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Sometime 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 buskined 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,
Of CAMBALL, and of ALGARSIFE;
And who had CANACE to wife,
That owned 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 beside,
and solemn tunes have sung,
Of Tourneys, and of Trophies hung,
Of forests, and inchantments drear;
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Thus, Night! oft see me, in thy pale career! Till civil-suited Morn appear:
Not tricked and frounced, as she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt;
But kercheft in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud:
Or ushered 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 heavèd stroke,
Was never heard, the Nymphs to daunt;
Or fright them from their hallowed 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-feathered sleep!
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave, at his wings, in airy stream,
Of lively portraiture displayed,
Softly on my eyelids laid!
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 Cloisters pale!
And love the high embowèd 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 Heaven 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 heaven doth shew,
And every 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!
LADY, that, in the prime of earliest youth,
Wisely hast shunned the broad way and the green;
And, with those few, art eminently seen,
That labour up the Hill of Heavenly Truth;
The 'better part,' with MARY and with RUTH,
Chosen thou hast! and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee; but pity and ruth!
Thy care is fixed, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous Lamp with deeds of light, And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore, be sure, Thou (when the Bridegroom, with his feastful friends, Passes to bliss, at the mid hour of night)
Hast gained thy entrance! Virgin wise and pure!
ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT. AVENGE, O, LORD! thy slaughtered Saints; whose bones Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold:
Even them, who kept thy truth so pure of old; When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones. Forget not! In thy Book, record their groans !
Who were thy sheep; and, in their ancient fold, Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that rolled Mother with infant down the rocks! Their moans, The vales redoubled to the hills; and they,
To heaven! Their martyred blood and ashes sow O'er all th' Italian fields! where still doth sway The Triple-Tyrant: that, from these, may grow A hundredfold! who, having learnt thy Way, Early may fly the Babylonian Woe.
ON CHLORIS WALKING IN THE SNOW.
I SAW fair CHLORIS walk alone,
When feathered rain came softly down;
Then Jove descended from his Tower,
To court her in a silver shower.
The wanton snow flew to her breast,
Like little birds into their nest;
But overcome with whiteness there,
For grief, it thawed into a tear:
Then falling down her garment hem,
(To deck her) froze into a gem.
WHEN THIRSIS did the splendid eye
Of PHILLIS, his fair Mistress, spy,
'Was ever such a glorious Queen,'
Said he, 'unless above 'twere seen!'
Fair PHILLIS, with a blushing Air,
Hearing those words, became more fair.
'Away!' says he, 'You need not take
Fresh beauty, you more fair to make!'
Then, with a winning smile and look,
His candid flattery she took.
'O stay!' said he, ''tis done, I vow!
THIRSIS is captivated now!'