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He ceas'd. But still their trembling ears retain'd The deep vibrations of his 'witching song; That by a kind of magic pow'r constrain'd To enter in, pell-mell, the list'ning throng, Heaps pour'd on heaps, and yet they slipp'd along, In silent ease; as when beneath the beam Of summer-moons, the distant woods among, Or by some flood all silver'd with the gleam, The soft-embodied fays thro' airy portal stream.
By the smooth demon so it order'd was, And here his baneful bounty first began; Tho' some there were who would not further pass, And his alluring baits suspected han. The wise distrust the too fair spoken man; Yet thro' the gate they cast a wishful eye: Not to move on, forsooth, is all they can; For, do their very best, they cannot fly; But often each way look, and often sorely sigh.
When this the watchful wicked wizard saw, With sudden spring he leap'd upon them straight; And, soon as touch'd by his unhallow'd paw, They found themselves within the cursed gate; Full hard to be repass'd, like that of fate. Not stronger were of old the giant crew Who sought to pull high Jove from regal state; Tho' feeble wretch he seem'd, of sallow hue, Certes, who bides his grasp, will that encounter rue.
For whomsoe'er the villain takes in hand,
Then sighing yields her up to love's delicious harms.
Wak'd by the crowd, slow from his bench arose
The lad leap'd lightly at his master's call,
Save sleep and play who minded nought at all,
And which his portly paunch would not permit; So this same limber page to all performed it.
Meantime the master-porter wide display'd
Thus easy rob'd, they to the fountain sped,
Whence,as Dan Homer sings,huge pleasaunce grew,
Fair gladsome waking thoughts, and joyous dreams more fair.
This rite perform'd, all inly pleas'd and still, Withouten tromp was proclamation made : 'Ye sons of Indolence, do what you will; 'And wander where you list, thro' hall or glade! 'Be no man's pleasure for another's staid; 'Let each as likes him best his hours employ; 'And curs'd be he who minds his neighbour's trade! "Here dwells kind ease and unreproving joy: He little merits bliss who others can annoy.'
Straight of these endless numbers, swarming round, As thick as idle moats in sunny ray,
Not one,eftsoons in view was to be found,
As when a shepherd of the Hebrid Isles,
Then all at once in air dissolves the wondrous show.
Ye gods of quiet and of sleep profound, Whose soft dominion o'er this castle sways, And all the wildly silent places round, Forgive me, if my trembling pen displays What never yet was sung in mortal lays. But how shall I attempt such arduous string, I who have spent my nights and nightly days In this soul-deadening place, loose-loitering? Ah! how shall I for this uprear my moulted wing? Vol. II.
Come on, my muse, nor stoop to low despair,
And ev'ry where huge cover'd tables stood,
On the green bosom of this earth are found,
You need but wish; and, instantly obey'd, Fair rang'd the dishes rose, and thick the glasses play'd.
Here freedom reign'd without the least alloy; Nor gossip's tale, nor ancient maiden's gall, Nor saintly spleen, durst murmur at our joy, And with envenom'd tongue our pleasures pall. For why there was but one great rule for all; To wit, that each should work his own desire, And eat, drink, study, sleep, as it may fall, Or melt the time in love, or wake the lyre, And carol what unbid the muses might inspire.
The rooms with costly tapestry were hung,
Pour'd forth at large the sweetly tortur'd heart; Or, sighing tender passion, swell'd the gale,
And taught charm'd echo to resound their smart; While flocks, woods, streams, around repose, and peace impart.
Those pleas'd the most, where, by a cunning hand, Depainted was the patriarchal age;
What time Dan Abraham left the Chaldee land, And pastur'd on from verdant stage to stage, Where fields and fountains fresh could best engage, Toil was not then. Of nothing took they heed, But with wild beasts the sylvan war to wage, And o'er vast plains their herds and flocks to feed: Blest sons of Nature they! true golden age indeed!
Sometimes the pencil, in cool airy halls, Bade the gay bloom of vernal landscapes rise, Or autumn's varied shades imbrown the walls: Now the black tempest strikes th' astonish'd eyes; Now down the steep the flashing torrent flies; The trembling sun now plays o'er ocean blue, And now rude mountains frown amid the skies; Whate'er Lorrain light-touch'd with soft'ning hue, Or savage Rosa dash'd, or learned Poussin drew.
Each sound too here to languishment inclin'd, Lull'd the weak bosom, and induced ease. Aërial music in the warbling wind, At distance rising oft, by small degrees Nearer and nearer came, till o'er the trees It hung, and breath'd such soul-dissolving airs, As did, alas! with 'soft perdition please: Entangled deep in its enchanting snares, The list'ning heart forgot all duties and all cares.