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There, on an amarinthine bed,
Thee with rare nectarine fruits he fed ;
Till soon, beneath his forming care,
You bloom'd a goddess debonaire;
And then he gave the blessed isle
Aye to be sway'd beneath thy smile:
There plac'd thy green and grassy shrine,
With myrtle bower'd and jessamine:
And to thy care the task assign'd
With quickening hand, and nurture kind,
His roseate infant-births to rear,
Till Autumn's mellowing reign appear.
Haste thee, nymph! and, hand in hand,
With thee lead a buxom band;
Bring fantastic-footed Joy,
With Sport, that yellow-tressed boy:
Leisure, that through the balmy sky
Chases a crimson butterfly.
Bring Health, that loves in early dawn
To meet the milk-maid on the lawn ;
Bring Pleasure, rural nymph of Peace,
Meek, cottage-loving shepherdess!
And that sweet stripling, Zephyr, bring,
Light, and for ever on the wing.
Bring the dear Muse, that loves to lean
On river-margins, mossy green.
But who is she that bears thy train,
Pacing light the velvet plain?
The pale pink binds her auburn hair,
Her tresses flow with pastoral air;
"Tis May, the Grace-confess'd she stands,
By branch of hawthorn in her hands:
Lo! near her trip the lightsome Dews,
Their wings all ting'd in iris-hues ;
With whom the powers of Flora play,
And paint with pansies all the way.
Oft when thy season, sweetest queen,
Has dress'd the groves in livery green;
When in each fair and fertile field
Beauty begins her bow'r to build ;
While Evening, veil'd in shadows brown,
Puts her matron-mantle on,
And mists in spreading steams convey
More fresh the fumes of new-shorn hay;
Then, goddess, guide my pilgrim feet,
Contemplation hoar to meet,
As slow he winds in museful mood,
Near the rush'd marge of Cherwell's flood;
Or o'er old Avon's magic edge,
Whence Shakspeare cull'd the spiky sedge,
All playful yet, in years unripe,
To frame a shrill and simple pipe.
There through the dusk but dimly seen,
Sweet evening objects intervene :
His wattled cotes the shepherd plants,
Beneath her elm the milk-maid chants,
The woodman, speeding home, awhile
Rests him at a shady stile.
Nor wants there fragrance to dispense
Refreshment o'er my soothed sense;
Nor tangled woodbines' balmy bloom,
Nor grass besprent to breathe perfume :
Nor lurking wild-thyme's spicy sweet
To bathe in dew my roving feet:
Nor wants there note of Philomel,
Nor sound of distant-tinkling bell:
Nor lowing faint of herds remote
Nor mastiff's bark from bosom'd cot:
Rustle the breezes lightly borne
O'er deep embattled ears of corn:
Round ancient elm, with humming noise,
Full loud the chaffer-swarms rejoice.
Meantime, a thousand dyes invest
The ruby chambers of the West!
That all aslant the village tower
A mild reflected radiance pour,
While, with the level-streaming rays
Far seen its arched windows blaze:
And the tall grove's green top is dight
In russet tints, and gleams of light:
So that the gay scene by degrees
Bathes my blithe heart in ecstasies;
And Fancy to my ravish'd sight
Portrays her kindred visions bright.
At length the parting light subdues
My soften'd soul to calmer views,
And fainter shapes of pensive joy,
As twilight dawns, my mind employ,
Till from the path I fondly stray
In musings lap'd, nor heed the way;
Wandering through the landscape still,
Till Melancholy has her fill;
And on each moss-wove border damp
The glow-worm hangs his fairy lamp.
But when the Sun, at noon-tide hour,
Sits throned in his highest tow'r ;
Me, heart-rejoicing goddess, lead
To the tann'd haycock in the mead:
To mix in rural mood among
The nymphs and swains, a busy throng;
Or, as the tepid odours breathe,
The russet piles to lean beneath :
There as my listless limbs are thrown
On couch more soft than palace down;
I listen to the busy sound
Of mirth and toil, that hums around;
And see the team shrill-tinkling pass,
Alternate o'er the furrow'd grass.
But ever, after summer show'r,
When the bright Sun's returning pow'r,
With laughing beam, has chas'd the storm,
And cheer'd reviving Nature's form ;
By sweet-briar hedges, bath'd in dew,
Let me my wholesome path pursue;
There issuing forth, the frequent snail
Wears the dank way with slimy trail,
While, as I walk, from pearled bush
The sunny-sparkling drop I brush;
And all the landscape fair I view
Clad in robe of fresher hue:
And so loud the blackbird sings,
That far and near the valley rings.
From shelter deep of shaggy rock
The shepherd drives his joyful flock:
From bowering beech the mower blithe
With new-born vigour grasps the scythe;
While o'er the smooth unbounded meads
His last faint gleam the rainbow spreads.
But ever against restless heat,
Bear me to the rock-arch'd seat,
O'er whose dim mouth an ivied oak
Hangs nodding from the low-brow'd rock;
Haunted by that chaste nymph alone,
Whose waters cleave the smoothed stone;
Which, as they gush upon the ground,
Still scatter misty dews around;
A rustic, wild, grotesque alcove,
Its side with mantling woodbines wove;
Cool as the cave where Clio dwells,
Whence Helicon's fresh fountain wells;
Or noon-tide grot, where Silvan sleeps
On hoar Lyceum's piny steeps.
Me, goddess, in such cavern lay,
While all without is scorch'd in day;
Sore sighs the weary swain, beneath
His withering hawthorn on the heath;
The drooping hedger wishes eve,
In vain, of labour short reprieve!
Meantime, on Afric's glowing sands,
Smote with keen heat, the traveller stands ;
Low sinks his heart, while round his eye
Measures the scenes that boundless lie,
Ne'er yet by foot of mortal worn,
Where Thirst, wan pilgrim, walks forlorn.
How does he wish some cooling wave
To slake his lips, or limbs to lave!
And thinks, in every whisper low,
He hears a bursting fountain flow.
Or bear me to yon antique wood,
Dim temple of sage Solitude!