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THOU simple Lyre!-Thy music wild
Has serv'd to charm the weary hour,
And many a lonely night has 'guild,
When even pain has own'd, and smild,
Its fascinating power.
Yet, oh my Lyre! the busy crowd
Will little heed thy simple tones;
Them, mightier minstrels harping loud
Engross, and thou, and I, must shroud
Where dark oblivion 'thrones.
No hand, thy diapason o'er,
Well skill'd, I throw with sweep sublime;
For me, no academic lore
Has taught the solemn strain to pour,
Or build the polish'd rhyme.
Yet thou to Sylvan themes canst scar;
Thou know'st to charm the woodland train :
The rustic swains believe thy power
Can hush the wild winds when they roar,
And still the billowy main.
These honours, Lyre, we yet may keep,
I, still unknown, may live with thee,
And gentle zephyr's wing will sweep
Thy solemn string, where low I sleep,
Beneath the alder tree.
This little dirge will please me more
Than the full requiem's swelling peal; I'd rather than that crouds should sigh that from some kindred
The trickling tear should steal.
Yet dear to me the wreath of bay,
Perhaps from me debarr’d;
And dear to me the classic zone,
Which snatch'd from learning's labour'd throne,
Adorns the accepted bard.
And O! if yet ’twere mine to dwell
Where Cam, or Isis, winds along,
Perchance, inspired with ardour chaste,
I yet might call the ear of taste
To listen to my song.
Oh! then, my little friend, thy style
I'd change to happier lays,
Oh! then, the cloister'd glooms should smile,
And thruligh the long the fretted aisle
Should swell the note of praise,
Lo! in the west, fast fades the lingering light,
And day's last vestige takes its silent flight.
No more, is heard the woodman's measur'd stroke
Which, with the dawn, from yonder dingle broke;
No more, hoarse clamouring o'er the uplifted head,
The crows assembling, seek their wind-rock'd bed;
Stilld is the village hum—the woodland sounds
Have ceas'd to echo o'er the dewy grounds,
And general silence reigns, save whep below,
The murmuring Trent is scarcely heard to flow;
And save when, swung by 'mighted rustic late,
Oft, on its hinge, rebounds the jarring gate:
Or, when the sheep-bell, in the distant vale,
Breathes its wild music on the downy gale,
Now, when the rustic wears the social smile,
Releas'd from day and its attendant toil,
And draws his household round their evening fire,
And tells the oft-told tales that never tire :
Or, where the town's blue turrets dimly rise,
And manufacture taints the ambient skies,
The pale mechanic leaves the labouring loom,
The air-pent hold, the pestilential room,
And rushes out, impatient to begin
The stated course of customary siu:
Now, now, my solitary way I bend
Where solemn groves in awful state impend,
And cliffs, that boldly rise above the plain,
Bespeak, blest Clifton! thy sublime domain.
Here, lonely wandering o'er the sylvan bower,
I come, to pass the meditative hour;
To bid awhile, the strife of passion cease,
And woo the calms of solitude, and peace.
And oh! thou sacred power, who rear'st on high
Thy leafy throne where waving poplars sigh!
Genius of woodland shades! whose mild controul
Steals with resistless witchery to the soul,
Come with thy wonted ardour, and inspire
My glowing bosom with thy hallowed fire.
And thou too, fancy! from thy starry sphere,
Where to the hymning orbs thou lend'st thine ear,
Do thou descend, and bless my ravish'd sight,
Veil'd in soft visions of serene delight.
At thy command the gale that passes by
Bears in its whispers mystic harmony.
Thou wav'st thy wand, and lo! what forms appear !
On the dark cloud what giant shapes career!
The ghosts of Ossian skim the misty vale,
And hosts of Sylphids on the moon-beam sail.
This gloomy alcove, darkling to the sight,
Where meeting trees create eternal night;
Save, when from yonder stream, the sunny ray,
Reflected gives a dubious gleam of day;