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THE CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.

The Castle hight of Indolence,
And its false Luxury;
Where for a little Time, alas!
We liv'd right jollily.
I.
1 O MORTAL Man, who livest here by Toil,
2 Do not complain of this thy hard Estate;
3 That like an Emmet thou must ever moil,
4 Is a sad Sentence of an ancient Date:
5 And, certes, there is for it Reason great;
6 For, though sometimes it makes thee weep and wail,
7 And curse thy Star, and early drudge and late,
8 Withouten That would come an heavier Bale,
9 Loose Life, unruly Passions, and Diseases pale.
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II.
10 In lowly Dale, fast by a River's Side,
11 With woody Hill o'er Hill encompass'd round,
12 A most enchanting Wizard did abide,
13 Than whom a Fiend more fell is no where found.
14 It was, I ween, a lovely Spot of Ground;
15 And there a Season atween June and May,
16 Half prankt with Spring, with Summer half imbrown'd,
17 A listless Climate made, where, Sooth to say,
18 No living Wight could work, ne cared even for Play.
III.
19 Was nought around but Images of Rest:
20 Sleep-soothing Groves, and quiet Lawns between;
21 And flowery Beds that slumbrous Influence kest,
22 From Poppies breath'd; and Beds of pleasant Green,
23 Where never yet was creeping Creature seen.
24 Mean time unnumber'd glittering Streamlets play'd,
25 And hurled every-where their Waters sheen;
26 That, as they bicker'd through the sunny Glade,
27 Though restless still themselves, a lulling Murmur made.
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IV.
28 Join'd to the Prattle of the purling Rills,
29 Were heard the lowing Herds along the Vale,
30 And Flocks loud-bleating from the distant Hills,
31 And vacant Shepherds piping in the Dale;
32 And now and then sweet Philomel would wail,
33 Or Stock-Doves plain amid the Forest deep,
34 That drowsy rustled to the sighing Gale;
35 And still a Coil the Grashopper did keep:
36 Yet all these Sounds yblent inclined all to Sleep.
V.
37 Full in the Passage of the Vale, above,
38 A sable, silent, solemn Forest stood;
39 Where nought but shadowy Forms were seen to move,
40 As Idless fancy'd in her dreaming Mood.
41 And up the Hills, on either Side, a Wood
42 Of blackening Pines, ay waving to and fro,
43 Sent forth a sleepy Horror through the Blood;
44 And where this Valley winded out, below,
45 The murmuring Main was heard, and scarcely heard, to flow.
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VI.
46 A pleasing Land of Drowsy-hed it was:
47 Of Dreams that wave before the half-shut Eye;
48 And of gay Castles in the Clouds that pass,
49 For ever flushing round a Summer-Sky:
50 There eke the soft Delights, that witchingly
51 Instil a wanton Sweetness through the Breast,
52 And the calm Pleasures always hover'd nigh;
53 But whate'er smack'd of Noyance, or Unrest,
54 Was far far off expell'd from this delicious Nest.
VII.
55 The Landskip such, inspiring perfect Ease,
56 Where INDOLENCE (for so the Wizard hight)
57 Close-hid his Castle mid embowering Trees,
58 That half shut out the Beams of Phoebus bright,
59 And made a Kind of checker'd Day and Night.
60 Mean while, unceasing at the massy Gate,
61 Beneath a spacious Palm, the wicked Wight
62 Was plac'd; and to his Lute, of cruel Fate,
63 And Labour harsh, complain'd, lamenting Man's Estate.
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VIII.
64 Thither continual Pilgrims crouded still,
65 From all the Roads of Earth that pass there by:
66 For, as they chaunc'd to breathe on neighbouring Hill,
67 The Freshness of this Valley smote their Eye,
68 And drew them ever and anon more nigh,
69 'Till clustering round th'Enchanter false they hung,
70 Ymolten with his Syren Melody;
71 While o'er th' enfeebling Lute his Hand he flung,
72 And to the trembling Chords these tempting Verses sung:
IX.
73 "Behold! ye Pilgrims of this Earth, behold!
74 " See all but Man with unearn'd Pleasure gay.
75 "See her bright Robes the Butterfly unfold,
76 " Broke from her wintry Tomb in Prime of May.
77 "What youthful Bride can equal her Array?
78 " Who can with Her for easy Pleasure vie?
79 "From Mead to Mead with gentle Wing to stray,
80 " From Flower to Flower on balmy Gales to fly,
81 "Is all she has to do beneath the radiant Sky.
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X.
82 "Behold the merry Minstrels of the Morn,
83 " The swarming Songsters of the careless Grove,
84 "Ten thousand Throats! that, from the flowering Thorn,
85 " Hymn their Good GOD, and carol sweet of Love,
86 "Such grateful kindly Raptures them emove:
87 " They neither plough, nor sow; ne, fit for Flail,
88 "E'er to the Barn the nodding Sheaves they drove;
89 " Yet theirs each Harvest dancing in the Gale,
90 "Whatever crowns the Hill, or smiles along the Vale.
XI.
91 "Outcast of Nature, Man! the wretched Thrall
92 " Of bitter-dropping Sweat, of sweltry Pain,
93 "Of Cares that eat away thy Heart with Gall,
94 " And of the Vices, an inhuman Train,
95 "That all proceed from savage Thirst of Gain:
96 " For when hard-hearted Interest first began
97 "To poison Earth, Astraea left the Plain;
98 " Guile, Violence, and Murder seiz'd on Man;
99 "And, for soft milky Streams, with Blood the Rivers ran.
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XII.
100 "Come, ye, who still the cumbrous Load of Life
101 " Push hard up Hill; but as the farthest Steep
102 "You trust to gain, and put an End to Strife,
103 " Down thunders back the Stone with mighty Sweep,
104 "And hurls your Labours to the Valley deep,
105 " For-ever vain: come, and, withouten Fee,
106 "I in Oblivion will your Sorrows steep,
107 " Your Cares, your Toils, will steep you in a Sea
108 "Of full Delight: O come, ye weary Wights, to me!
XIII.
109 "With me, you need not rise at early Dawn,
110 " To pass the joyless Day in various Stounds:
111 "Or, louting low, on upstart Fortune fawn,
112 " And sell fair Honour for some paltry Pounds;
113 "Or through the City take your dirty Rounds,
114 " To cheat, and dun, and lye, and Visit pay,
115 "Now flattering base, now giving secret Wounds;
116 " Or proul in Courts of Law for human Prey,
117 "In venal Senate thieve, or rob on broad High-way.
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XIV.
118 "No Cocks, with me, to rustic Labour call,
119 " From Village on to Village sounding clear;
120 "To tardy Swain no shrill-voic'd Matrons squall;
121 " No Dogs, no Babes, no Wives, to stun your Ear;
122 "No Hammers thump; no horrid Blacksmith sear,
123 " Ne noisy Tradesman your sweet Slumbers start,
124 "With Sounds that are a Misery to hear:
125 " But all is calm, as would delight the Heart
126 "Of Sybarite of old, all Nature, and all Art.
XV.
127 "Here nought but Candour reigns, indulgent Ease,
128 " Good-natur'd Lounging, Sauntering up and down:
129 "They who are pleas'd themselves must always please;
130 " On Others' Ways they never squint a Frown,
131 "Nor heed what haps in Hamlet or in Town.
132 " Thus, from the Source of tender Indolence,
133 "With milky Blood the Heart is overflown,
134 " Is sooth'd and sweeten'd by the social Sense;
135 "For Interest, Envy, Pride, and Strife are banish'd hence.
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XVI.
136 "What, what, is Virtue, but Repose of Mind?
137 " A pure ethereal Calm! that knows no Storm;
138 "Above the Reach of wild Ambition's Wind,
139 " Above those Passions that this World deform,
140 "And torture Man, a proud malignant Worm!
141 " But here, instead, soft Gales of Passion play,
142 "And gently stir the Heart, thereby to form
143 " A quicker Sense of Joy; as Breezes stray
144 "Across th' enliven'd Skies, and make them still more gay.
XVII.
145 "The Best of Men have ever lov'd Repose:
146 " They hate to mingle in the filthy Fray;
147 "Where the Soul sowrs, and gradual Rancour grows,
148 " Imbitter'd more from peevish Day to Day.
149 "Even Those whom Fame has lent her fairest Ray,
150 " The most renown'd of worthy Wights of Yore,
151 "From a base World at last have stolen away:
152 " So SCIPIO, to the soft Cumaean Shore
153 "Retiring, tasted Joy he never knew before.
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XVIII.
154 "But if a little Exercise you chuse,
155 " Some Zest for Ease, 'tis not forbidden here.
156 "Amid the Groves you may indulge the Muse,
157 " Or tend the Blooms, and deck the vernal Year;
158 "Or softly stealing, with your watry Gear,
159 " Along the Brooks, the crimson-spotted Fry
160 "You may delude: The whilst, amus'd, you hear
161 " Now the hoarse Stream, and now the Zephir's Sigh,
162 "Attuned to the Birds, and woodland Melody.
XIX.
163 "O grievous Folly! to heap up Estate,
164 " Losing the Days you see beneath the Sun;
165 "When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting Fate,
166 " And gives th' untasted Portion you have won,
167 "With ruthless Toil, and many a Wretch undone,
168 " To Those who mock you gone to Pluto's Reign,
169 "There with sad Ghosts to pine, and Shadows dun:
170 " But sure it is of Vanities most vain,
171 "To toil for what you here untoiling may obtain."
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XX.
172 He ceas'd. But still their trembling Ears retain'd
173 The deep Vibrations of his witching Song;
174 That, by a Kind of Magic Power, constrain'd
175 To enter in, pell-mell, the listening Throng.
176 Heaps pour'd on Heaps, and yet they slip'd along
177 In silent Ease: as when beneath the Beam
178 Of Summer-Moons, the distant Woods among,
179 Or by some Flood all silver'd with the Gleam,
180 The soft-embodied Fays through airy Portal stream.
XXI.
181 By the smooth Demon so it order'd was,
182 And here his baneful Bounty first began:
183 Though some there were who would not further pass,
184 And his alluring Baits suspected han.
185 The Wise distrust the too fair-spoken Man.
186 Yet through the Gate they cast a wishful Eye:
187 Not to move on, perdie, is all they can;
188 For do their very Best they cannot fly,
189 But often each Way look, and often sorely sigh.
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XXII.
