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See in the rear of the warm sunny shower,
The visionary boy for shelter fly!
For now the storm of summer-rain is o'er,
And cool, and fresh, and fragrant is the sky!
And, lo! in the dark east, expanded high,
The rainbow brightens to the setting sun;
Fond fool, that deem'st the streaming glory nigh,
How vain the chase thine ardour has begun! "Tis filed afar, ere half thy purpos'd race be run.
Yet could'st thou learn, that thus it fares with age,
When pleasure, wealth, or power, the bosom warm,
This baffled hope might tame thy manhood's rage,
And disappointment of her sting disarm.-
But why should foresight thy fond heart alarm?
Perish the lore that deadens young desire !
Pursue, poor imp, the imaginary charm,
Indulge gay Hope, and Fancy's pleasing fire : Fancy and Hope too soon shall of themselves expire.
When the long-sounding curfew from afar
Loaded with loud lament the lonely gale,
Young Edwin, lighted by the evening star,
Lingering and listening, wandered down the vale ;
There would he dream of graves, and corses pale ;
And ghosts, that to the charnel-dungeon throng,
And drag a length of clanking chain, and wail,
Till silenc'd by the owl's terrific song,
Or blast that shrieks by fits the shuddering isles along.
Or, when the setting moon, in crimson died,
Hung o'er the dark and melancholy deep,
To haunted stream, remote from man he hied,
Where Fays of yore their révels wont to keep;
And there let Fancy roam at large, till sleep
A vision brought to his entranced sight.
And first, a wildly-murmuring wind 'gan creep,
Shrill to his ringing ear; then tapers bright,
With instantaneous gleam, illum'd the vault of Night.
Anon in view a portal's blazon'd arch
Arose; the trumpet bids the valves unfold,
And forth an host of little warriors march,
Grasping the diamond lance, and targe of gold.
Their look was gentle, their demeanour bold,
And green their helms, and green their silk attire ;
And here and there, right venerably old,
The long-rob'd minstrels wake the warbling wire, And some with mellow breath the martial pipe inspire.
With merriment, and song, and timbrels clear,
A troop of dames from myrtle bowers advance;
The little warriors doff the targe and spear,
And loud enlivening strains provoke the dance,
They meet, they dart away, they wheel askance;
To right, to left, they thrid the flying maze;
Now bound aloft with vigorous spring, then glance
Rapid along: with many-colour'd rays
Of tapers, gems, and gold, the echoing forests blaze.
The dream is fled. Proud harbinger of day,
Who scar'dst the vision with thy clarion shrill,
Fell chanticleer! who oft has 'reft away
My fancied good, and brought substantial ill!
O to thy cursed scream, discordant still,
Let Harmony aye shut her gentle ear :
" Thy boastful mirth let jealous rivals spill,
Insult thy crest, and glossy pinions tear,
And ever in thy dreams the ruthless fox appear.
Forbear, my Muse. Let love attune thy line.
Revoke the spell. Thine Edwin frets not so.
For how should he at wicked chance repine,
Who feels from every change amusement flow?
Even now his eyes with smiles of rapture glow,
As on he wanders through the scenes of morn,
Where the fresh flowers in living lustre blow,
Where thousand pearls the dewy lawns adorn,
A thousand notes of joy in every breeze are borne.
But who the melodies of morn can tell?
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side ;
The lowing herd; the sheepfold's simple bell;
The pipe of early shepherd dim descried
In the lone valley; echoing far and wide
The clamorous horn along the cliffs above;
The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide;
The hum of bees, and linnet's lay of love,
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.
The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark;
Crown'd with her pail the tripping milk-maid sings ;
The whistling ploughman stalks afield; and hark !
Down the rough slope the ponderous wagon rings ;
Thro' rustling corn the hare astonish'd springs;
Slow tolls the village-clock the drowsy hour;
The partridge bursts away on whirring wings;
Deep mourns the turtle in sequester'd bower,
And shrill lark carols clear from her aerial tour.
O Nature, how in every charm supreme !
Whose votaries feast on raptures ever new!
O for the voice and fire of seraphim,
To sing thy glories with devotion due !
Blest be the day I’scaped the wrangling crew,
From Pyrrho's maze, and Epicurus' sty;
And held high converse with the godlike few,
Who to the enraptur'd heart, and ear, and eye, Teach beauty, virtue, truth, and love, and melody !
Hence! ye, who snare and stupify the mind,
Sophists! of beauty, virtue, joy, the bane!
Greedy and fell though impotent and blind,
Who spread your filthy nets in Truth's fair fane,
And ever ply your venom'd fangs amain!
Hence to dark Error's den, whose rankling slime
First gave your form! hence ! lest the Muse should
deign (Tho' loth on theme so mean to waste a rhyme,) With vengeance to pursue your sacrilegious crime.
But hail, ye mighty masters of the lay,
Nature's true sons, the friends of man and truth!
Whose song, sublimely sweet, serenely gay,
Amus'd my childhood, and inform'd my youth.
O let your spirit still my bosom sooth,
Inspire my dreams, and my wild wanderings guide!
Your voice each rugged path of life can smooth;
For well I know, wherever ye reside,
There harmony, and peace, and innocence, abide.
Ah me! abandon'd on the lonesome plain,
As yet poor Edwin never knew your lore,
Save when against the winter's drenching rain,
And driving snow, the cottage shut the door.
Then, as instructed by tradition hoar,
Her legends when the Beldam 'gan impart,
Or chant the old heroic ditty o'er,
Wonder and joy ran thrilling to his heart:
Much he the tale admir'd, but more the tuneful art.
Various and strange was the long-winded tale ;
And halls, and knights, and feats of arms, display'd;
Or merry swains, who quaff the nut-brown ale,
And sing, enamour'd, of the nut-brown maid;
The moon-light revel of the fairy glade ;
Or hags, that suckle an infernal brood,
And ply in caves the unutterable trade,*
Midst fiends and spectres, quench the moon in blood, Yell in the midnight stor m, or ride the infuriate flood.
But when to horror his amazement rose,
A gentler strain the Beldam would rehearse,
How now, ye secret, black, and midnight hags,
What is't you do?
A deed without a name.