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Around the glow-worm's glimmering bank,
No Fairies run in fiery rank;
Nor brush, half-seen, in airy tread,
The violet's unprinted head.
But Fancy, from the thickets brown,
The glades that wear a conscious frown,
The forest oaks, that, pale and lone,
Nod to the blast with hoarser tone,
Rough glens, and sullen water-falls,
Her bright ideal offspring calls.
So by some sage enchanter's spell,
(As old Arabian fablers tell,)
Amid the solitary wild,
Luxuriant gardens gaily smil'd:
From sapphire rocks the fountains stream'd,
With golden fruit the branches beam'd;
Fair forms, in every wondrous wood,
Or lightly tripp'd, or solemn stood;
And oft, retreating from the view,
Betray'd, at distance, beauties new:
While gleaming o'er the crisped bowers
Rich spires arose, and sparkling towers.
If bound on service new to go,
The master of the magic show
His transitory charm withdrew,
Away th' illusive landscape flew :
Dun clouds obscur'd the groves of gold,
Blue lightning smote the blooming mould:
In visionary glory rear'd,
The gorgeous castle disappear'd;
And a bare heath's unfruitful plain
Usurp'd the wizard's proud domain.
PLEASURES OF MELANCHOLY.
MOTHER of musings, Contemplation sage,
Whose grotto stands upon the topmost rock
Of Teneriffe; 'mid the tempestuous night,
On which, in calmest meditation held,
Thou hear'st with howling winds the beating rain
And drifting hail descend; or if the skies
Unclouded shine, and through the blue serene
Pale Cynthia rolls her silver-axled car,
Whence gazing sted fast on the spangled vault
Raptur'd thou sitt'st, while murmurs indistinct
Of distant billows soothe thy pensive ear
With hoarse and hollow sounds; secure, self-blest,
There oft thou listen'st to the wild uproar
Of fleets encount'ring, that in whispers low
Ascend the rocky summit, where thou dwell'st
Remote from man conversing with the spheres!
O lead me, queen sublime, to solemn glooms
Congenial with my soul; to cheerless shades,
To ruin'd seats, to twilight cells and bow'rs,
Where thoughtful Melancholy loves to muse,
Her fav'rite midnight haunts. The laughing scenes
Of purple Spring, where all the wanton train
Of Smiles and Graces seem to lead the dance
In sportive round, while from their hand they show'r
Ambrosial blooms and flow'rs, no longer charm ;*
Tempé, no more I court thy balmy breeze,
Adieu, green vales! ye broider'd meads, adieu!
Beneath yon ruin'd abbey's moss-grown piles
Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve,
Where through some western window the pale Moon
Pours her long-level'd rule of streaming light;
While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
Save the lone screech-owl's note, who builds his bow'r
Amid the mould'ring caverns dark and damp,
Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves
Of flaunting ivy, that with mantle green
Invests some wasted tow'r. Or let me tread
Its neighb'ring walk of pines, where mus'd of old
The cloister'd brothers: through the gloomy void
That far extends beneath their ample arch
As on I pace, religious horror wraps
My soul in dread repose. But when the world
Is clad in Midnight's raven-color'd robe,
'Mid hollow charnel let me watch the flame
Of taper dim, shedding a livid glare
O'er the wan heaps; while airy voices talk
Along the glimm'ring walls; or ghostly shape,
At distance seen, invites with beck'ning hand
My lonesome steps, through the far-winding vaults
Nor undelightful is the solemn noon
Of night, when haply wakeful from my couch
I start: lo! all is motionless around!
Roars not the rushing wind; the sons of men
And every beast, in mute oblivion lie;
All nature's hush'd in silence and in sleep.
O then how fearful is it to reflect,
That through the still globe's awful solitude,
No being wakes but me! till stealing sleep
My drooping temples bathes in opiate dews.
Nor then let dreams, of wanton folly born,
My senses lead through flow'ry paths of joy;
But let the sacred genius of the night
Such mystic visions send, as Spenser saw,
When through bewild'ring Fancy's magic maze,
To the fell house of Busyrane, he led
Th' unshaken Britomart; or Milton knew,
When in abstracted thought he first conceiv'd
All Heav'n in tumult, and the seraphim
Come tow'ring, arm'd in adamant and gold.
