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While from his bending shoulder, decent hung
Fret not thyself, thou glittering child of pride,
With thee let Pageantry and Power abide :
Where through wild groves at eve the lonely swain
genius, born in a rude age, from the first dawning They hate the sensual, and scorn the vain,
Rise, sons of harmony, and hail the morn,
of his verse, and in the harmony, simplicity, and Or seek at noon the woodland scene remote,
induce me to write in so difficult a measure, I can Nor was perfection made for man below.
Nor blame the partial Fates, if they refuse
Know thine own worth, and reverence the lyre.
Wilt thou debase the heart which God refind?
No; let thy heaven-taught soul to Heaven aspire,
Canst thou forego the pure ethereal soul
In each fine sense so exquisitely keen, Check’d by the scoff of Pride, by Envy's frown, On the dull couch of Luxury to loll, And Poverty's unconquerable bar,
Stung with disease, and stupefied with spleen; In life's low vale remote has pined alone,
Fain to implore the aid of Flattery's screen, Then dropt into the grave, unpitied and unknown! Even from thyself thy lothesome heart to hide,
(The mansion then no more of joy serene.) And yet the languor of inglorious days,
Where fear, distrust, malevolence, abide,
And impotent desire, and disappointed pride!
O how canst thou renounce the boundless store
The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields ;
All that the genial ray of morning gilds,
And all the dread magnificence of Heaven,
O how canst thou renounce, and hope to be forgiven!
These charms shall work thy soul's eternal health,
For ah! it poisons like a scorpion's dart;
But why should I his childish feats display?
Or, where the maze of some bewilder'd stream
To deep untrodden groves his footsteps led, There lived in Gothic days, as legends tell,
There would he wander wild, till Phæbus' beam, A shepherd-swain, a man of low degree ;
Shot from the western cliff, releas'd the weary Whose sires, perchance, in Fairy-land might dwell,
To him nor vanity nor joy could bring.
His heart, from cruel sport estranged, would bleed Patient of toil; serene amidst alarms;
To work the woe of any living thing, Inflexible in faith; invincible in arms.
By trap, or net; by arrow, or by sling;
These he detested; those he scorn'd to wield. The shepherd-swain of whom I mention made,
He wish'd to be the guardian, not the king, On Scotia's mountains fed his little flock;
Tyrant far less, or traitor of the field. The sickle, scythe, or plow, he never sway'd ;
And sure the sylvan reign unbloody joy might yield. An honest heart was almost all his stock; His drink the living water from the rock:
Lo! where the stripling, wrapt in wonder, roves The milky dams supplied his board, and lent
Beneath the precipice o'erbung with pine ; Their kindly fleece to baffle winter's shock;
And sees, on high, amidst th' encircling groves, And he, though oft with dust and sweat besprent,
From cliff to cliff the foaming torrents shine : Did guide and guard their wanderings, wheresoe'er While waters, woods, and winds, in concert join,
And Echo swells the chorus to the skies. they went.
Would Edwin this majestic scene resign From labor health, from health
For aught the huntsman's puny craft supplies ?
contentment springs :
Ah! no: he better knows great Nature's charms
to prize. Contentment opes the source of every joy. He envied not, he never thought of, kings ;
And oft he traced the uplands, to survey, Nor from those appetites sustain'd annoy,
When o'er the sky advanc'd the kindling dawn, That chance may frustrate, or indulgence cloy :
The crimson clond, blue main, and mountain grey, Nor Fate his calm and humble hopes beguiled ;
And lake, dim-gleaming on the smoky lawn: He mourn'd no recreant friend, nor mistress coy,
Far to the west the long, long vale withdrawn, For on his vows the blameless Phæbe smild,
Where twilight loves to linger for a while ; And her alone he lov'd, and lov'd her from a child.
And now he faintly kens the bounding fawn,
And villager abroad at early toil. No jealousy their dawn of love o'ercast,
But lo! the Sun appears ! and heaven, earth, ocean, Nor blasted were their wedded days with strife;
smile. Each season look'd delightful as it past, To the fond husband and the faithful wife.
And oft the craggy cliff he lov'd to climb, Beyond the lowly vale of shepherd-life
When all in mist the world below was lost. They never roam'd; secure beneath the storm
What dreadful pleasure! there to stand sublime, Which in Ambition's lofty land is rife,
Like shipwreck'd mariner on desert coast, Where peace and love are canker'd by the worm
And view th' enormous waste of vapor, tost Of pride, each bud of joy industrious to deform.
