Page images


BORN 1700-DIED 1748.


INDOLENCE. O MORTAL man! who livest here by toil, Do not complain of this thy hard estate ; That like an emmet thou must ever moil, Is a sad sentence of an ancient date; And, certes, there is for it reason great ; For, though sometimes it makes thee weep and

wail, And curse thy star, and early drudge and late,

Withouten that would come an heavier bale, Loose life, unruly passions, and diseases pale.

In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
With woody hill o'er hill encompass'd round,
A most enchanting wizard did abide,
Than whom a fiend more fell is no where found.
It was, I ween, a lovely spot of ground:
And there a season atween June and May,
Half prankt with spring, with summer half

imbrown'd, A listless climate made, where, sooth to say, No living wight could work, ne cared even for


Was nought around but images of rest :
Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between;
And Rowery beds that slumberous influence

kest, From poppies breathed ; and beds of pleasant

green, Where never yet was creeping creature seen. Meantime unnumber'd glittering streamlets

play'd, And hurled everywhere their waters sheen ; That, as they bicker'd through the sunny

glade, Though restless still themselves, a lulling mur

mur made.

Join'd to the prattle of the purling rills,
Were heard the lowing herds along the vale,
And flocks loud-bleating from the distant hills,
And vacant shepherds piping in the dale :
And now and then sweet Philomel would wail,
Or stock-doves plain amid the forest deep,
That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale ;

And still a coil the grasshopper did keep ; Yet all these sounds yblent inclined all to sleep.

Full in the passage of the vale, above,
A sable, silent, solemn forest stood ;
Where nought but shadowy forms was seen to

As Idless fancied in her dreaming mood :
And up the hills, on either side, a wood
Of blackening pines, aye waving to and fro,
Sent forth a sleepy horror through the blood ;

And where this valley winded out, below, The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely

heard, to flow.

A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye ;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever flushing round a summer-sky:
There eke the soft delights, that witchingly
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,
And the calm pleasures, always hover'd nigh;

But whate'er smack'd of noyance, or unrest, Was far, far off expell’d from this delicious


The landskip such, inspiring perfect ease,
Where Indolence (for so the wizard hight)
Close-hid his castle mid embowering trees,
That half shut out the beams of Phæbus

And made a kind of checker'd day and night ;
Meanwhile, unceasing at the massy gate,
Beneath a spacious palm, the wicked wight

Was placed ; and to his lute, of cruel fate, And labour harsh, complain’d, lamenting man's


Thither continual pilgrims crowded still,
From all the roads of earth that pass there by :
For, as they chanced to breathe on neighbour.

ing hill,
The freshness of this valley smote their eye,
And drew them ever and anon more nigh ;

Till clustering round the enchanter false they

hung, Ymolten with his syren melody ; While o'er the enfeebling lute his hand he

flung, And to the trembling chords these tempting

verses sung :

“ Behold! ye pilgrims of this earth, behold !
See all but man with unearn'd pleasure gay:
See her bright robes the butterfly unfold,
Broke from her wintery tomb in prime of May !
What youthful bride can equal her array ?
Who can with her for easy pleasure vie ?
From mead to mead with gentle wing to stray,

From flower to flower on balmy gales to fly,
Is all she has to do beneath the radiant sky.

“ Behold the merry minstrels of the morn,
The swarming songsters of the careless grove,
Ten thousand throats ! that from the flowering

Hymn their good God, and carol sweet of love,
Such grateful kindly raptures them emove :
They neither plough, nor sow : ne, fit for flail,
E'er to the barn the nodding sheaves they

drove ; Yet theirs each harvest dancing in the gale, Whatever crowns the hill, or smiles along the



BORN 1716-DIED 1771.

THE BARD: A PINDARIC ODE. Ruin seize thee, ruthless king ! Confusion on thy banners wait, Though fann'd by conquest's crimson wing, They mock the air with idle state. Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail, Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail To save thy secret soul from nightly fears, From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears !" Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay, As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side He wound with toilsome march his long array. Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance : To arms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quiver

ing lance.

On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Robed in the sable garb of woe,
With haggard eyes, the poet stood ;
(Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air),
And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.

« PreviousContinue »