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ENIUS of Penshurst old !
Who saw'ft the birth of each immortal oak,
Here sacred from the stroke ;
And all thy tenants of yon turrets bold,
Inspir'it to arts or arms;
Where * Sidney his Arcadian landscape drew,
Genuine from thy Doric view ;
And patriot B Algernon unshaken rose
Above insulting foes ;
And Sacchariffa nurs'd her angel charms.
O suffer me with fober tread
To enter on thy holy shade;
Bid smoothly-gliding Medway stand,
And wave his fedgy treffes bland,
A stranger let him kindly greet,
his urn beneath my feet.
And see where Perry opes his door
To land me on the focial floor ;
Nor does the heiress of these shades deny
To bend her bright majestic eye,
Where Beauty shines, and Friendship warm,
And Honour in a female form.
With them in aged groves to walk,
And lofe my thoughts in artless talk,
I fhun the voice of Party loud,
I fhun loose Pleasure's idle crowd,
And monkish academic cell,
Where Science only feigns to dwell,
And court, where fpeckled Vanity
Apes her tricks in tawdry dye,
And shifts each hour her tinsel hue,
Still furbelow'd in follies new.
Here Nature no distortion wears,
Old Truth retains his filver hairs,
And Chastity her matron step,
And purple Health her rofy lip.
Ah! on the virgin's gentle brow
How Innocence delights to glow!
Unlike the town-dame's haughty air,
The scornful eye and harlot's itare;
But bending mild the bashful front
As modeft Fear is ever wont :
Shepherdesses such of old,
Doric bards enamour'd told,
While the pleas'd Arcadian vale
Echo'd the enchanting tale.
But chief of Virtue's lovely train,
A pensive exile on the plain,
No longer active now to wield
Th' avenging sword, protecting shield,
Here thoughtful-walking Liberty
Remembers Britons once were free.
With her would Nobles old converse,
And learn her dictates to rehearse,
Ere yet they grew refin'd to hate
The hospitable rural feat,
The spacious hall with tenants stor’d,
Where Mirth and Plenty crown'd the board ;
Ere yet their Lares they forsook,
And lok the genuine British look,
The conscious brow of inward merit,
The rough, unbending, martial spirit,
To clink the chain of Thraldom gay,
And court-idolatry to pay;
To live in city smoaks obscure,
Where morn ne'er wakes her breezes pure,
Where darkest midnight reigns at noon,
And fogs eternal blot the sun.
But come, the minutes flit away,
And eager Fancy longs to stray:
Come, friendly Genius ! lead me round
Thy fylvan haunts and magic ground;
Point every spot of hill or dale,
And tell me, as we tread the vale,
“ Here mighty Dudly once wou'd rove,
“ To plan his triumphs in the grove :
• There looser Waller, ever gay,
“ With Sacchariss in dalliance lay;
“ And Philip, fide-long yonder spring,
“ His lavish carols wont to sing.".
Hark! I hear the echoes call,
Hark! the rushing waters fall;
Lead me to the green retreats,
Guide me to the Muses' seats,
Where ancient bards retirement chose,
Or ancient lovers wept their woes.
What Genius points to yonder oak?
What rapture does my soul provoke ?
An oak in Penshurst park, planted the day Sir Philip Sidney was born, of which Ben Johnson speaks in the fol.
That taller tree, which of a nut was set,
At his great birth, where all the Muses met.
There let me hang a garland high,
Muse her accents try;
Be there my earliest homage paid,
Be there my lateft vigils made :
For thou waft planted in the earth
The day that thone on Sidney's birth.
That happy time, that glorious day
The Muses came in concert gay;
With harps in tune, and ready fong,
The jolly Chorus tript along;
In honour of th' auspicious morn,
To hail an infant genius born:
Next came the Fauns in order meet,
The Satyrs next with cloven feet,
The Dryads swift that roam the woods,
The Naiads green that swim the floods;
Sylvanus left his filent cave,
Medway came dropping from the wave;
Vertumnus led his blushing spouse,
And Ceres shook her wheaten brows,
And Mars with milder look was there,
And laughing Venus grac’d the rear.
They join'd their hands in festive dance,
And bade the smiling babe advance ;
Each gave a gift ; Sylvanus last
Ordain'd, when all the pomp was past,
Memorial meet, a tree to grow,
Which might to future ages Thew,