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I know this quest of yours, and free intent
Was all in honour and devotion meant
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine,
And with all helpful service will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;

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And lead ye where ye may more near behold
What shallow-searching Fame has left untold;
Which I full oft amidst these shades alone
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon:
For know, by lot from Jove I am the Power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,
To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove
With ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove;
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill:
And from the bows brush off the evil dew,
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites.
When evening gray doth rise, I fetch my round,
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground; 55

46 curl] Jonson's Mask at Welbeck, 1633, ver. 15. 'When was old Sherwood's head more quaintly curl'd.'

50 brush] Tempest, act i. sc. 4.

'As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd.'

and P. L. v. ver. 429. Warton.

52 cross] Shakesp. Jul. Cæs. act i. sc. 3.

Warton.

'And when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open
The breast of heaven.'

Warton.

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And early, ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumb'ring leaves, or tassel'd horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout
With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless ;
But else, in deep of night when drowsiness
Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I
To the celestial Sirens' harmony,

That sit upon the nine infolded spheres,
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,
And turn the adamantine spindle round,
On which the fate of Gods and men is wound.
Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie,
To lull the daughters of Necessity,

And keep unsteady Nature to her law,

And the low world in measur'd motion draw
After the heavenly tune, which none can hear
Of human mould, with gross unpurged ear;
And yet such music worthiest were to blaze
The peerless height of her immortal praise,

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78 gross] Compare Shakesp. Merchant of Venice, act v.

sc. 1.

'There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st,

But in his motion like an angel sings,

Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims:

Such harmony is in immortal sounds!

But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close us in, we cannot hear it.'

Shakesp. Mid. N. D. act iii. sc. 1.

'And I will purge thy mortal grossness so,' &c.

Warton.

Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit,
If my inferior hand or voice could hit
Inimitable sounds: yet as we go,

Whate'er the skill of lesser Gods can show,
I will assay, her worth to celebrate,
And so attend ye toward her glittering state;
Where ye may all that are of noble stem
Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem.

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SONG II.

O'ER the smooth enamell'd green,
Where no print of step hath been,
Follow me as I sing,

And touch the warbled string,

Under the shady roof

Of branching elm star-proof.

Follow me,

I will bring you where she sits,
Clad in splendour as befits

Her deity.

Such a rural Queen

All Arcadia hath not seen.

SONG III.

NYMPHS and Shepherds dance no more

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89 star] 'Sun-proof arbours.' Sylvester's Du Bartas, 171, and G. Peele's David and Bethsabe, 1599.

'This shade, sun-proof, is yet no proof for thee.'

Warton and Todd.

By sandy Ladon's lilied banks; On old Lycæus or Cyllene hoar

Trip no more in twilight ranks; Though Erymanth your loss deplore,

A better soil shall give ye thanks
From the stony Mænalus

Bring your flocks, and live with us,
Here ye shall have greater grace,

To serve the Lady of this place.

Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.

Such a rural Queen

All Arcadia hath not seen.

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97 By sandy Ladon's lilied banks] Giles Fletcher's Christ's Victorie and Triumph, 1632. 'To Ladon sands.' p. 14, and 'On either side bank't with a lily wall,' p. 49. A. Dyce.

97 sandy] Browne's Brit. Past. ii. st. iv. p. 107.

'The silver Ladon on his sandy shore.'

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

ANNO ETATIS 17.

ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT, DYING OF A COUGH.

I.

O FAIREST flower, no sooner blown but blasted, Soft silken primrose fading timelessly,

Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry; For he being amorous on that lovely dye

That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss, But kill'd, alas, and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.

II.

For since grim Aquilo his charioteer

By boisterous rape th' Athenian damsel got,
He thought it touch'd his deity full near,

10] Shakespeare's Passionate Pilgrim.

'Swet Rose, fair flower, untimely pluckt, soon vaded,
Pluckt in the bud, and vaded in the spring!
Bright orient pearle, alack, too timely shaded,

Fair Creature, kild too soone by Death's sharpe sting.'

kiss] Shakesp. Venus and Adonis,

'He thought to kiss him, and hath kill'd him so.'

Todd.

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10

Newton.

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