In billows, length’ning to the horizon round,
Now scoop'd in gulfs, with mountains now emThe wight, whose tale these artless lines unfold,
boss'd! Was all the offspring of this humble pair :
And hear the voice of mirth and song rebound, His birth no oracle or seer foretold ;
Flocks, herds, and waterfalls, along the hoar proNo prodigy appear'd in earth or air,
found! Nor aught that might a strange event declare. You guess each circumstance of Edwin's birth; In truth he was a strange and wayward wight, The parent's transport, and the parent's care ; Fond of each gentle and each dreadful scene. The gossip's prayer for wealth, and wit, and worth ; In darkness, and in storm, he found delight: And one long summer-day of indolence and mirth. Nor less, than when on ocean-wave serene
The southern Sun diffus'd his dazzling sheen. And yet poor Edwin was no vulgar boy,
Even sad vicissitude amus'd his soul : Deep thought oft seem'd to fix his infant eye. And if a sigh would sometimes intervene, Dainties he heeded not, nor gaud, nor toy,
And down his cheek a tear of pity roll, Save one short pipe of rudest minstrelsy ;
A sigh, a tear, so sweet, he wish'd not to control. Silent when glad ; affectionate, though shy; And now his look was most demurely sad ; “Oye wild groves, 0 where is now your bloom ! And now he laugh'd aloud, yet none knew why. (The Muse interprets thus his tender thought,) The neighbors star'd and sigh’d, yet bless'd the lad: "Your flowers, your verdure, and your balmy Some deem'd him wondrous wise, and some be
gloom, liev'd him mad.
Of late so grateful in the hour of drougni!
Why do the birds, that song and rapture brought See, in the rear of the warm sunny shower
And, lo! in the dark east, expanded high,
Fond fool, that deem'st the streaming glory nigh, * Where now the rill, melodious, pure, and cool, How vain the chase thine ardor has begun! And meads, with life, and mirth, and beauty Tis filed afar, ere half thy purpos'd race be run.
crown'd? Ah! see, th' unsightly slime, and sluggish pool, Yet couldst thou learn, that thus it fares with age, Have all the solitary vale embrown'd;
When pleasure, wealth, or power, the bosom warm Fled each fair form, and mute each melting sound, This baffled hope might tame thy manhood's rage, The raven croaks forlorn on naked spray:
And disappointment of her sting disarm. And hark! the river, bursting every mound, But why should foresight thy fond heart alarm? Down the vale thunders, and with wasteful sway Perish the lore that deadens young desire ; Uproots the grove, and rolls the shatter'd rocks Pursue, poor imp, th' imaginary charm, away.
Indulge gay hope, and Fancy's pleasing fire :
Fancy and Hope too soon shall of themselves expire “ Yet such the destiny of all on Earth : So flourishes and fades majestic Man.
When the long-sounding curfew from afar Fair is the bud his vernal morn brings forth, Loaded with loud lament the lonely gale, And fostering gales awhile the nursling fan. Young Edwin, lighted by the evening star, O smile, ye Heavens, serene; ye mildews wan, Lingering and listening, wander'd down the vale. Ye blighting whirlwinds, spare his balmy prime, There would he dream of graves, and corses pale ; Nor lessen of his life the little span.
And ghosts that to the charnel-dungeon throng, Borne on the swift, though silent, wings of Time, And drag a length of clanking chain, and wail, Old age comes on a pace, to ravage all the clime. Till silenc'd by the owl's terrific song,
Or blast that shrieks by fits the shuddering isles along “ And be it so. Let those deplore their doom, Whose hope still grovels in this dark sojourn : Or, when the setting Moon, in crimson dyed, But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb, Hung o'er the dark and melancholy deep, Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn. To haunted stream, remote from man, he hied, Shall Spring to these sad scenes no more return? Where fays of yore their revels wont to keep; Is yonder wave the Sun's eternal bed ?
And there let Fancy rove at large, till sleep Soon shall the orient with new lustre burn,
A vision brought to his entranced sight. And Spring shall soon her vital influence shed, And first, a wildly-murmuring wind'gan creep Again attune the grove, again adorn the mead. Shrill to his ringing ear; then tapers bright,
With instantaneous gleam, illum'd the vault of night Shall I be left forgotten in the dust, When Fate, relenting, lets the flower revive ? Anon in view a portal's blazon'd arch Shall Nature's voice, to man alone unjust,
Arose ; the trumpet bids the valves unfold : Bid him, though doom'd to perish, hope to live? And forth an host of little warriors march, Is it for this fair Virtue oft must strive
Grasping the diamond-lance, and targe of gold. With disappointment, penury, and pain ?
