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“ A peace with all my soul,” said Chanticleer ; “ But, with your favour, I will treat it here: And, lest the truce with treason should be mixt, 'Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt.”
In this plain fable you th' effect may see
Of negligence, and fond credulity :
And learn beside of flatterers to beware,
Then most pernicious when they speak too fair.
The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply;
The truth is moral, though the tale a lie.
Who spoke in parables, I dare not say;
But sure he knew it was a pleasing way,
Sound sense, by plain example, to convey;
And in a heathen author we may find,
That pleasure with instruction should he join'd;
So take the corn, and leave the chaff behind.
OR THE LADY IN THE ARBOUR.
A Vision. Now, turning from the wintery signs, the Sun His course exalted through the Ram had run, And, whirling up the skies, his chariot drove Through Taurus and the lightsome realms of Love; Where Venus from her orb descends in showers, To glad the ground, and paint the fields with
When first the tender blades of grass appear,
And buds, that yet the blast of Eurus fear, [year :
Stand at the door of life, and doubt to clothe the
Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains,
Make the green blood to dance within their veins ;
Then, at their call embolden'd, out they come,
And swell the germs, and burst the narrow room ;
Broader and broader yet, their blooms display,
Salute the welcome Sun, and entertain the day.
Then from their breathing souls the sweets repair,
To scent the skies, and purge th’unwholesome air :
Joy spreads the heart, and, with a general song,
Spring issues out, and leads the jolly months along.
In that sweet season, as in bed I lay,
And sought in sleep to pass the night away,
I turn’d my weary'd side, but still in vain,
Though full of youthful health, and void of pain :
Cares I had none, to keep me from my rest,
For Love had never enter'd in my breast;
I wanted nothing Fortune could supply,
Nor did she slumber till that hour deny.
I wonder'd then, but after found it true,
Much joy had dry'd away the balmy dew :
Seas would be pools, without the brushing air,
To curl the waves : and sure some little care
Should weary Nature so, to make her want repair.
When Chanticleer the second watch had sung, Scorning the scorner Sleep, from bed I sprung; And, dressing by the Moon, in loose array, Pass'd out in open air, preventing day, And sought a goodly grove, as fancy led my way. Straight as a line in beauteous order stood Of oaks unshorn a venerable wood;
Fresh was the grass beneath, and every tree
At distance planted in a due degree,
Their branching arms in air with equal space
Stretch'd to their neighbours with a long embrace,
And the new leaves on every bough were seen,
Some ruddy colour’d, some of lighter green.
The painted birds, companions of the Spring,
Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to sing.
Both eyes and ears receiv'd a like delight,
Enchanting music, and a charming sight.
On Philomel I fix'd my whole desire ;
And listen’d for the queen of all the quire;
Fain would I hear her heavenly voice to sing ;
And wanted yet an omen to the spring.
Attending long in vain, I took the way,
Which through a path but scarcely printed lay;
In narrow mazes oft it seem'd to meet,
And look'd as lightly press'd by fairy feet.
Wandering I walk'd alone, for still methought
To some strange end so strange a path was wrought :
At last it led me where an arbour stood,
The sacred receptacle of the wood: [green,
This place unmark’d, though oft I walk'd the
In all my progress I had never seen :
And, seiz'd at once with wonder and delight,
Gaz'd all around me, new to the transporting sight.
'Twas bench'd with turf, and goodly to be seen,
The thick young grass arose in fresher green:
The mound was newly made, no sight could pass
Betwixt the nice partitions of the grass ;
The well-united sods so closely lay ;
And all around the shades defended it from day:
For sycamores with eglantine were spread,
A hedge about the sides, a covering over head.
And so the fragrant brier was wove between,
The sycamore and flowers were mix'd with green,
That Nature seem'd to vary the delight;
And satisfy'd at once the smell and sight.
The master workmen of the bower was known
Through fairy lands, and built for Oberon;
Who twining leaves with such proportion drew,
They rose by measure, and by rule they grew ;
No mortal tongue can half the beauty tell:
For none but hands divine could work so well.
Both roof and sides were like a parlour made,
A soft recess, and a cool summer shade;
The hedge was set so thick, no foreign eye
The persons plac'd within it could espy :
But all that pass'd without with ease was seen,
As if nor fence nor tree was plac'd between.
'Twas border'd with a field; and some was plain
With grass, and some was sow'd with rising grain.
That (now the dew with spangles deck'd the ground)
A sweeter spot of earth was never found.
I look'd and look'd, and still with new delight;
Such joy my soul, such pleasures fill’d my sight :
And the fresh eglantine exhal'd a breath,
Whose odours were of power to raise from death.
Nor sullen discontent, nor anxious care,
Ev'n though brought thither, could inhabit there:
But thence they fled as from their mortal foe;
For this sweet place could only pleasure know.
Thus as I mus'd, I cast aside my eye,
And saw a medlar-tree was planted nigh.
The spreading branches made a goodly show,
And full of opening blooms was every bough:
A goldfinch there I saw with gawdy pride
Of painted plumes, that hopp'd from side to side,
Still pecking as she pass'd; and still she drew
The sweets from every flower, and suck'd the dew:
Suffic'd at length, she warbled in her throat,
And tun'd her voice to many a merry note,
But indistinct, and neither sweet nor clear,
Yet such as sooth'd my soul and pleas'd my ear.
Her short performance was no sooner try'd,
When she I sought, the nightingale reply'd :
So sweet, so shrill, so variously she sung,
That the grove echoed, and the valleys rung :
And I so ravish'd with her heavenly note,
I stood entranc'd, and had no room for thought,
But, all o'erpower'd with ecstasy of bliss,
Was in a pleasing dream of Paradise ;
At length I wak’d, and looking round the bower,
Search'd every tree, and pry'd on every flower
If any where by chance I might espy,
The rural poet of the melody;
For still methought she sung not far away :
At last I found her on a laurel spray.
Close by my side she sat, and fair in sight,
Full in a line against her opposite;
Where stood with eglantine the laurel twin'd;
And both their native sweets were well conjoin'd.
On the green bank I sat, and listen'd long
(Sitting was more convenient for the song):
Nor till her lay was ended could I move,
But wish'd to dwell for ever in the grove.