Page images

And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
Hold each strange tale devoutly true;
Ne'er be I found, by thee o'erawed,
In that thrice hallowed eve, abroad,
When ghosts, as cottage maids believe,
Their pebbled beds permitted leave;
And goblins haunt, from fire, or fen,
Or mine, or flood, the walks of men!

0 thou, whose spirit most possest
The sacred seat of Shakspeare's breast!
By all that from thy prophet broke,
In thy divine emotions spoke;
Hither again thy fury deal,
Teach me but once like him to feel:
His cypress wreath my meed decree,
And I, 0 Fear, will dwell with thee!


0 Thou, by Nature taught

To breathe her genuine thought,
In numbers warmly pure, and sweetly strong;

Who first, on mountains wild,

In Fancy, loveliest child,
Thy babe, and Pleasure's, nursed the powers of song!

Thou, who, with hermit heart,
Disdain'st the wealth of art,

And gauds, and pageant weeds, and trailing pall;

But comest a decent maid,

In Attic robe arrayed, 0 chaste, unboastful Nymph, to thee I call!

By all the honeyed store

On Hybla's thymy shore; By all her blooms, and mingled murmurs dear;

By her whose lovelorn woe,

In evening musings slow,
Soothed sweetly sad Electra's poet's ear:

By old Cephisus deep,

Who spread his wavy sweep, In warbled wanderings, round thy green retreat;

On whose enamelled side,

When holy Freedom died,
No equal haunt allured thy future feet.

0 sister meek of Truth,

To my admiring youth,
Thy sober aid and native charms infuse!

The flowers that sweetest breathe,

Though beauty culled the wreath,
Still ask thy hand to range their ordered hues.

While Rome could none esteem,

But virtue's patriot theme, You loved her hills, and led her laureate band:

But staid to sing alone

To one distinguished throne;
And turned thy face, and fled her altered land.

No more, in hall or bower,

The Passions own thy power,
Love, only Love her forceless numbers mean:

For thou hast left her shrine;

Nor olive more, nor vine,
Shall gain thy feet to bless the servile scene.

Though taste, though genius, bless

To some divine excess, Faint's the cold work till thou inspire the whole:

What each, what all supply,

May court, may charm, our eye;
Thou, only thou, canst raise the meeting soul!

Of these let others ask,

To aid some mighty task,
I only seek to find thy temperate vale;

Where oft my reed might sound

To maids and shepherds round,
And all thy sons, O Nature, learn my tale.


As once,— if, not with light regard,
I read aright that gifted bard,
— Him whose school above the rest
His loveliest elfin queen has blest; —
One, only one, unrivalled fair,
Might hope the magic girdle wear,

At solemn tourney hung on high,
The wish of each love-darting eye;

— Lo! to each other nymph, in turn, applied,

As if, in air unseen, some hovering hand, Some chaste and angel friend to virgin fame,

With whispered spell had burst the starting band, It left unblest her loathed, dishonored side;

Happier, hopeless Fair, if never

Her baffled hand, with vain endeavor, Had touched that fatal zone to her denied! Young Fancy thus, to me divinest name,

To whom, prepared and bathed in heaven,

The cest of amplest power is given:

To few the godlike gift assigns,

To gird their blest prophetic loins, And gaze her visions wild, and feel unmixed her flame! The band, as fairy legends say, Was wove on that creating day, When He, who called with thought to birth Yon tented sky, this laughing earth, And dressed with springs and forests tall, And poured the main engirting all, Long by the loved enthusiast wooed, Himself in some diviner mood, Retiring, sat with her alone, And placed her on his sapphire throne; The whiles, the vaulted shrine around, Seraphic wires were heard to sound, Now sublimest triumph swelling, Now on love and mercy dwelling; And she, from out the veiling cloud, Breathed her magic notes aloud:

And thou, thou rich-haired youth of morn,
And all thy subject life was born!
The dangerous passions keep aloof,
Far from the sainted growing woof:
But near it sat ecstatic Wonder,
Listening the deep applauding thunder;
And Truth, in sunny vest arrayed,
By whose the tarsel's eyes were made;
All the shadowy tribes of mind,
In braided dance, their murmurs joined,
And all the bright uncounted powers
Who feed on heaven's ambrosial flowers.
— Where is the bard whose soul can now
Its high presuming hopes avow 1
Where he who thinks, with rapture blind,
This hallowed work for him designed?

High on some cliff, to heaven up-piled,
Of rude access, of prospect wild,
Where, tangled round the jealous steep,
Strange shades o'erbrow the valleys deep,
And holy genii guard the rock,
Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock,
While on its rich ambitious head
An Eden, like his own, lies spread:
I view that oak, the fancied glades among,
By which, as Milton lay, his evening ear,
From many a cloud that dropped ethereal dew,
Nigh sphered in heaven, its native strains could hear t
On which that ancient trump he reached was hung:
Thither oft, his glory greeting,
From Waller's myrtle shades retreating,

« PreviousContinue »