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*' You 're overtasked, good Simon Lee,
Give me your tool," to him I said;
And at the word right gladly he
Received my proffered aid.
I struck, and with a single blow
The tangled root I severed,
At which the poor Old Man so long
And vainly had endeavoured.
The tears into his eyes were brought,
Written in April, 1798.
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day-
And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,.
"Most musical, most melancholy*" Bird!
A melancholy Bird? O idle thought!
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
—But some night-wandering Man, whose heart was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love>.
(And so, poor wretch! filled all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
* "Most musical, most melancholy." This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere description: it is spoken in the character of the melancholy Man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The Author makes this remark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity to a line in Milton: a charge than which none could be more painful to him, except, perhaps, that of having ridiculed his Bible.
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
And joyance! 'Tis the merry Nightingale