d The scenes of these eclogues are supposed to lie among the shepherds oppressed by the war in Germany. ECLOGUES.
LYCAS AND ALPHON.
1 ARISE, my Lycas: in yon' woody wilds
2 From a rough rock in deep enclosure hid
3 Of thickest oaks, a gushing fountain falls,
4 And pours its airy stream with torrent pure:
5 Which late returning from the field at eve
6 I found, invited by its dashing sound,
7 As thro' the gloom it struck my passing ear.
8 Thither I mean to drive our languid flocks;
9 Fit place to cool their thirst in mid-day hour.
10 Due west it rises from that blasted beech;
11 The way but short: — come, Lycas, rouze thy dog;
12 Let us be gone.
12 Alas, my friend, of flock,
13 Of spring, or shepherd's lore, to me is vain
14 To tell: my favourite lamb, the solace dear
15 Of these grey locks, my sweet and sole delight,[Page 273]
16 Is snatch'd by cruel fate! An armed band,
17 On neighing steeds elate, in wide array
18 Trampled the youngling, as the vale along
19 At eve they pass'd, beneath their whelming march.
20 Such throng I heard, as in the neighbouring wood
21 I wander'd to reduce a straggling ewe
22 Escap'd the fold: what time the griesly owl
23 Her shrieks began, and at the wonted elm
24 The cows awaiting stood Lucilla's hand.
25 When strait with sudden fear alarm'd I start,
26 And listening to the distant-echoing steps
27 Of unseen horsemen with attentive ear,
28 I stand aloof. But why this deep-felt grief?
29 Merits such loss these tears and black despair?
30 Alphon, no more to Lycas now remains,
31 Since he my last and latest care is lost!
32 Thou know'st my little flock; three tender ewes
33 Were all my mean ambition wish'd or sought.
34 Even now nine days, and nine revolving nights
35 Are past, since these the Moldaw's raging flood
36 Swept with their wattled cotes, as o'er its banks
37 It rose redundant, swoln with beating rains,
38 And deep immers'd beneath its whirling wave.
39 I wak'd at early dawn, and to the field
40 I issu'd to pursue my wonted toil,
41 When lo! nor flocks, nor wattled cotes I saw;[Page 274]
42 But all that met my wondering eyes around,
43 Was desolation sad. Here stateliest oaks
44 Torn from their roots, with broken branches lay
45 In hideous ruin: there the fields, that laugh'd
46 With ripening corn, of all their charms despoil'd,
47 With oozy fragments scatter'd waste and wild
48 Were seen. I curst the wicked Spirit drear,
49 That in the ruin'd abbey's darkest cell,
50 (That stands immur'd amid yon' lonesome piles)
