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THOU simple Lyre!-Thy music wild
Has serv'd to charm the weary hour,
And many a lonely night has 'guil'd,
When even pain has own'd and smil❜d,
Its fascinating power.
Yet, oh my Lyre! the busy crowd
Will little heed thy simple tones:
Them, mightier minstrels harping loud
Engross, and thou and I must shroud
Where dark oblivion 'thrones.
No hand, thy diapason o'er,
Well skill'd, I throw with sweep sublime;
For me, no academic lore
Has taught the solemn strain to pour,
Or build the polish'd rhyme.
Yet thou to Sylvan themes canst soar;
Thou know'st to charm the woodland train :
The rustic swains believe thy power
Can hush the wild winds when they roar,
And still the billowy main.
These honours, Lyre, we yet may keep,
I, still unknown, may live with thee,
And gentle zephyr's wing will sweep
Thy solemn string, where low I sleep,
Beneath the alder tree,
This little dirge will please me more
Than the full requiem's swelling peal;
I'd rather than that crowds should sigh
For me, that from some kindred eye
The trickling tear should steal.
Yet dear to me the wreath of bay,
Perhaps from me debarr'd;
And dear to me the classic zone,
Which, snatch'd from learning's labour'd throne,
Adorns the accepted bard.
And O! if yet 'twere mine to dwell
Where Cam or Isis winds along, Perchance, inspir'd with ardour chaste, I yet might call the ear of taste
To listen to my song.
Oh! then, my little friend, thy style
I'd change to happier lays,
Oh! then, the cloister'd glooms should smile,
And through the long, the fretted aisle
Should swell the note of praise.
Lo! in the west, fast fades the lingering light,
And day's last vestige takes its silent flight.
No more is heard the woodman's measur'd stroke
Which, with the dawn, from yonder dingle broke;
No more, hoarse clamouring o'er the uplifted head,
The crows assembling, seek their wind-rock'd bed;
Still'd is the village hum-the woodland sounds
Have ceas'd to echo o'er the dewy grounds,
And general silence reigns, save when below,
The murmuring Trent is scarcely heard to flow;
And save when, swung by 'nighted rustic late,
Oft, on its hinge, rebounds the jarring gate :
Or when the sheep bell, in the distant vale,
Breathes its wild music on the downy gale.
Now, when the rustic wears the social smile,
Releas'd from day and its attendant toil,
And draws his household round their evening fire,
And tells the oft-told tales that never tire:
Or where the town's blue turrets dimly rise,
And manufacture taints the ambient skies,
The pale mechanic leaves the labouring loom,
The air-pent hold, the pestilential room,
And rushes out, impatient to begin
The stated course of customary sin
Now, now my solitary way I bend
Where solemn groves in awful state impend,
And cliffs, that boldly rise above the plain,
Bespeak, blest Clifton! thy sublime domain.
Here lonely wandering o'er the sylvan bower,
I come to pass the meditative hour;
To bid awhile the strife of passion cease,
And woo the calms of solitude and peace.
And oh! thou sacred Power, who rear'st on high
Thy leafy throne where waving poplars sigh!
Genius of woodland shades! whose mild controul
Steals with resistless witchery to the soul,
Come with thy wonted ardour, and inspire
My glowing bosom with thy hallowed fire.
And thou too, Fancy, from thy starry sphere,
Where to the hymning orbs thou lend'st thine ear,
Do thou descend, and bless my ravish'd sight,
Veil'd in soft visions of serene delight.
At thy command the gale that passes by
Bears in its whispers mystic harmony.
Thou way'st thy wand, and lo! what forms appear!
On the dark cloud what giant shapes career!
The ghosts of Ossian skim the misty vale,
And hosts of Sylphids on the moon-beams sail.
This gloomy alcove, darkling to the sight,
Where meeting trees create eternal night;
Save, when from yonder stream, the sunny ray,
Reflected gives a dubious gleam of day;
Recalls endearing to my alter'd mind,
Times, when beneath the boxen hedge reclin'd,
I watch'd the lapwing to her clamorous brood;
Or lur'd the robin to its scatter'd food;
Or woke with song the woodland echo wild,
And at each gay response delighted smil❜d.
How oft, when childhood threw its golden ray
Of gay romance o'er every happy day,
Here would I run, a visionary boy,
When the hoarse tempest shook the vaulted sky,
And, fancy-led, beheld the Almighty's form
Sternly careering on the eddying storm;
And heard, while awe congeal'd my inmost soul,
His voice terrific in the thunders roll.
With secret joy, I view'd with vivid glare
The volley'd lightnings cleave the sullen air;
And, as the warring winds around revil'd,
With awful pleasure big, I heard and smil❜d.
Belov'd remembrance !-Memory which endears.
This silent spot to my advancing years.
Here dwells eternal peace, eternal rest,
In shades like these to live is to be blest.
While Happiness evades the busy crowd,
In rural coverts loves the maid to shroud.
And thou too, Inspiration, whose wild flame
Shoots with electric swiftness through the frame,
Thou here dost love to sit with up-turn'd eye,
And listen to the stream that murmurs by,
The woods that wave, the grey-owl's silken flight,
The mellow music of the listening night.