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compare our happy lot, not only with the situation of those who are necessitated to labour beneath the blaze of an European sun, but with those who are condemned to endure the tenfold horrors of a torrid clime. It is a comparison of this kind which has rendered the following lines so pre-eminently striking, especially towards the close, where the personification of thirst introduces a thought that speaks to us in the very voice of nature.

But ever against restless heat,
Bear me to the rock-arch'd seat,
O'er whose dim mouth an ivy'd oak
Hangs nodding from the low-brow'd rock;
Haunted by that chaste nymph alone,
Whose waters cleave the smoothed stone;
Which, as they gush upon the ground,
Still scatter misty dews around:
A rustic, wild, grotesque alcove,
Its sides with mantling woodbines wove;
Cool as the cave where Clio dwells,
Whence Helicon's fresh fountain wells;
Or noon-tide grot where Sylvan sleeps
In hoar Lyceum's piny steeps.

Me, Goddess, in such cavern lay,
While all without is scorch'd in day;

Sore sighs the weary swain, beneath
His with'ring hawthorn on the heath;
The drooping hedger wishes eve,
In vain, of labour short reprieve!
Meantime, on Afric's glowing sands,
Smote with keen heat the trav'ler stands :
Low sinks his heart, while round his eye
Measures the scenes that boundless lie,
Ne'er yet by foot of mortal worn,
Where Thirst, wan pilgrim, walks forlorn.
How does he wish some cooling wave
To slake his lips, or limbs to lave!
And thinks, in every whisper low,
He hears a bursting fountain flow.


But not only does a retreat of this kind afford the most delicious refreshment to the languid and over-heated functions of the body, it communicates also to the intellectual powers a luxury of a still higher description, leading to those gentle thoughts and beautiful imaginings which dissipate for a time the cares and turmoils of a restless world, and woo the breast to peace and

* Ode on the Approach of Summer.

harmony. Who that has once enjoyed the tranquil blessings of an hour like this, is not ready to exclaim with the philosophic enthusiasm of Lucretius,

Si non aurea sunt juvenum simulacra per ædeis
Lampadas igniferas manibus retinentia dextris,
Lumina nocturnis epulis ut suppeditentur;
Nec domus argento fulget, auroque renidet,
Nec citharis reboant laqueata aurataque templa;
Attamen inter se, prostrati in gramine molli,
Propter aquæ rivum, sub ramis arboris altæ,
Non magnis opibus jucundè corpora curant.
Lib. ii. 1. 24 ad 31.

What, though the dome be wanting, whose proud walls

A thousand lamps irradiate, propt sublime

By frolic forms of youths in massy gold,

Flinging their splendours o'er the midnight feast; Though gold and silver blaze not o'er the board, Nor music echo round the gaudy roof?

Yet listless laid the velvet grass along

Near gliding streams, by shadowy trees o'er-arch'd, pomps we need not.



or to pause with delight over the picture which Gray, in the very spirit of the Roman bard, has given us of his minstrel-youth "to fortune and to fame unknown."

"There at the foot of yonder nodding beech

That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch, And pore upon the brook that babbles by."

It is the pre-disposition which scenery of this kind, and at such an hour, gives to the empire of fancy and reverie, which has rendered it so great a favourite with the lovers of poetry and romantic fiction. Relieved not only from the oppression of intolerable heat, but surrounded by the soft shadowings of a dreamy twilight, the ear, at the same time, lulled by the lapse of murmuring water, and the breezy stirrings of over-hanging foliage, imagination fleets as it were into a world of its own creation, peopling its fairy realms with all that can soothe the senses, and delight the gifted spirit, with all that legendary lore, or bardic harpings have declared in knightly hall, or ladies' bower. And such

was the enthusiasm which Milton owned, when he addressed the pensive inspirer of his earliest strains:

When the sun begins to fling

His flaring beams, me, Goddess, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves,
Of pine, or monumental oak,

Where the rude axe, with heaved stroke,
Was never heard the Nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt;
There in close covert by some brook,
Where no profaner eye may look,
Hide me from day's garish eye,
While the bee with honied thigh,
That at her flowery work doth sing,
And the water's murmuring,

With such consort as they keep,

Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep;

And let some strange mysterious Dream

Wave at his wings in aery stream

Of lively portraiture display'd,

Softly on my eye-lids laid;

And, as I wake, sweet musick breathe

Above, about, or underneath.

Il Penseroso.

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