Let others love soft Summer's evening smiles,
As list'ning to the distant water-fall,
They mark the blushes of the streaky west;
I choose the pale December's foggy glooms.
Then, when the sullen shades of ev'ning close,
Where through the room a blindly glimm'ring gam
The dying embers scatter, far remote
From Mirth's mad shouts, that through th' illumin'd
Resound with festive echo, let me sit,
Blest with the lowly cricket's drowsy dirge.
Then let my thought contemplative explore
This fleeting state of things, the vain delights,
The fruitless toils, that still our search elude,
As through the wilderness of life we rove.
This sober hour of silence will unmask
False Folly's smile, that like the dazzling spells
Of wily Comus cheat the unweeting eye
With blear illusion, and persuade to drink
That charmed cup, which Reason's mintage fair
Unmoulds, and stamps the monster on the man.
Eager we taste, but in the luscious draught
Forget the poisonous dregs that lurk beneath
Few know that elegance of soul refin'd,
Whose soft sensation feels a quicker joy
From Melancholy's scenes, than the dull pride
Of tasteless splendor and magnificence
Can e'er afford. Thus Eloise, whose mind
Had languish'd to the pangs of melting love,
More genuine transports found, as on some tomb
Reclin'd, she watch'd the tapers of the dead;
Or through the pillar'd aisles, amid pale shrines
Of imag'd saints, and intermingled graves,
Mus'd a veil'd votaress; than Flavia feels,
As through the mazes of the festive ball,
Proud of her conquering charms, and beauty's blaze, Th' uncertain step along the midnight mead,
She floats amid the silken sons of dress,
And shines the fairest of th' assembled fair.
Ye youths of Albion's beauty-blooming isle,
Whose brows have worn the wreath of luckless love,
Is there a pleasure like the pensive mood,
Whose magic wont to soothe your soften'd souls!
O tell how rapturous the joy, to melt
To Melody's assuasive voice; to bend
And pour your sorrows to the pitying Moon,
By many a slow trill from the bird of woe
Oft interrupted; in embow'ring woods
By darksome brook to muse, and there forget
The solemn dullness of the tedious world,
While Fancy grasps the visionary fair:
And now no more th' abstracted ear attends
The water's murm'ring lapse, th' entranced eye
Pierces no longer through th' extended rows
Of thick-rang'd trees; till haply from the depth
The woodman's stroke, or distant tinkling team,
Or heifers rustling through the brake, alarms
Th' illuded sense, and mars the golden dream.
These are delights that absence drear has made
Familiar to my soul, e'er since the form
Of young Sapphira, beauteous as the Spring,
When from her vi'let-woven couch awak'd
By frolic Zephyr's hand, her tender cheek
Graceful she lifts, and blushing from her bow'r
Issues to clothe in gladsome-glistering green
The genial globe, first met my dazzled sight:
These are delights unknown to minds profane,
And which alone the pensive soul can taste.
The taper'd choir, at the late hour of pray't,
Oft let me tread, while to th' according voice
The many-sounding organ peals on high,
The clear slow-dittied chant, or varied hymn,
Till all my soul is bathed in ecstasies,
And lapp'd in paradise. Or let me sit
Far in sequester'd aisles of the deep dome,
There lonesome listen to the sacred sounds,
Which, as they lengthen through the Gothic vaults,
In hollow murmurs reach my ravish'd ear.
Nor when the lamps expiring yield to night,
And solitude returns, would I forsake
The solemn mansion, but attentive mark
The due clock swinging slow with sweepy sway,
Measuring time's flight with momentary sound.
Nor let me fail to cultivate my mind
With the soft thrillings of the tragic Muse,
Divine Melpomene, sweet Pity's nurse,
Queen of the stately step, and flowing pall.
Now let Monimia mourn with streaming eyes
Her joys incestuous, and polluted love;
Now let soft Juliet in the gaping tomb
Print the last kiss on her true Romeo's lips,
His lips yet reeking from the deadly draught:
Or Jaffier kneel for one forgiving look.
Nor seldom let the Moor on Desdemone
Pour the misguided threats of jealous rage.
By soft degrees the manly torrent steals
From my swoln eyes; and at a brother's woe
My big heart melts in sympathizing tears.
What are the splendors of the gaudy court,
Its tinsel trappings, and its pageant pomps?
