To A Lady Before Marriage
Oh! form'd by Nature, and refin'd by Art,
With charms to win, and sense to fix the heart!
By thousands sought, Clotilda, canst thou free
Thy croud of captives and descend to me?
Content in shades obscure to waste thy life,
A hidden beauty and a country wife.
O! listen while thy summers are my theme,
Ah! sooth thy partner in his waking dream!
In some small hamlet on the lonely plain,
Where Thames, through meadows, rolls his mazy train;
Or where high Windsor, thick with greens array'd,
Waves his old oaks, and spreads his ample shade,
Fancy has figur'd out our calm retreat;
Already round the visionary seat
Our limes begin to shoot, our flowers to spring,
The brooks to murmur, and the birds to sing.
Where dost thou lie, thou thinly-peopled green?
Thou nameless lawn, and village yet unseen?
Where sons, contented with their native ground,
Ne'er travell'd further than ten furlongs round;
And the tann'd peasant, and his ruddy bride,
Were born together, and together died.
Where early larks best tell the morning light,
And only Philomel disturbs the night,
'Midst gardens here my humble pile shall rise,
With sweets surrounded of ten thousand dies;
All savage where th' embroider'd gardens end,
The haunt of echoes, shall my woods ascend;
And oh! if Heaven th' ambitious thought approve,
A rill shall warble cross the gloomy grove,
A little rill, o'er pebbly beds convey'd,
Gush down the steep, and glitter through the glade.
What chearing scents those bordering banks exhale!
How loud that heifer lows from yonder vale!
That thrush how shrill! his note so clear, so high,
He drowns each feather'd minstrel of the sky.
Here let me trace beneath the purpled morn,
The deep-mouth'd beagle, and the sprightly horn;
Or lure the trout with well dissembled flies,
Or fetch the fluttering partridge from the skies.
Nor shall thy hand disdain to crop the vine,
The downy peach, or flavour'd nectarine;
Or rob the bee-hive of its golden hoard,
And bear th' unbought luxuriance to thy board.
Sometimes my books by day shall kill the hours,
While from thy needle rise the silken flowers,
And thou, by turns, to ease my feeble sight,
Resume the volume, and deceive the night.
Oh! when I mark thy twinkling eyes opprest,
Soft whispering, let me warn my love to rest;
Then watch thee, charm'd, while sleep locks every sense,
And to sweet Heaven commend thy innocence.
Thus reign'd our fathers o'er the rural fold,
Wise, hale, and honest in the days of old;
Till courts arose, where substance pays for show,
And specious joys are bought with real woe.
See Flavia's pendants, large, well-spread, and right,
The ear that wears them hears a fool each night:
Mark how the embroider'd colonel sneaks away,
To shun the withering dame that made him gay;
That knave, to gain a title, lost his fame;
That rais'd his credit by a daughter's shame;
This coxcomb's ribband cost him half his land,
And oaks, unnumber'd, bought that fool a wand.
Fond man, as all his sorrows were too few,
Acquires strange wants that nature never knew,
By midnight lamps he emulates the day,
And sleeps, perverse, the chearful suns away;
From goblets high-embost, his wine must glide,
Found his clos'd sight the gorgeous curtain slide;
Fruits ere their time to grace his pomp must rise,
And three untasted courses glut his eyes.
For this are nature's gentle calls withstood,
The voice of conscience, and the bonds of blood;
This wisdom thy reward for every pain,
And this gay glory all thy mighty gain.
Fair phantoms woo'd and scorn'd from age to age,
Since bards began to laugh, and priests to rage.
And yet, just curse on man's aspiring kind,
Prone to ambition, to example blind,
Our children's children shall our steps pursue,
And the same errours be for ever new.
Mean while in hope a guiltless country swain,
My reed with warblings chears the imagin'd plain.
Hail humble shades, where truth and silence dwell!
The noisy town and faithless court farewell!
Farewell ambition, once my darling flame!
The thirst of lucre, and the charm of fame!
In life's by-road, that winds through paths unknown,
My days, though number'd, shall be all my own.
Here shall they end, (O! might they twice begin)
And all be white the Fates intend to spin.
