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ODE.

On MELANCHOLY.

To a FRIEND.

I.
1 AH! cease this kind persuasive strain,
2 Which, when it flows from friendship's tongue,
3 However weak, however vain,
4 O'erpowers beyond the Siren's song:
5 Leave me, my friend, indulgent go,
6 And let me muse upon my woe.
7 Why lure me from these pale retreats?
8 Why rob me of these pensive sweets?
9 Can Music's voice, can Beauty's eye,
10 Can Painting's glowing hand, supply
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11 A charm so suited to my mind,
12 As blows this hollow gust of wind,
13 As drops this little weeping rill
14 Soft-tinkling down the moss-grown hill,
15 Whilst thro' the west, where sinks the crimson Day,
16 Meek Twilight slowly sails, and waves her banners grey?
II.
17 Say, from Affliction's various source
18 Do none but turbid waters flow?
19 And cannot Fancy clear their course?
20 For Fancy is the friend of Woe.
21 Say, 'mid that grove, in love-lorn state,
22 When yon poor Ringdove mourns her mate,
23 Is all, that meets the shepherd's ear,
24 Inspir'd by anguish, and despair?
25 Ah no, fair Fancy rules the Song:
26 She swells her throat; she guides her tongue;
27 She bids the waving Aspin-spray
28 Quiver in Cadence to her lay;
29 She bids the fringed Osiers bow,
30 And rustle round the lake below,
31 To suit the tenor of her gurgling sighs,
32 And sooth her throbbing breast with solemn sympathies.
III.
33 To thee, whose young and polish'd brow
34 The wrinkling hand of Sorrow spares;
35 Whose cheeks, bestrew'd with roses, know
36 No channel for the tide of tears;
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37 To thee yon Abbey dank, and lone,
38 Where Ivy chains each mould'ring stone
39 That nods o'er many a Martyr's tomb,
40 May cast a formidable gloom.
41 Yet some there are, who, free from fear,
42 Could wander thro' the cloysters drear,
43 Could rove each desolated Isle,
44 Tho' midnight thunders shook the pile;
45 And dauntless view, or seem to view,
46 (As faintly flash the lightnings blue)
47 Thin shiv'ring Ghosts from yawning charnels throng,
48 And glance with silent sweep the shaggy vaults along.
IV.
49 But such terrific charms as these,
50 I ask not yet: My sober mind
51 The fainter forms of Sadness please;
52 My sorrows are of softer kind.
53 Thro' this still valley let me stray,
54 Wrapt in some strain of pensive GRAY:
55 Whose lofty Genius bears along
56 The conscious dignity of Song;
57 And, scorning from the sacred store
58 To waste a note on Pride, or Power,
59 Roves, when the glimmering twilight glooms,
60 And warbles 'mid the rustic tombs:
61 He too perchance (for well I know,
62 His heart would melt with friendly woe)
63 He too perchance, when these poor limbs are laid,
64 Will heave one tuneful sigh, and sooth my hov'ring Shade.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): ODE. On MELANCHOLY.
    Author: William Mason
    Themes: poetry; literature; writing; grief; sadness; melancholy; friendship
    Genres: ode
    References: DMI 27947

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. VI. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 318-320. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.006)

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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.