To me far happier seems the banish'd lord,
Amid Siberia's unrejoicing wilds,
Who pines all lonesome, in the chambers hoar
Of some high castle shut, whose windows dima
In distant ken discover trackless plains,
Where Winter ever whirls his icy car!
While still repeated objects of his view,
The gloomy battlements, and ivied spires,
When azure noontide cheers the dædal globe,
And the blest regent of the golden day
Rejoices in his bright meridian tower,
How oft my wishes ask the night's return,
That best befriends the melancholy mind!
Hail, sacred Night! thou too shalt share my song!
Sister of ebon-sceptred Hecate, hail!
Whether in congregated clouds thou wrapp'st
Thy viewless chariot, or with silver crown
Thy beaming head encirclest, ever hail!
What though beneath thy gloom the sorceress-strain,
Far in obscured haunt of Lapland moors,
With rhymes uncouth the bloody caldron bless;
Though Murder wan beneath thy shrouding shade
Summons her slow-ey'd vot'ries to devise
Of secret slaughter, while by one blue lamp
In hideous conference sits the list'ning band,
And start at each low wind, or wakeful sound:
What though thy stay the pilgrim curseth oft,
As all benighted in Arabian wastes
He hears the wilderness around him howl
With roaming monsters, while on his hoar head
The black-descending tempest ceaseless beats;
Yet more delightful to my pensive mind
Is thy return, than blooming Morn's approach,
Ev'n than, in youthful pride of opening May,
When from the portals of the saffron east
She sheds fresh roses, and ambrosial dews.
Yet not ungrateful is the Morn's approach,
When dropping wet she comes, and clad in clouds,
While through the damp air scowls the lowering
Blackening the landscape's face, that grove and hill
In formless vapors undistinguish'd swim:
Th' afflicted songsters of the sadden'd groves
Hail not the sullen gloom : the waving elms
That, hoar through time and rang'd in thick array,
Inclose with stately row some rural hall,
Are aute, nor echo with the clamors hoarse
Of rooks rejoicing on their airy boughs;
While to the shed the dripping poultry crowd,
A mournful train: secure the village-hind
Hangs o'er the crackling blaze, nor tempts the storm;
Fix'd in th' unfinish'd furrow rests the plow:
Rings not the high wood with enliven'd shouts
Of early hunter: all is silence drear;
And deepest sadness wraps the face of things.
Through Pope's soft song though all the Graces
And happiest art adorn his Attic page;
Yet does my mind with sweeter transport glow,
As at the root of mossy trunk reclin'd,
In magic Spenser's wildly-warbled song
I see deserted Una wander wide
Through wasteful solitudes, and lurid heaths,
Weary, forlorn; than when the fated fair
Upon the bosom bright of silver Thames
Launches in all the lustre of brocade,
Amid the splendors of the laughing Sun.
The gay description palls upon the sense,
And coldly strikes the mind with feeble bliss.
That crown the solitary dome, arise;
While from the topmost turret the slow clock,
Far heard along th' inhospitable wastes,
With sad-returning chime awakes new grief;
Ev'n he far happier seems than is the proud,
The potent satrap, whom he left behind
'Mid Moscow's golden palaces, to drown
In ease and luxury the laughing hours.
Illustrious objects strike the gazer's mind With feeble bliss, and but allure the sight, Nor rouse with impulse quick th' unfeeling heart. Thus seen by shepherds from Hymettus' brow, What dædal landscapes smile! here palmy groves, Resounding once with Plato's voice, arise, Amid whose umbrage green her silver head Th' unfading olive lifts: here vine-clad hills Lay forth their purple store, and sunny vales In prospect vast their level laps expand, Amid whose beauties glistering Athens tow'rs. Though through the blissful scenes Ilissus roll His sage-inspiring flood, whose winding marge The thick-wove laurel shades; though roseate Morn Pour all her splendors on th' empurpled scene; Yet feels the hoary hermit truer joys,
As from the cliff, that o'er his cavern hangs,
He views the piles of fall'n Persepolis
In deep arrangement hide the darksome plain.
Unbounded waste! the mould'ring obelisk
Here, like a blasted oak, ascends the clouds;
Here Parian domes their vaulted halls disclose
Horrid with thorn, where lurks th' unpitying thief,
Whence flits the twilight-loving bat at eve,
And the deaf adder wreathes her spotted train,
The dwellings once of elegance and art.
