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L'ALLEGRO; OR, THE MERRY MAN.
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 hedgerow elms or hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great sun begins his state,
Rob'd in flames, and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight.
While the ploughmàn 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 grey, Where the nibbling flocks do stray; Mountains, on whose barren breast The labouring clouds do often rest; Meadows trim, with daisies pied; Shallow brooks and rivers wide. Tower and battlements it sees Bosom’d high in tufted trees, Where, perhaps, some beauty lies, The cynosure of neighbouring eyes. Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes, From betwixt two aged oaks ;
L'ALLEGRO; OR, THE MERRY MAN.
Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,
Are at their savoury dinner set,
Of herbs and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phyllis dresses :
And then, in haste, her bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind his sheaves;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tann'd hay-cock in the mead.
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 eve, by haunted stream;
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native woodnotes wild.
And ever, against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the melting 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-regain'd Eurydice.
These delights, if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
Thy neighbour ? it is he whom thou
Hast power to aid and blessWhose aching heart or burning brow
Thy soothing hand may press.
Thy neighbour ?—'tis the fainting poor,
with want is dim, Whom hunger sends from door to door
Go thou, and succour him.
Thy neighbour ?—'tis that weary man,
Whose years are at their brim,
But low with sickness, cares, and pain-
Go thou, and comfort him.
Thy neighbour ?-'tis the heart bereft
Of every earthly gem;
Widow and orphan, helpless left-
Go thou, and shelter them.
Thy neighbour ?-yonder toiling slave,
Fettered in thought and limb,
Whose hopes are all beyond the gravem
Go thou, and ransom him.
Where'er thou meet'st a human form
Less favour'd than thine own,
Remember 'tis thy neighbour worm,
Thy brother or thy son.
Oh! pass not, pass not heedless by,
Perhaps thou canst redeem
The breaking heart from misery-
Go, share thy lot with him.
So forth issued the Seasons of the year :
First, lusty Spring, all dight in leaves of flowers
That freshly budded, and new blooms did bear,
In which a thousand birds had built their bowers,
That sweetly sung to call forth paramours;
And in his hand a javelin he did bear,
And on his head (as fit for warlike stoures)
A gilt engraven morion he did wear;
That as some did him love, so others did him fear.
Then came the jolly Summer, being dight
In a thin silken cassock-coloured green,
That was unlined all, to be more light:
And on his head a garland well beseen
He wore, from which as he had chauffed been,
The sweat did drop; and in his hand he bore
A bow and shafts, as he in forest green
Had hunted late the libbard or the boar,
And now would bathe his limbs with labour heated sore.
Then came the Autumn, all in yellow clad,
As though he joyed in his plenteous store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh full glad
That he had banished hunger, which to-fore
Had by the belly oft him pinched sore :
Upon his head a wreath, that was enrolled
With ears of corn of every sort, he bore;
And in his hand a sickle he did hold,
To reap the ripened fruits the which the earth had yold.
Lastly, came Winter, clothed all in frize,
Chattering his teeth, for cold that did him chill;
Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freeze,
And the dull drops, that from his purpled bill
As from a limbeck did adown distil :
In his right hand a tipped staff he held,
With which his feeble steps he stayed still ;
For he was faint with cold, and weak with eld; That scarce his loosened limbs he able was to weld.
And after these there came the Day and Night,
Riding together both with equal pace;
The one on palfrey black, the other white;
But Night had covered her uncomely face
With a black veil, and held in hand a mace,
On top whereof the moon and stars were pight;
And Sleep and Darkness round about did trace:
But Day did bear upon his sceptre's height
The goodly Sun encompassed all with beamës bright.
Then came the Hours, fair daughters of high Jove
And timely Night; the which were all endued
With wondrous beauty fit to kindle love;
But they were virgins all, and love eschewed
That might forslack the charge to them foreshewed