51 I bound with triple chains: his magic power
52 Oft-times with howling storms, and thunder loud,
53 Deforms the night, and blackens Nature's face.
54 His tempests swell'd the Moldaw's rising streams,
55 And thus o'erwhelm'd my flock. — But this my heart
56 Had learn'd to bear; at length to Comfort's voice
57 It had obey'd, and all its woes forgot;
58 When ah! too soon returning woes invade
59 My breast, just rising from its former stroke;
60 When this, the sole survivor of my flock,
61 Follows his lost companions; while a wretch
62 I here remain, deserted and forlorn!
63 He too had dy'd beneath the whelming surge,
64 Had not the shelter of my low-roof'd cott
65 That fatal night preserv'd him; where at eve
66 I hap'ly plac'd him with providing care,
67 Lest the fell storm, which yet from southern clouds
68 Threaten'd destruction, and to lour began,
69 Might violate his tender-blooming age.
70 With piteous eye, and sympathizing heart,
71 Thy tears I view. — These scenes of war and blood,
72 The calm repose of every field invade!
73 Myself had fallen a victim to their rage,
74 As in deep dead of night my cave beneath
75 I lay dissolv'd in sleep, with warning voice
76 Had not my dog alarm'd with wondering ear.
77 When straight approach'd the cave a savage throng
78 With barbarous arms, and habit fierce and wild,
79 With stern demeanour and defying look
80 Terrify; which the moon's pale-glimmering rays
81 Presented to my sight, as in the boughs,
82 Close shrouded, of a neighbouring pine I sat
83 (Where sudden fear had driven me to evade
84 Impending fate, unconscious and amaz'd)
85 Secure, but trembling, and in chilly damps
86 My limbs bedew'd. — The monsters as they past,
87 With dire confusion all the cavern fill'd;
88 Hurl'd to the ground my scrip, and beechen cup,
89 Dispers'd the shaggy skins that form my bed,
90 And o'er the trampled floor had scatter'd wide
91 A hoard of choicest chesnuts, which I cull'd
92 With nice-discerning care, and had design'd
93 A present to my beauteous Rosalind.
94 Alas! with them her love had been obtain'd,
95 And me to Myron she had then preferr'd!
96 Shepherd, on thee has Fortune kindly smil'd;
97 Tis mine to feel her grief-inflicting hand!
98 Alas! each object that I view around
99 Recalls my perish'd darling to my sight,
100 And mocks me with his loss! See there the spring
101 Where oft he wont to slake his eager thirst!
102 And there the beech, beneath whose breezy shade
103 He lov'd to lie, close covert from the sun!
104 See yet the bark smooth-worn and bare remains,
105 Where oft the youngling rubb'd his tender side!
106 Ah! what avail'd my care, and foresight vain?
107 That day he fell oppress'd by whelming steeds,
108 This hand had built a bower of thickest boughs
109 Compos'd, and wove with intermingling leaves,
110 Impervious to the sun; and strew'd the floor
111 With choicest hay, that in the secret shade
112 He might repose, nor feel the dog-star's beam!
113 But why this sad, repeated track of woe
114 I still pursue? Farewel, my Alphon dear,
115 To distant fields, and pastures will I go,
116 Where impious War, and Discord, nurse of blood,
117 Shall ne'er profane the silence of the groves.
ACIS AND ALCYON.
1 WHILE in the bosom of this deep recess
2 The voice of war has lost its madding shouts,
3 Let us improve the transient hour of peace,
4 And calm our troubled minds with mutual songs;
5 While this recess conspiring with the Muse
6 Invites to peaceful thoughts; this cavern deep,
7 And these tall pines that nodding from the rock
8 Wave o'er its mouth their umbrage black, and cast
9 A venerable gloom, with this clear fount
10 That cleaves the riven stone, and fills the cave
11 With hollow-tinkling sounds. Repeat the song
12 Which late, Alcyon, from thy mouth I heard,
13 As to the spring we drove our thirsting flocks;
14 It tells the charms of grateful Evening mild:
15 Begin, Alcyon: Acis in return
16 Shall sing the praises of the dawning Morn.
17 Behind the hills when sinks the western sun,
18 And falling dews breathe fragrance thro' the air,
19 Refreshing every field with coolness mild:[Page 278]
20 Then let me walk the twilight meadows green,
21 Or breezy up-lands, near thick-branching elms,
22 While the still landscape sooths my soul to rest,
23 And every care subsides to calmest peace:
24 The mists slow-rising from the rivers dank,
25 The woods scarce stirring at the whispering wind,
26 The streaky clouds, that tinge their darken'd tops
27 With russet hues, and fainter gleams of light,
28 The solitude that all around becalms
29 The peaceful air, conspire to wrap my soul
30 In musings mild: and nought the solemn scene
31 And the still silence breaks, but distant sounds
32 Of bleating flocks, that to their destin'd fold
33 The shepherd drives; mean-time the shrill-tun'd bell
34 Of some lone ewe that wanders from the rest,
35 Tinkles far off, with solitary sound:
36 The lowing cows that wait the milker's hand,
37 The cottage-mastiff's bark, the joyous shouts
38 Of swains that meet to wrestle on the green,
39 Are heard around. But ah! since ruthless war
40 Has ravag'd in these fields, so tranquil once,
41 Too oft alas, the din of clashing arms
42 And discord fell disturbs the softer scene!
43 Thy sweet approach delights the wearied ox,
44 While in loose traces from the furrow'd field
45 He comes: thy dawn the weary reaper loves,
46 Who long had sainted in the mid-day sun,
47 Pleas'd with the cooler hour, along the vale[Page 279]
48 Whistling he home returns to kiss his babes,
49 With joyful heart, his labour's sweet reward!
50 But ah! what sudden fears amaze his soul,
51 When near approaching, all before he sees
52 His lowly cottage and the village 'round
53 Swept into ruin by the hand of war,
54 Dispers'd his children, and his much-lov'd wife,
55 No more to glad his breast with home felt-joys!
56 I too, when in my wattled cotes are laid
57 My supping flock, rejoice to meet my dear,
58 My fair Lauretta, at the wonted oak;
59 Or haply as her miking-pail she bears
60 Returning from the field, to ease her arm,
61 (Sweet office!) and impart my aiding hand!
