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ODE TO EVENING

If aught of oaten stop or pastoral song
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,

Like thy own solemn springs,

Thy springs and dying gales,
O nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,

With brede ethereal wove,
O'erhang his wavy bed:

Now air is hushed, save where the weak-eyed bat,
With short, shrill shriek, flits by on leathern wing;

Or where the beetle winds
His small but sullen horn,

As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:

Now teach me, maid composed,
To breathe some softened strain,

Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale,
May not unseemly with its stillness suit,

As, musing slow, I hail
Thy genial loved return!

For when thy folding-star, arising, shows
His play circlet, at his warning lamp

The fragrant Hours, and elves
Who slept in flowers the day,

And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge,
And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still,

The pensive Pleasures sweet,
Prepare thy shadowy car.

Then lead, calm votaress, where some sheety lake
Cheers the lone heath, or some time-hallowed pile

Or upland fallows grey
Reflect its last cool gleam.

But when chill blustering winds or driving rain
Forbid my willing feet, be mine the hut

That from the mountain's side
Views wilds, and swelling floods,

And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o’er all

Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.

While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve;

While Summer loves to sport
Beneath thy lingering light;

While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves;
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,

Affrights thy shrinking train,
And rudely rends thy robes;

So long, sure-found beneath the sylvan shed,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, rose-lipped Health,

Thy gentlest influence own,
And hymn thy favourite name!

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As once if not with light regard
I read aright that gifted bard
(Him whose school above the rest
His loveliest Elfin Queen has blest)—
One, only one, unrivalled fair
Might hope the magic girdle wear,
At solemn tourney hung on high,

The wish of each love-darting eye;
Lol to each other nymph in turn applied,

As if, in air unseen, some hovering hand,
Some chaste and angel friend to virgin fame,

With whispered spell had burst the starting band,

It left unblest her loathed, dishonoured side;

Happier, hopeless fair, if never

Her baffled hand, with vain endeavour,
Had touched that fatal zone to her denied !
Young Fancy thus, to me divinest name,

To whom, prepared and bathed in heaven,
The cest of amplest power in given,
To few the godlike gift assigns

To gird their blest, prophetic loins,
And gaze her visions wild, and feel unmixed her flamet

EPODE

The band, as fairy legends say,
Was wove on that creating day
When He who called with thought to birth
Yon tented sky, this laughing earth,
And dressed with springs and forests tall,
And poured the main engirting all,
Long by the loved enthusiast wooed,
Himself in some diviner mood,
Retiring, sate with her alone,
And placed her on his sapphire throne,
The whiles, the vaulted shrine around,
Seraphic wires were heard to sound,
Now sublimest triumph swelling,
Now on love and mercy dwelling;
And she, from out the veiling cloud,
Breathed her magic notes aloud,
And thou, thou rich-haired Youth of Morn,
And all thy subject life, was born!
The dangerous passions kept aloof,
Far from the sainted growing woof:
But near it sate ecstatic Wonder,
Listening the deep applauding thunder;
And Truth, in sunny vest arrayed,
By whose the tarsel's eyes were made;
All the shadowy tribes of mind,
In braided dance, their murmurs joined,
And all the bright uncounted powers
Who feed on heaven's ambrosial flowers.
Where is the bard whose soul can now
Its high presuming hopes avow?

Where he who thinks, with rapture blind,
This hallowed work for him designed ?

ANTISTROPHE

High on some cliff, to heaven up-piled,
Of rude access, of prospect wild,
Where, tangled round the jealous steep,
Strange shades o’erbrow the valleys deep,
And holy genii guard the rock,
Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock,
While on its rich ambitious head

An Eden, like his own, lies spread,
I view that oak, the fancied glades among,

By which as Milton lay, his evening ear,
From many a cloud that dropped ethereal dew,
Nigh sphered in heaven, its native strains could

hear,
On which that ancient trump he reached was hung:

Thither oft, his glory greeting,

From Waller's myrtle shades retreating,
With many a vow from Hope's aspiring tongue,
My trembling feet his guiding steps pursue;

In vain—such bliss to one alone
Of all the sons of soul was known,
And Heaven and Fancy, kindred powers,

Have now o’erturned th' inspiring bowers,
Or curtained close such scene from every future view.

THE PASSIONS

AN ODE FOR MUSIC

When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Thronged around her magic cell,
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possessed beyond the Muse's painting;
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturbed, delighted, raised, refined:

Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired,
Filled with fury, rapt, inspired,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatched her instruments of sound;
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each (for madness ruled the hour)
Would prove his own expressive power.
First Fear in hand, its skill to try,

Amid the chords bewildered laid,
And back recoiled, he knew not why,

Even at the sound himself had made.

Next Anger rushed: his eyes, on fire,

In lightnings owned his secret stings;
In one rude clash he struck the lyre,

And swept with hurried hand the strings.

With woeful measures wan Despair

Low, sullen sounds his grief beguiled;
A solemn, strange, and mingled air-

'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.

But thou, O Hope, with eyes so fair,

What was thy delightful measure?

Still it whispered promised pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail!
Still would her touch the strain prolong;

And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She called on Echo still, through all the song;

And where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close,
And Hope, enchanted, smiled, and waved her golden hair.

And longer had she sung—but with a frown

Revenge impatient rose;
He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down,

And with a withering look
The war-denouncing trumpet took,

And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe.

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