190 When this the watchful wicked Wizard saw,
191 With sudden Spring he leap'd upon them strait;
192 And soon as touch'd by his unhallow'd Paw,
193 They found themselves within the cursed Gate;
194 Full hard to be repass'd, like That of Fate.
195 Not stronger were of old the Giant-Crew,
196 Who sought to pull high Jove from regal State;
197 Though feeble Wretch he seem'd, of sallow Hue:
198 Certes, who bides his Grasp, will that Encounter rue.
XXIII.
199 For whomsoe'er the Villain takes in Hand,
200 Their Joints unknit, their Sinews melt apace;
201 As lithe they grow as any Willow-Wand,
202 And of their vanish'd Force remains no Trace:
203 So when a Maiden fair, of modest Grace,
204 In all her buxom blooming May of Charms,
205 Is seized in some Losel's hot Embrace,
206 She waxeth very weakly as she warms,
207 Then sighing yields Her up to Love's delicious Harms.
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XXIV.
208 Wak'd by the Croud, slow from his Bench arose
209 A comely full-spred Porter, swoln with Sleep:
210 His calm, broad, thoughtless Aspect breath'd Repose;
211 And in sweet Torpor he was plunged deep,
212 Ne could himself from ceaseless Yawning keep;
213 While o'er his Eyes the drowsy Liquor ran,
214 Through which his half-wak'd Soul would faintly peep.
215 Then taking his black Staff he call'd his Man,
216 And rous'd himself as much as rouse himself he can.
XXV.
217 The Lad leap'd lightly at his Master's Call.
218 He was, to weet, a little roguish Page,
219 Save Sleep and Play who minded nought at all,
220 Like most the untaught Striplings of his Age.
221 This Boy he kept each Band to disengage,
222 Garters and Buckles, Task for him unfit,
223 But ill-becoming his grave Personage,
224 And which his portly Paunch would not permit,
225 So this same limber Page to All performed It.
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XXVI.
226 Mean time the Master-Porter wide display'd
227 Great Store of Caps, of Slippers, and of Gowns;
228 Wherewith he Those who enter'd in, array'd;
229 Loose, as the Breeze that plays along the Downs,
230 And waves the Summer-Woods when Evening frowns.
231 O fair Undress, best Dress! it checks no Vein,
232 But every flowing Limb in Pleasure drowns,
233 And heightens Ease with Grace. This done, right fain,
234 Sir Porter sat him down, and turn'd to Sleep again.
XXVII.
235 Thus easy-rob'd, they to the Fountain sped,
236 That in the Middle of the Court up-threw
237 A Stream, high-spouting from its liquid Bed,
238 And falling back again in drizzly Dew:
239 There Each deep Draughts, as deep he thirsted, drew.
240 It was a Fountain of Nepenthe rare:
241 Whence, as Dan HOMER sings, huge Pleasaunce grew,
242 And sweet Oblivion of vile earthly Care;
243 Fair gladsome waking Thoughts, and joyous Dreams more fair.
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XXVIII.
244 This Rite perform'd, All inly pleas'd and still,
245 Withouten Tromp, was Proclamation made.
246 "Ye Sons of INDOLENCE, do what you will;
247 " And wander where you list, through Hall or Glade:
248 "Be no Man's Pleasure for another's staid;
249 " Let Each as likes him best his Hours employ,
250 "And curs'd be he who minds his Neighbour's Trade!
251 " Here dwells kind Ease and unreproving Joy:
252 "He little merits Bliss who Others can annoy.
XXIX.
253 Strait of these endless Numbers, swarming round,
254 As thick as idle Motes in sunny Ray,
255 Not one eftsoons in View was to be found,
256 But every Man stroll'd off his own glad Way.
257 Wide o'er this ample Court's blank Area,
258 With all the Lodges that thereto pertain'd,
259 No living Creature could be seen to stray;
260 While Solitude, and perfect Silence reign'd:
261 So that to think you dreamt you almost was constrain'd.
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XXX.
262 As when a Shepherd of the
* Those Islands on the western Coast of Scotland called the Hebrides.
Hebrid-Isles,
263 Plac'd far amid the melancholy Main,
264 (Whether it be lone Fancy him beguiles;
265 Or that aerial Beings sometimes deign
266 To stand, embodied, to our Senses plain)
267 Sees on the naked Hill, or Valley low,
268 The whilst in Ocean Phoebus dips his Wain,
269 A vast Assembly moving to and fro:
270 Then all at once in Air dissolves the wondrous Show.
XXXI.
271 Ye Gods of Quiet, and of Sleep profound!
272 Whose soft Dominion o'er this Castle sways,
273 And all the widely-silent Places round,
274 Forgive me, if my trembling Pen displays
275 What never yet was sung in mortal Lays.
276 But how shall I attempt such arduous String?
277 I who have spent my Nights and nightly Days,
278 In this Soul-deadening Place, loose-loitering?
279 Ah! how shall I for this uprear my moulted Wing?
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XXXII.
280 Come on, my Muse, nor stoop to low Despair,
281 Thou Imp of Jove, touch'd by celestial Fire!
282 Thou yet shalt sing of War, and Actions fair,
283 Which the bold Sons of BRITAIN will inspire;
284 Of ancient Bards thou yet shalt sweep the Lyre;
285 Thou yet shalt tread in Tragic Pall the Stage,
286 Paint Love's enchanting Woes, the Heroe's Ire,
287 The Sage's Calm, the Patriot's noble Rage,
288 Dashing Corruption down through every worthless Age.
XXXIII.
289 The Doors, that knew no shrill alarming Bell,
290 Ne cursed Knocker ply'd by Villain's Hand,
291 Self-open'd into Halls, where, who can tell
292 What Elegance and Grandeur wide expand
293 The Pride of Turkey and of Persia Land?
294 Soft Quilts on Quilts, on Carpets Carpets spread,
295 And Couches stretch around in seemly Band;
296 And endless Pillows rise to prop the Head;
297 So that each spacious Room was one full-swelling Bed.
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XXXIV.
298 And every where huge cover'd Tables stood,
299 With Wines high-flavour'd and rich Viands crown'd;
300 Whatever sprightly Juice or tasteful Food
301 On the green Bosom of this Earth are found,
302 And all old Ocean genders in his Round:
303 Some Hand unseen These silently display'd,
304 Even undemanded, by a Sign or Sound;
305 You need but wish, and, instantly obey'd,
306 Fair-rang'd the Dishes rose, and thick the Glasses play'd.
XXXV.
307 Here Freedom reign'd, without the least Alloy;
308 Nor Gossip's Tale, nor ancient Maiden's Gall,
309 Nor saintly Spleen durst murmur at our Joy,
310 And with envenom'd Tongue our Pleasures pall.
311 For why? There was but One great Rule for All;
312 To wit, That each should work his own Desire,
313 And eat, drink, study, sleep, as it may fall,
314 Or melt the Time in Love, or wake the Lyre,
315 And carol what, unbid, the Muses might inspire.
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XXXVI.
316 The Rooms with costly Tapestry were hung,
317 Where was inwoven many a gentle Tale;
318 Such as of old the rural Poets sung,
319 Or of Arcadian or Sicilian Vale:
320 Reclining Lovers, in the lonely Dale,
321 Pour'd forth at large the sweetly-tortur'd Heart;
322 Or, looking tender Passion, swell'd the Gale,
323 And taught charm'd Echo to resound their Smart;
324 While Flocks, Woods, Streams, around, Repose and Peace impart.
XXXVII.
325 Those pleas'd the most, where, by a cunning Hand,
326 Depainted was the Patriarchal Age;
327 What Time Dan Abraham left the Chaldee Land,
328 And pastur'd on from verdant Stage to Stage,
329 Where Fields and Fountains fresh could best engage.
330 Toil was not then. Of nothing took they Heed,
331 But with wild Beasts the silvan War to wage,
332 And o'er vast Plains their Herds and Flocks to feed:
333 Blest Sons of Nature they! True Golden Age indeed!
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XXXVIII.
334 Sometimes the Pencil, in cool airy Halls,
335 Bade the gay Bloom of Vernal Landskips rise,
336 Or Autumn's varied Shades imbrown the Walls:
337 Now the black Tempest strikes the astonish'd Eyes;
338 Now down the Steep the flashing Torrent flies;
339 The trembling Sun now plays o'er Ocean blue,
340 And now rude Mountains frown amid the Skies;
341 Whate'er Lorrain light-touch'd with softening Hue,
342 Or savage Rosa dash'd, or learned Poussin drew.
XXXIX.
343 Each Sound too here to Languishment inclin'd,
344 Lull'd the weak Bosom, and induced Ease.
345 Aerial Music in the warbling Wind,
346 At Distance rising oft, by small Degrees,
347 Nearer and nearer came, till o'er the Trees
348 It hung, and breath'd such Soul-dissolving Airs,
349 As did, alas! with soft Perdition please:
350 Entangled deep in its enchanting Snares,
351 The listening Heart forgot all Duties and all Cares.
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XL.
352 A certain Musick, never known before,
353 Here lull'd the pensive melancholy Mind;
354 Full easily obtain'd. Behoves no more,
355 But sidelong, to the gently-waving Wind,
356 To lay the well-tun'd Instrument reclin'd;
357 From which, with airy flying Fingers light,
358 Beyond each mortal Touch the most refin'd,
359 The God of Winds drew Sounds of deep Delight:
360 Whence, with just Cause,
* This is not an Imagination of the Author; there being in fact such an Instrument, called Aeolus's Harp, which, when placed against a little Rushing or Current of Air, produces the Effect here described.
The Harp of Aeolus it hight.
XLI.
361 Ah me! what Hand can touch the Strings so fine?
362 Who up the lofty Diapasan roll
363 Such sweet, such sad, such solemn Airs divine,
364 Then let them down again into the Soul?
365 Now rising Love they fan'd; now pleasing Dole
366 They breath'd, in tender Musings, through the Heart;
367 And now a graver sacred Strain they stole,
368 As when Seraphic Hands an Hymn impart:
369 Wild warbling Nature all, above the Reach of Art!
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XLII.