62 Thy charms (O beauteous Evening!) shall be sung,
63 As long as these tall pines shall wave their heads,
64 Or this clear fountain cleave the riven stone!
65 Sweet are the dews of Eve; her fragrance sweet;
66 Sweet are the pine-topt hills at sultry noon;
67 Sweet is the shelter of the friendly grot
68 To sheep, and shepherd, at impending storms;
69 But ah! less sweet the fragrant dews of Eve;
70 Less sweet the pine-topt hills at sultry noon;
71 Less sweet the shelter of the friendly grots,
72 Than when the rising sun with rosy beam
73 Peeps o'er the village-top, and o'er the fields,
74 The woods, the hills, the streams, and level meads,[Page 280]
75 Scatters bright splendors and diffusive joy!
76 As to his flock the shepherd issues forth,
77 Printing new footsteps in the dewy vale,
78 Each object of the joyous scene around
79 Vernal delight inspires, and glads his heart,
80 Unknowing of the cause, with new-felt glee!
81 The chaunt of early birds on every bush,
82 The steaming odours of the fresh-blown flowers —
83 Cease, Acis, cease thy song: — from yonder hill,
84 Whose lofty sides inclose this secret seat,
85 Our flocks, that graze along its verdurous brow,
86 Tumultuous rush, as struck with sudden fright:
87 And hark, methinks I hear the deathful sounds
88 Of war approaching, and its thunders roar!
89 Kind heaven preserve my wife and children dear!
90 Alas! I fear the sound, that louder now
91 Swells in the wind, and comes with fuller din,
92 Is near my cottage; which, thou know'st, my friend,
93 Stands at the spring, that issues from beneath
94 That rising hill, fast by the branching elm!
95 See, see, my friend, what darksome spires arise
96 Of wreathing smoak, and blacken all the sky! —
97 Nearer and nearer comes the threatening voice,
98 And more distinguish'd strikes our trembling ear! [Page 281]
99 But lo! the foes advance above the hill;
100 I see their glittering arms begin to gleam!
101 Come let us slie, and in the deepest nook,
102 The inmost cavern of this winding grott,
103 Close shroud ourselves, lest in the general stream
104 Of thousands thronging down, we sall opprest.
1 WHEN sable midnight on the fields and woods
2 Had spread her mantle dark, then wander'd forth
3 The pensive Alcon, and the bosom deep
4 Of a wild wood with solitary steps,
5 There to lament his wretched fate, he sought.
6 Him, late as o'er the vale at coming eve
7 Joyful he walk'd with his Lucilla dear,
8 A soldier stern advancing on his steed,
9 Robb'd of his love, and tore the beauteous maid
10 With brutal hand from his contending arms,
11 Weeping in vain, and shricking for his aid,
12 And frowning bore the precious prize away.
13 The wood, whose shades the plaintive shepherd sought,
14 Was dark and pathless, and by neighbouring seet
15 Long time untrod: for there in ancient days
16 Two knights of bold emprise, and high renown,
17 Met in fierce combat, to dispute the prize[Page 282]
18 Of beauty bright, whose valiant arm should win
19 A virgin fair, whose fair-emblazon'd charms
20 With equal love had smote their rival breasts.
21 The knight who fell beneath the victor's sword,
22 Unhears'd and restless, from that fatal day
23 Wanders the hated shades, a spectre pale;
24 And each revolving night, are heard to sound
25 Far from the inmost bower of the deep wood,
26 Loud shrieks, and hollow groans, and rattling chains.
27 When the dark secrets of the grove he gain'd,
28 Beneath an ancient oak his weary limbs
29 He laid adown, and thus to plain began.
30 This midnight deep to plaintive love accords;
31 This lonesome silence, and these hideous shades,
32 That in this darksome hour I dare to tread,
33 And all the horrors of this fearful place,
34 Will suit a wretch, abandon'd to despair! —
35 But ah! — what means this sudden fear, that creeps
36 In chilly sweats o'er all my trembling limbs? —
37 What hollow whispering sounds are those I hear
38 From yonder glade? — Do not I hear his voice?
39 Does not the knight, that in these shades was slain,
40 Call me to come, and beckon with his hand?
41 Do not I see his visionary sword
42 Wav'd in bright circles thro' the murky air? —
43 Does not he point his wounds? — Be still, my sears:
44 'Tis vain illusion all, and phantasie.
