« PreviousContinue »
With two sister Graces more
To ivy-crown'd 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 bang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimples 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 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 watch-tower 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 sweetbrier, 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:
Some time 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 landscape round it measures-
Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray ;
Mountains, on whose barren breast,
The labouring 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 Thyrsis met,
Are at their savoury 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.
Sometimes with secure delight The upland hamlets will invite, When the merry bells ring round, And the jocund rebecs sound
To many a youth and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;
and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday,
Till the live-long daylight fail;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How fairy Mab the junkets ate;
She was pinch'd, and pull’d, she said,
And he by friar's lantern led ;
Tells how the drudging goblin sweat
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn,
That ten day labourers could not end ;
Then lies him down the lubber fiend,
And stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength;
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lulld to sleep.
Tow'red cities please us then, And the busy hum of men, Where throngs of knights and barons bold In weeds of peace high triumphs 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 Jonson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.
And ever against eating cares
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the melting soul may pierce,
In notes with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain’d Eurydice.
These delights if thou canst give,
MIRTH, with thee I mean to live.
'Twas at the royal feast for Persia won
By Philip's warlike son-
Aloft, in awful state,
The god-like hero sat
On his imperial throne.
His valiant peers were plac'd around, Their brows with roses and with myrtle bound:
So should desert in arms be crown'd.
The lovely Thais, by bis side,
Sat like a blooming eastern bride,
In flower of youth and beauty's pride.
Happy, happy, happy pair !
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
None but the brave deserves the fair.
Timotheus, plac'd on high
Amid the tuneful choir,
With flying fingers touch'd the lyre;
The trembling notes ascend the sky,
And heavenly joys inspire.
The list'ning crowd admire the lofty sound :
A present deity! they shout around !
A present deity! the vaulted roofs rebound.
With ravish'd ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,
Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.
The praise of Bacchus, then, the sweet musician sung,
Of Bacchus, ever fair and ever young!
The jolly god in triumph comes !
Sound the trumpets ! beat the drums !
Flush'd with a purple grace,
He shows his honest face.
Now give the hautboys breath 1 he comes ! he comes !
Bacchus ever fair and
young, Drinking joys did first ordain ;
Bacchus' blessings are a treasure ;
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure:
Rich the treasure ;
Sweet the pleasure ;
Sweet is pleasure after pain.
Sooth'd with the sound, the king grew vain ;
Fought all his battles o'er again ;
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain !