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Ev'n 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.
XXXVIII.

But who the melodies of morn can tell?

The wild brook babbling down the mountain's 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.

XXXIX.

The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark;

Crown'd with her pail the tripping milkmaid sings, The whistling ploughman stalks afield; and, hark! Down the rough slope the ponderous waggon 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 aerial tour.

XL.

O Nature, how in every charm supreme!
Whose votaries feast on raptures ever new!
O for the voice and fire of seraphim,
To sing thy glories with devotion due!
Blest be the day I 'scaped the wrangling crew,
From Pyrrho's maze, and Epicurus' sty;

And held high converse with the godlike few, Who, to th' enraptured heart, and ear, and eye, Teach beauty, virtue, truth, and love, and melody.

XLI.

Hence ! ye who snare and stupify the mind, Sophists, of beauty, virtue, joy, the bane! Greedy and fell, though impotent and blind, Who spread your filthy nets in Truth's fair fane, And ever ply your venom'd fangs amain!

Hence to dark Error's den, whose rankling slime First gave you form! hence! lest the Muse should

deign

(Though loth on theme so mean to waste a rhyme) With vengeance to pursue your sacrilegious crime.

XLII.

But hail, ye mighty masters of the lay,

Nature's true sons, the friends of man and truth!
Whose song, sublimely sweet, serenely gay,
Amused my childhood, and inform'd my youth.
O let your spirit still my bosom soothe,

Inspire my dreams, and my wild wanderings guide!
Your voice each rugged path of life can smooth;
For well I know, wherever ye reside,

There harmony, and peace, and innocence, abide.

XLIII.

Ah me! neglected on the lonesome plain,
As yet poor Edwin never knew your lore,
Save when, against the winter's drenching rain
And driving snow, the cottage shut the door.
Then, as instructed by tradition hoar,
Her legends when the Beldam 'gan impart,
Dr chant the old heroic ditty o'er,

F

Wonder and joy ran thrilling to his heart;

Much he the tale admired, but more the tuneful art.

XLIV.

Various and strange was the long-winded tale;
And halls, and knights, and feats of arms, display'd;
Or merry swains, who quaff the nut-brown ale,
And sing enamor'd of the nut-brown maid;
The moon-light revel of the fairy glade;
Or hags, that suckle an infernal brood,
And ply in caves th' unutterable trade,*

Midst fiends and spectres, quench the moon in blood, Yell in the midnight storm, or ride th' infuriate flood.

XLV.

But when to horror his amazement rose,
A gentler strain the Beldam would rehearse,
A tale of rural life, a tale of woes,

The orphan-babes, and guardian uncle fierce.
O cruel! will no pang of pity pierce
That heart by lust of lucre sear'd to stone!
For sure, if aught of virtue last, or verse,
To latest times shall tender souls bemoan
Those helpless orphan-babes, by thy fell arts undone.

XLVI.

Behold, with berries smear'd, with brambles torn,†
The babes, now famish'd, lay them down to die.
'Midst the wild howl of darksome woods forlorn,
Folded in one another's arms they lie;

Nor friend, nor stranger, hears their dying cry:

* Macbeth. How now, ye secret, black, and midnight hags, What is't you do?

Witches. A deed without a name.

† See the fine old ballad, called, “The Children in the Wood.”

For from the town the man returns no more." But thou, who Heaven's just vengeance darest defy, This deed with fruitless tears shalt soon deplore, When death lays waste thy house, and flames consume thy store.

XLVII.

A stifled smile of stern vindictive joy

Brighten❜d one moment Edwin's starting tear.-
"But why should gold man's feeble mind decoy,
"And innocence thus die by doom severe ?"
O Edwin! while thy heart is yet sincere,
Th' assaults of discontent and doubt repel :
Dark ev'n at noontide is our mortal sphere;
But let us hope,—to doubt, is to rebel,—
Let us exult in hope, that all shall yet be well.

XLVIII.

Nor be thy generous indignation check'd,
Nor check'd the tender tear to misery given;
From guilt's contagious power shall that protect,
This soften and refine the soul for heaven.

But dreadful is their doom, whom doubt has driven
To censure fate and pious hope forego:

Like yonder blasted boughs by lightning riven,
Perfection, beauty, life, they never know,
But frown on all that pass, a monument of woe.

XLIX.

Shall he, whose birth, maturity, and age,
Scarce fill the circle of one summer day,
Shall the poor gnat with discontent and rage
Exclaim, that Nature hastens to decay,
If but a cloud obstruct the solar ray,
If but a momentary shower descend?

Or shall frail man Heaven's dread decree gainsay, Which bade the series of events extend

Wide through unnumber'd worlds, and ages without

end ?

L.

One part, one little part, we dimly scan

Through the dark medium of life's feverish dream; Yet dare arraign the whole stupendous plan, If but that little part incongruous seem. Nor is that part perhaps what mortals deem; Oft from apparent ill our blessings rise. O then renounce that impious self-esteem, That aims to trace the secrets of the skies: For thou art but of dust; be humble, and be wise..

LI.

Thus Heaven enlarged his soul in riper years,
For Nature gave him strength and fire, to soar,
On Fancy's wing, above this vale of tears;
Where dark, cold-hearted sceptics, creeping, pore
Through microscope of metaphysic lore:
And much they grope for truth, but never hit.
For why their powers, inadequate before,

This idle art makes more and more unfit;

Yet deem they darkness light, and their vain blunders wit.

LII.

Nor was this ancient dame a foe to mirth;
Her ballad, jest, and riddle's quaint device,

Oft cheer'd the shepherds round their social hearth;
Whom levity or spleen could ne'er entice
To purchase chat or laughter, at the price
Of decency. Nor let it faith exceed,
That Nature forms a rustic taste so nice.-

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