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ODE TO EVENING.
If aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
O nymph reserv'd, while now the bright-hair'd Sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-ey'd bat,
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,
As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:
Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale,
May not unseemly with its stillness suit,
For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp
Ode to evening. 19
And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with
Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene,
Or find some ruin 'midst its dreary dells,
Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve 1
While sallow Autumn fillsthy lap with leaves,
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,
ODE TO LIBERTY.
Who shall awake the Spartan fife, And call in solemn sounds to life, The youths, whose locks divinely spreading, Like vernal hyacinths in sullen hue, At once the breath of fear and virtue shedding, Applauding Freedom lov'd of old to view 2 What new Alceus, fancy-blest, Shall sing the sword, in myrtles drest, At Wisdom's shrine awhile its flame concealing, (What place so fit to seal a deed renown'd?) Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing, It leap'd in glory forth, and dealt her prompted wound ! O goddess, in that feeling hour, When most its sounds would court thy ears, Let not my shell's misguided power F'er draw thy sad, thy mindful tears. No, Freedom, no, I will not tell, How Rome, before thy face, With heaviest sound, a giant-statue, fell, Push'd by a wild and artless race, From off its wide ambitious base, When Time his northern sons of spoil awoke, And all the blended work of strength and grace With many a rude repeated stroke, And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments broke.
Yet, e'en where'er the least appear'd
Or dwell in willow'd meads more near,
Beyond the measure vast of thought,
* The Dutch, amongst whom there are very severe penalties for those who are convicted of killing this bird. They are kept tame in almost all their towns, and particularly at the Hague, of the arms of which they make a part. The common people of Holland are said to entertain a superstitious sentiment, that if the whole species of them should become extinct, they should lose their liberties.
+ This tradition is mentioned by several of our old historians. Some naturalists, too, have endeavoured to support the probability of the fact, by arguments drawn from the correspondent disposition of the two opposite coasts. I do not remember that any poetical use has been hitherto made of it.