To The Earl Of Warwick, On The Death Of Mr. Addison
If, dumb too long, the drooping Muse hath stay'd,
And left her debt to Addison unpaid;
Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan,
And judge, oh judge, my bosom by your own.
What mourner ever felt poetic fires!
Slow comes the verse that real woe inspires:
Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
Can I forget the dismal night, that gave
My soul's best part for ever to the grave!
How silent did his old companions tread,
By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead,
Through breathing statues then unheeded things
Through rows of warriors, and through walks of kings!
What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire;
The pealing organ, and the pausing choir;
The duties by the lawn-rob'd prelate pay'd,
And the last words that dust to dust convey'd!
While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend,
Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend.
Oh gone forever, take this long adieu;
And sleep in peace, next thy lov'd Montagu!
To strew fresh laurels let the task be mine,
A frequent pilgrim, at thy sacred shrine;
Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,
And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
If e'er from me thy lov'd memorial part,
May shame afflict this alienated heart;
Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
My lyre be broken, and untun'd my tongue,
My griefs be doubled, from thy image free,
And mirth a torment, unchastis'd by thee.
Oft let me range the gloomy aisles alone,
(Sad luxury! to vulgar minds unknown)
Along the walls where speaking marbles show
What worthies form the hallow'd mould below:
Proud names, who once the reins of empire held;
In arms who triumph'd; or in arts excell'd;
Chiefs, grac'd with scars, and prodigal of blood;
Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood;
Just men, by whom impartial laws were given;
And saints, who taught, and led, the way to Heaven.
Ne'er to these chambers, where the mighty rest,
Since their foundation, came a nobler guest;
Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss convey'd
A fairer spirit, or more welcome shade.
In what new region, to the just assign'd,
What new employments please th' unbodied mind?
A winged Virtue, through th' ethereal sky,
From world to world unwearied does he fly?
Or curious trace the long laborious maze
Of Heaven's decrees, where wond'ring angels gaze?
Does he delight to hear bold Seraphs tell
How Michael battled, and the Dragon fell;
Or, mix'd with milder Cherubim, to glow
In hymns of love, not ill essay'd below?
Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind,
A task well-suited to thy gentle mind?
Oh, if sometimes thy spotless form descend,
To me thy aid, thou guardian Genius, lend!
When rage misguides me, or when fear alarms,
When pain distresses, or when pleasure charms,
In silent whisperings purer thoughts impart,
And turn from ill a frail and feeble heart;
Lead through the paths thy virtue trod before,
Till bliss shall join, nor death can part us more.
That awful form (which, so ye Heavens decree,
Must still be lov'd and still deplor'd by me),
In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
Or, rous'd by fancy, meets my waking eyes.
If business calls, or crowded courts invite,
Th' unblemish'd statesman seems to strike my sight;
If in the stage I seek to soothe my care,
I meet his soul, which breathes in Cato there;
If pensive to the rural shades I rove,
His shape o'ertakes me in the lonely grove;
'Twas there of just and good he reason'd strong,
Clear'd some great truth, or rais'd some serious song;
There patient show'd us the wise course to steer,
A candid censor, and a friend severe;
There taught us how to live; and (oh! too high
The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.
Thou Hill, whose brow the antique structures grace,
Rear'd by bold chiefs of Warwick's noble race,
Why, once so lov'd, whene'er thy bower appears,
O'er my dim eyeballs glance the sudden tears!
How sweet were once thy prospects fresh and fair,
Thy sloping walks, and unpolluted air!
How sweet the glooms beneath thy aged trees,
90 Thy noon-tide shadow, and thy evening breeze!
His image thy forsaken bowers restore;
Thy walks and airy prospects charm no more;
No more the summer in thy glooms allay'd,
Thy evening breezes, and thy noon-day shade.
From other ills, however fortune frown'd;
Some refuge in the Muse's art I found;
Reluctant now I touch the trembling string,
Bereft of him, who taught me how to sing;
And these sad accents, murmur'd o'er his urn,
Betray that absence they attempt to mourn.
