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AN ORIENTAL IDYL,
AN EPISTLE FROM MOUNT TMOLUS.
TO RICHARD HENRY STODDARD.
O FRIEND, were you but couched on Tmolus' side,
In the warm myrtles, in the golden air
Of the declining day, which half lays bare, Half drapes, the silent mountains and the wide Embosomed vale, that wanders to the sea ;
And the far sea, with doubtful specks of sail, And farthest isles, that slumber tranquilly Beneath the Ionian autumn's violet veil ;
but with little were the need Of this imperfect artifice of rhyme,
Where the strong Fancy peals a broken chime
Or blessing, which has clung to me from birth – The torment and the ecstasy of verse –
Comes up to me from the illustrious earth
With fainter echoes, which the mountains fling
I cannot choose but sing !
Unto mine eye, less plain the shepherds be,
Tending their browsing goats amid the broom, Or the slow camels, travelling towards the sea,
Laden with bales from Baghdad's gaudy loom, Or yon nomadic Turcomans, that go
Down from their summer pastures — than the twain Immortals, who on Tmolus' thymy top
Sang, emulous, the rival strain !