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L'ALLEGRO. Hence loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born, In Stygian cave forlorn, 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights
unholy, Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous And the night-raven sings;
[wings, There under ebon shades and low brow'd rocks, As ragged as thy locks,
In dark Cimerian desart ever dwell.
From the side of some hoar hill,
And stretch'd out all the chimney's length, Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem, And crop full out of doors he flings,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove Ere the first cock his matin rings.
To set her beauty's praise above Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
The sea-nymphs, and their pow’rs offended: By whisp'ring winds soon lull’d asleep.
Yet thou art higher far descended. Towered cities please us then,
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore And the busy hum of men,
To solitary Saturn bore; Where throngs of knights and barons bold
His daughter she (in Saturn's reign, In weeds of peace high triumphs hold,
Such mixture was not held a stain) With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades Rain influence, and judge the prize
He met her, and in secret shades Of wit, or arms, while both contend
Of woody Ida's inmost grove, To win her grace, whom all commend.
While yet there was no fear of Jove. There let Hymen oft appear
Come pensive nun, devout and pure, In saffron robe, with taper clear,
Sober, stedfast, and demure, And Pomp, and Feast, and Revelry,
All in a robe of darkest grain, With Mask and antique Pageantry,
Following with majestic “rain, Such sights as youthful poets dream,
And sable stole of Cyprus lawn, On summer eves by haunted stream.
Over thy decent shoulders drawn. Then to the well-trod stage anon,
Come, but keep thy wonted state, If Jonson's learned sock be on,
With even step, and musing gait, Or sweetest Shakespear, Fancy's child,
And looks commercing with the skies, Warble his native wood-notes wild.
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes: And ever against eating cares,
There held in holy passion still, Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Forget thyself to marble, till Married to immortal verse,
With a sad leaden downward cast Such as the meeting soul may pierce
Thou fix them on the earth as fast: In notes with many a winding bout
And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet, Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
Spare Fast, that oft with Gods doth diet, With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
And hears the Muses in a ring, The melting voice through mazes running,
Ay round about Jove's altar sing: Untwisting all the chains, that tie
And add to these retired Leisure, The hidden soul of harmony;
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure ; That Orpheus' self may heave his head
But first, and chiefest, with thee bring, From golder slumber on a bed
Him that yon soars on golden wing, Of heap'd Elysian flow'rs, and hear
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne, Such strains as would have won the ear
The cherub Contemplation; Of Pluto, to have quite set free
And the mute Silence hist along, His half regain'd Eurydice.
'Less Philomel will deign a song, These delights, if thou canst give,
In her sweetest, saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of Night,
Sweet bird that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy! Hence vain deluding Joys,
Thee chauntress oft the woods among The brood of Folly without father bred,
I woo to hear thy evening-song ; How little you bested,
And missing thee, I walk unseen Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys?
On the dry smooth-shaven green, Dwell in some idle brain,
To behold the wand'ring moon And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
Riding near her highest noon, As thick and numberless
Like one that had been led astray As the gay motes that people the sun-beams,
Through the Heav'ns wide pathless way; Or likest hovering dreams,
And oft, as if her head she bow'd, The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
Stooping through a fleecy cloud. But hail thou Goddess, sage and holy,
Oft on a plat of rising ground, Hail divinest Melancholy,
I hear the far-off curfew sound, Whose saintly visage is too bright
Over some wide-water'd shore, To hit the sense of human sight,
Swinging slow with sullen roar; And therefore to our weaker view
Or if the air will not permit, O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue;
Some still removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through the room
Hide me from Day's garish eye, Teach light to counterfeit a gloom,
While the bee with honied thigh, Far from all resort of mirth,
That at her flowery work doth sing, Save the cricket on the hearth,
And the waters murmuring, Or the bellman's drowsy charm,
With such concert as they keep, To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep: Or let my lamp at midnight hour,
And let some strange mysterious dream Be seen in some high lonely tow'r,
Wave at his wings in airy stream Where I may oft out-watch the Bear,
Of lively portraiture display'd, With thrice great Hermes, or unsphere
Softly on my eye-lids laid. The spirit of Plato to unfold
And as I wake, sweet music breathe What worlds, or what vast regions hold
Above, about, or underneath, The immortal mind that hath forsook
Sent by some spirit to mortals good, Her mansion in this fleshly nook:
Or th’unseen Genius of the wood, And of those demons that are found
But let my due feet never fail In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
To walk the studious cloysters pale, Whose power hath a true consent
And love the high embowed roof, With planet, or with element.