Oh! must I then (now fresh my bosom bleeds,
And Craggs in death to Addison succeeds)
The verse, begun to one lost friend, prolong,
And weep a second in th' unfinish'd song!
These works divine, which, on his death-bed laid,
To thee, O Craggs, th' expiring sage convey'd,
Great, but ill-omen'd monument of fame,
Nor he surviv'd to give, nor thou to claim.
Swift after him thy social spirit flies,
And close to his, how soon! thy coffin lies.
Blest pair! whose union future bards shall tell
In future tongues: each other's boast! farewell,
Farewell! whom join'd in fame, in friendship tried,
No chance could sever, nor the grave divide.
______ Campos, ubi Troja fuit.
Where Kensington, high o'er the neighbouring lands
Midst greens and sweets, a regal fabric, stands,
And sees each spring, luxuriant in her bowers,
A snow of blossoms, and a wild of flowers,
The dames of Britain oft in crowds repair
To gravel walks, and unpolluted air.
Here, while the town in damps and darkness lies,
They breathe in sun-shine, and see azure skies;
Each walk, with robes of various dyes bespread,
Seems from afar a moving tulip-bed,
Where rich brocades and glossy damasks glow,
And chints, the rival of the showery bow.
Here England's daughter, darling of the land,
Sometimes, surrounded with her virgin band,
Gleams through the shades. She, towering o'er the rest,
Stands fairest of the fairer kind confest,
Form'd to gain hearts, that Brunswick's cause deny'd,
And charm a people to her father's side.
Long have these groves to royal guests been known,
Nor Nassau first prefer'd them to a throne.
Ere Norman banners wav'd in British air;
Ere lordly Hubba with the golden hair
Pour'd in his Danes; ere elder Julius came;
Or Dardan Brutus gave our isle a name;
A prince of Albion's lineage grac'd the wood,
The scene of wars, and stain'd with lovers' blood.
You, who thro' gazing crowds, your captive throng,
Throw pangs and passions, as you move along,
Turn on the left, ye fair, your radiant eyes,
Where all unlevel'd the gay garden lies:
If generous anguish for another's pains
Ere heav'd your hearts, or shiver'd through your veins,
Look down attentive on the pleasing dale,
And listen to my melancholy tale.
That hollow space, were now in living rows
Line above line the yew's sad verdure grows,
Was, ere the planter's hand its beauty gave,
A common pit, a rude unfashion'd cave.
The landscape now so sweet we well may praise:
But far, far sweeter in its ancient days,
Far sweeter was it, when its peopled ground
With fairy domes and dazzling towers was crown'd.
Where in the midst those verdant pillars spring,
Rose the proud palace of the Elfin king;
For every edge of vegetable green,
In happier years a crowded street was seen;
Nor all those leaves that now the prospect grace,
Could match the numbers of its pygmy race,
What urg'd this mighty empire to its fate,
A tale of woe and wonder, I relate.
When Albion rul'd the land, whose lineage came
From Neptune mingling with a mortal dame,
Their midnight pranks the sprightly fairies play'd
On every hill, and danc'd in every shade.
But, foes to sun-shine, most they took delight
In dells and dales conceal'd from human sight:
There hew'd their houses in the arching rock;
Or scoop'd the bosom of the blasted oak;
Or heard, o'ershadow'd by some shelving hill,
The distant murmurs of the falling rill.
They, rich in pilfer'd spoils, indulg'd their mirth,
And pity'd the huge wretched sons of Earth.
Ev'n now, 'tis said, the hinds o'erhear their strain,
And strive to view their airy forms in vain:
They to their cells at man's approach repair,
Like the shy leveret, or the mother-hare,
The whilst poor mortals startle at the sound
Of unseen footsteps on the haunted ground.
Amid this garden, then with woods o'ergrown,
Stood the lov'd seat of royal Oberon.
From every region to his palace-gate
Came peers and princes of the fairy state,
Who, rank'd in council round the sacred shade,
Their monarch's will and great behests obey'd.
From Thames' fair banks, by lofty towers adorn'd,
With loads of plunder oft his chiefs return'd:
Hence in proud robes, and colours bright and gay,
Shone every knight and every lovely fay.
