flowery cave,
Tell me but where,

240 Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the sphere,

So may'st thou be translated to the skies, And give resounding grace to all Heav'n's harmonies.

Com. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mold Breathe such divine inchanting ravishment? 245 Sure something holy lodges in that breast, And with these raptures moves the vocal air To testify his hidden residence: How sweetly did they flote upon the wings VOL. III.

K

Of

Of filence, through the empty-vaulted night,
At every fall fmoothing the raven down
Of darkness till it smil'd! I have oft heard
My mother Circe with the Syrens three,
Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades
Culling their potent herbs, and baleful drugs,

255
Who as they sung, would take the prison'd soul,
And lap it in Elysium; Scylla wept,
And chid her barking waves into attention,
And fell Charybdis murmur’d soft applaufe:
Yet they in pleasing Number lulld the sense, 260
And in sweet madness robb’d it of itself;
But such a sacred, and home-felt delight,
Such fuber certainty of waking blifs,
I never heard till now. I'll speak to her,
And she shall be my queen. Hail, foreign wonder, 265
Whom certain these rough fhades did never breed,
Unless the Goddess that in rural fhrine
Dwell'it here with Pan, or Sylvan, by bleft song
Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood. 270

LA. Nay, gentle Shepherd, ill is lost that praise
That is address’d to unattending ears ;
Not
any

boast of skill, but extreme shift How to regain my

sever'd

company, Compellid me to awake the courteous Echo

275 To give me answer from her moffy couch. [thus ?

Com. What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you LA. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth.

COM.

COM. Could that divide you from near-ufhering

guides? LA. They left me weary on a graffy turf.

280 Com. By falfhood, or discourtesy, or why? LA. To seek i'th' valley fome cool friendly fpring. Com. And left your fair fide all unguarder, Lady? LA, They were but twain, and purpos'd quick re

turn. COM. Perhaps fore-stalling night prevented them. LA. Haw cafy my misfortune is to hit! Çom. Imports their loss, beside the present need? LA. No less than if I should my Brothers lofe. COM. Were they of manly prime, or youthful

bloom ? LA. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. 290

Com. Two such I saw, what time the labor'd ox In his loose traces from the furrow camt, And the swinkt hedger at his supper fat; I saw them under a green mantling vine That crawls along the side of yon small hill, Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots ; Their port was more than human, as they stood: I took it for a faëry vision Of some gay creatures of the element, That in the colors of the rainbow live,

300 And play i'th' plighted clouds. I was aw-ftruck, And as: I past, I worshipt;. if those you

feek,
It were a journey like the path to Heaven,
To help you find them, id spise
LA, Gentle Villager,...

What

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What readiest way would bring me to that place? 305

Com. Due west it rises from this shrubby point.

LA. To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose, In such a scant allowance of star-light, Would overtalk the best land-pilot's art, Without the sure guess of well-practis'd feet. 310

Com. I know each lane, and every alley green, Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood, And every bosky bourn from side to side, My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood; And if your stray-attendence be yet lodgid, 315 Or shroud within these limits, I shall know Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark From her thatcht pallat rouse; if otherwise, I can conduct you, Lady, to a low But loyal cottage, where you may be safe

320 Till further quest.

LA. Shepherd, I take thy word, And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy, Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls And courts of princes, where it first was nam'd, 325 And yet is most pretended : In a place Less warranted than this, or less secure, I cannot be, that I should fear to change it. Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial To my proportion’d strength! Shepherd, lead on. 330

The two BROTHER S. 1 Bro. Unmuffle, ye faint Stars, and thou fair Moon, That wont'st to love the traveller's benizon,

Stoop

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