Their look was gentle, their demeanor bold, No: Heaven's immortal Spring shall yet arrive, And green their helms, and green their silk attire ; And man's majestic beauty bloom again,
And here and there, right
rably old. Bright through th' eternal year of Love's triumphant The long-rob'd minstrels wake the warbling wire, reign.”
And some with mellow breath the martial pipe in.
spire. This truth sublime his simple sire had taught; In sooth, 'twas almost all the shepherd knew. With merriment, and song, and timbrels clear, No subtle nor superfluous lore he sought,
A troop of dames from myrtle bowers advance; Nor ever wish'd his Edwin to pursue.
The little warriors doff the targe and spear, Let man's own sphere," said he, "confine his view, And loud enlivening strains provoke the dance. Be man's peculiar work his sole delight."
They meet, they dart away, they wheel askance; And much, and oft, he warn'd him to eschew To right, to left, they thrid the flying maze ; Falsehood and guile, and aye maintain the right, Now bound aloft with vigorous spring, then glance By pleasure unseduc'd, unaw'd by lawless might. Rapid along: with many-color'd rays
Of tapers, gems, and gold, the echoing forests blaze And from the prayer of Want, and plaint of Woe, O never, never turn away thine ear!
The dream is fled. Proud harbinger of day, Forlorn, in this bleak wilderness below,
Who scar'd'st the vision with thy clarion shrill, Ah! what were man, should Heaven refuse to hear ? Fell chanticleer! who oft hath reft away To others do (the law is not severe)
My fancied good, and brought substantial ill! What to thyself thou wishest to be done.
O to thy cursed scream, discordant still, Forgive thy foes; and love thy parents dear, Let Harmony aye shut her gentle ear: And friends, and native land ; nor those alone; Thy boastful mirth let jealous rivals spill, All human weal and woe learn thou to make thine Insult thy crest, and glossy pinions tear, own."
And ever in thy dreams the ruthless fox appear.
Forbear, my Muse. Let Love attune thy line. Various and strange was the long-winded tale ;
But when to horror his amazement rose,
A tale of rural life, a tale of woes,
O cruel! will no pang of pity pierce
That heart, by lust of lucre sear’d to stone ? The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide;
For sure, if aught of virtue last, or verse, The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love,
To latest time shall tender souls bemoan And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.
Those hopeless orphan-babes by thy fell arts undone. The cottage-curs at early pilgrim bark;
Behold, with berries smear'd, with brambles torn, Crown'd with her pail, the tripping milk-maid sings: The babes now famish'd lay them down to die : l'he whistling plowman stalks afield; and, hark!
Amidst the howl of darksome woods forlorn, Down the rough slope the ponderous wagon rings; Folded in one another's arms they lie; Through rustling corn the hare astonish'd springs; Nor friend, nor stranger, hears their dying cry: Slow tolls the village-clock the drowsy hour ;
- For from the town the man returns no more." The partridge bursts away on whirring wings;
But thou, who Heaven's just vengeance dar'st defy,
This deed with fruitless tears shalt soon deplore, Deep mourns the turtle in sequester'd bower, And shrill lark carols clear from her aërial tour.
When Death lays waste thy house, and flames con
sume thy store. O Nature, how in every charm supreme !
A stifled smile of stern vindictive joy Whose votaries feast on raptures ever new!
Brighten'd one moment Edwin's starting tear, O for the voice and fire of seraphim,
“But why should gold man's feeble mind decoy, To sing thy glories with devotion due!
And innocence thus die by doom severe? Blest be the day I 'scaped the wrangling crew, O Edwin! while thy heart is yet sincere, From Pyrrho's maze, and Epicurus' sty;
Th'assaults of discontent and doubt repel : And held high converse with the godlike few,
Dark even at noontide is our mortal sphere; Who to th' enraptur'd heart, and ear, and eye, Teach beauty, virtue, truth, and love, and melody. Let us exult in hope, that all shall yet be well.
But let us hope ; to doubt is to rebel ; Hence! ye who snare and stupefy the mind,
Nor be thy generous indignation check d, Sophists, of beauty, virtue, joy, the bane ! Nor check'd the tender tear to Misery given; Greedy and fell, though impotent and blind,
From Guilt's contagious power shall that protect, Who spread your filthy nets in Truth's fair fane,
This soften and refine the soul for Heaven. And ever ply your venom'd fangs amain!
But dreadful is their doom, whom doubt has driven Hence to dark Error's den, whose rankling slime
To censure Fate, and pious Hope forego : First gave you form! Hence! lest the Muse should like yonder blasted boughs by lightning riven, deign,
Perfection, beauty, life, they never know, (Though loth on theme so mean to waste a rhyme, But frown on all that pass, a monument of woe. With vengeance to pursue your sacrilegious crime.