Whoe'er on Powell's dazzling stage display'd,
Hath fam'd king Pepin and his court survey'd,
May guess, if old by modern things we trace,
The pomp and splendour of the fairy-race.
By magic fenc'd, by spells encompass'd round,
No mortal touch'd this interdicted ground;
No mortal enter'd, those alone who came
Stol'n from the couch of some terrestrial dame:
For oft of babes they robb'd the matron's bed,
And left some sickly changeling in their stead.
It chanc'd a youth of Albion's royal blood
Was foster'd here, the wonder of the wood.
Milkah for wiles above her peers renown'd,
Deep-skill'd in charms and many a mystic sound,
As through the regal dome she sought for prey,
Observ'd the infant Albion where he lay
In mantles broider'd o'er with georgeous pride,
And stole him from the sleeping mother's side.
Who now but Milkah triumphs in her mind!
Ah, wretched nymph, to future evils blind!
The time shall come when thou shalt dearly pay
The theft, hard-hearted! of that guilty day:
Thou in thy turn shalt like the queen repine,
And all her sorrows doubled shall be thine:
He who adorns thy house, the lovely boy
Who now adorns it, shall at length destroy.
Two hundred moons in their pale course had seen
The gay-rob'd fairies glimmer on the green,
And Albion now had reach'd in youthful prime
To nineteen years, as mortals measure time.
Flush'd with resistless charms he fir'd to love
Each nymph and little Dryad of the grove;
For skilful Milkah spar'd not to employ
Her utmost art to rear the princely boy;
Each supple limb she swath'd, and tender bone,
And to the Elfin standard kept him down;
She robb'd dwarf-elders of their fragrant fruit,
And fed him early with the daisy's root,
Whence through his veins the powerful juices ran,
And form'd in beauteous miniature the man.
Yet still, two inches taller than the rest,
His lofty port his human birth confest;
A foot in height, how stately did he show!
How look superior on the crowd below!
What knight like him could toss the rushy lance!
Who move so graceful in the mazy dance!
A shape so nice, or features half so fair,
What elf could boast! or such a flow of hair!
Bright Kenna saw, a princess born to reign,
And felt the charmer burn in every vein.
She, heiress to this empire's potent lord,
Prais'd like the stars, and next the Moon ador'd.
She, whom at distance thrones and princedoms view'd,
To whom proud Oriel and Azuriel sued,
In her high palace languish'd, void of joy,
And pin'd in secret for a mortal boy.
He too was smitten, and discreetly strove
By courtly deeds to gain the virgin's love.
For her he cull'd the fairest flower that grew,
Ere morning suns had drain'd their fragrant dew;
He chas'd the hornet in his mid-day flight,
And brought her glow-worms in the noon of night;
When on ripe fruits she cast a wishing eye,
Did ever Albion think the tree too high!
He show'd her where the pregnant goldfinch hung,
And the wren-mother brooding o'er her young;
To her th' inscription on their eggs he read,
(Admire, ye clerks, the youth whom Milkah bred)
To her he show'd each herb of virtuous juice,
Their powers distinguish'd, and describ'd their use:
All vain their powers, alas! to Kenna prove,
And well sung Ovid, ``There's no herb for love.''
As when a ghost, enlarg'd from realms below,
Seeks its old friend to tell some secret woe,
The poor shade shivering stands, and must not break
His painful silence, till the mortal speak:
So far'd it with the little love-sick maid,
Forbid to utter, what her eyes betray'd.
He saw her anguish, and reveal'd his flame,
And spar'd the blushes of the tongue-ty'd dame.
The day would fail me, should I reckon o'er
The sighs they lavish'd, and the oaths they swore
In words so melting, that compar'd with those
The nicest courtship of terrestrial beaux
Would sound like compliments, from country clowns
To red cheek'd sweet-hearts in their home-spun gowns.
All in a lawn of many a various hue
A bed of flowers (a fairy forest) grew;
'Twas here one noon, the gaudiest of the May,
The still, the secret, silent, hour of day,
Beneath a lofty tulip's ample shade
Sat the young lover and th' immortal maid.
