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The fisher left his skiff to rock on Tamar's glittering waves:
The rugged miners poured to war from Mendip's sunless caves:
O'er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the fiery herald flew:
He roused the shepherds of Stonehenge, the rangers of Beaulieu.
Right sharp and quick the bells all night rang out from Bristol

And ere the day three hundred horse had met on Clifton down;
The sentinel on Whitehall gate looked forth into the night,
And saw o'erhanging Richmond Hill the streak of blood-red light
Then bugle's note and cannon's roar the death-like silence broke
And with one start, and with one cry, the royal city woke.
At once on all her stately gates arose the answering fires;
At once the wild alarum clashed from all her reeling spires;
From all the batteries of the Tower pealed loud the voice of fear;
And all the thousand masts of Thames sent back a louder cheer:
And from the furthest wards was heard the rush of hurrying feet,
And the broad streams of pikes and flags rushed down each roaring

And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din,
As fast from every village round the horse came spurring in:
And eastward straight from wild Blackheath the warlike errand


And roused in many an ancient hall the gallant squires of Kent. Southward from Surrey's pleasant hills flew those bright couriers forth;

High on bleak Hampstead's swarthy moor they started for the north;

And on, and on, without a pause, untired they bounded still:
All night from tower to tower they sprang; they sprang from hill

to hill :

Till the proud peak unfurled the flag o'er Darwin's rocky dales,
Till like volcanoes flared to heaven the stormy hills of Wales,
Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's lonely height,
Till streamed in crimson on the wind the Wrekin's crest of light,
Till broad and fierce the star came forth on Ely's stately fane,
And tower and hamlet rose in arms o'er all the boundless plain;
Till Belvoir's lordly terraces the sign to Lincoln sent,
And Lincoln sped the message on o'er the wide vale of Trent;
Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burned on Gaunt's embattled pile,
And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle.



Passing from Italy to Greece, the tales
Which poets of an elder time have feign'd
To glorify their Tempe, bred in me
Desire of visiting that paradise.

To Thessaly I came, and living private,

Without acquaintance of more sweet companions
Than the old inmates to my love, my thoughts,
I day by day frequented silent groves,
And solitary walks. One morning early
This accident encounter'd me: I heard
The sweetest and most ravishing contention,
That art or nature ever were at strife in.
A sound of music touch'd mine ears, or rather,
Indeed, entranced my soul: as I stole nearer,
Invited by the melody, I saw

This youth, this fair-faced youth, upon his lute,
With strains of strange variety and harmony,
Proclaiming (as it seem'd) so bold a challenge
To the clear quiristers of the woods, the birds,
That, as they flock'd about him, all stood silent,
Wondering at what they heard. I wonder`d too.
A Nightingale,

Nature's best skill'd musician, undertakes

The challenge; and, for every several strain

The well-shaped youth could touch, she sang her own;

He could not run division with more art

Upon his quaking instrument, than she,

The Nightingale, did with her various notes
Reply to.

Some time thus spent, the young man grew at last
Into a pretty anger; that a bird,

Whom art had never taught cliffs, moods, or notes,
Should vie with him for mastery, whose study
Had busied many hours to perfect practice:
To end the controversy, in a rapture
Upon his instrument he plays so swiftly,
So many voluntaries, and so quick,


That there was curiosity and cunning,
Concord in discord, lines of differing method
Meeting in one full centre of delight.
The bird (ordain'd to be

Music's first martyr) strove to imitate

These several sounds: which when her warbling throat
Fail'd in, for grief down dropt she on his lute,

And brake her heart. It was the quaintest sadness,

To see the conqueror upon her hearse,

To weep a funeral elegy of tears.

He looked upon the trophies of his art,

Then sigh'd, then wiped his eyes, then sigh'd, and cried, 'Alas! poor creature, I will soon revenge

This cruelty upon the author of it.
Henceforth this lute, guilty of innocent blood,
Shall never more betray a harmless peace
To an untimely end;' and in that sorrow,
As he was pashing it against a tree,
I suddenly stept in.

Ford (paraphrased from Strada).


Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart

In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still, and higher,

From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;

The deep blue thou wingest,

And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever, singest.


In the golden lightening

Of the sunken sun,

O'er which clouds are brightening,

Thou dost float and run,

Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight:
Like a star of heaven,
Inthe broad daylight

Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.

All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,

As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud

The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.

What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?

From rainbow clouds there flow not

Drops so bright to see,

As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a glowworm golden
In a dell of dew,

Scattering unbeholden

Its aërial hue

Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view.

Like a rose embowered

In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,
Till the scent it gives

Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves.

Sound of vernal showers

On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was

Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

Teach us, sprite or bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine ;

I have never heard

Praise of love or wine

That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.


Chorus hymeneal,
Or triumphal chant,

Matched with thine would be all

But an empty vaunt

A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain ?

What fields, or waves, or mountains ?

What shapes of sky or plain?

What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught:

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride, and fear;

If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,

I know not how thy joy we ever could come near.

Better than all measures

Of delight and sound,
Better than all treasures

That in books are found,

Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness

From my lips would flow,

The world should listen then, as I am listening now.



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