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The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide;
The hum of bees, and 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 pale the tripping milk-maid fings; The whistling plowman ftalks afield ; and, hark! Down the ruff slope the ponderous waggon rings ; Through ruftling corn the hare astonish'd springs; Slow tolls the village-clock the drowsy hour; The partridge bursts away on wherring wings; Deep mourns the turtle
in fequefter'd bower, And shrill lark carols clear from her aerial tour.
O Nature, how in every charm supreme !
Whose votaries feast on raptures ever new !
O for the voice aud fire of seraphim,
To fing thy glories with devotion due !
Bleft be the day L’scaped the wrangling crew,
From Pyrrho's maze, and Epicurus' ity;
And held high converse with the godlike few,
Who to th' enraptur'd 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 wrankling flime First gave you form! hence! left the Muse should deign, (Though loath on theme so mean to waste a rhyme) With vengeance to pursue your facrilegious crime.
But hail, ye mighty mafters of the lay,
Nature's true fons, the friends of man and truih!
Whose song, fublimely sweet, ferenely gay,
Amused my childhood, and inform'd my youth.
O let your spirit ftill my bosom footh,
Inspire my dreams, and my wild wanderings guide!
Your voice cach rugged path of life can smooth;
For well I know, where-ever ye reside,
There harmony, and peace, and innocence, abide.
Ah me! abandon'd 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 initructed by tradition hoar,
Her legends when the Beldam 'gan impart,
Or chant the old heroic ditty o'er,
Wonder and joy ran thrilling to his heart;
Much he the tale admir'd, 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 fing, enamour'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*,
Midâ fiends and spectres, quench the moon in blood, Yell in the midnight storm, or ride th' infuriate flood.
But when to horror his amazement rose,
A gentler itrain the Beldam would rehcarfe,
* Allusion to SHAKESPEAR. Macbeth. How now, yesecret, black, and midnight hags,
What is’t you do?
Witches. A deed without a Name,
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 luft of lucre fear'd to stone !
For sure, if aught of virtue latt, or verse,
To lateit 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 familh'd lay them down to die. 'Midit the wild howl of darksome woods forlorn, Folded in one another's arms they lie ; Nor friend, nor ftranger, hears their dying cry: - 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
A ftified smile of stern vindictive joy
Brighten’d one moment Edwin's starting tear.-
• But why hould gold man's feeble mind decoy,
• And Innocence thus die by doom fevere?"
O Edwin! while thy heart is yet fincere,
Th’assaults of discontent and doubt repel :
Dark even at noon-tide is our mortal sphere ;
But let us hope, to doubt is to rebel,
Let us exult in hope that all shall yet be well.
Nor be thy generous indignation check'd,
Nor check'a the tender tear to Misery given ;
From Guilt's contagious power shall that protect,
This foften and refine the soul for heaven.
* See the fine old ballad, called, The Children in the
But dreadful is their doom, whom doubt hath driven
To cenfure Fate, and pious Hope forego :
Like yonder blalled boughs by lightening riven,
Perfection, beauty, life, they never know,
But frown on all that pass, a monument of wo.
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 hattens 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 Widethrough unnumber'd worlds, and ages without end!
One part, one little part, we dimly scan
Through the dark medium of life's feverish dream;
Yet dare arraign the whole ftupendous plan,
If but that little part incongruous feem.
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 duft; be humble, and be wise.
Thus Heaven enlarged his soul in riper years.
For Nature gave him strength, and fire, to foar,
On Fancy's wing, above this vale of tears ;
Where dark cold-hearted sceptics, creeping pore
Through microscope of metaphyfic lore :
And much they grope for truth, but never hit.
For why? their powers, inadequate before,
This art preposterous renders more unfit ;
Yet deem they darkness light, and their vain blunders
Nor was this ancient dame a foe to mirth.
Her ballad, jeit, and riddle's quaint device
Oft cheard the shepherds round her social bearth ;
Whom levity or fpleen could ne'er entice
To purchase chat or laughter at the price
Of decency. Nor let it faith exceed,
That Nature forms a rustic tale so nice.
Ah! had they been of court or city breed,
Such delicacy were righe marvellous indeed.
Oft when the winter ilorm had ceas'd to rave,
He roam'd the snowy waite at even, to view
The cloud ftupendous, from th' Atlantic wave
High-towering, fail along the horizon blue :
Where 'midit the changeful scenery ever new
Fancy a thousand wondrous forms descries
More wildly great than ever pencil drew,
Rocks, torrents, gulfs, and Tapes of giant fize;
And glittering cliffs on cliffs, and fiery ramparts rise.
Thence mufing onward to the founding shore,
The lonc enthusiast oft would take his
Listening with pleasing dread to the deep roar
Of the wild-weltering waves.
When sulphurous clouds roll'd on the verbal day,
Even then he hafted from the haunt of man,
Along the darkening wilderness to stray,
What time the lightening's fierce career began,
And o'er heaven's rending arch the rattling thunder ran.
Responsive to the sprightly pipe when all
In sprightly dance the village-youth were join'd,
Edwin, of melody aye held in thrall,
From the rude gambol far remote reclined,
Sooth'd with the soft notes warbling in the wird.
Ah then, all jollity seem'd noise and folly.