They thought all fairies slept, ah, luckless pair!
Hid, but in vain, in the Sun's noon-tide glare!
When Albion, leaning on his Kenna's breast,
Thus all the softness of his soul exprest:
``All things are hush'd. The Sun's meridian rays
Veil the horizon in one mighty blaze:
Nor moon nor star in Heaven's blue arch is seen
With kindly rays to silver o'er the green,
Grateful to fairy eyes; they secret take
Their rest, and only wretched mortals wake.
This dead of day I fly to thee alone,
A world to me, a multitude in one.
Oh, sweet as dew-drops on these flowery lawns,
When the sky opens, and the evening dawns!
Straight as the pink, that towers so high in air,
Soft as the blow-bell! as the daisy, fair!
Blest be the hour, when first I was convey'd
An infant captive to this blissful shade!
And blest the hand that did my form refine,
And shrunk my stature to a match with thine!
Glad I for thee renounce my royal birth,
And all the giant-daughters of the Earth.
Thou, if thy breast with equal ardour burn,
Renounce thy kind, and love for love return.
So from us two, combin'd by nuptial ties,
A race unknown of demi-gods shall rise.
O speak, my love! my vows with vows repay,
And sweetly swear my rising fears away.''
To whom (the shining azure of her eyes
More brighten'd) thus th' enamour'd maid replies:
``By all the stars, and first the glorious Moon,
I swear, and by the head of Oberon,
A dreadful oath! no prince of fairy line
Shall e'er in wedlock plight his vows with mine.
Where-e'er my footsteps in the dance are seen,
May toadstools rise, and mildews blast the green,
May the keen east-wind blight my favourite flowers,
And snakes and spotted adders haunt my bowers.
Confin'd whole ages in an hemlock shade
There rather pine I a neglected maid,
Or worse, exil'd from Cynthia's gentle rays,
Parch in the sun a thousand summer-days,
Than any prince, a prince of fairy line,
In sacred wedlock plight his vows with mine.''
She ended: and with lips of rosy hue
Dipp'd five times over in ambrosial dew,
Stifled his words. When, from his covert rear'd,
The frowning brow of Oberon appear'd.
A sun-flower's trunk was near, whence (killing sight!)
The monarch issued, half an ell in height:
Full on the pair a furious look he cast,
Nor spoke; but gave his bugle-horn a blast,
That through the woodland echoed far and wide,
And drew a swarm of subjects to his side.
A hundred chosen knights, in war renown'd,
Drive Albion banish'd from the sacred ground;
And twice ten myriads guard the bright abodes,
Where the proud king, amidst his demi-gods,
For Kenna's sudden bridal bids prepare,
And to Azuriel gives the weeping fair.
If fame in arms, with ancient birth combin'd,
A faultless beauty, and a spotless mind,
To love and praise can generous souls incline,
That love, Azuriel, and that praise, was thine.
Blood only less than royal fill'd thy veins,
Proud was thy roof, and large thy fair domains.
Where now the skies high Holland-House invades,
And short-liv'd Warwick sadden'd all the shades,
Thy dwelling stood: nor did in him afford
A nobler owner, or a lovelier lord.
For thee a hundred fields produc'd their store,
And by thy name ten thousand vassals swore;
So lov'd thy name, that, at their monarch's choice,
All fairy shouted with a general voice.
Oriel alone a secret rage supprest,
That from his bosom heav'd the golden vest.
Along the banks of Thame his empire ran,
Wide was his range, and populous his clan.
When cleanly servants, if we trust old tales,
Beside their wages had good fairy vails,
Whole heaps of silver tokens, nightly paid,
The careful wife, or the neat dairy-maid,
Sunk not his stores. With smiles and powerful bribes
He gain'd the leaders of his neighbour tribes,
And ere the night the face of Heaven had chang'd,
Beneath his banners half the fairies rang'd.
Meanwhile, driven back to Earth, a lonely way
The chearless Albion wander'd half the day,
A long, long journey, choak'd with brakes and thorns
Ill-measur'd by ten thousand barley-corns.
