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THE CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.

CANTO 1.
The castle height of indolence,

And its false luxury;
Where for a little time, alas!

We liv'd right jollily.

O MORTAL man, who livest here by toil,
Do not complain of this thy hard estate;
That like an emmet thou must ever moil,
Is a sad sentence of an ancient date ;
And, certes, there is for it reason great;
For, though sometimes it makes thee weep and

wail,
And curse thy star, and early drudge and late,

Withouten that would come an heavier bale, Loose life, unruly passions, and diseases pale.

In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
With woody hill o'er hill encompass'd round,
A most enchanting wizard did abide,
Than whom a fiend more fell is no where found,
It was, I ween, a lovely spot of ground:
And there a season atween June and May,
Half prankt with spring, with summer half im-

brown'd, A listless climate made, where, sooth to say, No living wight could work, ne cared ev'n for play.

Was nought around but images of rest :
Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between ;.
And flowery beds that slumberous influence kest,
From poppies breath'd ; and beds of pleasant green,
Were never yet was creeping creature seen.
Mean time unnumber'd glittering streamlets play'd,
And hurl'd every-where their waters sheen ;

That, as they bicker'd through the sunny glade, Though restless still themselves, a lulling murmur

made.

Join'd to the prattle of the purling rills,
Were heard the lowing herds along the vale,
And flocks loud-bleating from the distant hills,
And vacant shepherds piping in the dale :
And now and then sweet Philomel would wail,
Or stock-doves plain amid the forest deep,
That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale;

And sull a coil the grasshopper did keep;
Yet all these sounds yblent inclined all to sleep.

Full in the passage of the vale, above,
A sable, silent, solemy forest stood ;
Where nought but shadowy forms was seen to move,
As Idless fancy'd in her dreaming mood :
And up the hills, on either side, a wood
Of blackening pines, ay waving to and fro,
Sent forth a sleepy horror through the blood;

And where this valley winded out, below,
The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely heard,

to flow.
A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever Aushing round a summer-sky:
There eke the soft delights, that witchingly
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,
And the calm pleasures always hover'd nigh;

But whate'er smack'd of noyance, or unrest,
Was far far off expelld from this delicious nest.

The landskip such, inspiring perfect ease,
Where Indolence (for so the wizard hight)
Close-hid his castle mid embowering trees,
That half-shut out the beams of Phæbus bright,
And made a kind of checker'd day and night;
Meanwhile, unceasing at the massy gate,
Beneath a spacious palm, the wicked wight

Was plac'd; and to his lute, of cruel fate,
And labour harsh, complain'd, lamenting man's estate.

Thither continual pilgrims crowded still,'...
From all the roads of earth that pass there by:
For, asthey chaunc'd to breathe on neighbouring hill,
The freshness of this valley smote their eye,

And drew them ever and anon more nigh ; Till clustering round th' enchanter false they hung. Ymolten with bis syren melody; While o'er th' enfeebling lute his hand he flung, And to the trembling chords these tempting verses

| sung: “ Behold! ye pilgrims of this earth, behold! “ See all but man with unearn d pleasure gay:

See her bright robes the butterfly unfold, “ Broke from her wintery tomb in prime of May! " What youthful bride can equal her array? • Who can with her for easy pleasure vie? " From mead to mead with gentle wing to stray,

" From flower to flower on balmy gales to fly, “ Is all she has to do beneath the radiant sky.

« Behold the merry minstrels of the morn, “ The swarming songsters of the careless grove, “ Ten thousand throats! that from the flowering

" thorn, " Hymn their good God, and carol sweet of love, « Such grateful kindly raptures them emove : « They neither plough, nor sow: ne, fit for flail, “ E'er to the barn the nodding sheaves they drove;

" Yet theirs each harvest dancing in the gale, - Whatever crowns the hill, or smiles along the vale,

« Outcast of nature, man! the wretched thrall
“ Of bitter dropping sweat, of sweltry pain,
• Of cares that eat away thy heart with gall,
" And of the vices, an inhuman train,
“ That all proceed from savage thirst of gain :
« For when hard-hearted Interest first began
" To poison earth, Astræa left the plain;

“ Guile, violence, and murder seiz'd on man, . “ And, for soft milky streams, with blood the rivers

" ran.

