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Obedient to the necromantic sway
Of an old sage, to solitude resign'd, With fenny vapours he obscured the day, Launch'd the long lightning, and let loose the wind.
He whirl'd the tempest through the howling air, Rattled the dreadful thunderclap on high, And raised a roaring elemental war
Betwixt the seagreen 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 carnai fiend to imperfection wrought,
The mongrel offspring of a witch and devil. Next bloom'd, upon an ancient forest's bound, The flowery margin 3 of a silent stream, O'erarch'd by oaks with ivy mantled round,
And gilt by silver Cynthia's maiden beam. On the green carpet of the' unbended grass, A dapper train of female fairies play'd, And eyed their gambols in the watery glass, That smoothly stole along the shadowy glade,
2 Caliban, in the Tempest.
3 Fairy-land, from the Midsummer Night's Dream.
Through these the queen, Titania, pass'd adored,
Around their chief the elfin host appear'd,
The scene then changed from this romantic land To a bleak waste by boundary unconfined, Where three swart sisters of the weird band
Were muttering 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 eyeball from its hollow case Distill'd cold rheum's involuntary tears.
Horsed on three staves, they posted to the bourn
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,
The Witches in Macbeth.
They held damn'd mysteries with infernal state,
Nor sign of living creature could be seen,
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 under ground [broke; Through troubled earth's wide yawning surface When lo! each injured apparition rose;
Aghast the murderer started from his bed; Guilt's trembling breath his heart's red current
And horror's dewdrops bathed 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 train away,
And on their wings each bright illusion fled. Yet still the dear enchantress of the brain
My wakeful eyes with wishful wanderings
Whose magic will controls the' ideal train,
Sweet power! (said I) 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;
5 Ghosts in Macbeth, Richard III. &c.
Me (humbler lot!) let blameless bliss engage, Free from the noble mob's ambitious strife, Free from the muckworm miser's lucrous rage, In calm contentment's cottaged vale of life. 'If frailties there (for who from them is free?) Through error's maze my devious footsteps lead, Let them be frailties of humanity,
And my heart plead the pardon of my head. 'Let not my reason impiously require, What Heaven has placed beyond its narrow span;
But teach me to subdue each fierce desire,
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 woe.
Thus cheaply wise and innocently great, While time's smooth sand shall regularly pass, Each destined atom's quiet course I'll wait,
Nor rashly break nor wish to stop the glass. 'And when in death my peaceful ashes lie,
If e'er some tongue congenial speaks my name, Friendship shall never blush to breathe a sigh, And great ones envy such an honest fame.'
THE NUNNERY PARROT.
An Heroic Poem in Four Cantos.
INSCRIBED TO THE ABBESS OF D-.
(TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MONSIEUR GRESSET.)
O YOU, round whom at virtue's shrine
With native charms all hearts engage,