45 These sears my love-distemper'd brain suggests:[Page 283]
46 Alas, they will not bring me back my love! —
47 Who now, perhaps, amid the thronging camp
48 On earth's cold breast reclines her weary head,
49 A helpless virgin, subject to the will
50 Of each rude ravisher, and distant far
51 From her dear Alcon, and her native fields. —
52 Ill will the hardships of inclement skies
53 Suit with her tender limbs; the various toils
54 Of painful marches; her unwonted ears
55 How bear the trumpet, and the sounds of war:
56 This task is hard indeed — but soon, alas!
57 At will her savage lord may cast her off,
58 And leave her to succeeding scenes of woe!
59 I see my dear Lucilla, once my own,
60 Naked and hungry, tread the pensive steps
61 Of Desolation, doom'd to wander o'er,
62 Helpless and vagabond, the friendless earth!
63 I hear her sigh for Alcon and her home;
64 And ask for bread at some proud palace-gate
65 With unavailing voice! This toilsome scene,
66 Alas, how different from the smoother paths
67 Of rural life my dear was wont to tread!
68 Forth to the field to bear the milking-pail
69 Was all her wont; to tread the tedded grass,
70 To tend her father's flock, beneath the oak
71 To snatch her dinner sweet, and on the green
72 With the companions of her age to sport!
73 In vain I now expect the coming on[Page 284]
74 Of dew-bath'd Eve, to meet my wonted love;
75 No more I hear the wood-girt vallies ring
76 With her blythe voice, that oft has blest mine ear,
77 As in the distant shade I sat unseen;
78 No more I meet her at the wonted spring,
79 Where each revolving noon she daily went
80 To fill her pitcher with the crystal flood! —
81 If in her native fields the hand of death
82 Had snatch'd her from my arms, I could have born
83 The fatal shoek with less repining heart;
84 For then I could have had one parting kiss;
85 I could have strewn her hearse with fairest flowers,
86 And paid the last sad office to my dear! —
87 Return, my sweet Lucilla, to my arms;
88 At thy return, all Nature will rejoice.
89 Together will we walk the verdant vales,
90 And mingle sweet discourse with kisses sweet.
91 Come, I will climb for thee the knotted oak,
92 To rob the stock-dove of his feathery young;
93 I'll shew thee where the softest cowslips spring,
94 And clustering nuts their laden branches bend;
95 Together will we taste the dews of morn;
96 Together seek the grotts at sultry noon;
97 Together from the field at eve return. —
98 What have I said? what painted scenes of bliss
99 My vain imagination has display'd!
100 Alas, she's gone, ah, never to return!
101 Farewell my pasteral pipe, and my dear flock;[Page 285]
102 Farewell my faithful dog; my once-lov'd haunts
103 Farewell; or cave, or fountain, or fresh shade,
104 Farewell; and thou, my low-rooft'd cott, farewell! —
105 Here will I lie, and fellest wolves, that roam
106 This savage forest shall devour my limbs,
107 Unwept, unburied, in a place unknown! "
MYCON AND PHILANTHES.
1 WELCOME, Philanthes, to thy native fields;
2 Thrice three revolving moons are gone and past,
3 Since first you parted from your father's cott,
4 To drive to pastures far remote your flock.
5 Since that, alas, how oft has savage war
6 Disturb'd our dwellings, and defac'd our fields.
7 Mycon, each object that I view around
8 Speaks ruin and destruction. See, my friend,
9 The ancient wood, whose venerable shades
10 So oft have shelter'd us from noon-day suns;
11 So oft have echo'd to the lowing herds,
12 That fed wide-wandering in the neighbouring vales,
13 The soldier's ax has levell'd with the ground,[Page 286]
14 And to the sun expos'd its darksome bowers:
15 The distant villages, and blue-topt hills,
16 The far-stretch'd meads appear, and meet mine eyes,
17 That erst were intercepted by the grove.
18 How is the wonted face of all things chang'd!
19 Those trees, by whose aspiring tops we knew
20 The sun's ascent at noon, unerring mark,
21 No more are seen to tell the coming hour.
22 How naked does the winding rill appear,
23 Whose banks its pendant umbrage deep-imbrown'd,
24 And far-invested with its arborous roof,
25 As by its side it roll'd its secret streams!
26 How oft, alas! those shadowy banks along
27 (Close solitude!) my Rosalind and I
28 Have walk'd in converse sweet, and link'd in love!
29 But tell me, dear Philanthes, are the fields,
30 Which late you left, like ours by war opprest,
31 Alike in tumult and confusion wrapt?
32 Mycon, I'll tell thee wonders past belief.
33 It happ'd one morn, when first the dawning sun
34 Began to chear the light-enliven'd earth,
35 Caught with so bright a scene, I sought the fields
36 Before my wonted hour, and roving wide
37 Among the vales, the villages and woods,
38 Where'er my fancy led, or pleasure call'd,
39 I chanc'd upon a neighbouring hill to stray,[Page 287]
40 To view the glittering prospect from its top
41 Of the broad Rhine, that roll'd his waves beneath,
42 Amid the level of extended meads;
d It may be supposed that in these lines the shepherd is giving an account of Prince Charles's passing the Rhine. lo! ere yet I gain'd its lofty brow,
