Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

IL PENSEROSO.

I have heard a very judicious critic say, that he had

an higher idea of Milton's stile in poetry, from the two following poems, than from his Paradise Loft. It is certain the imagination shewn in them is correct and strong. The introduction to both in irregular measure is borrowed from the Italians, and hurts an English ear.

ENCE 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 poffefs,

As thick and numberless
As the gay motes that people the fun-beams,
Or likest hovering dreams,
The fickle pensioners of Morpheus train.
But hail thou Goddess, fage and holy,
Hail divinest Melancholy,
Whose faintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human fight,
And, therefore, to our weaker view,
O'er-laid with black, staid wisdom's hue;
Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's filer might befeem,

Os

Or that starred Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauties praise above
The Sea-Nymphs, and their pow'rs offended:
Yet thou art higher far descended,
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore
To folitary Saturn bore;
His daughter she (in Saturn's reign,
Such mixture was not held a stain)
Oft, in glimmering bow'rs and glades
He met her, and in secret shades
Of woody Ida's inmoft grove,
While

yet there was no fear of Jove.
Come pensive Nun, devout and pure,
Sober, ftedfat, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,
And fable stole of Cyprus lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come, but keep thy wanted state,
With even step and mufing gait,
And looks commercing with the kies,
Thy rapt foul fitting in thine eyes :
There held in holy passion still,
Forget thyself to marble, till
With a sad leaden downward caft
Thou fix them on the earth as faft:
And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet,
Spare Fast, that oft with Gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring,
Ay round about Jove's altar fing:

[merged small][ocr errors]

And add to these retired Leisure,
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure ;
But firit, and chiefert, with thee bring,
Him that yon foars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne,
The cherub Contemplation;
And the mute filence hitt along,
'Lefs Philomel will deign a song,
In her sweetest, faddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of night, ,
While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke
Gently o'er th' accuftom'd oak;
Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Moft musical, moft melancholy!
Thee, chauntress, oft, the woods among,
I woo, to hear thy even-fong;
And, missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven green,
To behold the wand'ring 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 sifing ground,
I hear the far-off Curfew sound,
Over fome wide-water'd shore,
Swinging flow with sullen roar;
Or, if the air will not permit,
Some ftill removed place will fit,

[ocr errors][merged small]

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 tow'r,
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear,
With thrice great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions, hold.
The 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.
Sometime let gorgeous tragedy,
In scepter'd pall, come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops line,
Or the Tale of Troy divine,
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath thy bufkin'd ftage.
But, О fad Virgin, that thy pow'r
Might raise Mufæus from his bower,
Or bid the soul of Orpheus fing
Such notes, as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made Hell grant what love dideseek.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Or call up him that left half told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
of Camball, and of Algarfife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That own’d the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wond'rous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride ;
And if ought elfe great bards beside
In fage and folemn tunes have fung,
Of tourneys and of trophies hung,
Of forests, and inchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear,
Thus, night, oft fee me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited morn appear,
Not trickt and frounet as she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt,
But, kercheft in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or, usher'd with a shower ftill,
When the gust hath blown its fill,
Ending on the ruftling leaves,
With minute drops from off the eaves.
And, when the fun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, Goddess, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown, that Sylvan loyes,
Of pine, or monumental oak,
Where the rude ax, with heaved stroke,
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt.

There

« ZurückWeiter »