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He touched the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay :
And now the sun had stretched out all the hills,
And now was dropt into the western bay:
At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue :
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.
(Anno Ætatis 17.) ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT, DYING OF
O FAIREST flower! no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly,
Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted
Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry;
For he being amorous on that lovely dye
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss,
But killed, alas, and then bewailed his fatal bliss.
For since grim Aquilo, his charioteer,
By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got,
He thought it touched his deity full near,
If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away the infámous blot
Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld,
Which ’mongst the wanton gods a foul reproach was held.
So mounting up in icy-pearled car,
Through middle empire of the freezing air
He wandered long, till thee he spied from far:
There ended was his quest, there ceased his care.
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair ;
But, all unwares, with his cold-kind embrace
Unhoused thy virgin soul from her fair biding place.
Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilom did slay his dearly loved mate,
Young Hyacinth born on Eurotas' strand,
Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land;
But then transformed him to a purple flower:
Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power.
Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb,
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world in a low delved tomb;
Could Heaven for pity thee so strictly doom?
Oh, no! for something in thy face did shine
Above mortality, that showed thou wast divine.
Resolve me then, O Soul most surely blest!
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear)
Tell me, bright Spirit! where'er thou hoverest,
Whether above that high first-moving sphere,
Or in the Elysian fields (if such there were),
Oh say me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight?
Wert thou some star which from the ruined roof
Of shaked Olympus by mischance didst fall;
Which careful Jove in Nature's true behoof
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall?
Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall
Of sheeny Heaven, and thou some goddess fled
Amongst us here below to hide thy nectared head!
Or wert thou that just maid who once before
Forsook the hated earth, -Oh, tell me sooth,
And camest again to visit us once more?
Or wert thou that sweet smiling youth ?
Or that crowned matron sage white-robed Truth?
Or any other of that heavenly brood,
Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good?
Or wert thou of the golden-winged host,
Who, having clad thyself in human weed,
To Earth from thy prefixed seat didst post,
And after short abode fly back with speed,
As if to show what creatures Heaven doth breed,
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire
To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heaven aspire?
But oh! why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy Heaven-loved innocence,
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe,
To turn swift-rushing black Perdition hence
Or drive away the slaughtering Pestilence,
To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart?
But thou canst best perform that office where thou art.
Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child
Her false imagined loss cease to lament,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild:
Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
And render him with patience what he lent;
This if thou do, he will an offspring give
That all the world's last end shall make thy name to live.
AT A VACATION EXERCISE IN THE COLLEGE.
Part Latin, part English. The Latin speeches ended, the English
HAIL, native Language! that by sinews weak
Didst move my first-endeavouring tongue to speak,
And madest imperfect words with childish trips,
Half-unpronounced, slide through my infant lips,
Driving dumb Silence from the portal door,
Where he bad mutely sat two years before:
Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask,
That now I use thce in my latter task:
Snall loss it is that thence can come unto thee;
I know my tongue but little grace can do thee:
Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first,
Believe me, I have thither packed the worst:
And, if it happen as I did forecast,
The daintiest dishes shall be served up last.
I pray thee, then, deny me not thy aid
For this same small neglect that I have made:
But haste thee straight to do me once a pleasure,
And from thy wardrobe bring thy chiefest treasure;
Not those new-fangled toys, and trimming slight,
Which takes our late fantastics with delight;
But cull those richest robes, and gayest attire,
Which deepest spirits, and choicest wits desire.
I have some naked thoughts that rove about,
And loudly knock to have their passage out;
And, weary of their place, do only stay
Till thou hast decked them in thy best array;
That so they may, without suspect or fears,
Fly swiftly to this fair assembly's ears ;
Yet I had rather, if I were to choose,
Thy service in same graver subject use,
Such as may make thee search thy coffers round,
Before thou clothe my fancy in fit sound;
Such where the deep transported mind may soar
Above the wheeling poles, and at Heaven's door
Look in, and see each blissful deity
How he before the thunderous throne doth lie,
Listening to what unshorn Apollo sings
To the touch of golden wires, while Hebè bring3
Immortal nectar to her kingly sire:
Then passing through the spheres of watchful fire,
And misty regions of wide air next under,
And hills of snow, and lofts of pilèd thunder,
May tell at length how green-eyed Neptune raves,
In Heaven's defiance mustering all his waves ;
Then sing of secret things that came to pass
When Beldam Nature in her cradle was;
And last, of kings and queens and heroes old,
Such as the wise Demodocus once told