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Beneath each blooming arbour all is joy
And lusty merriment: while on the grass
The mingled youth in gaudy circles sport,
We think the golden age again return'd,
And all the fabled Dryades in dance.
Leering they bound along, with laughing air,
To the shrill pipe, and deep remurm'ring cords
Of the ancient harp, or tabor's hollow sound.
While th' old apart, upon a bank reclin'd,
Attend the tuneful carol, softly mixt
With ev'ry murmur of the sliding wave,
And ev'ry warble of the feather'd choir;
Music of paradise! which still is heard,
When the heart listens; still the views appear
Of the first happy garden, when content
To nature's flow'ry scenes directs the sight.
Yet we abandon those Elysian walks,
Then idly for the lost delight repine:
As greedy mariners, whose desp'rate sails
Skim o'er the billows of the foamy flood,
Fancy they see the less'ning shores retire,
And sigh a farewel to the sinking hills.
Could I recall those notes, which once the Muse Heard at a shearing, near the woody sides Of blue-top'd Wrekin. Yet the carols sweet, Through the deep maze of the memorial cell, Faintly remurmur. First arose in song Hoar-headed DAMON, venerable swain, The soothest shepherd of the flow'ry vale. "This is no vulgar scene: no palace-roof "Was e'er so lofty, nor so nobly rise "Their polish'd pillars, as these aged oaks, "Which o'er our fleecy wealth and harmless sports "Thus have expanded wide their shelt'ring arms, "Thrice told an hundred summers. Sweet content, "Ye gentle shepherds, pillow us at night."
"Yes, tuneful DAMON, for our cares are short, "Rising and falling with the chearful day," COLIN reply'd, " and pleasing weariness "Soon our unaching heads to sleep inclines. "Is it in cities so? where, poets tell, "The clies of sorrow sadden all the streets,
* Wrekin, a high hill in Shropshire.
"And the diseases of intemperate wealth.
Alas, that any ills from wealth should rise!"
May the sweet nightingale on yonder spray, "May this clear stream, these lawns, those snow-white lambs, "Which with a pretty innocence of look
Skip on the green, and race in little troops; May that great lamp, which sinks behind the hills, "And streams around variety of lights,
"Recall them erring: this is DAMON'S wish."
Huge Breaden's stony summit once I climb'd "After a kiddling: DAMON, what a scene! "What various views unnumber'd spread beneath! "Woods, tow'rs, vales, caves, dells, cliffs, and torrent floods; "And here and there, between the spiry rocks, "The broad flat sea. Far nobler prospects these "Than gardens, black with smoke, in dusty towns, "Where stenchy vapours often blot the sun : "Yet, flying from his quiet, thither crowds "Each greedy wretch for tardy-rising wealth, "Which comes too late; that courts the taste in vain, Or nauseates with distempers. Yes, ye rich, "" Still, still be rich, if thus ye fashion life; "And piping, careless, silly shepherds we,
We silly shepherds, all intent to feed "Our snowy flocks, and wind the sleeky fleece." "Deem not, howe'er, our occupation mean," DAMON reply'd, "while the SUPREME accounts "Well of the faithful shepherd, rank'd alike "With king and priest: they also shepherds are; For so th' All-seeing styles them, to remind "Elated man, forgetful of his charge."
"But haste, begin the rites: see purple Eve "Stretches her shadows: all ye nymphs and swains, "Hither assemble. Pleas'd with honours due, "SABRINA, guardian of the crystal flood, "Shall bless our cares, when she by moonlight clear "Skims o'er the dales, and eyes our sleeping folds: "Or in hoar caves, around Plynlymmon's brow,
Where precious minerals dart their purple gleams,
Among her sisters she reclines; the lov'd
Vaga +, profuse of graces, Ryddol † rough,
"Blithe Ystwith †, and Clevedoc† swift of foot;
* Breaden, a hill on the borders of Montgomeryshire.
Vaga, Ryddol, Ystwith, and Clevedoc, rivers, the springs of which rise în the sides of Plynlymmon.
"And mingles various seeds of flow'rs, and herbs,
"In the civided torrents, ere they burst
"Thro' the dark clouds, and down the mountain roll.
"Nor taint-worm shall infect the yeaning herds,
"Nor penny-grass, nor spearwort's pois'nous leaf."
He said with light fantastic toe, the nymphs
Thither assembled, thither ev'ry swain;
And o'er the dimpled stream a thousand flow'rs,
Pale lilies, roses, violets, and pinks,
Mix'd with the greens of burnet, mint and thyme,
And trefoil, sprinkled with their sportive arms.
