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A CONVERSATION POEM.
Written in April 1798.
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
All is still,
A balmy night! and tho' the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
* "Most musical, most melancholy" Bird!
* "Most musical, most melancholy."] This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere description. It is spoken in the character of the melancholy man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The author makes this remark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity, to a line in Milton: a charge than which none could be more painful to him, except perhaps that of having ridiculed his Bible.
A melancholy Bird? Oh! idle thought!
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering man, whose heart was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
(And so poor Wretch! fill'd all things with himself And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrow) he, and such as he,
First named these notes a melancholy strain:
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
Poet who hath been building up the rhyme
When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs
By Sun or Moon-light, to the influxes
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
My Friend, and thou, our Sister! we have learnt
And I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge,
In wood and thicket, over the wide grove,
They answer and provoke each other's songs-
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug,
And one, low piping, sounds more sweet than all-
That should you close your eyes, you might almost
You may perchance behold them on the twigs,
Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and
Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade
A most gentle Maid,
Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
Hard by the castle, and at latest eve
(Even like a Lady vow'd and dedicate
To something more than Nature in the grove)
Glides thro' the pathways; she knows all their notes,
That gentle Maid! and oft a moment's space,
What time the Moon was lost behind a cloud,
Hath heard a pause of silence; till the Moon
Many a Nightingale perch giddily
On blosmy twig still swinging from the breeze,
And to that motion tune his wanton song
Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.
Farewell, O Warbler! till to-morrow eve, And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell! We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
And now for our dear homes.-That strain again ? Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe, Who, capable of no articulate sound,
Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
How he would place his hand beside his ear,
And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
To make him Nature's Play-mate. He knows well The evening-star; and once, when he awoke
In most distressful mood (some inward pain
Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
I hurried with him to our orchard-plot,
And he beheld the Moon, and, hush'd at once, Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently, While his fair eyes, that swam with undropt tears Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well!It is a father's tale: But if that Heaven