Tir'd out at length a spreading stream he spy'd
Fed by old Thame, a daughter of the tide:
'Twas then a spreading stream, though now, its fame
Obscur'd, it bears the Creek's inglorious name,
And creeps, as through contracted bounds it strays,
A leap for boys in these degenerate days.
On the clear crystal's verdant bank he stood,
And thrice look'd backward on the fatal wood,
And thrice he groan'd, and thrice he beat his breast,
And thus in tears his kindred gods addrest.
``If true, ye watery powers, my lineage came
From Neptune mingling with a mortal dame;
Down to his court, with coral garlands crown'd,
Through all your grottoes waft my plaintive sound,
And urge the god, whose trident shakes the Earth,
To grace his offspring, and assert my birth.''
He said. A gentle Naiad heard his prayer,
And, touch'd with pity for a lover's care,
Shoots to the sea, where low beneath the tides
Old Neptune in th' unfathom'd deep resides.
Rouz'd at the news, the sea's stern sultan swore
Revenge, and scarce from present arms forbore;
But first the nymph his harbinger he sends,
And to her care the favourite boy commends.
As thro' the Thames her backward course she guides,
Driv'n up his current by the refluent tides,
Along his banks the pygmy legions spread
She spies, and haughty Oriel at their head,
Soon with wrong'd Albion's name the host she fires,
And counts the ocean's god, among his sires;
``The ocean's god, by whom shall be o'erthrown,
(Styx heard his oath) the tyrant Oberon.
See here beneath a toadstool's deadly gloom
Lies Albion: him the Fates your leader doom.
Hear, and obey; 'tis Neptune's powerful call,
By him Azuriel and his king shall fall.''
She said. They bow'd: and on their shields up-bore
With shouts their new saluted emperor.
E'en Oriel smil'd: at least to smile he strove,
And hopes of vengeance triumph'd over love.
See now the mourner of the lonely shade
By gods protected, and by hosts obey'd,
A slave, a chief, by fickle Fortune's play,
In the short course of one revolving day,
What wonder if the youth, so strangely blest,
Felt his heart flutter in his little breast!
His thick embattled troops, with secret pride,
He views extended half an acre wide;
More light he treads, more tall he seems to rise,
And struts a straw-breadth nearer to the skies.
O for thy Muse, great Bard, whose lofty strains
In battle join'd the Pygmies and the Cranes;
Each gaudy knight, had I that warmth divine,
Each colour'd legion in my verse should shine.
But simple I, and innocent of art,
The tale, that sooth'd my infant years, impart,
The tale I heard whole winter-eves, untir'd,
And sing the battles, that my nurse inspir'd.
Now the shrill corn-pipes, echoing loud to arms,
To rank and file reduce the straggling swarms,
Thick rows of spears at once, with sudden glare,
A grove of needles, glitter in the air;
Loose in the winds small ribbon-streamers flow,
Dipt in all colours of the heavenly-bow,
And the gay host, that now its march pursues,
Gleams o'er the meadows in a thousand hues.
On Buda's plains thus formidably bright,
Shone Asia's sons, a pleasing dreadful sight.
In various robes their silken troops were seen,
The blue, the red, and prophet's sacred green:
When blooming Brunswick, near the Danube's flood,
First stain'd his maiden sword in Turkish blood.
Unseen and silent march the slow brigades
Through pathless wilds, and unfrequented shades.
In hope already vanquish'd by surprise,
In Albion's power the fairy empire lies;
Already has he seiz'd on Kenna's charms,
And the glad beauty trembles in his arms.
The march concludes: and now in prospect near,
But fenc'd with arms, the hostile towers appear,
For Oberon, or Druids falsely sing,
Wore his prime visier in a magic ring,
A subtle spright, that opening plots foretold
By sudden dimness on the beamy gold.
Hence, in a cresent form'd, his legions bright
With beating bosoms waited for the fight;
To charge their foes they march, a glittering band,
And in their van doth bold Azuriel stand.
What rage that hour did Albion's soul possess,
Let chiefs imagine, and let lovers guess!
Forth issuing from his ranks, that strove in vain
To check his course, athwart the dreadful plain
He strides indignant: and with haughty cries
To single fight the fairy prince defies.
