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Next o'er his books his eyes began to roll,
In pleasing memory of all he stole

How here he sipped, how there he plundered snug,
And sucked all o'er like an industrious bug.
Here lay poor Fletcher's half-eat scenes, and here
The frippery of crucified Molière;

There hapless Shakespeare, yet of Tibbald sore,
Wished he had blotted for himself before.

[THE RESTORATION OF NIGHT AND CHAOS]

In vain, in vain-the all-composing hour
Resistless falls: the Muse obeys the power.
She comes! she comes! the sable throne behold
Of Night primeval and of Chaos old!
Before her, Fancy's gilded clouds decay,
And all its varying rainbows die away.
Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires,
The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.
As one by one, at dread Medea's strain,
The sickening stars fade off th' ethereal plain;
As Argus' eyes, by Hermes' wand oppressed,
Closed one by one to everlasting rest:
Thus at her felt approach, and secret might,
Art after art goes out, and all is night.
See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled,
Mountains of casuistry heaped o'er her head!
Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense!
See Mystery to Mathematics fly!

In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.

Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;
Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!
Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored;
Light dies before thy uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
And universal darkness buries all.

LADY WINCHILSEA

TO THE NIGHTINGALE

Exert thy voice, sweet harbinger of Spring!
This moment is thy time to sing,
This moment I attend to praise,
And set my numbers to thy lays.

Free as thine shall be my song;
As thy music, short, or long.
Poets, wild as thee, were born,

Pleasing best when unconfined, When to please is least designed, Soothing but their cares to rest;

Cares do still their thoughts molest,
And still th' unhappy poet's breast,
Like thine, when best he sings, is placed against a thorn.
She begins, let all be still!

Muse, thy promise now fulfil!
Sweet, oh! sweet, still sweeter yet!
Can thy words such accents fit?
Canst thou syllables refine,
Melt a sense that shall retain
Still some spirit of the brain,
Till with sounds like these it join?

"Twill not be! then change thy note;
Let division shake thy throat.
Hark! division now she tries;
Yet as far the muse outflies.

Cease then, prithee, cease thy tune;
Trifler, wilt thou sing till June?
Till thy business all lies waste,
And the time of building's past!

Thus we poets that have speech, Unlike what thy forests teach,

If a fluent vein be shown

That's transcendent to our own,
Criticise, reform, or preach,
Or censure what we cannot reach.

A NOCTURNAL REVERIE

In such a night, when every louder wind
Is to its distant cavern safe confined,
And only gentle Zephyr fans his wings,
And lonely Philomel, still waking, sings;
Or from some tree, famed for the owl's delight,
She hollowing clear, directs the wanderer right;
In such a night, when passing clouds give place,
Or thinly veil the heaven's mysterious face;
When in some river, overhung with green,
The waving moon and trembling leaves are seen;
When freshened grass now bears itself upright,
And makes cool banks to pleasing rest invite,
Whence springs the woodbine and the bramble-rose,
And where the sleepy cowslip sheltered grows;
Whilst now a paler hue the foxglove takes,
Yet chequers still with red the dusky brakes;
When scattered glow-worms, but in twilight fine,
Show trivial beauties watch their hour to shine,
Whilst Salisbury stands the test of every light
In perfect charms and perfect virtue bright;
When odours which declined repelling day
Through temperate air uninterrupted stray:
When darkened groves their softest shadows wear,
And falling waters we distinctly hear;
When through the gloom more venerable shows
Some ancient fabric, awful in repose,

While sunburnt hills their swarthy looks conceal
And swelling haycocks thicken up the vale;
When the loosed horse now, as his pasture leads,
Comes slowly grazing through th' adjoining meads,
Whose stealing pace, and lengthened shade we fear,
Till torn up forage in his teeth we hear;
When nibbling sheep at large pursue their food,
And unmolested kine re-chew the cud;
When curlews cry beneath the village-walls,
And to her straggling brood the partridge calls;
Their shortlived jubilee the creatures keep,
Which but endures whilst tyrant-man does sleep;
When a sedate content the spirit feels,
And no fierce light disturb, whilst it reveals;

But silent musings urge the mind to seek
Something too high for syllables to speak;
Till the free soul to a composedness charmed,
Finding the elements of rage disarmed,
O'er all below a solemn quiet grown,

Joys in th' inferior world and thinks it like her own:
In such a night let me abroad remain

Till morning breaks and all's confused again;
Our cares, our toils, our clamours are renewed,
Or pleasures, seldom reached, again pursued.

JOHN GAY

FROM RURAL SPORTS

When the ploughman leaves the task of day, And, trudging homeward, whistles on the way; When the big-uddered cows with patience stand, Waiting the strokings of the damsel's hand; No warbling cheers the woods; the feathered choir, To court kind slumbers, to their sprays retire; When no rude gale disturbs the sleeping trees, Nor aspen leaves confess the gentlest breeze; Engaged in thought, to Neptune's bounds I stray, To take my farewell of the parting day: Far in the deep the sun his glory hides, A streak of gold the sea and sky divides; The purple clouds their amber linings show, And edged with flame rolls every wave below; Here pensive I behold the fading light, And o'er the distant billows lose my sight.

FROM THE SHEPHERD'S WEEK

THURSDAY; OR, THE SPELL

I rue the day, a rueful day I trow,
The woeful day, a day indeed of woe!
When Lubberkin to town his cattle drove:
A maiden fine bedight he happed to love;

The maiden fine bedight his love retains,
And for the village he forsakes the plains.
Return, my Lubberkin! these ditties hear!
Spells will I try, and spells shall ease my care.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.

Last May Day fair I searched to find a snail That might my secret lover's name reveal. Upon a gooseberry-bush a snail I found, For always snails near sweetest fruit abound. I seized the vermin, home I quickly sped, And on the hearth the milk-white embers spread: Slow crawled the snail, and, if I right can spell, In the soft ashes marked a curious L. Oh, may this wondrous omen lucky prove! For L is found in 'Lubberkin' and 'Love.'

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.

This lady-fly I take from off the grass,
Whose spotted back might scarlet red surpass:
'Fly, lady-bird, north, south, or east, or west!
Fly where the man is found that I love best!',
He leaves my hand: see, to the west he's flown,
To call my true-love from the faithless town.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.

This mellow pippin, which I pare around,
My shepherd's name shall flourish on the ground:
I fling th' unbroken paring o'er my head-
Upon the grass a perfect L is read.

Yet on my heart a fairer L is seen
Than what the paring marks upon the green.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.

This pippin shall another trial make.
See, from the core two kernels brown I take:

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