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Long have ye heard the narratives of age,
The battle's havoc, and the tempest's rage;
Long have ye known Reflection's genial ray
Gild the calm close of Valour's various day.
Time's sombrous touches soon correct the piece,
Mellow each tint, and bid each discord cease:
A softer tone of light pervades the whole,
And steals a pensive languor o'er the soul.
Hast thou thro' Eden's wild-wood vales pursued Each mountain-scene, majestically rude; To note the sweet simplicity of life, Far from the din of Folly's idle strife; Nor there awhile, with lifted eye, revered That modest stone which pious PEMBROKE reared; Which still records, beyond the pencil's power, The silent sorrows of a parting hour; Still to the musing pilgrim points the place, Her sainted spirit most delights to trace?
Thus, with the manly glow of honest pride,
O'er his dead son the gallant ORMOND sighed.
Thus, thro' the gloom of SHENSTONE's fairy-grove,
MARIA's urn still breathes the voice of love.
As the stern grandeur of a Gothic tower
Awes us less deeply in its morning-hour,
Than when the shades of Time serenely fall
On every broken arch and ivied wall;
The tender images we love to trace,
Steal from each year a melancholy grace !
And as the sparks of social love expand,
As the heart opens in a foreign land;
And, with a brother's warmth, a brother's smile,
The stranger greets each native of his isle;
So scenes of life, when present and confest,
Stamp but their bolder features on the breast;
Yet not an image, when remotely viewed,
However trivial, and however rude,
But wins the heart, and wakes the social sigh,
With every claim of close affinity!
But these pure joys the world can never know;
In gentler climes their silver currents flow.
Oft at the silent, shadowy close of day,
When the hushed grove has sung its parting lay;
When pensive Twilight, in her dusky car,
Comes slowly on to meet the evening-star;
Above, below, aerial murmurs swell,
From hanging wood, brown heath, and bushy dell!
A thousand nameless rills, that shun the light,
Stealing soft music on the ear of night.
So oft the finer movements of the soul,
That shun the sphere of Pleasure's gay controul,
In the still shades of calm Seclusion rise,
And breathe their sweet, seraphic harmonies !
Once, and domestic annals tell the time, (Preserved in Cumbria’s rude, romantic clime) When Nature smiled, and o'er the landscape threw Her richest fragrance, and her brightest hue,
A blithe and blooming Forester explored
Those loftier scenes SALVATOR's soul adored;
The rocky pass half-hung with shaggy wood,
And the cleft oak flung boldly o'er the flood;
Nor shunned the track, unknown to human tread,
That downward to the night of caverns led;
Some ancient cataract's deserted bed.
High on exulting wing the heath-cock rose, And blew his shrill blast o'er perennial snows; Ere the rapt youth, recoiling from the roar, Gazed on the tumbling tide of dread Lodore; And thro' the rifted cliffs, that scaled the sky, Derwent's clear mirror charmed his dazzled eye.
Each osier isle, inverted on the wave,
Thro' morn's grey mist its melting colours gave;
And, o'er the cygnet's haunt, the mantling grove
Its emerald arch with wild luxuriance wove.
Light as the breeze that brushed the orient dew,
From rock to rock the young Adventurer flew;
And day's last sunshine slept along the shore,
When lo, a path the smile of welcome wore.
Imbowering shrubs with verdure veiled the sky,
And on the musk-rose shed a deeper die;
Save when a bright and momentary gleam
Glanced from the white foam of some sheltered stream.
O'er the still lake the bell of evening tolled,
And on the moor the shepherd penned his fold;
And on the green hill's side the meteor played;
When, hark! a voice sung sweetly thro' the shade.
It ceased—yet still in Florio's fancy sung,
Still on each note his captive spirit hung;
Till o'er the mead a cool, sequestered grot
From its rich roof a sparry lustre shot.
A crystal water crossed the pebbled floor,
And on the front these simple lines it bore.
Hence away, nor dare intrude!
In this secret, shadowy cell
Musing MEMORY loves to dwell,
With her sister Solitude.
Far from the busy world she flies,
To taste that peace the world denies.
Entranced she sits; from youth to age,
Reviewing Life's eventful page;
And noting, ere they fade away,
The little lines of yesterday.
Florio had gained a rude and rocky seat,
When lo, the Genius of this still retreat!
Fair was her form—but who can hope to trace
The pensive softness of her angel-face?
Can Virgil's verse, can RAPHAEL's touch impart
Those finer features of the feeling heart,
Those tend'rer tints that shun the careless eye,
And in the world's contagious climate die?
She left the cave, nor marked the stranger there; Her pastoral beauty, and her artless air Had breathed a soft enchantment o'er his soul! In every nerve he felt her blest controul ! What pure and white-winged agents of the sky, Who rule the springs of sacred sympathy, Inform congenial spirits when they meet? Sweet is their office, as their natures sweet!
Florio, with fearful joy, pursued the maid, Till thro' a vista's moonlight-chequered shade, Where the bat circled, and the rooks reposed, (Their wars suspended, and their councils closed) An antique mansion burst in awful state, A rich vine clustering round the Gothic gate. Nor paused he there. The master of the scene Saw his light step imprint the dewy green; And, slow-advancing, hailed him as his guest, Won by the honest warmth his looks expressed.