Here temples rise, amid whose hallow'd bounds
Spires the black pine, while through the naked street,
Once haunt of tradeful merchants, springs the grass:
Here columns heap'd on prostrate columns, torn
From their firm base, increase the mould'ring mass.
Far as the sight can pierce, appear the spoils
Of sunk magnificence! a blended scene
Of moles, fanes, arches, domes, and palaces,
Where, with his brother Horror, Ruin sits.
O come then, Melancholy, queen of thought!
O come with saintly look, and stedfast step,
From forth thy cave embower'd with mournful yew
Where ever to the curfew's solemn sound
List'ning thou sitt'st, and with thy cypress bind
Thy votary's hair, and seal him for thy son.
But never let Euphrosyné beguile
With toys of wanton mirth my fixed mind,
Nor in my path her primrose-garland cast.
Though 'mid her train the dimpled Hebe bare
Her rosy bosom to th' enamour'd view;
Though Venus, mother of the Smiles and Loves,
And Bacchus, ivy-crown'd, in citron-bow'r
With her on nectar-streaming fruitage feast:
What though 'tis hers to calm the low'ring skies,
And at her presence mild th' embattled clouds
Disperse in air, and o'er the face of Heav'n
New day diffusive gleam at her approach?
Yet are these joys that Melancholy gives,
Than all her witless revels happier far;
These deep-felt joys, by Contemplation taught,
Then ever, beauteous Contemplation, hail!
From thee began, auspicious maid, my song,
With thee shall end; for thou art fairer far
Than are the nymphs of Cirrha's mossy grot;
To loftier rapture thou canst wake the thought,
Than all the fabling poet's boasted pow'rs.
Hail, queen divine! whom, as tradition tells,
Once in his evening walk a Druid found,
Far in a hollow glade of Mona's woods;
And piteous bore with hospitable hand
To the close shelter of his oaken bow'r.
There soon the sage admiring mark'd the dawn
Of solemn musing in your pensive thought;
For when a smiling babe, you lov'd to lie
Oft deeply list'ning to the rapid roar
Of wood-hung Meinai, stream of Druids old.
WILLIAM MASON, a poet of some distinction, born | verse, made its appearance, of which the fourth and in 1725, was the son of a clergyman, who held the concluding book was printed in 1781. Its purpose living of Hull. He was admitted first of St. John's was to recommend the modern system of natural or College, and afterwards of Pembroke College, Cam- landscape gardening, to which the author adheres bridge, of the latter of which he was elected Fel- with the rigor of exclusive taste. The versification low in 1747. He entered into holy orders in 1754, is formed upon the best models, and the description, and, by the favor of the Earl of Holderness, was in many parts, is rich and vivid; but a general air presented to the valuable rectory of Ashton, York- of stiffness prevented it from attaining any con shire, and became Chaplain to His Majesty. Some siderable share of popularity. Some of his following poems which he printed gave him reputation, which poetic pieces express his liberal sentiments on politireceived a great accession from his dramatic poem cal subjects; and when the late Mr. Pitt came into of "Elfrida." By this piece, and his "Caractacus," power, being then the friend of a free constitution, which followed, it was his aim to attempt the resto- Mason addressed him in an Ode," containing many ration of the ancient Greek chorus in tragedy; but patriotic and manly ideas. But being struck with this is so evidently an appendage of the infant and alarm at the unhappy events of the French revolu imperfect state of the drama, that a pedantic at- tion, one of his latest pieces was a "Palinody to tachment to the ancients could alone suggest its re- Liberty." He likewise revived, in an improved vival. In 1756, he published a small collection of form, and published, Du Fresnoy's Latin poem on "Odes," which were generally considered as display- the Art of Painting, enriching it with additions for ing more of the artificial mechanism of poetry, than nished by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and with a metrical of its genuine spirit. This was not the case with version. Few have been better executed than this, his "Elegies," published in 1763, which, abating which unites to great beauties of language a correct some superfluity of ornament, are in general marked representation of the original. His tribute to the
memory of Gray, being an edition of his poemas, with some additions, and Memoirs of his Life and Writings, was favorably received by the public.
with the simplicity of language proper to this species of composition, and breathe noble sentiments of freedom and virtue. A collection of all his poems which he thought worthy of preserving, was published in 1764, and afterwards went through several editions. He had married an amiable lady, who died of a consumption in 1767, and was buried in the cathedral of Bristol, under a monument, on which are inscribed some very tender and beautiful lines, by her husband.