“ Come, ye, who still the cumberous load of life “ Push hard up hill; but as the farthest steep “ You trust to gain, and put an end to strife; ^ Down thunders back the stone with mighty sweep,

« And hurls your labours to the valley deep,
« For-ever vain : come, and, withouten see,
« I in oblivion will your sorrows steep,

“ Your cares, your toils, will steep you in a sea « Of full delight : O come, ye weary wights, to me!

“ With me, you need not rise at early dawn, -
To pass the joyless day in various stounds :
“ Or, louting low, on upstart fortune fawn,
“ And sell fáir honour for some paltry pounds;
“ Or through the city take your dirty rounds,
To cheat, and dun, and lye, and visit pay,
“ Now flattering base, now giving secret wounds :

« Or proul in courts of law for human prey,
" In venal senate thieve, or rob on broad highway.

No cocks, with me, to rustic labour call, « From village on to village sounding clear : “ To tardy swain no shrill-voic'd matrons squall : « No dogs, no babes, no wives, to stun your ear; “No hammers thump ; no horrid blacksmith fear, “ Ne noisy tradesmen your sweet slumbers start, With sounds that are a misery to hear:

“ But all is calm, as would delight the heart “ Of Sybarite of old, all nature, and all art.

“ Here nought but candour reigns, indulgent ease, “Good-natur'd lounging, sauntering up and down: “ They who are pleas'd themselves must always please; “ On others' ways they never squint a frown, “ Nor heed what haps in hamlet or in town: « Thus, from the source of tender indolence, With milky blood the heart is overflown,

“ Is sooth'd and sweeten’d by the social sense ; “ For interest, envy, pride, and strife are banish'd hence.

" What, what, is virtue, but repose of mind,
" A pure ethereal calm, that knows no storm ;
“ Above the reach of wild ambition's wind,
Above the passions that this world deform,
“ And torture man, a proud malignant worm?
" But here, instead, soft gales of passion play,
“And gently stir the heart, thereby to form .

A quicker sense of joy; as breezes stray u Across th’enliven'd skies, and make them stili more gay.

“ The best of men have ever lov'd repose;
“ They hate to mingle in the filthy fray;
“Where the soul sours, and gradual rancour grows,
“ Imbitter'd more from peevish day to day.
« Ev’n those whom Fame has lent her fairest ray,
“ The most renown'd of worthy wights of yore,
« From a base world at last have stol'n away :

"So Scipio, to the soft Cumæan shore
« Retiring, tasted joy he never knew before.

“ But if a little exercise you chuse, “Some zest for ease, 'tis not forbidden here. “ Amid the groves you may indulge the muse, “ Or tend the blooms, and deck the vernal year; “ Or softly stealing, with your watery gear, * Along the brook, the crimson spotted fry You may delude: the whilst, amus'd, you hear . “ Now the hoarse stream, and now the zephyr's sigh, “ Attuned to the birds, and woodland melody. " O grievous folly ! to heap up estate, Losing the days you see beneath the sun; “When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting fate, And gives th' untasted portion you have won, “ With ruthless toil, and many a wretch undone, “ To those who mock you gone to Pluto's reign, “ There with sad ghosts to pine, and shadows dun:

“ But sure it is of vanities most vain,
“ To toil for what you here untoiling may obtain.”
He ceas'd. But still their trembling ears retain'd
The deep vibrations of his witching song;
That, by a kind of magic power, constrain'd
To enter in, pell-mell, the listening throng,
Heaps pour'd on heaps, and yet they slipt along,
In silent ease : as when beneath the beam
Of summer-moons, the distant woods among,

Or by some flood all silver'd with the gleam,
The soft-embodied fays through airy portal stream:
By the smooth demon so it order'd was,
And here his baneful bounty first began :
Though some there were who would not further pass,
And his alluring baits suspected han.
VOL. IV.

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