370 Such the gay Splendor, the luxurious State,
371 Of Caliphs old, who on the Tygris' Shore,
372 In mighty Bagdat, populous and great,
373 Held their bright Court, where was of Ladies store;
374 And Verse, Love, Music still the Garland wore:
375 When Sleep was coy,
* The Arabian Caliphs had Poets among the Officers of their Court, whose Office it was to do what is here mentioned.
the Bard, in Waiting there,
376 Chear'd the lone Midnight with the Muse's Lore;
377 Composing Music bade his Dreams be fair,
378 And Music lent new Gladness to the Morning Air.
XLIII.
379 Near the Pavilions where we slept, still ran
380 Soft-tinkling Streams, and dashing Waters fell,
381 And sobbing Breezes sigh'd, and oft began
382 (So work'd the Wizard) wintry Storms to swell,
383 As Heaven and Earth they would together mell:
384 At Doors and Windows, threatening, seem'd to call
385 The Demons of the Tempest, growling fell,
386 Yet the least Entrance found they none at all;
387 Whence sweeter grew our Sleep, secure in massy Hall.
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XLIV.
388 And hither Morpheus sent his kindest Dreams,
389 Raising a World of gayer Tinct and Grace;
390 O'er which were shadowy cast Elysian Gleams,
391 That play'd, in waving Lights, from Place to Place,
392 And shed a roseate Smile on Nature's Face.
393 Not Titian's Pencil e'er could so array,
394 So fleece with Clouds the pure Etherial Space;
395 Ne could it e'er such melting Forms display,
396 As loose on flowery Beds all languishingly lay.
XLV.
397 No, fair Illusions! artful Phantoms, no!
398 My Muse will not attempt your Fairy-Land:
399 She has no Colours that like you can glow;
400 To catch your vivid Scenes too gross her Hand.
401 But sure it is, was ne'er a subtler Band
402 Than these same guileful Angel-seeming Sprights,
403 Who thus in Dreams, voluptuous, soft, and bland,
404 Pour'd all th' Arabian Heaven upon our Nights,
405 And bless'd them oft besides with more refin'd Delights.
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XLVI.
406 They were in Sooth a most enchanting Train,
407 Even feigning Virtue; skilful to unite
408 With Evil Good, and strew with Pleasure Pain.
409 But for those Fiends, whom Blood and Broils delight;
410 Who hurl the Wretch, as if to Hell outright,
411 Down down black Gulphs, where sullen Waters sleep,
412 Or hold him clambering all the fearful Night
413 On beetling Cliffs, or pent in Ruins deep:
414 They, till due Time should serve, were bid far hence to keep.
XLVII.
415 Ye Guardian Spirits, to whom Man in dear,
416 From these foul Demons shield the Midnight Gloom!
417 Angels of Fancy and of Love, be near,
418 And o'er the Blank of Sleep diffuse a Bloom!
419 Evoke the sacred Shades of Greece and Rome,
420 And let them Virtue with a Look impart!
421 But chief, a while o lend us from the Tomb
422 Those long-lost Friends for whom in Love we smart,
423 And fill with pious Awe and Joy-mixt Woe the Heart.
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XLVIII.
424 Or are you sportive Bid the Morn of Youth
425 Rise to new Light, and beam afresh the Days
426 Of Innocence, Simplicity, and Truth;
427 To Cares estrang'd, and Manhood's thorny Ways.
428 What Transport! To retrace our boyish Plays,
429 Our easy Bliss, when each Thing Joy supply'd:
430 The Woods, the Mountains, and the warbling Maze
431 Of the wild Brooks But, fondly wandering wide,
432 My Muse, resume the Task that yet doth thee abide.
XLIX.
433 One great Amusement of our Houshold was,
434 In a huge crystal magic Globe to spy,
435 Still as you turn'd it, all Things that do pass
436 Upon this Ant-Hill Earth; where constantly
437 Of idly-busy Men the restless Fry
438 Run bustling too and fro with foolish Haste,
439 In search of Pleasures vain that from them fly,
440 Or which obtain'd the Caitiffs dare not taste:
441 When nothing is enjoy'd, can there be greater Waste?
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L.
442 Of Vanity the Mirror This was call'd.
443 Here you a Muckworm of the Town might see,
444 At his dull Desk, amid his Legers stall'd,
445 Eat up with carking Care and Penurie;
446 Most like to Carcase parch'd on Gallow Tree.
447 A Penny saved is a Penny got:
448 Firm to this scoundrel Maxim keepeth he,
449 Ne of its Rigour will he bate a Jot,
450 Till it has quench'd his Fire, and banished his Pot.
LI.
451 Strait from the Filth of this low Grub, behold!
452 Comes fluttering forth a gaudy spendthrift Heir,
453 All glossy gay, enamel'd all with Gold,
454 The silly Tenant of the Summer-Air.
455 In Folly lost, of Nothing takes he Care;
456 Pimps, Lawyers, Stewards, Harlots, Flatterers vile,
457 And thieving Tradesmen him among them share:
458 His Father's Ghost from Limbo-Lake, the while,
459 Sees This, which more Damnation does upon him pile.
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LII.
460 This Globe pourtray'd the Race of learned Men,
461 Still at their Books, and turning o'er the Page,
462 Backwards and forwards: oft they snatch the Pen,
463 As if inspir'd, and in a Thespian Rage;
464 Then write, and blot, as would your Ruth engage.
465 Why, Auhors, all this Scrawl and Scribbling sore?
466 To lose the present, gain the future Age,
467 Praised to be when you can hear no more,
468 And much enrich'd with Fame when useless worldly Store.
LIII.
469 Then would a splendid City rise to View,
470 With Carts, and Cars, and Coaches roaring all:
471 Wide-pour'd abroad behold the prowling Crew;
472 See! how they dash along from Wall to Wall;
473 At every Door, hark! how they thundering call.
474 Good Lord! what can this giddy Rout excite?
475 Why? On each other with fell Tooth to fall;
476 A Neighbour's Fortune, Fame, or Peace, to blight,
477 And make new tiresome Parties for the coming Night.
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LIV.
478 The puzzling Sons of Party next appear'd,
479 In dark Cabals and nightly Juntos met;
480 And now they whisper'd close, new shrugging rear'd
481 Th' important Shoulder; then, as if to get
482 New Light, their twinkling Eyes were inward set.
483 No sooner
* The Morning Star.
Lucifer recalls Affairs,
484 Than forth they various rush in mighty Fret;
485 When lo! push'd up to Power, and crown'd their Cares,
486 In comes another Set, and kicketh them down Stairs.
LV.
487 But what most shew'd the Vanity of Life,
488 Was to behold the Nations all on Fire,
489 In cruel Broils engag'd, and deadly Strife;
490 Most Christian Kings, inflam'd by black Desire,
491 With Honourable Russians in their Hire,
492 Cause War to rage, and Blood around to pour:
493 Of this sad Work when Each begins to tire,
494 They sit them down just where they were before,
495 Till for new Scenes of Woe Peace shall their Force restore.
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LVI.
496 To number up the Thousands dwelling here,
497 An useless were, and eke an endless Task:
498 From Kings, and Those who at the Helm appear,
499 To Gipsies brown in Summer-Glades who bask.
500 Yea many a Man perdie I could unmask,
501 Whose Desk and Table make a solemn Show,
502 With Tape-ty'd Trash, and Suits of Fools that ask
503 For Place or Pension, laid in decent Row;
504 But These I passen by, with nameless Numbers moe.
LVII.
505 Of all the gentle Tenants of the Place,
506 There was a Man of special grave Remark:
507 A certain tender Gloom o'erspread his Face,
508 Pensive not sad, in Thought involv'd not dark,
509 As soot this Man could sing as Morning-Lark,
510 And teach the noblest Morals of the Heart:
511 But These his Talents were ybury'd stark;
512 Of the fine Stores he Nothing would impart,
513 Which or boon Nature gave, or Nature-painting Art.
[Page 30]
LVIII.
514 To Noontide Shades incontinent he ran,
515 Where purls the Brook with Sleep-inviting Sound;
516 Or when Dan Sol to slope his Wheels began,
517 Amid the Broom he bask'd him on the Ground,
518 Where the wild Thyme and Camomil are found:
519 There would he linger, till the latest Ray
520 Of Light sat trembling on the Welkin's Bound:
521 Then homeward through the twilight Shadows stray,
522 Sauntring and slow. So had he passed many a Day.
LIX.
523 Yet not in thoughtless Slumber were they past:
524 For oft the heavenly Fire, that lay conceal'd
525 Beneath the sleeping Embers, mounted fast,
526 And all its native Light anew reveal'd;
527 Oft as he travers'd the Cerulean Field,
528 And mark'd the Clouds that drove before the Wind,
529 Ten thousand glorious Systems would he build,
530 Ten thousand great Ideas fill'd his Mind;
531 But with the Clouds they fled, and left no Tract behind.
[Page 31]
LX.
532 With him was sometimes join'd, in silent Walk,
533 (Profoundly silent, for they never spoke)
534 One shyer still, who quite detested Talk:
535 Oft, stung by Spleen, at once away he broke,
536 To Groves of Pine, and broad o'ershadowing Oak;
537 There, inly thrill'd, he wander'd all alone,
538 And on himself his pensive Fury wroke,
539 Ne ever utter'd Word, save when first shone
540 The glittering Star of Eve "Thank Heaven! the Day is done."
LXI.
541 Here lurk'd a Wretch, who had not crept abroad
542 For forty Years, ne Face of Mortal seen;
543 In Chamber brooding like a loathly Toad,
544 And sure his Linnen was not very clean;
545 Through secret Loop-Hole, that had practis'd been
546 Near to his Bed, his Dinner vile he took;
547 Unkempt, and rough, of squalid Face and Mein,
548 Our Castle's shame! whence, from his filthy Nook,
549 We drove the Villain out for fitter Lair to look.
[Page 32]
LXII.
550 One Day there chaunc'd into these Halls to rove
551 A joyous Youth, who took you at first Sight;
552 Him the wild Wave of Pleasure hither drove,
553 Before the sprightly Tempest tossing light:
554 Certes, he was a most engaging Wight,
555 Of social Glee, and Wit humane though keen,
556 Turning the Night to Day and Day to Night;
557 For him the merry Bells had rung, I ween,
558 If in this Nook of Quiet Bells had ever been.
LXIII.
559 But not even Pleasure to Excess is good,
560 What most elates then sinks the Soul as low;
561 When Spring-Tide Joy pours in with copious Flood,
562 The higher still th' exulting Billows flow,
563 The farther back again they flagging go,
564 And leave us groveling on the dreary Shore:
565 Taught by this Son of Joy, we found it so;
566 Who, whilst he staid, kept in a gay Uproar
567 Our madden'd Castle all, th' Abode of Sleep no more.
[Page 33]
LXIV.
