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Through primrose tufts, in that sweet bower,
The birds around me hopp'd and play'd:
The budding twigs spread' out their fan,
If I these thoughts may not prevent,.
Written in April, 1798.
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
"Most musical, most melancholy"* Bird!
A melancholy Bird? O idle thought!
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
—But somenight-wanderitig Man,whoseheart was pierc'd
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper or neglected love,
(And so, poor Wretch! fill'd all things with himself
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrows) he and such as he
First named these notes a melancholy strain:
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
Poet, who hath been building up the rhyme
* " Mott musical, must melancholy.'' This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere description: it is spoken in the character of the melancholy Man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The Author makes this remark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity to a line in Milton: a charge than which none could be more painful to him, except perhaps that of having ridiculed his Bible.
When, he had better far have stretch'd his limbi
Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell
By sun or moonlight, to the influxes
Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
Should share in.nature's immortality, ,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all' nature lovelier, and itself
Be lov'd, like nature!—But 'twilkiot be so;
And youths and maidens most poetical
Who lose the deep'ning twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
My Friend, and my Friend's Sister! we have learnt
A different lore: we may not thus profane
Nature's sweet voices always full of love
And joyance! Tis the merry Nightingale
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates