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To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;

And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday,

Till the live-long daylight fail;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,1
With stories told of many a feat,
How fairy Mab the junkets eat;
She was pinch'd, and pull'd, she said,
And he by friar's lanthorn2 led,
Tells how the drudging Goblin sweat,
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn,
That ten day-lab'rers could not end;
Then lies him down the lubber fiend,3
And stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lull'd asleep.
Tower'd cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,

Where throngs of knights and barons bold
In weeds of peace high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry,
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eves by haunted stream.

The gossip's bowl, called "Lamb's wool."

2 Will-o'-the-Wisp.

3 Puck; the Pixie, in Devonshire-the

Kobold of Germany-supposed to do household work at night for the maids, who, in return, left him a bowl of


Then to the well-trod stage anon,

If Jonson's learnèd sock be on,

Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.
And ever against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,

Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;

That Orpheus self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed

Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear

Of Pluto, to have quite set free

His half regain'd Eurydice.

These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

1 Turn.



HENCE, vain deluding joys,

The brood of folly without father bred,

How little you bestead,

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 sunbeams,
Or likest hovering dreams

The fickle pensioners2 of Morpheus' train.

The term was used first in this sense by a band of courtiers, who

were enrolled by Queen Elizabeth under that title. They were young nobles of the highest fashion of the period.

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's1 sister might beseem,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen' that strove
To set her beauty's praise above

The Sea-Nymphs, and their pow'rs offended:
Yet thou art higher far descended;

Thee bright-hair'd Vesta,3 long of yore,
To solitary Saturn bore;

His daughter she (in Saturn's reign,
Such mixture was not held a stain).
Oft in glimmering bow'rs 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, steadfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,
And sable stole1 of cyprus lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step, and musing gait,
And looks commercing with the skies,
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes:

1 Memnon was King of Ethiopia, an ally of the Trojans. He was slain by Achilles.

2 Cassiopeia, wife of Cepheus, King of Ethiopia. She boasted of being more beautiful than the Nereids, who, in anger, persuaded Neptune to send a sea-monster to devour the Ethiopians. Andromeda, her daughter, was exposed to it, but was saved by Perseus. Cassiopeia had a constellation named after her; i.e., Cassiopeia's chair. Hence, Milton says "starr'd Ethiop queen."

3 The goddess of fire. "The meaning of Milton's allegory," says Warton, "is, that Melancholy is the daughter of Genius, which is typified by the 'brighthaired goddess of eternal fire.' Saturn, the father, is the god of saturnine dispositions, of pensive and gloomy minds."

4 Stole, a veil which covered the head and shoulders, worn by Roman


There held in holy passion still,
Forget thyself to marble, till

With a sad leaden downward cast
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 Cherub Contemplation;
And the mute Silence hist along,
'Less 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 accustomed oak;

Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy!

Thee, chauntress, oft the woods among
I woo, to hear thy even-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
Through the heav'n's wide pathless way;
And oft, as if her head she bow'd,
Stooping through 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 tower,
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear,1
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 Demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometimes let gorgeous tragedy
In sceptred 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 Musæus 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,

1 Ursa Major. This constellation never sets.

2 Trismegistus, i.e., "the thricegrand." He was an Egyptian priest and astronomer, who instructed his countrymen in the sciences. The works, translated and published as his, are said to be apocryphal.

3 Plato believed that the elements were peopled with spirits.

4 The story of Thebes, of Edipus and

his sons, and the horrid tradition of Pelops, were the subjects of the great Greek tragedies.

5 Museus and Orpheus are mentioned together in Plato's Republic" as two of the genuine Greek poets.-T. WARTON.

6 Pluto, charmed by the music of Orpheus, restored to him his dead wife, Eurydice.

7 Chaucer. "The Squire's Tale" is alluded to.

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