568 As when in Prime of June a burnish'd Fly,
569 Sprung from the Meads, o'er which he sweeps along,
570 Chear'd by the breathing Bloom and vital Sky,
571 Tunes up amid these airy Halls his Song,
572 Soothing at first the gay reposing Throng:
573 And oft he sips their Bowl; or nearly drown'd,
574 He, thence recovering, drives their Beds among,
575 And scares their tender Sleep, with Trump profound;
576 Then out again he flies, to wing his mazy Round.
LXV.
577 Another Guest there was, of Sense refin'd,
578 Who felt each Worth, for every Worth he had;
579 Serene yet warm, humane yet firm his Mind,
580 As little touch'd as any Man's with Bad:
581 Him through their inmost Walks the Muses lad,
582 To him the sacred Love of Nature lent,
583 And sometimes would he make our Valley glad;
584 Whenas we found he would not here be pent,
585 To him the better Sort this friendly Message sent.
[Page 34]
LXVI.
586 "Come, dwell with us! true Son of Virtue, come!
587 " But if, alas! we cannot Thee persuade,
588 "To lie content beneath our peaceful Dome,
589 " Ne ever more to quit our quiet Glade;
590 "Yet when at last thy Toils, but ill apaid,
591 " Shall dead thy Fire, and damp its Heavenly Spark,
592 "Thou wilt be glad to seek the rural Shade,
593 " There to indulge the Muse, and Nature mark:
594 "We then a Lodge for Thee will rear in HAGLEY-PARK."
LXVII.
595 Here whilom ligg'd th' ESOPUS of the Age;
596 But call'd by Fame, in Soul ypricked deep,
597 A noble Pride restor'd him to the Stage,
598 And rous'd him like a Gyant from his Sleep.
599 Even from his Slumbers we Advantage reap:
600 With double Force th' enliven'd Scene he wakes,
601 Yet quits not Nature's Bounds. He knows to keep
602 Each due Decorum: Now the Heart he shakes,
603 And now with well-urg'd Sense th'enlighten'd Judgment takes.
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LXVIII.
604 A Bard here dwelt, more fat than Bard beseems;
605
* The following Lines of this Stanza were writ by a Friend of the Author.
Who void of Envy, Guile, and Lust of Gain,
606 On Virtue still, and Nature's pleasing Themes,
607 Pour'd forth his unpremeditated Strain,
608 The World forsaking with a calm Disdain:
609 Here laugh'd he careless in his easy Seat,
610 Here quaff'd encircled with the joyous Train;
611 Oft moralizing sage; his ditty sweet
612 He loathed much to write, ne cared to repeat.
LXIX.
613 Full oft by Holy Feet our Ground was trod,
614 Of Clerks good Plenty here you mote espy.
615 A little, round, fat, oily Man of God,
616 Was one I chiefly mark'd among the Fry:
617 He had a roguish Twinkle in his Eye,
618 And shone all glittering with ungodly Dew,
619 If a tight Damsel chaunc'd to trippen by;
620 Which when observ'd, he shrunk into his Mew,
621 And strait would recollect his Piety anew.
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LXX.
622 Nor be forgot a Tribe, who minded Nought
623 (Old Inmates of the Place) but State-Affairs:
624 They look'd, perdie, as if they deeply thought;
625 And on their Brow sat every Nation's Cares.
626 The World by them is parcel'd out in Shares,
627 When in the Hall of Smoak they Congress hold,
628 And the sage Berry sun-burnt Mocha bears
629 Has clear'd their inward Eye: then, smoak-enroll'd,
630 Their Oracles break forth mysterious as of old.
LXXI.
631 Here languid Beauty kept her pale-fac'd Court:
632 Bevies of dainty Dames, of high Degree,
633 From every Quarter hither made Resort;
634 Where, from gross mortal Care and Business free,
635 They lay, pour'd out in Ease and Luxury.
636 Or should they a vain Shew of Work assume,
637 Alas! and well-a-day! what can it be?
638 To knot, to twist, to range the vernal Bloom;
639 But far is cast the Distaff, Spinning-Wheel, and Loom.
[Page 37]
LXXII.
640 Their only Labour was to kill the Time;
641 And Labour dire it is, and weary Woe.
642 They sit, they loll, turn o'er some idle Rhyme;
643 Then, rising sudden, to the Glass they go,
644 Or saunter forth, with tottering Step and slow:
645 This soon too rude an Exercise they find;
646 Strait on the Couch their Limbs again they throw,
647 Where Hours on Hours they sighing lie reclin'd,
648 And court the vapoury God soft-breathing in the Wind.
LXXIII.
649 Now must I mark the Villainy we found,
650 But ah! too late, as shall eftsoons be shewn.
651 A Place here was, deep, dreary, under Ground;
652 Where still our Inmates, when unpleasing grown,
653 Diseas'd, and loathsome, privily were thrown.
654 Far from the Light of Heaven, they languish'd there,
655 Unpity'd uttering many a bitter Groan;
656 For of these Wretches taken was no Care:
657 Fierce Fiends, and Hags of Hell, their only Nurses were.
[Page 38]
LXXIV.
658 Alas! the Change! from Scenes of Joy and Rest,
659 To this dark Den, where Sickness toss'd alway.
660 Here Lethargy, with deadly Sleep opprest,
661 Stretch'd on his Back a mighty Lubbard lay,
662 Heaving his Sides, and snored Night and Day;
663 To stir him from his Traunce it was not eath,
664 And his half-open'd Eyne he shut strait way:
665 He led, I wot, the softest Way to Death,
666 And taught withouten Pain and Strife to yield the Breath.
LXXV.
667 Of Limbs enormous, but withal unsound,
668 Soft-swoln and pale, here lay the Hydropsy:
669 Unwieldy Man! with Belly monstrous round,
670 For ever fed with watery Supply;
671 For still he drank, and yet he still was dry.
672 And here a moping Mystery did sit,
673 Mother of Spleen, in Robes of various Dye,
674 Who vexed was full oft with ugly Fit;
675 And some Her frantic deem'd, and some Her deem'd a Wit.
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LXXVI.
676 A Lady proud she was, of ancient Blood,
677 Yet oft her Fear her Pride made crouchen low:
678 She felt, or fancy'd in her fluttering Mood,
679 All the Diseases which the Spittles know,
680 And sought all Physick which the Shops bestow,
681 And still new Leaches and new Drugs would try,
682 Her Humour ever wavering to and fro;
683 For sometimes she would laugh, and sometimes cry,
684 Then sudden waxed wroth, and all she knew not why.
LXXVII.
685 Fast by her Side a listless Maiden pin'd,
686 With aching Head, and squeamish Heart-Burnings;
687 Pale, bloated, cold, she seem'd to hate Mankind,
688 Yet lov'd in Secret all forbidden Things.
689 And here the Tertian shakes his chilling Wings;
690 The sleepless Gout here counts the crowing Cocks,
691 A Wolf now gnaws him, now a Serpent stings;
692 Whilst Apoplexy cramm'd Intemperance knocks
693 Down to the Ground at once, as Butcher felleth Ox.
[Page 41]

CANTO II.

The Knight of Arts and Industry,
And his Atchievements fair;
That, by this Castle's Overthrow,
Secur'd, and crowned were.
I.
1 ESCAP'D the Castle of the Sire of Sin,
2 Ah! where shall I so sweet a Dwelling find?
3 For all around without, and all within,
4 Nothing save what delightful was and kind,
5 Of Goodness savouring and a tender Mind,
6 E'er rose to View. But now another Strain,
7 Of doleful Note, alas! remains behind:
8 I now must sing of Pleasure turn'd to Pain,
9 And of the false Inchanter INDOLENCE complain.
[Page 42]
II.
10 Is there no Patron to protect the Muse,
11 And fence for Her Parnassus' barren Soil?
12 To every Labour its Reward accrues,
13 And they are sure of Bread who swink and moil;
14 But a fell Tribe th' Aonian Hive despoil,
15 As ruthless Wasps oft rob the painful Bee:
16 Thus while the Laws not guard that noblest Toil,
17 Ne for the Muses other Meed decree,
18 They praised are alone, and starve right merrily.
III.
19 I care not, Fortune, what you me deny:
20 You cannot rob me of free Nature's Grace;
21 You cannot shut the Windows of the Sky,
22 Through which Aurora shews her brightening Face;
23 You cannot bar my constant Feet to trace
24 The Woods and Lawns, by living Stream, at Eve:
25 Let Health my Nerves and finer Fibres brace,
26 And I their Toys to the great Children leave;
27 Of Fancy, Reason, Virtue, nought can me bereave.
[Page 43]
IV.
28 Come then, my Muse, and raise a bolder Song;
29 Come, lig no more upon the Bed of Sloth,
30 Dragging the lazy languid Line along,
31 Fond to begin but still to finish loth,
32 Thy half-writ Scrolls all eaten by the Moth:
33 Arise, and sing that generous Imp of Fame,
34 Who with the Sons of Softness nobly wroth,
35 To sweep away this Human Lumber came,
36 Or in a chosen Few to rouse the slumbering Flame.
V.
37 In Fairy-Land there liv'd a Knight of old,
38 Of Feature stern, Selvaggio well yclep'd,
39 A rough unpolish'd Man, robust and bold,
40 But wondrous poor: he neither sow'd nor reap'd,
41 Ne Stores in Summer for cold Winter heap'd;
42 In Hunting all his Days away he wore;
43 Now scorch'd by June, now in November steep'd,
44 Now pinch'd by biting January sore,
45 He still in Woods pursu'd the Libbard and the Boar.
[Page 44]
VI.
46 As he one Morning, long before the Dawn,
47 Prick'd through the Forest to dislodge his Prey,
48 Deep in the winding Bosom of a Lawn,
49 With Wood wild-fring'd, he mark'd a Taper's Ray,
50 That from the beating Rain, and wintry Fray,
51 Did to a lonely Cott his Steps decoy;
52 There, up to earn the Needments of the Day,
53 He found Dame Poverty, nor fair nor coy:
54 Her he compress'd, and fill'd Her with a lusty Boy.
VII.
