Where Corydon and Thyrsis1 met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phyllis dresses;
And then in haste her bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or if the earlier season lead,

To the tann'd haycock in the mead.
Sometimes with secure2 delight
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecs3 sound,
To many a youth and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holyday.





Tower'd cities please us then,4
And the busy hum of men :

Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of Peace, high triumphs hold;
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And Pomp, and Feast, and Revelry,
With Mask and antique Pageantry;
Such sights as youthful poets dream,
On summer eves by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on;

1 These names represent country people.

2 i. e. free from care, the literal meaning of the word.

3 A kind of rustic fiddle.

4 i.e. at night.

5 Garments, dress.

The god of marriage among the ancients.


7 Ben Jonson, a dramatic writer contemporary with Shakspeare. The sock was the shoe worn by the comedians of old.

Or sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.
And ever against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian1 airs,
Married to immortal Verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out;
With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;

That Orpheus'2 self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed

Of heap'd Elysian3 flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear

Of Pluto, to have quite set free

His half-regain'd Eurydice.
These delights if thou canst give,

Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

Il Penseroso.4

HENCE, vain deluding Joys,

The brood of Folly, without father bred!
How little you bested,

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
Dwell in some idle brain,

And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
As thick and numberless

As the gay motes that people the sunbeams,
Or likest hovering dreams,

1 A luxurious people of Asia Minor.

2 The fable about Orpheus is, that he went to the shades below, and by the beauty of his music persuaded Pluto, the god of the lower regions, to restore his wife Eurydice to him, on condition that he should not look back till he reached the upper air. This condition he broke, and Eurydice was compelled to return.

The Elysian fields were supposed to be the abode of happy spirits.

4 The melancholy man.


The fickle pensioners of Morpheus'1 train.
But hail, thou goddess, sage and holy,
Hail, divinest Melancholy,

Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore to our weaker view
O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue

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Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,
Sober, steadfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,
And sable stole of Cyprus2 lawn
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step and musing gait,
And looks commercing with the skies,
Thy wrapt soul sitting in thine eyes:
There, held in holy passion still,
Forget thyself to marble, till

With a sad leaden downward cast

Thou fix them on the earth as fast:

And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet,
Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring

Aye round about Jove's altar sing;
And add to these retired Leisure,

That in trim gardens takes his pleasure.
But first, and chiefest, with thee bring
Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne,-
The cherub Contemplation;
And the mute Silence hist along,
'Less Philomel will deign a song,
In her sweetest, saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of Night,
While Cynthia3 checks her dragon yoke,
Gently o'er the accustom'd oak:

1 The god of sleep among the ancients
2i.e. thin, transparent.

3 The goddess of the moon.


Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy!

Thee, chantress, oft the woods among
I woo to hear thy even-song;
And missing thee, I walk unseen,
On the dry, smooth-shaven green,
To behold the wandering Moon
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the heav'n's wide pathless way;
And oft, as if her head she bow'd,
Stooping through a fleecy cloud.

Oft, on a plat of rising ground,
I hear the far-off curfew sound,
Over some wide-water'd shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar ;
Or, if the air will not permit,
Some still removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach Light to counterfeit a gloom,
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the bellman's drowsy charm,
To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lamp, at midnight hour,
Be seen in some high, lonely tower,
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato,2 to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions, hold
Th' immortal mind that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook;
And of those demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet or with element.

1 The great Egyptian philosopher, who flourished, it is supposed, near the time of Moses.

2 The most celebrated of the Grecian philosophers, one of whose famous works is a treatise on the immortality of the soul.

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Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited Morn appear.





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And when the Sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, goddess, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown that Sylvan2 loves
Of pine or monumental oak,

Where the rude axe with heaved stroke
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd 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 flowery work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such concert as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep :
And let some strange, mysterious dream
Wave at his wings in aery stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
Softly on my eye-lids 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.

The ancient tragedians drew the subjects of their principal dramas from the history of the kings of Thebes, &c.

2 The god of the woods among the ancients.

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