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On Avon's banks I lit, whose streams appear
To win with eddies fond round Shakspeare's

The year's first feath'ry songsters warble near,
And vi'lets breathe, and earliest roses bloom.

Here Fancy sat, (her dewy fingers cold

Decking with flow'rets fresh th' unsullied sod)
And bath'd with tears the sad sepulchral mould,
Her fav'rite offspring's long and last abode.

"Ah! what avails,' she cry'd, 'a poet's name?
Ah! what avails th' immortalizing breath
To snatch from dumb Oblivion others' fame ?
My darling child here lies a prey to Death!
'Let gentle Otway, white-rob'd Pity's priest,
From grief domestic teach the tears to flow,
Or Southern captivate th' impassion'd breast
With heartfelt sighs and sympathy of wo.
'For not to these his genius was confin'd,
Nature and I each tuneful pow'r had given,
Poetic transports of the madding mind, [ven:
And the wing'd words that waft the soul to Hea-

"The fiery glance of th' intellectual eye,
Piercing all objects of creation's store,
Which on this world's extended surface lie;
And plastic thought that still created more.'

O grant,' with eager rapture I reply'd,

Grant me, great goddess of the changeful eye, To view each being in poetic pride,

To whom thy son gave immortality.'

Sweet Fancy smil'd, and wav'd her mystic rod, When straight these visions felt her pow'rful arm, And one by one succeeded at her nod,

As vassal sprites obey the wizard's charm.

First a celestial form (of azure hue

Whose mantle, bound with brede ethereal, flow'd To each soft breeze its balmy breath that drew) Swift down the sun-beams of the noontide rode.

Obedient to the necromantic sway

Of an old sage to solitude resign'd, With fenny vapours he obscur'd the day,


Launch'd the long lightning, and let loose the

He whirl'd the tempest through the howling air, Rattled the dreadful thunder-clap on high, And rais'd the roaring elemental war

Betwixt the sea-green waves and azure sky.

Then, like Heaven's mild ambassador of love
To man repentant, bade the tumult cease,
Smooth'd the blue bosom of the realms above,
And hush'd the rebel elements to peace.

Unlike to this in spirit or in mien

Another form succeeded to my view;

A two-legg'd brute, which Nature made in spleen, Or from the loathing womb unfinish'd drew.

Scarce could he syllable the curse he thought, Prone were his eyes to earth, his mind to evil,

A carnal fiend to imperfection wrought,

The mongrel offspring of a witch and devil.

Next bloom'd upon an ancient forest's bound,
The flow'ry margin of a silent stream,
O'er-arch'd by oaks with ivy mantled round,
And gilt by silver Cynthia's maiden beam.

On the green carpet of th' unbended grass,
A dapper train of female fairies play'd,
And ey'd their gambols in the wat'ry grass,
That smoothly stole along the shad'wy glade.

Through these the queen Titania pass'd ador'd,
Mounted aloft in her imperial car,
Journeying to see great Oberon, her lord
Wage the mock battles of a sportive war.

Arm'd cap-a-pee forth march'd the fairy king,
A stouter warrior never took the field,
His threat'ning lance a hornet's horrid sting,
The sharded beetle's scale his sable shield.

Around their chief the elfin host appear'd;
Each little helmet sparkled like a star,
And their sharp spears in pierceless phalanx rear'd,
A grove of thistles, glitter'd in the air.

The scene then chang'd, from this romantic land,
To a bleak waste by bound'ry unconfin'd,

Where three swart sisters of the weird band

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Were mutt'ring curses to the troublous wind.

Pale Want had wither'd every furrow'd face, Bow'd was each carcass with the weight of years, And each sunk eye-ball from its hollow case Distill'd cold rheum's involuntary tears.

Hors'd on three staves they posted to the bourn
Of a drear island, where the pendant brow
Of a rough rock, shagg'd horribly with thorn, [low.
Frown'd on the boist'rous waves which rag'd be-
Deep in a gloomy grot remote from day,

Where smiling Comfort never show'd her face, Where light ne'er enter'd, save one rueful ray Discovering all the terrors of the place.

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They held damn'd myst'ries with infernal state,
Whilst ghastly spectres glided slowly by,
The screech-owl scream'd the dying call of fate,
And ravens croak'd their baleful augury.
No human footstep cheer'd the dread abode,
Nor sign of living creature could be seen,
Save where the reptile snake, or sullen toad,
The murky floor had soil'd with venom green.
Sudden I heard the whirlwind's hollow sound,
Each weird sister vanish'd into smoke,
Now a dire yell of spirits underground

[broke; Thro' troubled Earth's wide yawning surface

When lo! each injur'd apparition rose;

Aghast the murd❜rer started from his bed; [froze, Guilt's trembling breath his heart's red current And Horror's dew-drops bath'd his frantic head.

More had I seen-but now the god of day

O'er Earth's broad breast his flood of light had spread,

When Morpheus call'd his fickle dreams away,
And on their wings each bright illusion fled.



Yet still the dear enchantress of the brain

My waking eyes with wishful wand'rings sought, Whose magic will controls th' ideal train, The ever-restless progeny of Thought.

'Sweet power,' I said, ' for others gild the ray Of Wealth, or Honour's folly-feather'd crown, Or lead the madding multitude astray

To grasp at air-blown bubbles of renown. 'Me (humbler lot!) let blameless bliss engage, Free from the noble mob's ambitious strife, Free from the muck-worm miser's lucrous rage, In calm Contentment's cottag’d vale of life. 'If frailties there (for who from them is free?) Through Error's maze my devious footsteps Let them be frailties of humanity,

[lead, And my heart plead the pardon of my head.

'Let not my reason impiously require

What Heav'n has plac'd beyond its narrow span, But teach it to subdue each fierce desire,

Which wars within its own small empire, man.

Teach me, what all believe, but few possess ; That life's best science is ourselves to know, The first of human blessings is to bless, And happiest he who feels another's wo. Thus cheaply wise, and innocently great, While Time's smooth sand shall regularly pass, Each destin'd atom's quiet course I'll wait,

Nor rashly break, nor wish to stop the glass.

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