55 Amid the green-wood Shade this Boy was bred,
56 And grew at last a Knight of muchel Fame,
57 Of active Mind and vigorous Lustyhed,
58 THE KNIGHT OF ARTS AND INDUSTRY by Name.
59 Earth was his Bed, the Boughs his Roof did frame;
60 He knew no Beverage but the flowing Stream;
61 His tasteful well-earn'd Food the silvan Game,
62 Or the brown Fruit with which the Wood-Lands teem:
63 The same to him glad Summer or the Winter breme.
[Page 45]
VIII.
64 So pass'd his youthly Morning, void of Care,
65 Wild as the Colts that through the Commons run:
66 For him no tender Parents troubled were,
67 He of the Forest seem'd to be the Son,
68 And certes had been utterly undone;
69 But that Minerva Pity of him took,
70 With all the Gods that love the Rural Wonne,
71 That teach to tame the Soil and rule the Crook;
72 Ne did the sacred Nine disdain a gentle Look.
IX.
73 Of fertile Genius him they nurtur'd well,
74 In every Science and in every Art,
75 By which Mankind the thoughtless Brutes excel,
76 That can or Use, or Joy, or Grace impart,
77 Disclosing all the Powers of Head and Heart.
78 Ne were the goodly Exercises spar'd,
79 That brace the Nerves, or make the Limbs alert,
80 And mix elastic Force with Firmness hard:
81 Was never Knight on Ground mote be with him compar'd.
[Page 46]
X.
82 Sometimes, with early Morn, he mounted gay
83 The Hunter-steed, exulting o'er the Dale,
84 And drew the roseat Breath of orient Day;
85 Sometimes, retiring to the secret Vale,
86 Yclad in Steel and bright with burnish'd Mail,
87 He strain'd the Bow, or toss'd the sounding Spear,
88 Or darting on the Goal outstrip'd the Gale,
89 Or wheel'd the Chariot in its Mid-Career,
90 Or strenuous wrestled hard with many a tough Compeer.
XI.
91 At other Times he pry'd through Nature's Store,
92 Whate'er she in th' Etherial Round contains,
93 Whate'er she hides beneath her verdant Floor,
94 The vegetable and the mineral Reigns;
95 Or else he scann'd the Globe, those small Domains,
96 Where restless Mortals such a Turmoil keep,
97 Its Seas, its Floods, its Mountains, and its Plains;
98 But more he search'd the Mind, and rous'd from Sleep
99 Those moral Seeds whence we heroic Actions reap.
[Page 47]
XII.
100 Nor would he scorn to stoop from high Pursuits
101 Of heavenly Truth, and practise what she taught.
102 Vain is the Tree of Knowledge without Fruits.
103 Sometimes in Hand the Spade or Plough he caught,
104 Forth-calling all with which boon Earth is fraught;
105 Sometimes he ply'd the strong mechanic Tool,
106 Or rear'd the Fabrick from the finest Draught;
107 And oft he put himself to Neptune's School,
108 Fighting with Winds and Waves on the vext Ocean Pool.
XIII.
109 To solace then these rougher Toils, he try'd
110 To touch the kindling Canvass into Life;
111 With Nature his creating Pencil vy'd,
112 With Nature joyous at the mimic Strife:
113 Or, to such Shapes as grac'd Pygmalion's Wife,
114 He hew'd the Marble; or, with vary'd Fire,
115 He rous'd the Trumpet and the martial Fife,
116 Or bad the Lute sweet Tenderness inspire,
117 Or Verses fram'd that well might wake Apollo's Lyre.
[Page 48]
XIV.
118 Accomplish'd thus he from the Woods issu'd,
119 Full of great Aims, and bent on bold Emprize;
120 The Work, which long he in his Breast had brew'd,
121 Now to perform he ardent did devise;
122 To-wit, a barbarous World to civilize.
123 Earth was till Then a boundless Forest wild;
124 Nought to be seen but savage Wood, and Skies;
125 No Cities nourish'd Arts, no Culture smil'd,
126 No Government, no Laws, no gentle Manners mild.
XV.
127 A rugged Wight, the Worst of Brutes, was Man:
128 On his own wretched Kind he, ruthless, prey'd;
129 The Strongest still the Weakest over-ran;
130 In every Country mighty Robbers sway'd,
131 And Guile and ruffian Force were all their Trade
132 Life was not Life, but Rapine, Want, and Woe;
133 Which this brave Knight, in noble Anger, made
134 To swear, he would the rascal Rout o'erthrow,
135 For, by the Powers Divine, it should no more be so!
[Page 49]
XVI.
136 It would exceed the Purport of my Song,
137 To say how this best Sun, from orient Climes,
138 Came beaming Life and Beauty all along,
139 Before him chasing Indolence and Crimes.
140 Still as he pass'd, the Nations he sublimes,
141 And calls forth Arts and Virtue with his Ray:
142 Then Egypt, Greece and Rome their Golden Times,
143 Successive, had; but now in Ruins grey
144 They lie, to slavish Sloth and Tyranny a Prey.
XVII.
145 To crown his Toils, SIR INDUSTRY then spred
146 The swelling Sail, and made for BRITAIN'S Coast.
147 A Sylvan Life till Then the Natives led,
148 In the brown Shades and green-wood Forest lost,
149 All careless rambling where it lik'd them most:
150 Their Wealth the Wild-Deer bouncing through the Glade;
151 They lodg'd at large, and liv'd at Nature's Cost;
152 Save Spear, and Bow, withouten other Aid,
153 Yet not the Roman Steel their naked Breast dismay'd.
[Page 50]
XVIII.
154 He lik'd the Soil, he lik'd the clement Skies,
155 He lik'd the verdant Hills and flowery Plains.
156 Be This my great my chosen Isle (he cries)
157 This, whilst my Labours LIBERTY sustains,
158 This Queen of Ocean all Assault disdains.
159 Nor lik'd he less the Genius of the Land,
160 To Freedom apt and persevering Pains,
161 Mild to obey, and generous to command,
162 Temper'd by forming HEAVEN with kindest firmest Hand.
XIX.
163 Here, by Degrees, his Master-Work arose,
164 Whatever Arts and Industry can frame:
165 Whatever finish'd Agriculture knows,
166 Fair Queen of Arts! from Heaven itself who came,
167 When Eden flourish'd in unspotted Fame:
168 And still with Her sweet Innocence we find,
169 And tender Peace, and Joys without a Name,
170 That, while they rapture, tranquillize the Mind;
171 Nature and Art at once, Delight and Use combin'd.
[Page 51]
XX.
172 Then Towns he quicken'd by mechanic Arts,
173 And bade the fervent City glow with Toil;
174 Bade social Commerce raise renowned Marts,
175 Join Land to Land, and marry Soil to Soil,
176 Unite the Poles, and without bloody Spoil
177 Bring home of either Ind the gorgeous Stores;
178 Or, should Despotic Rage the World embroil,
179 Bade Tyrants tremble on remotest Shores,
180 While o'er th'encircling Deep BRITANNIA'S Thunder roars.
XXI.
181 The drooping Muses then he westward call'd,
182 From the fam'd City
* Constantinople.
by Propontis Sea,
183 What Time the Turk th'enfeebled Grecian thrall'd;
184 Thence from their cloister'd Walks he set them free,
185 And brought them to another Castalie:
186 Where Isis many a famous Noursling breeds;
187 Or where old Cam soft-paces o'er the Lea,
188 In pensive Mood, and tunes his Doric Reeds,
189 The whilst his Flocks at large the lonely Shepherd feeds.
[Page 52]
XXII.
190 Yet the fine Arts were what he finish'd least.
191 For why? They are the Quintessence of All,
192 The Growth of labouring Time, and slow increast;
193 Unless, as seldom chances, it should fall,
194 That mighty Patrons the coy Sisters call
195 Up to the Sun-shine of uncumber'd Ease,
196 Where no rude Care the mounting Thought may thrall,
197 And where they nothing have to do but please:
198 Ah, gracious God! thou know'st they ask no other Fees.
XXIII.
199 But now, alas! we live too late in Time:
200 Our Patrons now even grudge that little Claim,
201 Except to such as sleek the soothing Rhyme;
202 And yet, forsooth, they wear MAECENAS' Name,
203 Poor Sons of puft-up Vanity, not Fame!
204 Unbroken Spirits, chear! still, still remains
205 Th' Eternal Patron, LIBERTY; whose Flame,
206 While she protects, inspires the noblest Strains.
207 The best, and sweetest far, are Toil-created Gains.
[Page 53]
XXIV.
208 Whenas the Knight had fram'd, in BRITAIN-LAND,
209 A matchless Form of glorious Government;
210 In which the sovereign Laws alone command,
211 Laws stablish'd by the public free Consent,
212 Whose Majesty is to the Sceptre lent:
213 When this great Plan, with each dependent Art,
214 Was settled firm, and to his Heart's Content,
215 Then sought he from the toilsome Scene to part,
216 And let Life's vacant Eve breathe Quiet through the Heart.
XXV.
217 For This he chose a Farm in Deva's Vale,
218 Where his long Alleys peep'd upon the Main.
219 In this calm Seat he drew the healthful Gale,
220 Commix'd the Chief, the Patriot, and the Swain,
221 The happy Monarch of his Sylvan Train!
222 Here, sided by the Guardians of the Fold,
223 He walk'd his Rounds, and chear'd his blest Domain;
224 His Days, the Days of unstain'd Nature, roll'd,
225 Replete with Peace and Joy, like Patriarch's of old.
[Page 54]
XXVI.
226 Witness, ye lowing Herds, who lent him Milk;
227 Witness, ye Flocks, whose woolly Vestments far
228 Exceed soft India's Cotton, or her Silk;
229 Witness, with Autumn charg'd, the nodding Car,
230 That homeward came beneath sweet Evening's Star,
231 Or of september-Moons the Radiance mild.
232 O hide thy Head, abominable War!
233 Of Crimes and ruffian Idleness the Child!
234 From Heaven this Life ysprung, from Hell thy Glories vild!
XXVII.
235 Nor, from his deep Retirement, banish'd was
236 Th' amusing Cares of Rural Industry.
237 Still, as with grateful Change the Seasons pass,
238 New Scenes arise, new Landskips strike the Eye,
239 And all th' enliven'd Country beautify:
240 Gay Plains extend where Marshes slept before;
241 O'er recent Meads th' exulting Streamlets fly;
242 Dark frowning Heaths grow bright with Ceres' store,
243 And Woods imbrown the Steep, or wave along the Shore.
[Page 55]
XXVIII.
