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Cares I had none, to keep me from
For love had never enter'd in my breast;
I wanted nothing fortune could supply,
Nor did he flumber till that hour deny.
I wonder'd then, but after found it true,
Much joy had dry'd away the balmy dew:
Seas wou'd be pools, without the brushing air,
To curl the waves; and sure some little care
Shou'd weary nature so, to make her want repair.
When Chanticleer the second watch had fung,
Scorning the scorner sleep, from bed I sprung;
And dreiling, by the moon, in loose array,
Pass'd out in open air, preventing day,
And sought a goodly grove, as fancy led my way.
Straight as a line in beauteous order stood
Of oaks unshorn a venerable wood;
Fresh was the grass beneath, and ev'ry tree,
At distance planted in a due degree,
Their branching arms in air with equal space
Stretch'd to their neighbours with a long embrace:
And the new leaves on ev'ry bough were seen,
Some ruddy colour'd, some of lighter green.
The painted birds, companions of the spring,
Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to fing.
Both eyes and ears receiv'd a like delight,
Enchanting music, and a charming fight.
On Philomel I fix'd my whole desire;
And listen’d for the queen of all the quire;
Fain would I hear her heavenly voice to sing ;
And wanted yet an omen to the spring.
Attending long in vain, I took the way,
Which through a path, but scarcely printed, lay;
In narrow mazes oft it seem'd to meet,
And look’d, as lightly press’d by fairy feet.
Wandring I walk'd alone, for ftill methought
To fome ftrange end so strange a path was wrought:
At last it led me where an arbour stood,
The sacred receptacle of the wood:
This place unmark’d, tho' oft I walk'd the green,
In all my progress I had never seen :
And seiz'd at once with wonder and delight,
Gaz'd all around me, new to the transporting sight.
'Twas bench'd with turf, and goodly to be seen,
The thick young grass arose in fresher green:
The mound was newly made, no sight could pass
Betwixt the nice partitions of the grass ;
The well-united fods so clofely lay;
And all around the shades defended it from day,
For sycamores with eglantine were spread,
A hedge about the sides, a covering over head.
And so the fragrant brier was wove between,
The sycamore and low'rs were mix'd with green,
That nature seem'd to vary the delight;
And satisfy'd at once the smell and fight.
The master workman of the bow'r was known
Through fairy-lands, and built for Oberon;
Who twining leaves with such proportion drew,
They rose by measure, and by rule they grew;
No mortal tongue can half the beauty tell:
For none but hands divine could work so well.
Both roof and fides were like a parlour made,
A soft recess, and a cool summer fhade;
The hedge was set fo thick, no foreign eye
The persons plac'd within it could espy:
But all that pass’d without with ease was seen,
As if nor fence nor tree was plac'd between.
'Twas border'd with a field; and some was plain
With grafs, and some was fow'd with rising grain.
That (nów the dew with spangles deck'd the ground)
A sweeter (pot of earth was never found.
I look'd and lock'd, and still with new delight;
Such joy my soul, fuch pleasures fill'd my fight:
And the fresh eglantine exhal'd a breath,
Whose odours were of pow'r to raise from death.
Nor fullen 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 afide 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 fide,
Stili pecking as she pass’d; and fill the drew
The sweets from ev'ry fiow'r, and fuck'd the dew:
Suffic'd at length, she warbld 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 foul, and pleas'd my ear.
Her short performance was no sooner try'd, When she I fought, the nightingale, reply'd: So sweet, fo fhrill, so variously she sung, That the grove echo'd, and the valleys rung: And I fo raviih'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 pleafing dream of paradise; At length I wak’d, and looking round the bow's 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 ftill methought she sung not far away: At lait I found her on a laurel spray. Close by my side she sat, and fair in sight, Full in a line, against her opposite; Where stood with oglantine the laurel twin'd; And both their native sweets were well conjoin'd.
On the green bank I sat, and listen'd long;
(Sitting was more convenient for the song :)
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 last.
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 surpass,
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 vitai air,
All suddenly 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 neglect the lyre.
At length there issued from the grove behind
A fair assembly of the female kind:
A train less fair, as ancient fathers tell,
Seduc'd the sons of heaven to rebel.
I pass their form, and ev'ry charming grace,
Less than an angel wou'd their worth debase:
But their attire, like liveries of a kind,
All rich and rare, is fresh within my mind.
In velvet white as snow the troop was gown'd,
The seams with sparkling emeralds fet around;
Their hoods and sleeves the same; and purjed o'er
With diamonds, pearls, and all the shining store
Of eastern pomp: their long descending train,
With rubies edg’d, and saphires, swept the plain:
High on their heads, with jewels richly fet,
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 caitus others bore;
These laft, who with those virgin crowns were dress’d,
Appear'd in higher honour than the rest.
They danc’d around: but in the midst was seen
A lady of a more majestic mien;
By ftature, and by beauty mark'd their sov’reign queen.
She in the midst began with sober grace ;
Her servant's eyes were fix'd upon her face,
And as the 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 reft, was her attire.
A crown of ruddy gold inclos’d her brow,
Plain without pomp, and rich without a show:
A branch of Agnus caitus in her hand
She bore aloft (her scepter of command ;)
Admir'd, ador'd by all the circling croud,
For wherefoe'er the turn'd her face, they bow'd :
And as she danc'd, a roundelaly she sung,
In honour of the laurel, ever young:
She rais’d her voice on high, and sung so clear,
The fawns came fcudding 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 Made.