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Wbile gleaming o'er the erisped bowers
Rich spires arose, and sparkling towers.
If bound on service new to go,
The master of the magic show,
His transitory charm withdrew,
Away th' illusive landscape flew :
Dun clouds obscur'd the groves of gold,
Blue lightning smote the blooming mould:
In visionary glory rear'd,
The gorgeous castle disappear’d;
And a bare heath's unfruitful plain
Usurp'd the wizard's proud domain.
Præcipe lugubres Cantus, Melpomene ! MOTHER of musings, Contemplation sage, Whose grotto stands upon the topmost rock Of Teneriff; \mid the tempestuous night, On which, in calmest meditation held, Thou hear'st with howling winds the beating rain And drifting hail descend; or if the skies Unclouded shine, and through the blue serene Pale Cynthia rolls her silver-axled car, Whence gazing stedfast on the spangled vault Raptur'd thou sitt'st, while murmurs indistinct Of distant billows soothe thy pensive ear With hoarse and hollow sounds; secure, self-blest,
There oft thou listen'st to the wild uproar
Of fleets encount'ring, that in whispers low
Ascends the rocky summit, where thou dwell'st
Remote from man conversing with the spheres !
O lead me, queen sublime, to solemn glooms
Congenial with my soul; to cheerless shades,
To ruin'd seats, to twilight cells and bow'rs,
Where thoughtful Melancholy loves to muse,
Her fav’rite midnight haunts. The laughing scenes
Of purple Spring, where all the wanton train
Of Smiles and Graces seem to lead the dance
In sportive round, while from their hand they show'r
Ambrosial blooms and flow'rs, no longer charm;
Tempé, no more I court thy balmy breeze,
Adieu green vales ! ye broider'd meads, adieu !
Beneath yon ruin’d abbey's moss-grown piles
Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve,
Where through some western window the pale Moon
Pours her long-levellid rule of streaming light;
While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
Save the lone screech-owl's note, who builds his bow'r
Amid the mould'ring caverns dark and damp,
Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves
Of flaunting ivy, that with mantle green
Invests some wasted tow'r. Or let me tread
Its neighb'ring walk of pines, where mus'd of old
The cloister'd brothers : through the gloomy void
That far extends beneath their ample arch
As on I pace, religious horrour wraps
My soul in dread repose. But when the world
Is clad in Midnight's raven-colour'd robe,
'Mid hollow charnel let me watch the flame
Of taper dim, shedding a livid glare O’er the wan heaps ; while airy voices talk Along the glimm'ring walls; or ghostly shape At distance seen, invites with beck’ning hand My lonesome steps, through the far-winding vaults. Nor undelightful is the solemn noon Of night, when haply wakeful from my couch I start: lo! all is motionless around ! Roars not the rushing wind; the sons of men And every beast in mute oblivion lie; All nature 's hush'd in silence and in sleep. O then how fearful is it to reflect, That through the still globe's aweful solitude, No being wakes but me! till stealing sleep My drooping temples bathes in opiate dews. Nor then let dreams, of wanton folly born, My senses lead through flow'ry paths of joy; But let the sacred genius of the night Such mystic visions send, as Spenser saw, When through bewild'ring Fancy's magic maze, To the fell house of Busyrane, he led Th' unshaken Britomart; or Milton knew, When in abstracted thought he first conceiv'd All Heav'n in tumult, and the seraphim Come tow'ring, arm'd in adamant and gold.
Let others love soft Summer's evening smiles, As, list’ning to the distant water-fall, They mark the blushes of the streaky west I choose the pale December's foggy glooms. Then, when the sullen shades of ev'ning close, Where through the room a blindly glimm’ring gleam The dying embers scatter, far remote
From Mirth's mad shouts, that through th' illumın'd
Resound with festive echo, let me sit,
Blest with the lowly cricket's drowsy dirge.
Then let my thought contemplative explore
This fleeting state of things, the vain delights,
The fruitless toils, that still our search elude,
As through the wilderness of life we rove.
This sober hour of silence will unmask
False Folly's smile, that like the dazzling spells
Of wily Comus cheat the unweeting eye
With blear illusion, and persuade to drink
That charmed cup, which Reason's mintage fair
Unmoulds, and stamps the monster on the man.
Eager we taste, but in the luscious draught
Forget the poisonous dregs that lurk beneath.
Few know that elegance of soul refin'd,
Whose soft sensation feels a quicker joy
From Melancholy's scenes, than the dull pride
Of tasteless splendour and magnificence
Can e'er afford. Thus Eloise, whose mind
Had languish'd to the pangs of melting love,
More genuine transports found, as on some tomb
Reclin’d, she watch'd the tapers of the dead;
Or through the pillar'd iles, amid pale shrines
Of imag'd saints, and intermingled graves,
Mus'd a veil'd votaress; than Flavia feels,
As through the mazes of the festive ball,
Proud of her conquering charms, and beauty's blaze,
She floats amid the silken sons of dress,
And shines the fairest of th' assembled fair.
When azure noontide cheers the dædal globe,
And the blest regent of the golden day
Rejoices in his bright meridian tower,
How oft my wishes ask the night's return,
That best befriends the melancholy mind!
Hail, sacred Night ! thou too shalt share my song!
Sister of ebon-scepter'd Hecat, hail !
Whether in congregated clouds thou wrapp'st
Thy viewless chariot, or with silver crown
Thy beaming head encirclest, ever hail !
What though beneath thy gloom the sorceress-strain,
Far in obscured haunt of Lapland moors,
With rhymes uncouth the bloody cauldron bless;
Though Murder wan beneath thy shrouding shade
Summons her slow-ey'd vot’ries to devise
Of secret slaughter, while by one blue lamp
In hideous conf'rence sits the list'ning band,
And start at each low wind, or wakeful sound:
What though thy stay the pilgrim curseth oft,
As all benighted in Arabian wastes
He hears the wilderness around him howl
With roaming monsters, while on his hoar head
The black-descending tempest ceaseless beats ;
Yet more delightful to my pensive mind
Is thy return, than blooming Morn's approach,
Ev'n than, in youthful pride of opening May,
When from the portals of the saffron east
She sheds fresh roses, and ambrosial dews.
Yet not ungrateful is the Morn's approach,
When dropping wet she comes, and clad in clouds,
While through the damp air scowls the louring
Blackening the landscape's face, that grove and hill