244 As nearer to his Farm you made Approach,
245 He polish'd Nature with a finer Hand:
246 Yet on her Beauties durst not Art incroach;
247 'Tis Art's alone these Beauties to expand.
248 In graceful Dance immingled, o'er the Land,
249 Pan, Pales, Flora, and Pomona play'd:
250 Even here, sometimes, the rude wild Common fand
251 An happy Place; where free, and unafraid,
252 Amid the flowering Brakes each coyer Creature stray'd.
XXIX.
253 But in prime Vigour what can last for ay?
254 That soul-enfeebling Wizard INDOLENCE,
255 I whilom sung, wrought in his Works decay:
256 Spred far and wide was his curs'd Influence;
257 Of Public Virtue much he dull'd the Sense,
258 Even much of Private; eat our Spirit out,
259 And fed our rank luxurious Vices: whence
260 The Land was overlaid with many a Lout;
261 Not, as old Fame reports, wise, generous, bold, and stout.
[Page 56]
XXX.
262 A Rage of Pleasure madden'd every Breast,
263 Down to the lowest Lees the Ferment ran:
264 To his licentious Wish Each must be blest,
265 With Joy be fever'd; snatch it as he can.
266 Thus Vice the Standard rear'd; her Arrier-Ban
267 Corruption call'd, and loud she gave the Word.
268 "Mind, mind yourselves! Why should the vulgar Man,
269 " The Lacquey be more virtuous than his Lord?
270 "Enjoy this Span of Life! 'tis all the Gods afford."
XXXI.
271 The Tidings reach'd to Where in quiet Hall,
272 The good old Knight enjoy'd well-earn'd Repose.
273 "Come, come, Sir Knight! thy Children on thee call;
274 " Come, save us yet, ere Ruin round us close!
275 "The Demon INDOLENCE thy Toils o'erthrows."
276 On This the noble Colour stain'd his Cheeks,
277 Indignant, glowing through the whitening Snows
278 Of venerable Eld; his Eye full speaks
279 His ardent Soul, and from his Couch at once he breaks.
[Page 57]
XXXII.
280 I will, (he cry'd) so help me, God! destroy
281 That Villain Archimage! His Page then strait
282 He to him call'd, a fiery-footed Boy,
283 Benempt Dispatch. "My Steed be at the Gate;
284 " My Bard attend; quick, bring the Net of Fate. "
285 This Net was twisted by the Sisters Three;
286 Which when once cast o'er harden'd Wretch, too late
287 Repentance comes: Replevy cannot be
288 From the strong iron Grasp of vengeful Destiny.
XXXIII.
289 He came, the Bard, a little Druid-Wight,
290 Of wither'd Aspect; but his Eye was keen,
291 With Sweetness mix'd. In Russet brown bedight,
292 As is his Sister of the Copses green,
293 He crept along, unpromising of Mien.
294 Gross he who judges so. His Soul was fair,
295 Bright as the Children of yon Azure sheen.
296 True Comeliness, which nothing can impair,
297 Dwells in the Mind: all else is Vanity and Glare.
[Page 58]
XXXIV.
298 Come! (quoth the Knight) a Voice has reach'd mine Ear,
299 The Demon INDOLENCE threats Overthrow
300 To All that to Mankind is good and dear:
301 Come, PHILOMELUS! let us instant go,
302 O'erturn his Bowers, and lay his Castle low!
303 Those Men, those wretched Men! who will be Slaves,
304 Must drink a bitter wrathful Cup of Woe:
305 But some there be, thy Song, as from their Graves,
306 Shall raise. Thrice happy he! who without Rigour saves.
XXXV.
307 Issuing forth, the Knight bestrode his Steed,
308 Of ardent Bay, and on whose Front a Star
309 Shone blazing bright: Sprung from the generous Breed
310 That whirl of active Day the rapid Car,
311 He pranc'd along, disdaining Gate or Bar.
312 Meantime, the Bard on milk-white Palfrey rode;
313 An honest sober Beast, that did not mar
314 His Meditations, but full softly trode:
315 And much they moraliz'd as thus yfere they yode.
[Page 59]
XXXVI.
316 They talk'd of Virtue, and of Human Bliss.
317 What else so fit for Man to settle well?
318 And still their long Researches met in This,
319 This Truth of Truths, which nothing can refel:
320 "From Virtue's Fount the purest Joys out-well,
321 " Sweet Rills of Thought that chear the conscious Soul;
322 "While Vice pours forth the troubled Streams of Hell,
323 " The which, howe'er disguis'd, at last with Dole
324 "Will through the tortur'd Breast their fiery Torrent roll."
XXXVII.
325 At length it dawn'd, that fatal Valley gay,
326 O'er which high wood-crown'd Hills their Summits rear.
327 On the cool Height awhile our Palmers stay,
328 And spite even of themselves their Senses chear;
329 Then to the Wizard's Wonne their Steps they steer.
330 Like a green Isle, it broad beneath them spred,
331 With Gardens round, and wandering Currents clear,
332 And tufted Groves to shade the Meadow-Bed,
333 Sweet Airs and Song; and without Hurry all seem'd glad.
[Page 60]
XXXVIII.
334 "As God shall judge me, Knight, we must forgive
335 (The half-enraptur'd PHILOMELUS cry'd)
336 " The frail good Man deluded here to live,
337 "And in these Groves his musing Fancy hide.
338 " Ah, Nought is pure! It cannot be deny'd,
339 "That Virtue still some Tincture has of Vice,
340 " And Vice of Virtue. What should then betide,
341 "But that our Charity be not too nice?
342 " Come, let us Those we can to real Bliss entice.
XXXIX.
343 "Ay, sicker, (quoth the Knight) all Flesh is frail,
344 " To pleasant Sin and joyous Dalliance bent;
345 "But let not brutish Vice of This avail,
346 " And think to scape deserved Punishment.
347 "Justice were cruel weakly to relent;
348 " From Mercy's Self she got her sacred Glaive:
349 "Grace be to Those who can, and will, repent;
350 " But Penance long, and dreary, to the Slave,
351 "Who must in Floods of Fire his gross foul Spirit lave.
[Page 61]
XL.
352 Thus, holding high Discourse, they came to Where
353 The cursed Carle was at his wonted Trade;
354 Still tempting heedless Men into his Snare,
355 In witching Wise, as I before have said.
356 But when he saw, in goodly Geer array'd,
357 The grave majestic Knight approaching nigh,
358 And by his Side the Bard so sage and staid,
359 His Countenance fell; yet ost his anxious Eye
360 Mark'd them, like wily Fox who roosted Cock doth spy.
XLI.
361 Nathless, with feign'd Respect, he bade give back
362 The Rabble-Rout, and welcom'd them full kind;
363 Struck with the noble Twain, they were not slack
364 His Orders to obey, and fall behind.
365 Then he resum'd his Song; and, unconfin'd,
366 Pour'd all his Music, ran through all his Strings:
367 With magic Dust their Eyne he tries to blind,
368 And Virtue's tender Airs o'er Weakness flings.
369 What Pity base his Song who so divinely sings
[Page 62]
XLII.
370 Elate in Thought, he counted them his own,
371 They listen'd so intent with fix'd Delight:
372 But they instead, as if transmew'd to Stone,
373 Marvel'd he could, with such sweet Art, unite
374 The Lights and Shades of Manners, Wrong and Right.
375 Mean time, the silly Croud the Charm devour,
376 Wide-pressing to the Gate. Swift, on the Knight
377 He darted fierce, to drag him to his Bower,
378 Who backning shun'd his Touch, for well he knew its Power.
XLIII.
379 As in throng'd Amphitheatre, of old,
380 The wary
* A Gladiator, who made use of a Net, which he threw over his Adversary.
Retiarius trap'd his Foe;
381 Even so the Knight, returning on him bold,
382 At once involv'd him in the Net of Woe,
383 Whereof I Mention made not long ago.
384 Inrag'd at first, he scorn'd so weak a Jail,
385 And leap'd, and flew, and flounced to and fro;
386 But when he found that nothing could avail,
387 He sat him felly down and gnaw'd his bitter Nail.
[Page 63]
XLIV.
388 Alarm'd, th' inferior Demons of the Place
389 Rais'd rueful Shrieks and hideous Yells around;
390 Black ruptur'd Clouds deform'd the Welkin's Face,
391 And from beneath was heard a wailing Sound,
392 As of Infernal Sprights in Cavern bound;
393 A solemn Sadness every Creature strook,
394 And Lightnings flash'd, and Horror rock'd the Ground:
395 Huge Crouds on Crouds out-pour'd, with blemish'd Look,
396 As if on Time's last Verge this Frame of Things had shook.
XLV.
397 Soon as the short-liv'd Tempest was yspent,
398 Steam'd from the Jaws of vext Avernus' Hole,
399 And hush'd the Hubbub of the Rabblement,
400 SIR INDUSTRY the first calm Moment stole.
401 "There must, (he cry'd) amid so vast a Shoal,
402 " Be Some who are not tainted at the Heart,
403 "Not poison'd quite by this same Villain's Bowl:
404 " Come then, my Bard, thy heavenly Fire impart;
405 "Touch Soul with Soul, till forth the latent Spirit start.
[Page 64]
XLVI.
406 The Bard obey'd; and taking from his Side,
407 Where it in seemly Sort depending hung,
408 His British Harp, its speaking Strings he try'd,
409 The which with skilful Touch he deffly strung,
410 Till tinkling in clear Symphony they rung.
411 Then, as he felt the Muses come along,
412 Light o'er the Chords his raptur'd Hand he flung,
413 And play'd a Prelude to his rising Song:
414 The whilst, like Midnight mute, ten Thousands round him throng.
XLVII.
415 Thus, ardent, burst his Strain.
416 "Ye hapless Race,
417 " Dire-labouring here to smother Reason's Ray,
418 "That lights our Maker's Image in our Face,
419 " And gives us wide o'er Earth unquestion'd Sway;
420 "What is TH' ADOR'd SUPREME PERFECTION, say?
421 " What, but eternal never-resting Soul,
422 "Almighty Power, and all-directing Day;
423 " By whom each Atom stirs, the Planets roll;
424 "Who fills, surrounds, informs, and agitates the Whole?
[Page 65]
XLVIII.
425 "Come, to the beaming GOD your Hearts unfold!
