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Still would her touch the strain prolong;
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She call'd on echo still through all her song :
And where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close;
And Hope enchanted, smil'd, and wav'd her golden hair;
And longer had she sung, but with a frown,
Revenge impatient rose.
He threw his blood stain'd sword in thunder down;
And with a withering look,
The war denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe;
And ever and anon, he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat:
And though, sometimes, each dreary pause between,
Dejected Pity at his side,
Her soul subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien,
While each strain'd ball of sight-seem'd bursting from his head.
Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fix'd;
Sad proof of thy distressful state:
Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd:
And, now it courted Love; now, raving, call'd on Hate.
With eyes uprais'd as one inspir'd,
Pale Melancholy sat retir'd;
And from her wild sequester'd seat,
In notes, by distance made more sweet,
Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul,
And dashing soft from rocks around,
Bubbling runnels join'd the sound;
Through glades and glooms, the mingled measure stole,
Or o'er some haunted streams with fond delay,
(Round an holy calm diffusing,
Love of peace, and lonely musing)
In hollow murmurs died away.
But, O, how alter'd was its sprightlier tone!
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,
Her bow across her shoulder flung,
Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew,
Blew an inspiring air, to that dale and thicket rung,
The hunter's call, to Faun and Dryad known;
The oak crown'd Sisters, and their chaste ey'd Queen,
Satyrs and sylvan Boys were seen,
Peeping from forth their alleys green;
Brown exercise rejoic'd to hear;
And Sport leap'd up and seiz'd his beechen spear.
Last came Joy's ecstatic trial,
He, with viney crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand address'd-
But soon he saw the brisk awakening viol;
Whose sweet entrancing voice he lov'd the best,
They would have thought who heard the strain,
They saw in Tempe's vale, her native maids,
Amidst the festal sounding shades,
To some unwearied minstrel dancing:
While as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings,
Love frain'd with Mirth a gay fantastic round,
(Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound)
And he amidst his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odors from his dewy wings.
I.-Milton's Lamentation for the Loss of his Sight.
HAIL, holy light! offspring of heaven firstborn!
Or of th' Eternal, coeternal beam!
May I express thee unbalm'd? since God is light,
And never, but in unapprached light
Dwelt from eternity-dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather, pure etherial stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the sun,
Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle did invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn; while in my flight,
Through utter, and through middle darkness borne.
With other notes, than to the Orphean lyre,
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heavenly muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovereign vital lamp-but thou
Revisitest not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt,
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song-but chief
Thee, Zion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit-nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equall'd with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris, and blind Mæonides;
And Tiresias, and Fhineus, prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers-as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid,
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year,
Seasons return-but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever during dark
Surround me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented 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.
II.-L'Allegro, or the Merry Man.
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 Jollity.
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 the honour 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 dull Night,
From his watchtower in the skies,
Fill the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to come in spite of sorrow
And at my window bid good morrow,
Through the sweetbriar 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 whets 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 neighbouring eyes. Hard by a cottage chimney smokes, From betwixt two aged oaks, Where Corydon and Thrysis met, Are at their savoury dinner set, Of herbs and other country messes, Which the neathanded Phillis dresses; And then in haste, her bower she leaves, With The stylis 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
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 Johnson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood notes wild.
III. On the Pursuits of Mankind. HONOUR and shame from no condition rise Act well your part-there all the honour lies. Fortune in men has some small difference made; One flaunts in rags-one flutters in brocade ; The cobler apron'd, and the parson gown'd; The friar hooded, and the monarch crown'd. "What differ more," you cry, "than crown and cowl?" I tell you friend-a wise man and a fool. You'll find, if once the monarch acts the monk, Or, cobler like, the parson will be drunk; Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow; The rest is all but, leather or prunella.