Shall he, whose birth, maturity, and age, But hail, ye mighty masters of the lay,
Scarce fill the circle of one summer day,
Shall the poor gnat, with discontent and rage,
If but a momentary shower descend ?
Wide through unnumber'd worlds, and ages without There harmony, and peace, and innocence abide.
Nor is that part, perhaps, what mortals deem;
O then renounce that impious self-esteem,
3 S 2
Thus Heaven enlarg'd his soul in riper years. of elegance as yet he took no care ;
By chance, or search, was offer'd 10 his view, Yet deem they darkness light, and their vain blun- He scann'd with curious and romantic eye. ders wit.
Whate'er of lore tradition could supply
From Gothic tale, or song, or fable old, Nor was this ancient dame a foe to mirth:
Rous'd him, still keen to listen and to pry. Her ballad, jest, and riddle's quaint device At last, though long by penury controlld, Oft cheer'd the shepherds round their social hearth; And solitude, her soul his graces 'gan unfold. Whom levity or spleen could ne'er entice To purchase chat, or laughter, at the price Thus on the chill Lapponian's dreary land, Of decency. Nor let it faith exceed,
For many a long month lost in snow profound, That Nature forms a rustic taste so nice.
When Sol from Cancer sends the season bland, Ah! had they been of court or city breed,
And in their northern cave the storms are bound; Such delicacy were right marvellous indeed. From silent mountains, straight, with startling sound,
Torrents are hurl’d; green hills emerge; and lo, Oft when the winter storm had ceas'd to rave, The trees with foliage, cliffs with flowers are crown'd; He roam'd the snowy waste at even, to view Pure rills through vales of verdure warbling go; The cloud stupendous, from th’ Atlantic wave And wonder, love, and joy, the peasant's heari o'ertow. High-towering, sail along th' horizon blue : Where, 'midst the changeful scenery, ever new, Here pause, my Gothic lyre, a little while. Fancy a thousand wondrous forms descries, The leisure hour is all that thou canst claim More wildly great than ever pencil drew, But on this verse if Montague should smile, Rocks, torrents, gulfs, and shapes of giant size, New strains ere-long shall animate thy frame. And glittring cliffs on cliffs, and fiery ramparts And her applause to me is more than fame ; rise.
For still with truth accords her laste refin'd.
At lucre or renown let others aim,
Of chance or change O let not man complain, And o'er Heav'n's rending arch the rattling thunder Else shall he never, never cease to wail ;
For, from the imperial dome, to where the swain
Rears the lone cottage in the silent dale, Responsive to the sprightly pipe, when all
All feel th' assault of Fortune's fickle gale ; In sprightly dance the village youth were join'd,
Art, empire, Earth itself, to change are doom'd; Edwin, of melody aye held in thrall,
Earthquakes have rais'd 10 Heaven the humble vale, From the rude gambol far remote reclin'd,
And gulls the mountain's mighty mass entomb'd; Sooth'd with the soft notes warbling in the wind.
And where th’ Atlantic rolls, wide continents have Ah then, all jollity seem'd noise and folly,
bloom'd.* To the pure soul by Fancy's fire refind,
But sure to foreign climes we need not range, Ah, what is mirth but turbulence unholy,
Nor search the ancient records of our race, When with the charm compar'd of heavenly melan. To learn the dire cffects of time and change, choly !
Which in ourselves, alas! we daily trace.
Yet at the darken'd eye, the wither'd face, Is there a heart that music cannot melt?
Or hoary hair, I never will repine : Alas! how is that rugged heart forlorn ;
But spare, O Time, whate'er of mental grace, Is there, who ne'er those mystic transports felt
Of candor, love, or sympathy divine, of solitude and melancholy born ?
Whate'er of fancy's ray or friendship's flame is mine He needs not woo the Muse; he is her scorn. The sophist's rope of cobweb he shall twine ;
So I, obsequious to Truth's dread coinmand, Mope o'er the schoolman's peevish page; or mourn, Shall here without reluctance change my lay, And delve for life in Mammon's dirty mine;
And smile the Gothic lyre with harsher hand; Sneak with the scoundrel fox, or grunt with glutton Now when I leave that flowery path for aye swine.
Of childhood, where I sported many a Jay,
Warbling and sauntering carelessly along; For Edwin, Fate a nobler doom had plann'd;
Where every face was innocent and gay, Song was his favorite and first pursuit.
Each vale romantic, luneful every tongue, The wild harp rang to his advent'rous hand,
Sweet, wild, and artless all, as Edwin's infant soog. And languish'd to his breath the plaintive flute. His infant Muse, though artless, was not mute :
* See Plato's Timeus.