Forbear! rash youth, th' unequal war to try;
Nor, sprung from mortals, with immortals vie.
No god stands ready to avert thy doom,
Nor yet thy grandsire of the waves is come.
My words are vain -- no words the wretch can move,
By Beauty dazzled, and bewitch'd by Love:
He longs, he burns, to win the glorious prize,
And sees no danger, while he sees her eyes.
Now from each host the eager warriors start.
And furious Albion flings his hasty dart,
'Twas feather'd from the bee's transparent wing,
And its shaft ended in a hornet's sting;
But, tost in rage, it flew without a wound,
High o'er the foe, and guiltless pierc'd the ground.
Not so Azuriel's: with unerring aim,
Too near the needle-pointed javelin came,
Drove through the seven-fold shield, and silken vest,
And lightly ras'd the lover's ivory breast.
Rouz'd at the smart, and rising to the blow,
With his keen sword he cleaves his fairy foe,
Sheer from the shoulder to the waste he cleaves,
And of one arm the tottering trunk bereaves.
His useless steel brave Albion wields no more,
But sternly smiles, and thinks the combat o'er:
So had it been, had aught of mortal strain,
Or less than fairy, felt the deadly pain.
But empyreal forms, howe'er in fight
Gash'd and dismember'd, easily unite.
As some frail cup of China's purest mold,
With azure varnish'd, and bedropt with gold,
Though broke, if cur'd by some nice virgin's hands,
In its old strength and pristine beauty stands;
The tumults of the boiling bohea braves,
And holds secure the coffee's sable waves:
So did Azuriel's arm, if Fame say true,
Rejoin the vital trunk whence first it grew;
And, whilst in wonder fix'd poor Albion stood,
Plung'd the curs'd sabre in his heart's warm blood.
The golden broidery, tender Milkah wove,
The breast, to Kenna sacred and to Love,
Lie rent and mangled: and the gaping wound
Pours out a flood of purple on the ground.
The jetty lustre sickens in his eyes:
On his cold cheeks the bloomy freshness dies;
``Oh Kenna, Kenna,'' thrice he try'd to say,
``Kenna, farewel!'' and sigh'd his soul away.
His fall the Dryads with loud shrieks deplore,
By sister Naiads echo'd from the shore,
Thence down to Neptune's secret realms convey'd,
Through grotts, and glooms, and many a coral shade.
The sea's great sire, with looks denouncing war,
The trident shakes, and mounts the pearly car:
With one stern frown the wide-spread deep deforms,
And works the madding ocean into storms.
O'er foaming mountains, and through bursting tides,
Now high, now low, the bounding chariot rides,
Till through the Thames in a loud whirlwind's roar
It shoots, and lands him on the destin'd shore.
Now fix'd on earth his towering stature stood,
Hung o'er the mountains, and o'erlook'd the wood.
To Brumpton's grove one ample stride he took,
(The valleys trembled, and the forests shook)
The next huge step reach'd the devoted shade,
Where choak'd in blood was wretched Albion laid:
Where now the vanquish'd, with the victors join'd,
Beneath the regal banners stood combin'd.
Th' embattled dwarfs with rage and scorn he past,
And on their town his eye vindictive cast.
In deep foundations his strong trident cleaves.
And high in air th' up-rooted empire heaves;
On his broad engine the vast ruin hung,
Which on the foe with force divine he flung:
Aghast the legions, in th' approaching shade,
Th' inverted spires and rocking domes survey'd,
That, downward tumbling on the host below,
Crush'd the whole nation at one dreadful blow.
Towers, arms, nymphs, warriors, are together lost,
And a whole empire falls to sooth said Albion's ghost.
Such was the period, long restrain'd by Fate,
And such the downfall of the fairy state.
This dale, a pleasing region, not unblest,
This dale possest they; and had still possest;
Had not their monarch, with a father's pride,
Rent from her lord th' inviolable bride,
Rash to dissolve the contract seal'd above,
The solemn vows and sacred bonds of love.