Mason died in April, 1797, at the age of seventytwo, in consequence of a mortification produced by a hurt in his leg. A tablet has been placed to his memory in Poets' Corner, in Westminster Abbey. His character in private life was exemplary for worth and active benevolence, though not without a degree of stateliness and assumed superiority of manner.
In 1772, the first book of Mason's "English Garden," a didactic and descriptive poem, in blank|
ODE TO MEMORY.
MOTHER of Wisdom! thou, whose sway
The throng'd ideal hosts obey;
Who bidd'st their ranks, now vanish, now appear,
Flame in the van, or darken in the rear;
Accept this votive verse. Thy reign
Nor place can fix, nor power restrain.
All, all is thine. For thee the ear, and eye,
Rove through the realms of grace, and harmony:
The senses thee spontaneous serve,
That wake, and thrill through ev'ry nerve.
Else vainly soft, lov'd Philomel! would flow
The soothing sadness of thy warbled woe:
Else vainly sweet yon woodbine shade
With clouds of fragrance fill the glade;
Vainly, the cygnet spread her downy plume,
The vine gush nectar, and the virgin bloom.
But swift to thee, alive and warm,
Devolves each tributary charm:
See modest Nature bring her simple stores,
Luxuriant Art exhaust her plastic powers;
While every flower in Fancy's clime,
Each gem of old heroic time,
Cull'd by the hand of the industrious Muse,
Around thy shrine their blended beams diffuse.
Hail, Mem'ry! hail. Behold, I lead
To that high shrine the sacred maid:
Thy daughter she, the empress of the lyre,
The first, the fairest, of Aonia's quire.
She comes, and lo, thy realms expand'
She takes her delegated stand
Full in the midst, and o'er thy num'rous train
Displays the awful wonders of her reign.
There thron'd supreme in native state,
If Sirius flame with fainting heat,
She calls; ideal groves their shade extend,
The cool gale breathes, the silent show'rs descend.
Or, if bleak Winter, frowning round,
Disrobe the trees, and chill the ground,
She, mild magician, waves her potent wand,
And ready summers wake at her command.
See, visionary suns arise
Through silver clouds and azure skies; See, sportive zephyrs fan the crisped streams; Through shadowy brakes light glance the sparkling
While, near the secret moss-grown cave, That stands beside the crystal wave, Sweet Echo, rising from her rocky bed, Mimics the feather'd chorus o'er her head.
Rise, hallow'd Milton! rise, and say, How, at thy gloomy close of day, How, when "deprest by age, beset with wrongs;" When "fall'n on evil days and evil tongues;" When darkness, brooding on thy sight, Exil'd the sov'reign lamp of light;
Say, what could then one cheering hope diffuse ? What friends were thine, save Mem'ry and the Muse? Hence the rich spoils, thy studious youth Caught from the stores of ancient truth: Hence all thy classic wand'rings could explore, When rapture led thee to the Latian shore ;
Each scene, that Tyber's banks supplied; Each grace, that play'd on Arno's side; The tepid gales, through Tuscan glades that fly; The blue serene, that spreads Hesperia's sky;
Were still thine own; thy ample mind Each charm receiv'd, retain'd, combin'd. And thence" the nightly visitant," that came To touch thy bosom with her sacred flame,
Recall'd the long-lost beams of grace, That whilom shot from Nature's face, When God, in Eden, o'er her youthful breast Spread with his own right hand Perfection's gorgeous vest.
ODE TO INDEPENDENCY. HERE, on my native shore reclin'd, While silence rules this midnight hour,
I woo thee, Goddess! On my musing mind Descend, propitious power!
And bid these ruffling gales of grief subside:
Bid my calm'd soul with all thy influence shine;
As yon chaste orb along this ample tide
Draws the long lustre of her silver line,
While the hush'd breeze its last weak whisper blows,
And lulls old Humber to his deep repose.
Come to thy vot'ry's ardent prayer, In all thy graceful plainness drest: No knot confines thy waving hair, No zone, thy floating vest; Unsullied honor decks thine open brow, And candor brightens in thy modest eye: Thy blush is warm content's ethereal glow; Thy smile is peace; thy step is liberty: Thou scatter'st blessings round with lavish hand, As Spring with careless fragrance fills the land.