426 " Draw from its Fountain Life! 'Tis thence, alone,
427 "We can excel. Up from unfeeling Mold,
428 " To Seraphs burning round th'ALMIGHTY'S Throne,
429 "Life rising still on Life, in higher Tone,
430 " Perfection forms, and with Perfection Bliss.
431 "In Universal Nature This clear shewn,
432 " Not needeth Proof: To prove it were, I wis,
433 "To prove the beauteous World excels the brute Abyss.
XLIX.
434 "Is not the Field, with lively Culture green,
435 " A Sight more joyous than the dead Morass?
436 "Do not the Skies, with active Ether clean,
437 " And fan'd by sprightly Zephirs, far surpass
438 "The foul November-Fogs, and slumbrous Mass,
439 " With which sad Nature veils her drooping Face?
440 "Does not the Mountain-Stream, as clear as Glass,
441 " Gay-dancing on, the putrid Pool disgrace?
442 "The same in All holds true, but chief in Human Race.
[Page 66]
L.
443 "It was not by vile Loitering in Ease,
444 " That GREECE obtain'd the brighter Palm of Art,
445 "That soft yet ardent ATHENS learn'd to please,
446 " To keen the Wit, and to sublime the Heart,
447 "In all supreme! compleat in every Part!
448 " It was not thence majestic ROME arose,
449 "And o'er the Nations shook her conquering Dart:
450 " For Sluggard's Brow the Laurel never grows;
451 "Renown is not the Child of indolent Repose.
LI.
452 "Had unambitious Mortals minded Nought,
453 " But in loose Joy their Time to wear away;
454 "Had they alone the Lap of Dalliance sought,
455 " Pleas'd on her Pillow their dull Heads to lay:
456 "Rude Nature's State had been our State To-day;
457 " No Cities e'er their towery Fronts had rais'd,
458 "No Arts had made us opulent and gay;
459 " With Brother-Brutes the Human Race had graz'd;
460 "None e'er had soar'd to Fame, None honour'd been, None prais'd.
[Page 67]
LII.
461 "Great HOMER'S Song had never fir'd the Breast,
462 " To Thirst of Glory, and heroic Deeds;
463 "Sweet MARO'S Muse, sunk in inglorious Rest,
464 " Had silent slept amid the Mincian Reeds:
465 "The Wits of modern Time had told their Beads,
466 " And monkish Legends been their only Strains;
467 "Our MILTON's Eden had lain wrapt in Weeds,
468 " Our SHAKESPEAR stroll'd and laugh'd with Warwick Swains,
469 "Ne had my Master SPENSER charm'd his Mulla's Plains.
LIII.
470 "Dumb too had been the sage Historic Muse,
471 " And perish'd all the Sons of antient Fame;
472 "Those starry Lights of Virtue, that diffuse
473 " Through the dark Depth of Time their vivid Flame,
474 "Had All been lost with Such as have no Name.
475 " Who then had scorn'd his Ease for others' Good?
476 "Who then had toil'd rapacious Men to tame?
477 " Who in the Public Breach devoted stood,
478 "And for his Country's Cause been prodigal of Blood?
[Page 68]
LIV.
479 "But should to Fame your Hearts impervious be,
480 " If right I read, you Pleasure All require:
481 "Then hear how best may be obtain'd this Fee,
482 " How best enjoy'd this Nature's wide Desire.
483 "Toil, and be glad! Let Industry inspire
484 " Into your quicken'd Limbs her buoyant Breath!
485 "Who does not act is dead; absorpt intire
486 " In miry Sloth, no Pride no Joy he hath:
487 "O Leaden-hearted Men, to be in Love with Death!
LV.
488 "Better the toiling Swain, oh happier far!
489 " Perhaps the happiest of the Sons of Men!
490 "Who vigorous plies the Plough, the Team, or Car;
491 " Who houghs the Field, or ditches in the Glen,
492 "Delves in his Garden, or secures his Pen:
493 " The Tooth of Avarice poisons not his Peace;
494 "He tosses not in Sloth's abhorred Den;
495 " From Vanity he has a full Release;
496 "And, rich in Nature's Wealth, he thinks not of Increase.
[Page 69]
LVI.
497 "Good Lord! how keen are his Sensations all!
498 " His Bread is sweeter than the Glutton's Cates;
499 "The Wines of France upon the Palate pall,
500 " Compar'd with What his simple Soul elates,
501 "The native Cup whose Flavour Thirst creates;
502 " At one deep Draught of Sleep he takes the Night;
503 "And for that Heart-felt Joy which Nothing mates,
504 " Of the pure nuptial Bed the chaste Delight,
505 "The Losel is to him a miserable Wight.
LVII.
506 "But what avail the largest Gifts of HEAVEN,
507 " When sickening Health and Spirits go amiss?
508 "How tasteless then Whatever can be given?
509 " Health is the vital Principle of Bliss,
510 "And Exercise of Health. In Proof of This,
511 " Behold the Wretch, who slugs his Life away,
512 "Soon swallow'd in Disease's sad Abyss;
513 " While he whom Toil has brac'd, or manly Play,
514 "Has light as Air each Limb, each Thought as clear as Day.
[Page 70]
LVIII.
515 "O who can speak the vigorous Joys of Health!
516 " Unclogg'd the Body, unobscur'd the Mind:
517 "The Morning raises gay; with pleasing Stealth,
518 " The temperate Evening falls serene and kind.
519 "In Health the wiser Brutes true Gladness find.
520 " See! how the Younglings frisk along the Meads,
521 "As May comes on, and wakes the balmy Wind;
522 " Rampant with Life, their Joy all Joy exceeds:
523 "Yet what save high-strung Health this dancing Pleasaunce breeds?
LIX.
524 "But here, instead, is foster'd every Ill,
525 " Which or distemper'd Minds or Bodies know.
526 "Come then, my kindred Spirits! do not spill
527 " Your Talents here. This Place is but a Shew,
528 "Whose Charms delude you to the Den of Woe:
529 " Come, follow me, I will direct you right,
530 "Where Pleasure's Roses, void of Serpents, grow,
531 " Sincere as sweet; come, follow this good Knight,
532 "And you will bless the Day that brought him to your Sight.
[Page 71]
LX.
533 "Some he will lead to Courts, and Some to Camps;
534 " To Senates Some, and public sage Debates,
535 "Where, by the solemn Gleam of Midnight-Lamps,
536 " The World is pois'd, and manag'd mighty States;
537 "To high Discovery Some, that new-creates
538 " The Face of Earth; Some to the thriving Mart;
539 "Some to the Rural Reign, and softer Fates;
540 " To the sweet Muses Some, who raise the Heart:
541 "All Glory shall be yours, all Nature, and all Art!
LXI.
542 "There are, I see, who listen to my Lay,
543 " Who wretched sigh for Virtue, but despair.
544 "All may be done, (methinks I hear them say)
545 " Even Death despis'd by generous Actions fair;
546 "All, but for Those who to these Bowers repair,
547 " Their every Power dissolv'd in Luxury,
548 "To quit of torpid Sluggishness the Lair,
549 " And from the powerful Arms of Sloth get free.
550 "'Tis rising from the Dead Alas! It cannot be!
[Page 72]
LXII.
551 "Would you then learn to dissipate the Band
552 " Of these huge threatning Difficulties dire,
553 "That in the weak Man's Way like Lions stand,
554 " His Soul appall, and damp his rising Fire?
555 "Resolve! resolve! and to be Men aspire!
556 " Exert that noblest Priviledge, alone,
557 "Here to Mankind indulg'd: controul Desire;
558 " Let Godlike Reason, from her sovereign Throne,
559 "Speak the commanding Word I will! and it is done.
LXIII.
560 "Heavens! can you then thus waste, in shameful wise,
561 " Your few important Days of Tryal here?
562 "Heirs of Eternity! yborn to rise
563 " Through endless States of Being, still more near
564 "To Bliss approaching, and Perfection clear,
565 " Can you renounce a Fortune so sublime,
566 "Such glorious Hopes, your backward Steps to steer,
567 " And roll, with vilest Brutes, through Mud and Slime?
568 "No! No! Your Heaven-touch'd Hearts disdain the piteous Crime!"
[Page 73]
LXIV.
569 "Enough! enough! they cry'd" Strait, from the Croud,
570 The better Sort on Wings of Transport fly.
571 As when amid the lifeless Summits proud
572 Of Alpine Cliffs, where to the gelid Sky
573 Snows pil'd on Snows in wintry Torpor lie,
574 The Rays divine of vernal Phaebus play;
575 Th' awaken'd Heaps, in Streamlets from on high,
576 Rous'd into Action, lively leap away,
577 Glad-warbling through the Vales, in their new Being gay.
LXV.
578 Not less the Life, the vivid Joy serene,
579 That lighted up these new-created Men,
580 Than That which wings th'exulting Spirit clean,
581 When, just deliver'd from this fleshly Den,
582 It soaring seeks its native Skies agen.
583 How light its Essence! how unclogg'd its Powers!
584 Beyond the Blazon of my mortal Pen:
585 Even so we glad forsook these sinful Bowers,
586 Even such enraptur'd Life, such Energy was ours.
[Page 74]
LXVI.
587 But far the greater Part, with Rage inflam'd,
588 Dire-mutter'd Curses, and blasphem'd high Jove.
589 "Ye Sons of Hate! (They bitterly exclaim'd)
590 " What brought you to this Seat of Peace and Love?
591 "While with kind Nature, here amid the Grove,
592 " We pass'd the harmless Sabbath of our Time,
593 "What to disturb it could, fell Men, emove
594 " Your barbarous Hearts? Is Happiness a Crime?
595 "Then do the Fiends of Hell rule in yon Heaven sublime.
LXVII.
596 "Ye impious Wretches! (quoth the Knight in Wrath)
597 " Your Happiness behold! " Then strait a Wand
598 He wav'd, an anti-magic Power that hath,
599 Truth from illusive Falshood to command.
600 Sudden, the Landskip sinks on every Hand;
601 The pure quick Streams are marshy Puddles found;
602 On baleful Heaths the Groves all blacken'd stand;
603 And, o'er the weedy foul abhorred Ground,
604 Snakes, Adders, Toads, each loathly Creature crawls around.
[Page 75]
LXVIII.
