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I look'd and look'd, and still with new delight;
Such joy my foul, such pleasures fill'd my fight :
And the fresh eglantine exhald a breath,
Whose odors were of pow'r to raise from death.
Nor sullen discontent, nor anxious care,
Ev'n tho brought thither, could inhabit there :
But thence they fled as from their mortal foe;
For this sweet place could only pleasure know.
Thus as I mus'd, I cast aside my eye,
And saw a medlar-tree was planted nigh.
The spreading branches made a goodly show,
And full of opening blooms was ev'ry bough:
A goldfinch there I saw with gawdy pride
Of painted plumes, that hopp'd from side to side,
Still pecking as she pass’d; and still she drew
The sweets from ev'ry flow'r, and suck'd the dew :
Suffic'd at length, she warbl’d in her throat,
And tun'd her voice to many a merry note,
But indistinct, and neither sweet nor clear,
Yet such as sooth'd my soul, and pleas'd my ear.
Her short performance was no sooner try'd,
When she I fought, the nightingale, reply'd :
So sweet, so fhrill, so variously she sung,
And I so ravith'd with her heavenly note
I stood intranc'd, and had no room for thought,
But all o'er-power'd with ecstasy of bliss,
Was in a pleasing dream of paradise ;
At length I wak’d, and looking round the
Search'd ev'ry tree, and pry'd on ev'ry flow'r,
If any where by chance I might espy,
The rural poet of the melody :
For still methought the sung not far away :
At last I found her on a laurel spray.
Close by my fide fhe sat, and fair in fight,
Full in a line, again ft her opposite;
Where ftoud with eglantine the laurel twin'd;
And both their native sweets were well conjoin'd.
: On the green bank I fat, and listen'd long;
(Sitting was more convenient for the fong :)
Nor till her lay was ended could I move,
But with'd to dwell for ever in the
grove. Only methought the time too swiftly pass’d, And ev'ry note I fear'd would be the laft. My fight and smell, and hearing were employ'd, And all three fenfes in full gust enjoy’d. And what alone did all the rest furpass, The sweet possession of the fairy place;
Single, and conscious to myself alone
Of pleasures to th' excluded world unknown:
Pleasures which no where else were to be found
And all Elysium in a spot of ground.
Thus while I sat intent to see and hear,
And drew perfumes of more than vital air,
All fuddenly I heard th' approaching found
Of vocal music, on th’inchanted ground:
An host of faints it seem’d, fo full the quire;
As if the bless'd above did all conspire
To join their voices, and negle&t the lyre.
At length there ifsued from the grove behind
A fair afsembly of the female kind :
A train Jefs fair, as ancient fathers tell,
Seduc'd the sotis of heaven to rebel.
Í pass their form, and ev'ry charming grace,
Lols than an angel wou'd their worth debase:
But their attire, like liveries of a kind,
All rich and rate, is fresh within
mind. In velvet white as snow the troop was gown’d, The seams with sparkling emeralds set around : Their hoods and fleeves the same; and purfled o’er With diamonds, pearls, and all the thining store Of eastern pomp: their long descending train, With rubies edg’d, and saphires, swept the plain :
High on their heads, with jewels richly set,
Each lady wore a radiant coronet.
Beneath the circles, all the quire was grac'd
With chaplets green on their fair foreheads plac'd.
Of laurel fome, of woodbine many more ;
And wreaths of Agnus castus others bore ;
These last, who with those virgin crowns were
Appear'd in higher honor than the reft.
They danc'd around: but in the midst was seen
A lady of a more majestic mien; [queen.
By stature, and by beauty mark'd their sov'reign
She in the midst began with sober grace ; Her servant's eyes were fix'd upon
her face, And as she mov'd or turn'd, her motions view'd, Her measures kept and step by step pursu'd. Methought she trod the ground with greater grace, With more of godhead shining in her face ; And as in beauty she surpass’d the quire, So, nobler than the rest, was her attire. A crown of ruddy gold inclos'd her brow, Plain without pomp, and rich without a show: A branch of Agnus caftus in her hand She bore aloft (her sceptre of command ;) Admir’d, ador'd by all the circling croud, For wheresoe'er she turn'd her face, they bow'd :
And as the danc'd, a roundelay she sung,
In honor of the laurel, ever young :
She rais'd her voice on high, and sung so clear,
The fawns camescudding from the groves to hear:
And all the bending forest lent an ear.
At ev'ry close she made, th' attending throng
Reply'd, and bore the burden of the song:
So just, so small, yet in so sweet a note,
It seem'd the music melted in the throat.
Thus dancing on, and singing as they danc'd,
They to the middle of the mead advanc'd,
Till round my arbour a new ring they made,
And footed it about the secret shade.
O'erjoy'd to see the jolly troop so near,
But somewhat aw'd, I shook with holy fear ;
Yet not so much, but that I noted well
Who did the most in song, or dance excel.
Not long I had observ'd, when from afar
I heard a sudden symphony of war;
The neighing coursers, and the soldiers cry,
And sounding trumps that seem'd to tear the sky:
I saw soon after this, behind the
From whence the ladies did in order move,
Come issuing out in arms a warrior train,
That like a deluge pour’d upon the plain :