Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

CHAP. XVII.

Il Penseroso.

HENCE,
ENCE, vain deluding joys,

The brood of Folly without Father bred!
How little you bested,

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys! Dwell in some idle brain ,

And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, As thick and numberless

As the gay motes that people the sun-beams, Or likest hovering dreams!

The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
But hail, thou Goddess, sage and holy,
Hail, divinest Melancholy!

Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore to our weaker view,
O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue ;
Black, but such as in esteem,

Prince Memnon's sister might beseem
Or that starr'd Ethiope queen

that strove

To set her beauty's praise above

The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended: Yet thou art higher far descended;

The bright-hair'd Vesta, long of yore,

To solitary Saturn bore;

His daughter she (in Saturn's reign
Such mixture was not held a stain).
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades
He met her, and in secret shades
Of woody Ida's inmost grove,
While yet there was no fear of Jove.
Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,
Sober, stedfast and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train
And sable stole of cypress lawn,
O'er thy decend shoulders drawn.

[ocr errors]

Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step, and musing gait,

And looks commercing with the skies,
Thy wrapt soul sitting in thine eyes;
There, held in holy passion still,
Forget thyself to marble till,

With a sad leaden downward cast 9
Thou fix them on the earth as fast :
And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet,
Spare Fast, that oft with Gods doth diet
And hears the muses in a ring,
Aye round about Jove's altar sing;
And add to these retired Leisure
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure;
But first and chiefest with thee bring
Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery wheeled throne,
The chernb Contemplation:
And the mute silence hiss'd along,
'Lest Philomel will deign a song,
In her sweetest, saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of Night
While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke,
Gently o'er the accustom'd oak:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of Folly,
Most musical, most melancholy I

Thee, chauntress, oft the woods among,
I woo to hear thy evening song:
And, missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven green,
To behold the wandering moon,
Riding near her highest noon.
Like one that had been led astray
Thro' the heav'n's wide pathless way:
And oft as if her head she bow'd
Stooping thro' a fleecy cloud.

Oft on a plat of rising ground
I hear the far-off Curfew sound,
Over some wide-water'd shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar.
Or if the air will not permit,

Some still removed place will fit,

Where glowing embers through the room,
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom,
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the bellman's drowsy charm,
To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lamp at midnight hour,
Be seen in some high lonely tow'r,
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear,
With thrice great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold

What worlds, or what vast regions hold
The immortal mind that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook:
And of those dæmons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In scepter'd pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine,

Or what (though rare) of later age,
Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage.
But, O sad virgin, that thy power
Might raise Museus from his bower,
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek
And made hell grant what love did seek ;
Or call up him that left half-told,
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wond'rous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride;
And if aught else great bards beside
sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of tourneys and of trophies hung,

In

Of forests, and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Thus, night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil suited morn appear,

Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt,

But kerckief'd in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or usher'd with a shower still,
When the gust hath blown his fill,
Ending on the rustling leaves,

With minute drops from off the eaves.
And when the sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, Goddess, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown that Sylvan loves
Of pine or monumental oak,

[ocr errors]

Where the rude ax with heaved stroke
Was never heard the Nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt.
There in close covert by some brook,
Where no profaner eye may look,
Hide me from day's garish eye,
While the bee with honeyed thigh
That at her flow'ry work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such concert as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep:
And let some strange mysterious dream,
Wave at his wings in airy stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
Softly on my eye-lids Ĩaid;

And as I wake sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some spirit to mortals good
Or th' unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloyster's pale,
And love the high embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight,

Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voiced quire below,
In service high, and anthems clear

As may with sweetness, through mine ear
Dissolve me into ecstasies,

And bring all heav'n before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Find out the peaceful hermitage,
The hairy gown and mossy cell,
Where I may sit and rightly spell
Of ev'ry star that heav'n doth shew,
And ev'ry herb that sips the dew;
Till old experience do attain

To something like prophetic strain.
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,

And I with thee will choose to live. MIETON.

CHA P. XVIII.

The Progress of Life.

ALL the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts:
His acts being seven ages. At first the Infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining School-Boy, with his sat-
chel,

And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the Lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eye-brow. Then a Soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the Justice,
In fair round belly, with good capon lin❜d,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances,

And

« AnteriorContinua »