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The FIELDS of MELANCHOLY and CHEARFULNESS.

1 STILL were the Groves, and venerable Night
2 O'er half the Globe had cast her gloomy Veil,
3 When by a Taper's solitary Gleam
4 Sat musing Mira pensive and alone;
5 In her sad Breast officious Memory
6 Reviv'd the Pictures of departed Friends,
7 Whose pleasing Forms she must behold no more.
8 Forgotten Woe, that for a time had slept,
9 Rose into Life, and like a Torrent pour'd
10 On her faint Soul, which sunk beneath its Rage:
11 At length soft Slumber kindly interven'd,
12 And clos'd those Eye-lids that were drench'd in Tears;
13 But restless Fancy that was waking still,
14 Led my deluded Spirit on the Wing
15 To pictur'd Regions and imagin'd Worlds.
16 I seem'd transported to a gloomy Land,
17 Whose Fields had never known the chearful Sun:
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18 A heavy Mist hung in the frowning Sky,
19 No feather'd Warblers chear'd the mourning Groves,
20 Nor blushing Flow'rs adorn'd the barren Ground:
21 I gaz'd around the solitary Coast,
22 When lo a Nymph with solemn Air approach'd,
23 Whose Dress was careless and her Features grave,
24 Her Voice was broken and her Hearing dull:
25 She spoke but seldom, yet at last she told
26 Me in a Whisper, that her Name was Thought;
27 And more, she offer'd, with a friendly Air,
28 To lead me safely through the dreary Gloom:
29 We walk'd along through rough unpleasing Paths,
30 O'er Beds of Night-Shade and through Groves of Yew,
31 Till we arriv'd within a dusky Wood,
32 Whose spacious Bound was fenc'd with shagged Thorn.
33 The Trees were baleful Cypress; and a few
34 Tall Pines that murmur'd to the rushing Wind:
35 Here dwelt the Natives, (mournful as the Place)
36 Or sunk in real or imagin'd Woe;
37 Complaining Sounds were heard on ev'ry Side,
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38 And each bewail'd the loss of something dear:
39 Some mourn'd a Child that in its Bloom expir'd,
40 And some a Brother's or a Parent's Fate:
41 Lost Wealth and Honours many Tongues deplor'd,
42 And some were wretched, tho' they knew not why.
43 But as we reach'd the Centre of the Place,
44 Complaints were heard more piercing than before:
45 The gathering Fogs grew thicker o'er our Heads,
46 And a cold Horror thrill'd our wounded Souls,
47 And thus we travell'd, pensive beyond measure,
48 Through Paths half cover'd with perplexing Thorns;
49 At length we found two Rows of aged Firs,
50 Whose Tops were blasted by unwholsom Winds.
51 This solitary Vista op'ning wide,
52 Disclos'd the Palace of its mournful Queen:
53 Before the Gate was plac'd a frightful Guard,
54 Who serv'd as Porters to the gloomy Dome:
55 Here, stretch'd upon a miserable Couch,
56 Lay pining Sickness with continual Groans;
57 And by her Side, (array'd in filthy Weeds)
58 Sat quaking Poverty with ghastly stare:
59 His Presence seem'd to aggravate her Pain,
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60 For when she cast her languid Eyes on him,
61 She hid her Face and rais'd a fearful Cry.
62 There Disappointment like a Statue stood,
63 With Eyes dejected and with Visage pale:
64 Her heaving Bosom seem'd to swell with Anguish,
65 And in her Hand she grasp'd a broken Reed:
66 Here, in the Garb of Piety, we saw
67 Proud Error frowning with a Look severe:
68 Doubt at his Elbow bore a Rod of Snakes,
69 And held a Cup fill'd to the Brim with Tears,
70 By these we pass'd into the dusky Court,
71 O'er-run with Hemlock and with gloomy Fern:
72 Perpetual Night hung o'er the dismal Walls,
73 And from the Ground unhealthy Vapours rose;
74 Through folding Doors of Ebony we came,
75 Into a winding Passage hung with black,
76 For ever dark possest by flitting Shades,
77 By waking Fancies, and by frightful Dreams
78 This led us to a subterraneous Cell,
79 Where the sad Empress Melancholy reign'd;
80 The musing Matron sat upon a Throne
81 Of mould'ring Earth her Footstool of the same;
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82 And for her Canopy an aged Yew
83 Spread o'er her Head its venerable Arms:
84 Her careless Robe was of a sable Hue,
85 And on her Shoulders flow'd her slighted Hair:
86 Her Lips were clos'd with an eternal Silence;
87 Her Arms were folded and her Head reclin'd;
88 On either Side her pale Attendants stood,
89 Two mournful Maids, Dejection and Despair;
90 The first (attended with continual Faintings)
91 Seem'd on the Point to close her dying Eyes:
92 A constant Dew hung on her death-like Brow,
93 And her cold Bosom half forgot to heave.
94 Despair (whose Garments by herself were torn)
