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This the blue1 varnish, that the green endears,
The sacred rust of twice ten hundred years!
To gain Pescennius2 one employs his schemes;
One grasps a Cecrops in ecstatic dreams:
Poor Vadius, long with learned spleen devoured,
Can taste no pleasure since his shield was scoured;
And Curio, restless by the fair-one's side,
Sighs for an Otho, and neglects his bride.

Pope.

JERUSALEM BEFORE THE SIEGE.3

TITUS SPEAKS.

Ir must be

And yet it moves me, Romans! it confounds
The counsel of my firm philosophy,

That ruin's merciless ploughshare+ must pass o'er,
And barren salt be sown on, yon proud city.
As on this olive-crownéd hill5 we stand,
Where Kedron at our feet its scanty waters
Distils from stone to stone with gentle motion,
As through a valley sacred to sweet peace,
How boldly doth it front us! how majestically!
Like a luxurious vineyard, the hill-side

Is hung with marble fabrics, line o'er line,
Terrace o'er terrace, nearer still, and nearer

To the blue heavens. There bright and sumptuous palaces,
With cool and verdant gardens interspersed ;

There towers of war that frown in massy strength;
While over all hangs the rich purple eve,

As conscious of its being her last farewell

Of light and glory to that faded city.

This the blue, &c.-The blue tinge marks the silver, and the green, the copper medals.

The medals
Pescennius

2 To gain Pescennius, &c.-In this and the following lines, the deep anxieties of the virtuoso antiquary are glanced at with happy raillery. named are of course such as are very scarce and difficult to procure. was a Roman consul. The other names need no explanation.

3 This fine view of Jerusalem is almost altogether taken from that given by Josephus. The description of the temple especially, is nearly verbatim.

4 Ruin's merciless, &c.-This bold metaphor is also employed by Burns, (See p. 78,) and both writers probably derived it from Young.

5 Olive-crowned hill-Mount Olivet, east of Jerusalem.

And as our clouds of battle, dust, and smoke,
Are melted into air, behold the Temple
In undisturbed and lone serenity,

Finding itself a solemn sanctuary

In the profound of heaven! It stands before us
A mount of snow, fretted with golden pinnacles.
The very sun, as though he worshipped there,
Lingers upon the gilded cedar roofs,

And down the long and branching porticos;
On every flowery-sculptured capital,
Glitters the homage of his parting beams.

Milman.

THE TRANQUILLITY OF NATURE.
EVE's lingering clouds extend in solid bars
Through the grey west; and lo! these waters, steeled
By breezeless air to smoothest polish, yield
A vivid repetition of the stars;

Jove-Venus-and the ruddy crest of Mars,
Amid his fellows, beauteously revealed
At happy distance from earth's groaning field,
Where ruthless mortals wage incessant wars.
Is it a mirror?-or the nether sphere

Opening its vast abyss, while fancy feeds
On the rich show!-But list! a voice is near;

Great Pan1 himself low-whispering through the reeds,
"Be thankful thou; for, if unholy deeds
Ravage the world, tranquillity is here!"

Wordsworth.

TWILIGHT.

HAIL, Twilight! sovereign of one peaceful hour!
Not dull art thou as undiscerning Night!
But studious only to remove from sight
Day's mutable distinctions.-Ancient Power!
Thus did the waters gleam, the mountains lower
To the rude Briton, when, in wolf-skin vest,
Here roving wild, he laid him down to rest

1 Pan-Pan, among the Greeks was the god of universal Nature, and the name was used frequently, as we use the word Nature, for the invisible cause of the beauties of creation.

On the bare rock, or through a leafy bower

Looked ere his eyes were closed. By him was seen
The self-same vision which we now behold,

At thy meek bidding, shadowy Power, brought forth:-
These mighty barriers, and the gulf between;

The floods, the stars;-a spectacle as old
As the beginning of the heavens and earth!

Wordsworth.