With antic pillars massy proof, Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
And storied windows richly dight, In scepter'd pall come sweeping by,
Casting a dim religious light. Presenting Thebes' or Pelops' line,
There let the pealing organ blow Or the tale of Troy divine,
To the full voic'd quire below Or what (though rare) of later age
In service high, and anthems clear, Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage.
As may with sweetness, through mine ear, But, O sad Virgin, that thy power
Dissolve me into ecstasies, Might raise Musæus from his bower,
And bring all Heav'n before mine eyes. Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
And may at last my weary age Such notes, as warbled to the string,
Find out the peaceful hermitage, Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
The hairy gown and mossy cell, And made Hell grant what Love did seek.
Where I may sit and rightly spell Or call up him that left half told,
Of every star that Heav'n doth shew, The story of Cambuscan bold,
And every herb that sips the dew; Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
Till old Experience do attain And who had Canace to wife,
To something like prophetic strain. That own'd the virtuous ring and glass,
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
And I with thee will choose to live.
Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never sear, Thus Night oft see me in thy pale career,
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude, Till civil-suited Morn appear,
And with forc'd fingers rude Not trick'd and flounced as she was wont
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. With the Attic boy to hunt,
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear, But kerchief'd in a comely cloud,
Compels me to disturb your season due: While rocking winds are piping loud,
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, Or usher'd with a shower still,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer: When the gust hath blown his fill,
Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew Ending on the rustling leaves,
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhime. With minute drops from off the eaves.
He must not float upon his wat'ry bier And when the sun begins to fling
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, His flaring beams, me Goddess bring
Without the mead of some melodious tear. To arched walks of twilight groves,
Begin then, Sisters of the Sacred Well, And shadows brown that Sylvan loves
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring, Of pine, or monumental oak,
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string. Where the rude axe with heaved stroke
Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse, Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
So may some gentle Muse Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt.
With lucky words favour my destin'd urn, There in close covert by some brook,
And as he passes turn, Where no profaner eye may look,
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud:
For we were nurs’d upon the self-same hill,
O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd food, Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill. Smooth sliding Mincius, crown’d with vocal reeds,
Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd That strain I heard was of a higher mood : Under the opening eye-lids of the morn,
But now my oat proceeds, We drove a-field, and both together heard
And listens to the herald of the sea What time the grey-fly winds her sultry horn, That came in Neptune's plea ; Batt’ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds, Oft till the star that rose at evening bright,
What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain ? Tow'rds Heav'n's descent had slop'd his west'ring And question'd every gust of rugged winds Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, (wheel.
That blows from off each beak'd promontory; Temper'd to th’oaten flute,
They knew not of his story,
That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd; And old Damætas lov’d to hear our song.
The air was calm, and on the level brine But O the heavy change, now thou art gone,
Sleek Panope with all her sisters play’d. Now thou art gone, and never must return!
It was that fatal and perfidious bark Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods and desart caves Built in th' eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark, With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, That synk so low that sacred head of thine. And all their echoes mourn.
Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, The willows and the hazel copses green,
His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, Shall now no more be seen,
Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays.
Like to that sanguine flower, inscrib'd with woe. As killing as the canker to the rose,
Ah! who hath reft (quoth he) my dearest pledge ? Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
Last and last did go, Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear,
The pilot of the Galilean lake, When first the white-thorn blows;
Two massy keys he bore of metals twain, Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear.