95 Was mark'd with Wounds that Time can never heal:
96 With desp'rate Hand she struck her bleeding Breast,
97 And wash'd the Ground with never-ceasing Tears;
98 With ghastly Figures was the Cave adorn'd,
99 And in the midst the Effigies of Death.
100 Shock'd at the Place we hasted to return,
101 And left the horrid Mansion far behind;
102 Long time we travell'd through untrodden Paths,
103 Where the brown Forests cast an awful Gloom:
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104 At length the floating Clouds began to part,
105 And left behind them Streaks of chearful Azure;
106 Our Path grew smooth and widen'd to the view,
107 Until it open'd on a spacious Field;
108 A Field whose Charms no Painter e'er cou'd reach,
109 Though he shou'd borrow from the Poet's Heav'n;
110 The Clime was temp'rate and the Air was still,
111 The sprouting Turf was of a beauteous Green,
112 Speckled with Flow'rs of a delicious Dye.
113 Here crystal Lakes were border'd round with Trees,
114 Where Blossoms flourish'd in eternal Spring;
115 For here the Groves no blasting Tempests know,
116 But still are blest with Fruits that ne'er decay:
117 Perpetual Sun-shine crown'd the gaudy Hills,
118 And the fair Vallies were with Plenty gay.
119 A Path there was, trod o'er the spicy Field,
120 Which led the Wand'rer to a blissful Shade,
121 Whose Fence was made of balmy Eglantine;
122 Where the fair Plane o'erlook'd the Myrtle Shrub,
123 And flow'ring Orange that perfume the Air;
124 Here flew in Throngs the soft aerial Choir,
125 Whose glitt'ring Necks like polish'd Amber shone:
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126 We pass'd delighted through ambrosial Paths,
127 And Bowers move with Jessamine and Rose;
128 Joy seiz'd the ravish'd Spirits, while we breath'd
129 In Gales that tasted of immortal Sweets.
130 At length the parting Trees broke into Form,
131 And with a Circle bound a charming Plain,
132 I'th' midst of which upon an Iv'ry Throne
133 Sat Chearfulness, the Genius of the Place:
134 Her Mien was graceful and her Features fair;
135 Continual Smiles dwelt on her dimpl'd Cheeks,
136 Her Hair was bound beneath a shining Crown,
137 Her Robes were Azure bright with golden Stars,
138 And in her Hand she held a silver Lute.
139 On either Side her royal Sisters sat,
140 Both lovely, as herself, tho' not so gay;
141 The eldest had a Face divinely fair;
142 Calm was her Look, with Lips prepar'd for smiling,
143 She often rais'd her thankful Eyes to Heav'n;
144 Her Form was easy and her Name Content:
145 The other (much the youngest) was array'd
146 In Virgin Robes white as unsully'd Snow;
147 Her thoughtless Smiles wou'd tame a Tiger's Rage,
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148 A Lamb (whose Neck was circl'd with a Band
149 Of new blown Roses) at her Feet was laid,
150 A milk-white Dove upon her Hand she bore:
151 Thus ever blest sat Innocence the fair.
152 Behind these Sisters stood a shining Train,
153 As Maids of Honour to the Royal Fair:
154 Prosperity (the first) was climbing up
155 A stately Pyramid of painted Marble;
156 From whose high Top she reach'd a brilliant Crowd:
157 Then with an Air that spoke a joyful Heart,
158 Look'd down with Pleasure on the Plain below.
159 Gay Wealth the next, in her embroider'd Vest,
160 Shone like the Entrails of the eastern Mine;
161 Her Hair was platted thick with sparkling Gems,
162 And in her Hand she bore a golden Wand.
163 Health, like a Sylvan Huntress cloath'd in Green,
164 In her right Hand a dapled Palfry held,
165 Her Air was masculine, and swift her Motion;
166 A Wreath of Flow'rs just ravish'd from the Meads,
167 Bound up the Ringlets of her sable Hair;
168 Her Cheeks were ruddy; and her large black Eyes
169 Confess'd the Vigour of her sprightly Soul.
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170 These were the Natives of this happy Land,
171 The Sight of whom so fill'd my glowing Breast
172 With Ecstasy that I awoke: And thus
173 Their Glories vanish'd, and were seen no more.

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Title (in Source Edition): The FIELDS of MELANCHOLY and CHEARFULNESS.
Author: Mary Leapor
Themes:
Genres: blank verse

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Source edition

Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor ... London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 145-153. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413; OTA K101776.000)

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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.

Other works by Mary Leapor