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Now down the steep the flashing torrent flies; The trembling sun now plays o’er ocean blue, And now rude mountains frown amid the skies ; Whate'er Lorraine light-touched with softening
hue, Or savage Rosa dash'd, or learned Poussin drew.
Each sound, too, here, to languishment inclined,
Lulld the weak bosom, and induced ease.
Aërial music in the warbling wind,
At distance rising oft by small degrees,
Nearer and nearer came, till o’er the trees
It hung, and breathed such soul-dissolving airs,
As did, alas! with soft perdition please :
Entangled deep in its enchanting snares,
The listening heart forgets all duties and all cares.
A certain music, never known before,
Here lull'd the pensive, melancholy mind;
Full easily obtain'd : behooves no more,
But sidelong to the gently-waving wind,
To lay the well-tuned instrument reclined;
From which, with airy-flying 'fingers light,
Beyond each mortal touch the most refined,
The god of winds drew sounds of deep delight : Whence, with just cause, the harp of Æolus it hight.
Ah me! what hand can touch the string so fine ?
Who up the lofty diapason roll
Such sweet, such sad, such solemn airs divine,
Then let them down again into the soul?
Now rising love they fann’d; now pleasing dole
They breathed, in tender, musings, through the
And now a graver, sacred strain they stole,
As when seraphic hands an hymn impart:
Wild-warbling nature all, above the reach of art!
Such the gay splendour, the luxurious state,
Of caliphs old, who on the Tigris' shore,
In mighty Bagdat, populous and great,
Held their bright court, where was of ladies store,
And verse, love, music, still the garland wore :
When sleep was coy, the bard in waiting there
Cheer'd the lone midnight with the Muse's lore:
Composing music bade his dreams be fair,
And music lent new gladness to the morning air.
Near the pavilions where we slept still ran
Soft-tinkling streams, and dashing waters fell,
And sobbing breezes sigh’d, and oft began
(So work'd the wizard) wintry storms to swell,
As heaven and earth they would together mell :
At doors and windows, threatening seem'd to call
The demons of the tempest, growling fell,
Yet the least entrance found they none at all; Whence sweeter grew our sleep, secure in massy
hall. And hither Morpheus sent his kindest dreams, Raising a world of gayer tinct and grace, O'er which were shadowy cast Elysian gleams, That play'd, in waving lights, from place to place, And shed a roseate smile on nature's face. Not Titan's pencil e'er could so array, So fleece with clouds the pure ethereal space;
Ne could it e'er such melting forms display,
As loose on flowery beds all languishingly lay.
No, fair illusions! artful phantoms, no!
My Muse will not attempt your fairy-land :
She has no colours that like you can glow :
To catch your vivid scenes too gross her hand.
But sure it is, was ne'er a subtler band
Than these same guilesul angel-seeming sprights,
Who thus in dreams voluptuous, soft, and bland,
Pour'd all th’ Arabian heaven upon her nights, And bless'd them oft besides with more refined de
lights. Of all the gentle tenants of the place, There was a man of special grave remark : A certain tender gloom o'erspread his face, Pensive, not sad, in thought involved, not dark.
As sooth this man could sing as morning-lark,
And teach the noblest morals of the heart:
But these his talents were yburied stark;
Of the fine stores he nothing would impart, Which or boon Nature gave, or nature-painting Art.
To noontide shades incontinent he ran,
Where purls the brook with sleep-inviting sound;
Or when Dan Sol to slope his wheels began,
Amid the broom he bask'd him on the ground,
Where the wild thyme and chamomile are found :
There would he linger, till the latest ray
Of light sat trembling on the welkin's bound;
Then homeward through the twilight shadows
stray, Sauntering and slow. So had he passed many a
Yet not in thoughtless slumber were they passed;
For oft the heavenly fire, that lay conceald
Beneath the sleeping embers, mounted fast,
And all its native light anew reveal'd :
Oft as he traversed the cerulean field,
And mark'd the clouds that drove before the wind,
Ten thousand glorious systems would he build,
Ten thousand great ideas fill'd his mind;
But with the clouds they fled, and left no trace be-
With him was sometimes join'd, in silent walk
(Profoundly silent, for they never spoke),
One shyer still, who quite detested talk :
Oft, stung by spleen, at once away he broke
To groves of pine, and broad o'ershadowing oak ;
There, inly thrillid, he wander'd all alone,
And on himself his pensive fury wroke,
Ne ever utter'd word save when first shone The glittering star of eve—“Thank Heaven! the day is done.”
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One day there chaunced into these halls to rove
A joyous youth who took you at first sight;
Him the wild wave of pleasure hither drove,
Before the sprightly tempest-tossing light:
Certes, he was a most engaging wight,
Of social glee, and wit humane, though keen,
Turning the night to day, and day to night:
For him the merry bells had rung, I ween,
If in this nook of quiet bells had ever been.
But not ev'n pleasure to excess is good ;
What most elates then sinks the soul as low :
When springtide joy pours in with copious flood,
The higher still th' exulting billows flow,
The farther back again they flagging go,
And leave us grovelling on the dreary shore:
Taught by this son of joy, we found it so;
Who, whilst he staid, kept in a gay uproar
Our madden'd castle all, th' abode of sleep no more.
As when in prime of June a burnish'd fly,
Sprung from the meads, o'er which he sweeps
Cheer'd by the breathing bloom and vital sky,
Tunes up amid these airy halls his song,
Soothing at first the gay reposing throng:
And oft he sips their bowl; or, nearly drown'd.
He, thence recovering, drives their beds among,
And scares their tender sleep with trump profound; Then out again he flies, to wing his mazy round.
Another guest there was, of sense refined,
Who felt each worth, for every worth he had;
Serene, yet warm; humane, yet firm his mind;
As little touch'd as any man's with bad :
Him through their inmost walks the Muses lad,
To him the sacred love of nature lent,
And sometimes would he make our valley glad.
When, as we found he would not here be pent, To him the better sort this friendly message sent:
“ Come, dwell with us! true son of virtue, come!
But if, alas! we cannot thee persuade
To lie content beneath our peaceful dome,
Ne ever more to quit our quiet glade ;
Yet when at last thy toils but ill apaid
Shall dead thy fire, and damp its heavenly spark,
Thou wilt be glad to seek the rural shade,
There to indulge the Muse, and nature mark:
We then a lodge for thee will rear in Hagley Park.”
Here whilom ligg'd th’ Esopus of the age ;
But call’d by fame, in soul ypricked deep,
A noble pride restored him to the stage,
And roused him like a giant from his sleep.
Ev'n from his slumbers we advantage reap:
With double force th’ enliven'd scene he wakes,
Yet quits not nature's bounds. He knows to keep
Each due decorum: now the heart he shakes, And now with well-urged sense th' enlighten'd judg
ment takes. A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard beseems; Who, void of envy, guile, and lust of gain, On virtue still, and nature's pleasing themes, Pour'd forth his unpremeditated strain : The world forsaking with a calm disdain, Here laugh'd he careless in his easy seat; Here quaff’d, encircled with the joyous train, Oft moralizing sage; his ditty sweet He loathed much to write, ne cared to repeat.