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Ilis shadowy flail hath thrash'd the corn,
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,
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
These delights if thou canst give,
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 among, 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,
Some still removed place will fit,
But, O sad Virgin, that thy power
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
Thus, night, oft see me in thy pale career, Till civil-suited morn appear, Not tricked and frounced as she was wont With the Attic boy to hunt,
But kercheft in a comely cloud,
Where the rude axe, with heaved stroke, Was never heard the nymphs to daunt, Or fright them from their hallowed haunt. There in close covert by some brook, Where no profaner eye may look, Hide me from day's garish eye; While the bee with honied thigh, That at her flowery work doth sing, And the waters murmuring, With such consort as they keep, Entice the dewy-feathered sleep; And let some strange mysterious dream Wave at his wings in aery stream Of lively portraiture displayed, Softly on my eyelids laid. And, as I wake, sweet music breathe Above, about, or underneath, Sent by some spirit to mortals good, Or the unseen genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail To walk the studious cloisters pale, And love the high embowed roof, With antique pillars massy proof, And storied windows richly dight, Casting a dim religious light: There let the pealing organ blow, To the full-voiced choir below, In service high, and anthems clear, As may with sweetness, through mine ear, Dissolve me into ecstacies, And bring all heaven before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Till old experience do attain
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
SONNET. ON HIS BEING ARRIVED AT THE AGE OF
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year! My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud er blossom shew'th.
It shall be still in strictest measure even To that same lot, however mean or high, Toward which time leads me, and the will of Heaven; All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great Taskmaster's cye.
SONNET. ON HIS BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my life is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
My true account, lest he returning, chide;
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
SONNET. TO HIS FRIEND CYRIAC SKINNER.
CYRIAC, this three-years-day these eyes, though clear,