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But strength alone though of the Muses born
Yet I rejoice: a myrtle fairer than E’er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds Lifts its sweet heap into the air, and feeds A silent space with ever-sprouting green. All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen, Creep through the shade with jaunty fluttering, Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing. Then let us clear away the choking thorns From round its gentle stem ; let the young fawns Yeaned in after-times, when we are flown, Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown With simple flowers : let there nothing be More boisterous than a lover's bended knee Nought more ungentle than the placid look Of one who leans upon a closed book ; Nought more untranquil than the grassy slopes Between two hills. All hail, delightful hopes ! As she was wont, th’ imagination Into most lovely labyrinths will be gone, And they shall be accounted poet kings Who simply tell the most heart-easing things. O may these joys be ripe before I die!
Will not some say that I presumptuously Have spoken ? that from hastening disgrace 'Twere better får to hide my foolish face ? That whining boyhood should with reverence bow Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach me? How' If I do hide myself, it sure shall be In the very fane, the light of Poesy :
If I do fall, at least I will be laid
Of conscience bids me be more calm awhile.
For sweet relief I'll dwell On humbler thoughts, and let this strange assay Begun in gentleness die so away. E'en now all tumult from my bosom fades : I turn full-hearted to the friendly aids That smooth the path of honour; brotherhood, And friendliness, the nurse of mutual good. The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet Into the brain ere one can think upon it ; The silence when some rhymes are coming out; And when they're come, the very pleasant rout: The message certain to be done to-morrow. 'Tis perhaps as well that it should be to borrow Some precious book from out its snug retreat, To cluster round it when we next shall meet. Scarce can I scribble on; for lovely airs Are fluttering round the room like doves in pairs ; Many delights of that glad day recalling, When first my senses caught their tender falling. And with these airs come forms of elegance Stooping their shoulders o'er a horse's prance, Careless, and grand – fingers soft and round Parting luxuriant curls; and the swift bound Of Bacchus from his chariot, when his eye Made Ariadne's cheek look blushingly. Thus I remember all the pleasant flow Of words at opening a portfolio.
Things such as these are ever harbingers To trains of peaceful images: the stirs Of a swan's neck unseen among the rushes : A linnet starting all about the bushes : A butterfly, with golden wings broad-parted, Nestling a rose, convulsed as though it smarted With over-pleasure many, many more, Might I indulge at large in all Of luxuries : yet I must not forget Sleep, quiet with his poppy coronet :
For what there may be worthy in these rhymes
Great Alfred's too, with anxious, pitying eyes, As if he always listen’d to the sighs
Of the goaded world ; and Kosciusko's, worn
Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green, Starts at the sight of Laura ; nor can wean His eyes from her sweet face. Most happy they ! For over them was seen a free display Of outspread wings, and from between them shone The face of Poesy: from off her throne She overlook'd things that I scarce could tell, The
very sense of where I was might well Keep sleep aloof : but more than that there came Thought after thought to nourish up the flame Within my breast; so that the morning light Surprised me even from a sleepless night; And up I rose refresh'd, and glad, and gay, Resolving to begin that very day These lines; and howsoever they be done, I leave them as a father does his son.
Na drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thý branches ne'er remember
In a drear-nighted December,