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Join'd to the prattle of the purling rills
And still a coil the grasshopper did keep :
Full in the passage of the vale above, A sable, silent, solemn forest stood ; Where nought but shadowy forms was seen to move, As Idless fancied in her dreaming mood : And up the hills on either side a wood Of blackening pines, ay waving to and fro, Sent forth a sleepy horror thro' the blood; And where this valley winded out below, The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely
beard, to flow.
A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
But whate'er smack'd of noyance, or unrest,
Thither continual pilgrims crowded still,
While o'er th' enfeebling lute his hand he flung, And to the trembling chords those tempting verses
sung : • Behold! ye pilgrims of this earth, behold! • See all but man with unearn'd pleasure gay : " See her bright robes the butterfly unfold, • Broke from her wintry tomb in prime of May! 'What youthful bride can equal her array ? • Who can with her for easy pleasure vie ? ' From mead to mead with gentle wing to stray,
* From flow'r to flow'r on balmy gales to fly, • Is all she hath to do beneath the radiant sky.
• Behold the merry minstrels of the morn, • The swarming songsters of the careless grove, • Ten thousand throats! that from the flowering
thorn ' Hymn their good God, and carol sweet of love, · Such grateful kindly raptures them emove :
They neither plough nor sow; ne, fit for flail, • E'er to the barn the nodding-sheaves they drove;
* Yet theirs each harvest dancing in the gale, " Whatever crowns the hill, or smiles along the vale.
• Outcast of nature, man! the wretched thrall
· Guile, violence, and murder seiz'd on man, * And, for soft milky streams,with blood the rivers ran. • Come, ye who still the cumbrous load of life • Push hard up hill; but, as the farthest steep • You trust to gain, and put an end to strife, · Down thunders back the stone with mighty sweep, · And hurls your labours to the valley deep, * For ever vain; come, and withouten fee
I in oblivion will your sorrows steep, " Your cares, your toils; will steep you in a sea Of full delight: oh come, ye weary wights, to me!
• With me you need not rise at early dawn, * To pass the joyless day in various sounds ;
Or, louting low, on upstart fortune fawn, * And sell fair honour for some paltry pounds: • Or thro' the city take your dirty rounds, . To cheat, and dun, and lye, and visit pay, Now flattering base, now giving secret wounds;
Or proul in courts of law for human prey, ' In venal senate thieve, or rob on broad highway.
No cocks with me to rustic labour call, From village on to village sounding clear; * To tardy swains no shrill-voic'd matrons squall ; • No dogs, no babes, no wives, to stun your ear; • No hammers thump; no horrid blacksmith fear;
No noisy tradesmen your sweet slumbers start, ' With sounds that are a misery to hear: * But all is calm, as would delight the heart Of Sybarite of old, all nature, and all art.
Here nought but candour reigns, indulgent ease, 'Good-natur'd lounging, saunt'ring up and down. * They who are pleas'd themselves must always
please; On others ways they never squint a frown, Nor heed what haps in hamlet or in town. Thus, from the source of tender indolence, . With milky blood the heart is overflown,
• Is sooth'd and sweeten'd by the social sense; . *For intrest,envy,pride,and strife are banish'd hence.
• What, what is virtue, but repose of mind, ' A pure ethereal calm, that knows no storm ; . Above the reach of wild ambition's wind,
Above those passions that this world deform, "And torture man, a proud malignant worm! . But here, instead, soft gales of passion play, . And gently stir the heart, thereby to form 'A quicker sense of joy; as breezes stray Across th' enliven'd skies, and make them still
more gay. • The best of men have ever lov'd repose ;
They hate to mingle in the filthy fray ; • Where the soul sours, and gradual rancour grows, • Embitter'd more from peevish day to day, 'Ev'n those whom fame has lent her fairest ray, • The most renown'd of worthy wights of yore, • From a base world at last have stol'n away : • So Scipio, to the soft Cumæan shore * Retiring, tasted joy he never knew before.
• But if a little exercise you choose, • Some zest for ease, 'tis not forbidden here. • Amid the groves you may indulge the muse; • Or tend the blooms, and deck the vernal year; • Or softly stealing, with your wat’ry gear,
Along the brooks, the crimson-spotted fry * You may delude: the whilst amus'd you hear
• Now the hoarse stream, and now the zephyr's sigh, ' Attuned to the birds and woodland melody.
. O grievous folly ! to heap up estate, • Losing the days you see beneath the sun; • When, sudden, conies blind unrelenting fate, ' And gives th' untasted portion you have won • With ruthless toil, and many a wretch undone, • To those who mock you gone to Pluto's reiga, • There with sad ghosts to pine, and shadows dud:
• But sure it is of vanities most vain, "To toil for what you here untoiling may obtain.'
He ceas'd. But still their trembling ears retain'd
Or by some flood all silver'd with the gleam, The soft-embodied fays thro' airy portal stream.
By the smooth demon so it order'd was, And here his baneful bounty first began; Tho' some there were who would not further pass, And his alluring baits suspected han. The wise distrust the too fair spoken man; Yet thro' the gate they cast a wishful eye: Not to move on, forsooth, is all they can; For, do their very best, they cannot fly; But often each way look, and often sorely sigh.
When this the watchful wicked wizard saw, With sudden spring he leap'd upon them straight; And, soon as touch'd by his unhallow'd paw, They found themselves within the cursed gate; · Full hard to be repass'd, like that of fate. Not stronger were of old the giant crew Who sought to pull bigh Jove from regal state ; Tho' feeble wretch he seem'd, of sallow hue, Certes, who bides his grasp, will that encounter rue.
For whomsoe'er the villain takes in hand, Their joints unknit, their sinews melt apace ; As lithe they grow as any willow wand, And of their vanish'd force remains no trace. So when a maiden fair, of modest grace, In all her buxom blooming May of charms, Is seized in some losel's hot embrace, She waxeth very weakly as she warms, Then sighing yields her up to love's delicious harms.