Such custom holds along th' irriguous vales,
From Wrekin's brow to rocky Dolvoryn *,
Sabrina's early haunt, ere yet she fled
The search of Guendolen, her stepdame proud,
With envious hate enrag'd. The jolly chear,
Spread on a mossy bank, untouch'd abides,
Till cease the rites: and now the mossy bank
Is gayly circl'd, and the jolly chear
Dispers'd in copious measure; early fruits,
And those of frugal store, in husk or rind;
Steep'd grain, and curdled milk with dulcet cream
Soft temper d, in full merriment they quaff,
And cast about their gibes; and some apace
Whistle to roundelays: their little ones
Look on delighted: while the mountain-woods,
And winding valleys, with the various notes
Of pipe, sheep, kine, and birds, and liquid brooks,
Unite their echoes: near at hand the wide
Majestic wave of Severn slowly rolls
Along the deep-divided glebe: the flood,
And trading bark with low contracted sail,
Linger among the reeds and copsy banks
To listen; and to view the joyous scene.
FROM Heav'n my strains begin; from Heav'n descends.
The flame of genius to the human breast,
And love and beauty, and poetic joy,
And inspiration. Ere the radiant sun
* Dolvoryn, a ruinous castle in Montgomeryshire, on the banks of the Severn.
Sprang from the east, or 'mid the vault of night-
The moon suspended her serener lamp;
Ere mountains, woods, or streams adorn'd the globe,
Or wisdom taught the sons of men her lore;
Then liv'd th' Almighty ONE: then deep retir'd
In his unfathom'd essence, view'd the forms,
The forms eternal of created things;
The radiant sun, the moon's nocturnal lamp,
The mountains, woods, and streams, the rolling globe,
And wisdom's mien celestial. From the first
Of days, on them his love divine he fix'd,
His admiration: till in time complete,
What he admir'd and lov'd, his vital smile
Unfolded into being. Hence the breath
Of life informing each organic frame,
Hence the green earth, and wild-resounding waves;
Hence light and shade alternate; warin and cold;
And clear autumnal skies and vernal show'rs,
And all the fair variety of things.
But not alike to every mortal eye
Is this great scene inveil'd. For since the claims
Of social life to diff' 'rent labours urge
The active pow'rs of man; with wise intent
The hand of nature on peculiar minds
Imprints a diff'rent bias, and to each
Decrees its province in the comnron toil.
To some she taught the fabric of the sphere,
The changeful moon, the circuit of the stars,
The golden zones of heav'n: to some she gave
To weigh the moment of eternal things,
Of time, and space, and fate's unbroken chain,
And will s quick impulse: others by the hand
She led o'er vales and mountains, to explore
What healing virtue swells the tender veins
Of herbs and flow'rs; or what the beams of morn
Draw forth, distilling from the clifted rind
In balmy tears. But some to higher hopes
Were destin'd; some within a finer mould
She wrought, and temper'd with a purer flame,
To these the sire omnipotent unfolds
The world's harmonious volume, there to read
The transcript of himself. On every part
They trace the bright impressions of his hand :
In earth or air, the meadow's purple stores,
The moon's mild radiance, or the virgin's form
Blooming with rosy smiles, they see pourtray'd
That uncreated beauty, which delights
The mind supreme. They also feel her charms,
Enamour'd; they partake th' eternal joy.
For as old Memnon's image, long renown'd
By fabling Nilus, to the quiv'ring touch
Of Titan's ray, with each repulsive string
Consenting, sounded thro' the warbling air
Unbidden strains; ev'n so did nature's hand
To certain species of eternal things,
Attune the finer organs of the mind :
So the glad impulse of congenial pow'rs,
Or of sweet sound, or fair proportion'd form,
The grace of motion or the bloom of light,
Thrills thro' imagination's tender frame,
From nerve to nerve: all naked and alive
They catch the spreading rays: till now the soul
At length discloses every tuneful spring,
To that harmonious movement from without
Responsive. Then the inexpressive strain
Diffuses its enchantment: fancy dreams
Of sacred fountains and Elysian groves,
And vales of bliss: the intellectual pow'r
Bends from his awful throne a wond'ring ear,
And smiles; the passions, gently sooth'd away,
Sink to divine repose, and love and joy
Alone are waking; love and joy, serene
As airs that fan the summer. O! attend,
Whoe'er thou art, whom these delights can touch,
Whose candid bosom the refining love
Of nature warms, Oh! listen to my song;
And I will guide thee to her fav'rite walks,
And teach thy solitude her voice to hear,
And point her loveliest features to thy view.
Know then, whate'er of nature's pregnant stores, Whate'er of mimic art's reflected forms With love and admiration thus inflame The pow'rs of fancy, her delighted sons To three illustrious orders have referr'd; Three sister graces, whom the painter's hand, The poet's tongue confesses; the sublime, The wonderful, the fair. I see them dawn! I see the radiant visions, where they rise,