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Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift
How to regain my sever'd company,
Compell'd me to awake the courteous Echo,
To give me answer from her mossy couch.
Com. What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you thus?
Lad. Dim darkness and this leafy labyrinth.
Com. Could that divide you from near ushering guides?
Lad. They left me weary on a grassy turf.
Com. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why?
Lad. To seek i' the valley some cool friendly spring.
Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, lady?
Lad. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick return.
Com. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them.
Lad. How easy my misfortune is to hit!
Com. Imports their loss, besides the present need?
Lad. No less than if I should my brothers lose.
Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?
Lad. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips.
Com. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox
In his loose traces from the furrow came,
And the swink'd hedger at his supper sat.
I saw them under a green mantling vine,
That crawls along the side of yon small hill,
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots.
Their port was more than human, as they stood:
I took it for a faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
That in the colors of the rainbow live,
And play i' the plighted clouds. I was awe-struck,
And, as I pass'd, I worship'd: if those you seek,
It were a journey like the path to heaver,
To help you find them.
What readiest way would bring me to that place?
Com. Due west it rises from this shrubby point.
Lad. To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose,
In such a scant allowance of star-light,
Would overtask the best land-pilot's art,
Without the sure guess of well-practis'd feet.
Com. I know each lane, and every alley green,
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And every bosky bourn from side to side,
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood;
And if your stray attendance be yet lodg'd,
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
From her thatch'd pallet rouse; if otherwise,
I can conduct you, Lady, to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe
Till further quest.
Lad. Shepherd I take thy word,
And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy,
Which oft is sooner found in lowly shed,
With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls
In courts of princes, where it first was nam'd,
And yet is most pretended: in a place
Less warranted than this, or less secure,
I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.-
Eye me, bless'd Providence, and square my trial
To my proportion'd strength.—Shepherd, lead on.
HASTE, thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Jest, and youthful Jollity,
Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleep;
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as you go,
On the light fantastic toe;
And in thy right hand lead with thee
The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty;
And, if I give thee honor due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free:
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And, singing, startle the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to come, in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow,
Through the sweet briar, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine:
While the cock, with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn-door,
Stoutly struts his dames before :
Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill:
Some time walking, not unseen,
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
* L'Allegro is the cheerful, merry man.
Right against the castern gate,
Where the great sun begins his state
Robed in flames, and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight;
While the ploughman, near at hand,.
Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milk-maid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale,
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
Whilst the landscape round it measures;
Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray,
Mountains, on whose barren breast
The laboring clouds do often rest;
Meadows trim, with daisies pied,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide:
Towers and battlements it sees,
Bosom'd high in tufted trees,
Where, perhaps, some beauty lies,
The cynosure of neighboring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage-chimney smokes,
From betwixt two aged oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met,
Are at their savoury dinner set,
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses;
And then in haste her bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tan'd haycock in the mead.
Sometimes, with secure delight,
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecs sound
To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the checquer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play,
On a sun-shine holy-day,
Till the live-long day-light fail :
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,.
With stories told of many a feat,
How faery Mab the junkets eat:
She was pinch'd and pull'd, she said;
And he, by friar's lantern led,
Tells how the drudging goblin sweat,
To earn his cream-bowl, duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail hath thrash'd the corn,
That ten day-laborers could not end;
Then lies him down, the lubber fiend,
And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength;
And crop-full, out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lull'd asleep.
Tower'd cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of peace high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear,
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask and antique pageantry;
Such sights as youthful poets dream,
On summer eves, by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Johnson's learned sock be on;
Or sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.
And ever, against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse;
Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regained Eurydice.
These delights if thou canst give, Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
COME, pensive Nun, devout and pure,
Sober, stedfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing, with majestic train,
And sable stole of Cyprus lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come, but keep thy wonted' state,
With even step, and musing gait,
And looks commercing with the skies,
Thy wrapt soul sitting in thine eyes;
There, held in holy passion still,
Forget thyself to marble, till
With a sad leaden downward cast
Thou fix them on the earth as fast:
And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet,
Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring,
Aye round about Jove's altar sing:
And add to these retired Leisure,
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure:
But first, and chiefest, with thee bring,
Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery wheeled throne,
The cherub Contemplation:
And the mute silence hist along,
'Less Philomel will deign a song,
In her sweetest, saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of night,
While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke,
Gently o'er the accustomed oak:
Sweet bird, that shunnest the noise of folly, Most musical, most melancholy! Thee, chantress, oft, the woods I woo, to hear thy even-song; And, missing thee, I walk unseen On the dry smooth-shaven green, To behold the wandering moon, Riding near her highest noon, Like one that had been led astray Through the heaven's wide pathless way; And oft, as if her head she bowed, Stooping through a fleecy cloud. Oft, on a plat of rising ground, I hear the far-off curfew sound, Over some wide-watered shore, Swinging slow with sullen roar : Or, if the air will not permit,