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Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wondrous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride;
And if aught else great bards beside1
In sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of turneys and of trophies hung,
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 frounced2 as she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt,
But kerchef'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,
Where the rude axe 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 honied thigh,
That at her flow'ry work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring
With such consort as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep;
1 Alluding to Spenser's "Fairie Queen." 2 "Frounced" meant an excessive or affected dressing of the hair. "It is from the French froncer, to curl."-T. WARTON. "Tricked" means "dressed out."
3 Cephalus. Aurora, the goddess of the morning, fell in love ith him. --OVID, Met. VII. 701.
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings in airy stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
Softly on my eyelids laid.
And as I wake, sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some Spirit to mortals good,
Or the unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloisters pale,'
And love the high embowèd roof,
With antic pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light:
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full voiced choir 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 every star that heav'n doth show,
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.
1 Warton conjectures that the right reading is cloister's pale, i.e., enclosure..
Part of an entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Deroy, at Harefield, by some noble persons of her family, who appear on the scene in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat of state, with this song:
Look, nymphs, and shepherds look,
What sudden blaze of majesty
Is that which we from hence descry,
Too divine to be mistook:
To whom our views and wishes bend⚫
Here our solemn search hath end.
Fame, that her high worth to raise,
Seem'd erst so lavish and profuse,
We may justly now accuse
Of detraction from her praise;
Less than half we find express'd,
Envy bid conceal the rest.
Mark what radiant state she spreads,
In circle round her shining throne,
Shooting her beams like silver threads;
This, this is she alone,
Sitting like a Goddess bright,
In the centre of her light.
Might she the wise Latona be,
Or the towerèd Cybele,
Mother of a hundred Gods?
Juno dares not give her odds;
Who had thought this clime naa neld
A deity so unparallel'd ?
As they come forward, the Genius of the Wood appears, and, turning towar
GEN. Stay, gentle Swains, for though in this disguise,
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes;
Alice Spenser, daughter of Sir John Spenser, of Althorpe. Milton lived in the neighbourhood of Harefield, which was near Uxbridge. His father lived at Horton, near Colnebrook, and held
his house under the Earl of Bridgewater. Lady Derby was a generous patroness of poets. Spenser was related to her family.
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung
Of that renowned flood, so often sung,
Divine Alphéus, who by secret sluice
Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse;1
ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskin'd Nymphs, as great and good,
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 rev'rence I adore as mine,
And with all helpful service will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
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 boughs 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 ev'ning gray doth rise, I fetch my round
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground;
And early, ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumb'ring leaves, or tassell'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,
1 A river of Arcadia, which sinks into the earth, passes under the sea, without mixing its waters with the salt waves, and rises near Syracuse, in Sicily,
where it joins the Arethusa, and flows
conjointly with that stream to the sea.
See Shelley's exquisite poem,
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres, i
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,
And turn the adamantine spindle round,vt
On which the fate of Gods and men is wound.
Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie, RÀ
To lull the daughters of Necessity,
And keep unsteady Nature to her law, wÀ A
And the low world in measured motion draw //
After the heav'nly tune, which none can hear CL
Of human mould, with gross unpurgèd ear;
And yet such music worthiest were to blaze1-
The peerless height of her immortal praise, o
Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit,
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 glitt'ring state; 0
Where ye may all that are of noble stem.
Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem.V
2 This is Plato's system. Fate, or Necessity, holds a spindle of adamant; and, with her three daughters-Lachesis, Clotho, and Atropos (the Fates)-who handle the vital web wound round about the spindle, she conducts or turns the heavenly bodies. Nine Muses, or Sirens,