(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain) Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless
He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake, Clos'd o'er the head of your lov’d Lycidas ? (deep
How well could I have spar’d for thee, young swain, For neither were ye playing on the steep,
Enow of such as for their bellies' sake Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie, Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold? Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
Of other care they little reck’ning make, Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream:
Than how to scramble at the shearer's feast, Ay me! I fondly dream
And shove away the worthy bidden guest ; [hold Had you been there ; for what could that have done ? Blind mouths ! that scarce themselves know how to What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore,
A sheep-hook, or have learn’d aught else the least The Muse herself for her enchanting son,
That to the faithful herdman's art belongs ! Whom universal Nature did lament,
What recks it them? what need they? they are sped; When by the rout that made the hideous roar,
And when they list, their lean and flashy songs His goary visage down the stream was sent,
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw: Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore? The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, Alas! what boots it with incessant care
But swoll'n with wind, and the rank mist they draw, To tend the homely slighted shepherd's trade,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread; And strictly meditate the thankless Muse ?
Besides what the grim wolf, with privy paw, Were it not better done, as others use,
Daily devours apace; and nothing said, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
But that two-handed engine at the door, Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more. Fame is the spur that the clear sp’rit doth raise Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is past (That last infirmity of noble mind)
That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse, To scorn delights, and live laborious days ;
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
Their bells, and flow'rets of a thousand hues. And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use Comes the blind Fury with th' abhorred shears, Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks, And slits the thin-spun life. But not the praise,
On whose fresh lap the swart star rarely looks, Phæbus reply'd, and touch'd my trembling ears;
Throw hither all your quaint enamelld eyes, Fame is no plant that grows in mortal soil,
That on the green turf suck the honied showers, Nor in the glist'ring foil
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.
The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine,
The white pink, and the pansy freakt with jet,
The glowing violet,
With cowslips wan, that hang the pensive head, Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian mount, while it pursues To strow the laureat herse where Lycid lies. Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. For so to interpose a little ease,
And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise. Before all temples the upright heart and pure, Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd, Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss, Where thou perhaps, under the whelming tide, And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world;
Illumine, what is low raise and support; Or whether thou to our moist vows deny'd,
That to the height of this great argument Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,
I may assert eternal providence, Where the great vision of the guarded mount And justify the ways of God to men. Looks tow'rd Namancos and Bayona's hold;
Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Look homeward angel now, and melt with ruth: Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth. Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state,
Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more; Favour'd of Heav'n so bighly, to fall off For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
From their Creator, and transgress his will, Sunk tho’ he be beneath the wat’ry floor;
For one restraint, lords of the world besides? So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt? And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile, And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
The mother of mankind, what time his pride So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, (waves, Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his host Through the dear might of him that walk'd the
Of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring Where other groves and other streams along, To set himself in glory above his peers, With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
He trusted to have equall’d the Most High, And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
If he oppos'd; and, with ambitious aim, In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. Against the throne and monarchy of God There entertain him all the saints above,
Rais'd impious war in Heav'n and battle proud, In solemn troops and sweet societies,
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power That sing, and singing in their glory move,
Hurl'd headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
With hideous ruin and combustion, down Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more; To bottomless perdition, there to dwell Henceforth thou art the genius of the shore,
In adamantine chains and penal fire, In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms. To all that wander in that perilous flood.
Nine times the space that measures day and night Thus sang the uncouth swain to th' oaks and rills; To mortal men, he with his horrid crew While the still morn went out with sandals gray, Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf He touch'd the tender stops of various quills, Confounded, though immortal : but his doom With eager thought warbling his Doric lay: Reserv'd him to more wrath ; for now the thought And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills,
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain And now was dropt into the western bay;
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes, At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue;
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay,
Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate :
The dismal situation waste and wild;
A dungeon horrible on all sides round
As one great furnace flam'd, yet from those flames Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
No light, but rather darkness visible Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe, Brought death into the world, and all our woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
That comes to all; but torture without end Sing heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumid: That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed, Such place eternal Justice had prepar'd In the beginning, how the Heav'ns and Earth For those rebellious, here their prison ordain'd chaos : or if Sion hill
In utter darkness, and their portion set Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd As far remov'd from God and light of Heav'n