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From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise :
Then, to come, in spite of sorrow,
And, at my window, bid good-morrow,
Through the sweet-briar, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine;
While the cock, with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn door,
Stoutly struts his dames before :
Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill :
Sometimes walking not unseen
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great sun begins his state,
Robed in flames, and amber light
The clouds in thousand liveries dight;
While the ploughman near at hand
Whistles o'er the furrowed land,
And the milk-
maid singing blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale,
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,
While the landscape round it measures ;
Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray ;
Mountains on whose barren breast
The labouring clouds do often rest;
Meadows trim with daisies pied :
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide :
Towers and battlements it sees,
Bosomed high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage-chimney smokes
From betwixt two aged oaks
Where Corydon and Thyrsis met
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses ;
And then in haste her bower she leaves
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tanned hay-cock in the mead.
Towered cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold
In weeds of peace high triumphs hold;
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry;
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eve by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakspere, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.
And ever, against eating cares, Lap me in soft Lydian airs, Married to immortal verse, Such as the melting soul may pierce : In notes, with many a winding bout Of linked sweetness long drawn out; With wanton heed and giddy cunning, The melting voice through mazes running;
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of Harmony:
That Orpheus' self may heave his head,
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regained Eurydice.
These delights, if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
MILTON'S LAST VERSES.
I AM old and blind;
Men point at me as smitten of God's frown,-
Afflicted and deserted of my kind :
Yet am I not cast down.
I am weak, yet strong;
I murmur not that I no longer see;
Poor, old, and helpless, I the more belong,
Father Supreme! to Thee.
O merciful One! When men are farthest then Thou art most near; When friends pass by, my weakness shun,
Thy chariot I hear.
Thy glorious face
Is leaning towards me; and its holy light
Shines in upon my lonely dwelling-place,
And there is no more night.
On my bended knee
I recognise Thy purpose clearly shown :
My vision thou hast dimmed, that I may see
I have nought to fear;
This darkness is the shadow of Thy wing ;
Beneath it I am almost sacred-here
Can come no evil thing.
Oh! I seem to stand Trembling, where foot of mortal ne'er hath been, Wrapped in the radiance of Thy sinless hand,
Which eye hath never seen.
Visions come and go; Shapes of resplendent beauty round me throng : From angel lips I seem to hear the flow
Of soft and holy song.
It is nothing now, When Heaven is opening on my sightless eyes : When airs from Paradise refresh my brow,
The earth in darkness lies.
In a purer clime My being fills with rapture-waves of thought Roll in upon my spirit-strains sublime
Break over me unsought.
Give me now my lyre !
I feel the stirrings of a gift Divine ;
Within my bosom glows unearthly fire,
Lit by no skill of mine.
(1631–1700.) BORN at Aldwinckle, in Northamptonshire, and educated at Westminster (under the celebrated Dr. Busby), and at Trinity College, Cambridge. Adopted literature as a profession, and was appointed poet-laureate in the reign of Charles II. of which he was deprived on the accession of William and Mary. Died in London in the year 1700, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His chief works are Absalom and Achitophel ; The Hind and Panther ; Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (or Alexander's Feast); Translation of Virgil, and numerous dramas.
CREATOR Spirit ! by whose aid
The world's foundations first were laid,
Come, visit every pious mind :
Come, pour Thy joys on human kind;
From sin and sorrow set us free,
And make Thy temples worthy Thee.
O Source of uncreated light,
The Father's promised Paraclete;
Thrice holy fount, thrice holy fire,
Our hearts with heavenly love inspire;
Come, and Thy sacred unction bring,
To sanctify us while we sing.
Plenteous of grace, descend from high,
Rich in Thy sevenfold energy!
Thou strength of His Almighty hand,
Whose power does heaven and earth command;
Proceeding Spirit, our defence,
Who dost the gifts of tongues dispense,
And crown'st Thy gifts with eloquence !
Refine and purge our earthly parts;
But oh, inflame and fire our hearts !