TO THE NIGHTINGALE.1

SWEET bird! thou sing'st away the early hours!
Of winters past or coming void of care,

Well pleased with delights which present are,
Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet smelling flowers!
To rocks, to springs, to rills from leafy bowers,
Thou thy Creator's goodness dost declare,
And what dear gifts on thee he did not spare.2
Oh stain to human sense, in sin that lowers! 3
What soul can be so sick, which by thy songs,
(Attired in sweetness,) sweetly is not driven
Quite to forget earth's turmoils, spites, and wrongs,
And lift a reverend eye and thought to heaven!
Sweet artless songster! thou my mind dost raise
To airs of spheres,4 yea, and to angels' lays!

Drummond.

THE PLEASURES OF RETIREMENT.
THRICE happy he who by some shady grove,
Far from the clamorous world, doth live his own:5
Though solitary, who is not alone,

But doth converse with that eternal love!

Oh, how more sweet is bird's harmonious moan,

Or the hoarse sobbings of the widowed dove,

Than those smooth whisperings near a prince's throne,

1 The writer of this and the following beautiful sonnet was a friend and contemporary of Ben Jonson.

2 And what dear gifts, &c.-i. e. and the precious gifts that he lavished on thee. 3 Oh stain, &c.-Oh what a reproach to men is the sin which debases ("lowers") them and prevents their praising God, as you do.

Airs of spheres-the fancied music of the spheres.

5 His own-by himself.

Which good make doubtful, do the evil prove!

Oh, how more sweet is zephyr's wholesome breath,
And sighs embalmed, which new-born flowers unfold,
Than that applause vain honour doth bequeath!
How sweet are streams to poison1 drunk in gold!
The world is full of horrors, troubles, slights ;-
Woods' harmless shades have only true delights.

Drummond.

DIRGE OVER FIDELE'S TOMB.2
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb,

Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
Each opening sweet of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing Spring.
No wailing ghost shall dare appear
To vex with shrieks this quiet grove;
But shepherd lads assemble here,

And melting virgins own their love.
No withered witch shall here be seen,
No goblins lead their nightly crew;
The female fays shall haunt the green,
And dress thy grave with pearly dew!
The redbreast oft,3 at evening hours,
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss, and gathered flowers,
To deck the ground where thou art laid.

When howling winds and beating rain,
In tempests shake the sylvan cell;
Or 'midst the chace on ev'ry plain,

The tender thought on thee shall dwell;

To poison, &c.-Compared to poison.

2 This exquisite poem seems to have been suggested by a sort of funeral chant over a dead body in Shakspere's "Cymbeline." Sir E. Brydges commends its "symplicity and pathos," its "highly poetical thought and tone," its "exquisite polish, without one superfluous, one prosaic word." He continues thus:"the extreme transparency of the words and thoughts would induce a vulgar reader to consider them [such poems] trite, while they are the expression of a genius so refined as to be all essence of spirit."

3 The redbreast, &c.-It is thought that Gray was indebted to this stanza for the lines in the "Elegy" (for which see p. 55,) beginning

"There scattered oft, &c."

Q

Each lonely scene shall thee restore;
For thee the tear be duly shed;
Beloved, till life can charm no more,
And mourned, till Pity's self be dead.

Collins.

TO MAY.1

THOUGH many suns have risen and set
Since thou, blithe May, wert born,
And bards, who hailed thee, may forget
Thy gifts, thy beauty scorn;
There are who to a birthday strain
Confine not harp and voice,
But evermore throughout thy reign
Are grateful and rejoice!

Earth, sea, thy presence feel-nor less,
If yon ethereal blue

With its soft smile the truth express,
The heavens have felt it too.
The inmost heart of man, if glad,
Partakes a livelier cheer;
And eyes that cannot but be sad
Let fall a brightened tear.

Since thy return, through days and weeks
Of hope that grew by stealth,

How many wan and faded cheeks

Have kindled into health!

The old, by thee revived, have said,
"Another year is ours!"

And wayworn wanderers, poorly fed,
Have smiled upon thy flowers.

Who tripping lisps a merry song
Amid his playful peers?
The tender infant who was long
A prisoner of fond fears;

1 Among the many beautiful poems of the same author, there is not perhaps a more finished composition than this-not one more noticeable for the "curiosa felicitas"-that "grace beyond the reach of art,"-which evinces the perfect mastery of the artist.

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