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Here pause, my Gothic lyre, a little while.
New strains ere long shall animate thy frame,
I only wish to please the gentle mind,
Whom Nature's charms inspire, and love of human kind.
Of chance or change, O let not man complain, Else shall he never, never cease to wail: For, from the imperial dome, to where the swain Rears the lone cottage in the silent dale, All feel th' assault of Fortune's fickle gale; Art, empire, earth itself, to change are doom'd; Earthquakes have rais'd to heaven the humble vale, And gulfs the mountain's mighty mass entomb'd, And where the Atlantic rolls, wide continents have bloom'd.*
* See Plato's Timæus.
But sure to foreign climes we need not range,
But spare, O Time, whate'er of mental grace,
So I, obsequious to Truth's dread command, Shall here without reluctance change my lay, And smite the Gothic lyre with harsher hand; Now when I leave that flowery path for aye Of childhood, where I sported many a day, Warbling and sauntering carelessly along; Where every face was innocent and gay, Each vale romantic, tuneful every tongue, Sweet, wild, and artless all, as Edwin's infant song.
"Perish the lore that deadens young desire,"
Vigour from toil, from trouble patience grows.
Some tints of transient beauty may disclose;
While each assailing blast increase of strength supplies.
And now the downy cheek and deepen'd voice
Which heretofore his foot had never trode;
Thither he hied, enamour'd of the scene; For rocks on rocks pil'd, as by magic spell, Here scorch'd with lightning, there with ivy green, Fenc'd from the north and east this savage dell; Southward a mountain rose with easy swell, Whose long, long groves eternal murmur made; And toward the western sun a streamlet fell, Where, thro' the cliffs, the eye, remote survey'd Blue hills, and glittering waves, and skies in gold array'd.
Along this errow valley you might see
And here and there, a solitary tree,
Or mossy stone, or rock with woodbine crown'd.
Of parted fragments tumbling from on high;
One cultivated spot there was, that spread
He minded not the sun's last trembling gleam, Nor heard from far the twilight curfew toll;When slowly on his ear these moving accents stole.
"Hail, awful scenes, that calm the troubled breast, "And woo the weary to profound repose; "Can Passion's wildest uproar lay to rest, "And whisper comfort to the man of woes! "Here Innocence may wander, safe from foes, "And Contemplation soar on seraph wings. "O Solitude, the man who thee forgoes, "When lucre lure him, or ambition stings,
Shall never know the source whence real grandeur springs.
"Vain man! is grandeur given to gay attire? "Then let the butterfly thy pride upbraid:
"To friends, attendants, armies bought with hire? "It is thy weakness that requires their aid: "To palaces, with gold and gems inlay'd?
"They fear the thief, and tremble in the storm :— "To hosts thro' carnage who to conquest wade? "Behold, the victor vanquish'd by the worm! "Behold what deeds of wo the locust can perform!
"True dignity is his, whose tranquil mind "Virtue has rais'd above the things below, "Who, every hope and fear to Heaven resign'd, "Shrinks not, tho' fortune aim her deadliest blow." -This strain from 'midst the rocks was heard to flow In solemn sounds. Now beam'd the evening star; And from embattled clouds emerging slow Cynthia came riding on her silver car:
And hoary mountain-cliffs shone faintly from afar.
Soon did the solemn voice its theme renew:
"And hugg'd the chain, that glittering on their gaze "Seems to outshine the pomp of heaven's empyreal blaze.
"Like them, abandon'd to Ambition's sway, "I sought for glory in the paths of guile;