605 And here and there, on Trees by Lightning scath'd,
606 Unhappy Wights who loathed Life yhung;
607 Or, in fresh Gore and recent Murder bath'd,
608 They weltering lay; or else, infuriate flung
609 Into the gloomy Flood, while Ravens sung
610 The funeral Dirge, they down the Torrent rowl'd:
611 These, by distemper'd Blood to Madness stung,
612 Had doom'd themselves; whence oft, when Night controul'd
613 The World, returning hither their sad Spirits howl'd.
LXIX.
614 Meantime a moving Scene was open laid.
615 That Lazar-House, I whilom in my Lay
616 Depainted have, its Horrors deep-display'd,
617 And gave unnumber'd Wretches to the Day,
618 Who tossing there in squalid Misery lay.
619 Soon as of sacred Light th' unwonted Smile
620 Pour'd on these living Catacombs its Ray,
621 Through the drear Caverns stretching many a Mile,
622 The Sick up-rais'd their Heads, and dropp'd their Woes awhile.
[Page 76]
LXX.
623 "O Heaven! (they cry'd) and do we once more see
624 " Yon blessed Sun, and this green Earth so fair?
625 "Are we from noisome Damps of Pest-House free?
626 " And drink our Souls the sweet ethereal Air?
627 "O Thou! or Knight, or God! who holdest there
628 " That Fiend, oh keep him in eternal Chains!
629 "But what for us, the Children of Despair,
630 " Brought to the Brink of Hell, what Hope remains?
631 "Repentance does itself but aggravate our Pains."
LXXI.
632 The gentle Knight, who saw their rueful Case,
633 Let fall adown his silver Beard some Tears.
634 "Certes (quoth he) it is not even in Grace,
635 " T' undo the Past, and eke your broken Years:
636 "Nathless, to nobler Worlds Repentance rears,
637 " With humble Hope, her Eye; to Her is given
638 "A Power the truly contrite Heart that chears;
639 " She quells the Brand by which the Rocks are riven;
640 "She more than merely softens, she rejoices HEAVEN.
[Page 77]
LXXII.
641 "Then patient bear the Sufferings you have earn'd,
642 " And by these Sufferings purify the Mind;
643 "Let Wisdom be by past Misconduct learn'd:
644 " Or pious die, with Penitence resign'd;
645 "And to a Life more happy and refin'd,
646 " Doubt not, you shall, new Creatures, yet arise.
647 "Till Then, you may expect in me to find
648 " One who will wipe your Sorrow from your Eyes,
649 "One who will soothe your Pangs, and wing you to the Skies."
LXXIII.
650 They silent heard, and pour'd their Thanks in Tears.
651 "For you (resum'd the Knight with sterner Tone)
652 " Whose hard dry Hearts th' obdurate Demon sears,
653 "That Villain's Gifts will cost you many a Groan;
654 " In dolorous Mansion long you must bemoan
655 "His fatal Charms, and weep your Stains away;
656 " Till, soft and pure as Infant-Goodness grown,
657 "You feel a perfect Change: then, who can say,
658 " What Grace may yet shine forth in Heaven's eternal Day? "
[Page 78]
LXXIV.
659 This said, his powerful Wand he wav'd anew:
660 Instant, a glorious Angel-Train descends,
661 The Charities, to-wit, of rosy Hue;
662 Sweet Love their Looks a gentle Radiance lends,
663 And with seraphic Flame Compassion blends.
664 At once, delighted, to their Charge they fly:
665 When lo! a goodly Hospital ascends;
666 In which they bade each human Aid be nigh,
667 That could the Sick-Bed smoothe of that unhappy Fry.
LXXV.
668 It was a worthy edifying Sight,
669 And gives to Human-Kind peculiar Grace,
670 To see kind Hands attending Day and Night,
671 With tender Ministry, from Place to Place.
672 Some prop the Head; some, from the pallid Face,
673 Wipe off the faint cold Dews weak Nature sheds;
674 Some reach the healing Draught: the whilst, to chase
675 The Fear supreme, around their soften'd Beds,
676 Some holy Man by Prayer all opening Heaven dispreds.
[Page 79]
LXXVI.
677 Attended by a glad acclaiming Train,
678 Of those he rescu'd had from gaping Hell,
679 Then turn'd the Knight; and, to his Hall again
680 Soft-pacing, sought of Peace the mossy Cell:
681 Yet down his Cheeks the Gems of Pity fell,
682 To see the helpless Wretches that remain'd,
683 There left through Delves and Deserts dire to yell;
684 Amaz'd, their Looks with pale Dismay were stain'd,
685 And spreading wide their Hands they meek Repentance feign'd.
LXXVII.
686 But ah! their scorned Day of Grace was past:
687 For (Horrible to tell!) a Desert wild
688 Before them stretch'd, bare, comfortless, and vast;
689 With Gibbets, Bones, and Carcases defil'd.
690 There nor trim Field, nor lively Culture smil'd;
691 Nor waving Shade was seen, nor Fountain fair;
692 But Sands abrupt on Sands lay loosely pil'd,
693 Through which they floundering toil'd with painful Care,
694 Whilst Phaebus smote them sore, and fir'd the cloudless Air.
[Page 80]
LXXVIII.
695 Then, varying to a joyless Land of Bogs,
696 The sadden'd Country a grey Waste appear'd;
697 Where Nought but putrid Steams and noisome Fogs
698 For ever hung on drizzly Auster's Beard;
699 Or else the Ground by piercing Caurus sear'd,
700 Was jagg'd with Frost, or heap'd with glazed Snow:
701 Through these Extremes a ceaseless Round they steer'd,
702 By cruel Fiends still hurry'd to and fro,
703 Gaunt Beggary, and Scorn, with many Hell-Hounds moe.
LXXIX.
704 The First was with base dunghill Rags yclad,
705 Tainting the Gale, in which they flutter'd light;
706 Of morbid Hue his Features, sunk, and sad;
707 His hollow Eyne shook forth a sickly Light;
708 And o'er his lank Jaw-Bone, in piteous Plight,
709 His black rough Beard was matted rank and vile;
710 Direful to see! an Heart-appalling Sight!
711 Meantime foul Scurf and Blotches him defile;
712 And Dogs, where-e'er he went, still barked all the While.
[Page 81]
LXXX.
713 The other was a fell despightful Fiend:
714 Hell holds none worse in baleful Bower below;
715 By Pride, and Wit, and Rage, and Rancour, keen'd;
716 Of Man alike, if good or bad, the Foe:
717 With Nose up-turn'd, he always made a Shew
718 As if he smelt some nauseous Scent; his Eye
719 Was cold, and keen, like Blast from boreal Snow;
720 And Taunts he casten forth most bitterly.
721 Such were the Twain that off drove this ungodly Fry.
LXXXI.
722 Even so through Brentford Town, a Town of Mud,
723 An Herd of brisly Swine is prick'd along;
724 The filthy Beasts, that never chew the Cud,
725 Still grunt, and squeak, and sing their troublous Song,
726 And oft they plunge themselves the Mire among:
727 But ay the ruthless Driver goads them on,
728 And ay of barking Dogs the bitter Throng
729 Makes them renew their unmelodious Moan;
730 Ne ever find they Rest from their unresting Fone.
FINIS.
[Page]

ADVERTISEMENT.

THIS Poem being writ in the Manner of Spenser, the obsolete Words, and a Simplicity of Diction in some of the Lines, which borders on the Ludicrous, were necessary to make the Imitation more perfect. And the Stile of that admirable Poet, as well as the Measure in which he wrote, are as it were appropriated by Custom to all Allegorical Poems writ in our Language; just as in French the Stile of Marot who lived under Francis I. has been used in Tales, and familiar Epistles, by the politest Writers of the Age of Louis XIV.

[Page]

EXPLANATION of the obsolete Words used in this POEM.

  • ARchimage The chief, or greatest of Magicians or Enchanters.
  • Atween between.
  • Bale Sorrow, Trouble, Misfortune.
  • Benempt named.
  • Blazon Painting, Displaying.
  • Carol to sing Songs of Joy.
  • Certes certainly.
  • Eath easy.
  • Eftsoons immediately, often, afterwards.
  • Gear or Geer Furniture, Equipage, Dress.
  • Glaive Sword. (Fr.)
  • Han have.
  • Hight is named, called.
  • Idless Idleness.
  • Imp Child, or Offspring; from the Saxon Impan, to graft or plant.
  • Kest for cast.
  • Lad for led.
  • Lea a Piece of Land, or Meadow.
  • Libbard Leopard.
  • Lig to lie.
  • Losel a loose idle Fellow.
  • Louting Bowing, Bending.
  • Mell mingle.
  • Moe more.
  • Moil to labour.
  • Muchel or Mochel much, great.
  • Nathless nevertheless.
  • Ne nor.
  • Needments Necessaries.
  • Noursling a Nurse, or what is nursed.
  • Noyance Harm.
  • Perdie (Fr. par Dieu) an old Oath.
  • Prick'd thro' the Forest rode thro' the Forest.
  • Sear dry, burnt-up.
  • Sheen bright, shining.
  • Sicker sure, surely.
  • Soot Sweet, or sweetly.
  • Sooth true, or Truth.
  • Stound Misfortune, Pang.
  • Sweltry Sultry, consuming with Heat.
  • Swink to labour.
  • Transmew'd transform'd.
  • Vild vile.
  • Unkempt (Lat. incomptus) unadorn'd.
  • Whilom ere-while, formerly.
  • Wis, for Wist to know, think, understand.
  • Ween to think, be of Opinion.
  • Weet to know; to weet, to wit.
  • Woonne (a Noun) Dwelling.

N. B. The Letter Y is frequently placed at the Beginning of a Word, by Spenser, to lengthen it a Syllable.

  • Yborn born.
  • Yblent, or blent blended, mingled.
  • Yclad clad.
  • Ycleped called, named.
  • Yfere together.
  • Ymolten melted.
  • Yode (Preter Tense of Yede) went.

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Title (in Source Edition): THE CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.
Author: James Thomson
Themes: supernatural; poetry; literature; writing; nature; landscapes
Genres: alexandrine; Spenserian stanza; imitation

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Source edition

The castle of indolence: an allegorical poem. Written in imitation of Spenser. By James Thomson. London: printed for A. Millar, over against Catherine-Street, in the Strand, MDCCXLVIII., 1748. [2],81,[3]p.; 4⁰. (ESTC T20324; Foxon T181; OTA K029946.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.