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There in close covert by some brook

Where no profaner eye may look,

Hide me from day's garish eye,

While the bee, with honey'd thigh,

That at her flowery work doth sing,

And the waters murmuring,

With such consort as they keep,

Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep;

And let some strange mysterious dream

Wave at his wings in airy stream

Of lively portraiture display'd,

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 embower'd 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 ecstasies,

And bring all heaven before mine eyes.

And may at last my weary age

Find out the peaceful hermitage,

The hairy gown and mossy cell,

Where I may sit and rightly spell

Of every star that heaven doth show,

And every herb that sips the dew;

Till old experience do attain

To something like prophetic strain.

These pleasures, Melancholy, give,

And I with thee will choose to live.

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Hence, loathed Melancholy,

Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born, In Stygian cave forlorn,

'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy, Find out some uncouth cell,

Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night raven sings;

There, under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks, As ragged as thy locks,

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou goddess fair and free,
In heaven yclept Euphrosyne,
And, by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus, at a birth,
With two sister Graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore;
Or whether (as some sages sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the spring,
Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-Maying;
There, on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew,
Fill'd her with thee, a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair.

Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
Jest, and youthful jollity,
Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it, as you go,
On the light fantastic toe;
And in thy right hand lead with thee

The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty;

And, if I give thee honour due,

Mirth, admit me of thy crew,

To live with her, and live with thee,

In unreproved pleasures free;

To hear the lark begin his flight,

And, singing, startle the dull night,

From his watch-tower in the skies,

Till the dappled dawn doth rise;

Then to come, in spite of sorrow,

And at my window bid good-morrow,

Through the sweet-briar, or the vine,

Or the twisted eglantine:

While the cock, with lively din,

Scatters the rear of darkness thin,

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;

Sometime walking, not unseen,

By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green

Right against the eastern gate,

Where the great sun begins his state,

Robed in flames, and amber light,

The clouds in thousand liveries dight;

While the ploughman, near at hand,

Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,

And the milkmaid 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 gray,

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;

Towers 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,

Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,

Are at their savoury dinner set

Of herbs, and other country messes,

Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses;

And then in haste the bower she leaves,


With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;

Or, if the earlier season lead,

To the tann'd haycock in the mead.

Sometimes, with secure delight,

The upland hamlets will invite,

When the merry bells ring round,

And the jocund rebecks sound

To many a youth, and many a maid,

Dancing in the chequer'd shade;

And young and old come forth to play

On a sunshine holiday,

Till the live-long daylight fail;

Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,

With stories told of many a feat,

How fairy Mab the junkets eat;

She was pinch'd, and pull'd, she said,

And he, by friar's lantern led,

Tells how the drudging goblin sweat,

To earn his cream-bowl duly set,

When, in one night, ere glimpse of morn,

His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn,

That ten day-labourers could not end;

Then lies him down the lubber fiend,

And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length,

Basks at the fire his hairy strength,

And crop-full out of doors he flings,

Ere the first cock his matin rings.

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,

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 eves by haunted stream.

Then to the well-trod stage anon,

If Jonson's learned sock be on,

Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,

Warble his native wood-notes wild.

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,
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.

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