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With merriment, and song, and timbrels clear,
A troop of dames from myrtle bowers advance;
The little warriors doff the targe and spear,
And loud enlivening strains provoke the dance.
They meet, they dart away, they wheel askance;
To right, to left, they thrid the flying maze;
Now bound aloft with vigorous spring, then glance
Rapid along : with many-colour'd rays
Of tapers, gems, and gold, the echoing forests blaze.
The dream is fled. Proud harbinger of day,
Who scared'st the vision with thy clarion shrill,
Fell chanticleer who oft hath rest away
My fancied good, and brought substantial ill !
Oh, to thy cursed scream, discordant still,
Let Harmony aye shut her gentle ear:
Thy boastful mirth let jealous rivals spill,
Insult thy crest, and glossy pinions tear,
And ever in thy dreams the ruthless fox appear.
Forbear, my Muse. Let Love attune thy line.
Revoke the spell. Thine Edwin frets not so.
For how should he at wicked chance repine,
Who feels from every change amusement flow !
Even now his eyes with smiles of rapture glow,
As on he wanders through the scenes of morn,
Where the fresh flowers in living lustre blow,
Where thousand pearls the dewy lawns adorn,
A thousand notes of joy in every breeze are borne.
But who the melodies of morn can tell !
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side;
The lowing herd; the sheepfold's simple bell;
The pipe of early shepherd dim descried
In the lone valley; echoing far and wide
The clamorous horn along the cliffs above;
The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide ;
The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love,
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.
The cottage-curs at early pilgrim bark;
Crown'd with her pail, the tripping milkmaid sings;
The whistling ploughman stalks a field; and, hark 1
Down the rough slope the ponderous wagon rings;
Through rustling corn the hare astonish’d springs;,
Slow tolls the village clock the drowsy hour;
The partridge bursts away on whirring wings;
Deep mourns the turtle in sequester'd bower,
And shrill lark carols clear from her ačrial tour.
“TURN, gentle hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way,
To where yon taper cheers the vale
With hospitable ray.
“For here forlorn and lost I tread,
With fainting steps and slow ;
Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem length'ning as I go.”
“Forbear, my son,” the hermit cries,
“To tempt the dang'rous gloom;
For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.
“Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still;
And though my portion is but scant,
I give it with good-will.
“Then turn to-night, and freely share
Whate'er my cell bestows;
My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.
“No flocks that range the valley free To slaughter I condemn :
Taught by that Pow'r that pities me, I iearn to pity them :
“But from the mountain's grassy side A guiltless feast I bring ;
A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied, And water from the spring.
“Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
All earthborn cares are wrong:
Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long.”
Soft as the dew from Heav'n descends,
His gentle accents fell;
The modest stranger lowly bends,
And follows to the cell.
Far in a wilderness obscure,
The lonely mansion lay;
A refuge to the neighbouring poor,
And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch
Required a master's care;
The wicket, op'ning with a latch,
Received the harmless pair.
And now, when busy crowds retire
To take their ev'ning rest,
The hermit trimm'd his little fire,
And cheer'd his pensive guest;
And spread his vegetable store,
And gayly press'd and smiled;
And, skill'd in legendary lore,
The ling’ring hours beguiled.
Around in sympathetic mirth
Its tricks the kitten tries;
The cricket chirrups in the hearth,
The crackling fagot flies.
But nothing could a charm impart
To sooth the stranger's wo;
For grief was heavy at his heart,
And tears began to flow.
His rising cares the hermit spied,
With answ'ring care oppress'd :
“And whence, unhappy youth,” he cried,
“The sorrows of thy breast !
“From better habitations spurn'd,
Reluctant dost thou rove ;
Or grieve for friendship unreturn'd,
Or unregarded love 4
“Alas! the joys that fortune brings
Are trifling, and decay;
And those who prize the paltry things,
More trifling still than they.
“And what is friendship but a name,
A charm that lulls to sleep;
A shade that follows wealth or fame,
And leaves the wretch to weep 4
“And love is still an emptier sound,
The modern fair one's jest:
On earth unseen, or only found
To warm the turtle's nest.
“For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush, And spurn the sex,” he said: But, while he spoke, a rising blush His lovelorn guest betray'd. Vol. II.-C
Surprised, he sees new beauties rise,
Swift mantling to the view;
Like colours o'er the morning skies,
As bright, as transient too.
The bashful look, the rising breast,
Alternate spread alarms:
The lovely stranger stands confess'd,
A maid in all her charms.
“And, ah! forgive a stranger rude,
A wretch forlorn,” she cried;
“Whose feet unhallow'd thus intrude
Where Heav'n and you reside.
“But let a maid thy pity share,
Whom love has taught to stray;
Who seeks for rest, but finds despair
Companion of her way.
“My father lived beside the Tyne,
A wealthy lord was he ;
And all his wealth was mark'd as mine,
He had but only me.
“To win me from his tender arms
Unnumber'd suiters came,
Who praised me for imputed charms,
And felt or feign'd a flame.
“Each hour a mercenary crowd
With richest proffers strove;
Among the rest young Edwin bow'd,
But never talk'd of love.
“In humble, simplest habit clad,
No wealth or pow'r had he ;
Wisdom and worth were all he had,
But these were all to me.