Now, where his elves so sprightly danc'd the round,
No violet breathes, nor daisy paints the ground,
His towers and people fill one common grave,
A shapeless ruin, and a barren cave.
Beneath huge hills of smoking piles he lay
Stunn'd and confounded a whole summer's day,
At length awak'd (for what can long restrain
Unbody'd spirits!) but awak'd in pain:
And as he saw the desolated wood,
And the dark den where once his empire stood,
Grief chill'd his heart: to his half-open'd eyes
In every oak a Neptune seem'd to rise:
He fled: and left, with all his trembling peers,
The long possession of a thousand years.
Through bush, through brake, through groves, and gloomy dales,
Through dank and dry, o'er streams and flowery vales,
Direct they fled; but often look'd behind,
And stopt and started at each rustling wind.
Wing'd with like fear, his abdicated bands
Disperse and wander into different lands.
Part hid beneath the Peak's deep caverns lie,
In silent glooms, impervious to the sky;
Part on fair Avon's margin seek repose,
Whose stream o'er Britain's midmost region flows,
Where formidable Neptune never came,
And seas and oceans are but known by fame:
Some to dark woods and secret shade retreat:
And some on mountains choose their airy seat.
There haply by the ruddy damsel seen,
Or shepherd-boy, they featly foot the green,
While from their steps a circling verdure springs;
But fly from towns, and dread the courts of kings.
Mean-while said Kenna, loth to quit the grove,
Hung o'er the body of her breathless love,
Try'd every art, (vain arts!) to change his doom,
And vow'd (vain vows!) to join him in the tomb.
What could she do? the Fates alike deny
The dead to live, or fairy forms to die.
An herb there grows (the same old Homer tells
Ulysses bore to rival Circe's spells)
Its root is ebon-black, but sends to light
A stem that bends with flowrets milky white,
Moly the plant, which gods and fairies know,
But secret kept from mortal men below.
On his pale limbs its virtuous juice she shed,
And murmur'd mystic numbers o'er the dead,
When lo! the little shape by magic power
Grew less and less, contracted to a flower;
A flower, that first in this sweet garden smil'd,
To virgins sacred, and the Snow-drop styl'd.
The new-born plant with sweet regret she view'd,
Warm'd with her sighs, and with her tears bedew'd,
Its ripen'd seeds from bank to bank convey'd,
And with her lover whiten'd half the shade.
Thus won from death each spring she sees him grow,
And glorious in the vegetable snow,
Which now increas'd through wide Britannia's plains,
Its parent's warmth and spotless name retains,
First leader of the flowery race aspires,
And foremost catches the Sun's genial fires,
'Mid frosts and snows triumphant dares appear,
Mingles the seasons, and leads on the year.
Deserted now of all the pigmy race,
Nor man nor fairy touch'd this guilty place.
In heaps on heaps, for many a rolling age,
It lay accurs'd, the mark of Neptune's rage,
Till great Nassau recloath'd the desert shade,
Thence sacred to Britannia's monarchs made.
'Twas then the green-rob'd nymph, fair Kenna came,
(Kenna that gave the neighbouring town its name)
Proud when she saw th' ennobled garden shine,
With nymphs and heroes of her lover's line,
She vow'd to grace the mansions once her own.
And picture out in plants the fairy town.
To far-fam'd Wise her flight unseen she sped,
And with gay prospects fill'd the craftsman's head,
Soft in his fancy drew a pleasing scheme,
And plann'd that landscape in a morning dream.
With the sweet view the sire of gardens fir'd,
Attempts the labour by the nymph inspir'd,
The walls and streets in rows of yew designs,
And forms the town in all its ancient lines;
The corner trees he lifts more high in air,
And girds the palace with a verdant square;
Nor knows, while round he views the rising scenes,
He builds a city as he plants his greens.
With a sad pleasure the aërial maid
This image of her ancient realms survey'd,
How chang'd, how fall'n from its primeval pride!
Yet here each moon, the hour her lover dy'd,
Each moon his solemn obsequies she pays,
And leads the dance beneath pale Cynthia's rays;
Pleas'd in these shades to head her fairy train,
And grace the groves where Albion's kinsmen reign.