44 The sound of dashing floods, and dashing arms,
45 And neighing steeds, confusive struck mine ear.
46 Studious to know what tumult was at hand,
47 With step adventurous I advanc'd, and gain'd
48 With timorous care and cautious ken its top.
49 Sudden a burst of brightness smote my sight,
50 From arms, and all th' imblazonrie of war
51 Reflected far, while steeds, and men, and arms
52 Seem'd floating wide, and stretch'd in vast array
53 O'er the broad bosom of the big-swoln flood,
54 That dashing roll'd its beamy waves between.
55 The banks promiscuous swarm'd with thronging troops:
56 These on the flood embarking, those appear'd
57 Crowding the adverse shore, already past.
58 All was confusion, all tumultuous din.
59 I trembled as I look'd, tho' far above,
60 And in one blaze their arms were blended bright
61 With the broad stream, while all the glistening scene
62 The morn illum'd, and in one splendor clad.
63 Struck at the sight, I lest with headlong haste
64 The steep-brow'd hill, and o'er th' extended vales,[Page 288]
65 The wood-girt lawns I ran, nor slack'd my pace,
66 Till at my flock thick-panting I arriv'd,
67 And drove far off, beneath a deep-arch'd cave.
68 But come, my friend, inform me in return,
69 Since this my absence what has here fell out.
70 Dost thou remember at the river side
71 That solitary convent, all behind
72 Hid by the covert of a mantling wood? —
73 One night, when all was wrapt in darkness deep,
74 An armed troop, on rage and rapine bent,
75 Pour'd o'er the fields and ravag'd all they met;
76 Nor did that sacred pile escape their arms,
77 Whose walls the murderous band to ruin swept,
78 And fill'd its caverns deep with armed throngs
79 Greedy of spoil, and snatch'd their treasures old
80 From their dark seats: the shrieking sisters fled
81 Dispers'd and naked thro' the fields and woods,
82 While sable night conceal'd their wandering steps.
83 Part in my moss grown cottage shelter sought,
84 Which haply scap'd their rage, in secret glade
85 Immersed deep. — I rose at early morn,
86 With fearful heart to view the ruin'd dome,
87 Where all was desolation, all appear'd
88 The seat of horror, and devouring war.
89 The deep recesses, and the gloomy nooks,
90 The vaulted isles, and shrines of imag'd saints,
91 The caverns worn by holy knees appear'd,
92 And to the sun were op'd. — In musing thought[Page 289]
93 I said, as on the pile I bent my brow —
94 "This seat to future ages will appear,
95 " Like that which stands fast by the piny rock;
96 "These silent walls with ivy shall be hung,
97 " And distant times shall view the sacred pile,
98 "Unknowing how it fell, with pious awe!
99 " The pilgrim here shall visit, and the swain
100 "Returning from the field at twilight grey,
101 " Shall shun to pass this way, subdued by fear,
102 "And slant his course across the adverse vale!"
103 Mycon, thou see'st that cow, which stands in cool
104 Amid yon rushy lake, beneath the shade
105 Of willow green, and ruminates at ease
106 The watry herbage that around her floats.
107 That way my business leads. I go to greet
108 My father, and my wonted cottage dear.
109 Come, let us go: my path is that way too.
110 Come, my Philanthes, and may piteous heaven
111 Indulge more happy days, and calm our griefs!
112 Alas! I thought some trouble was at hand,
113 And long before presag'd the coming storm,
114 Even when the lightning one disastrous night
115 Blasted the hoary oak, whose ample boughs
116 Imbower my cottage; and as on the grass
117 At noon I slept, a serpent's sudden hiss
118 Broke my sweet rest! — But come, let us be gone,
119 The sun begins to welk in ruddy west.
CORIN AND CALISTAN.
1 WHICH way, Calistan, whither dost thou lead
2 That lamb, whom yet his mother scarce has wean'd?
3 His mother, Corin, as she wandering fed,
4 With this tender youngling by her side,
5 Fell by a shot which from the battle came,
6 That in the neighbouring fields so lately rag'd.
7 Alas! What woes that fatal day involv'd
8 Our suffering village, and the fields around!
9 But come, Calistan, on this rising bank,
10 Come, let us sit, and on the danger past
11 Converse secure, and number all our griefs.
12 See how the flaunting woodbine shades the bank,
13 And weaves a mantling canopy above!
14 Corin, that day I chanc'd at earlier hour
15 To rise, and drove far-off my flock unpent;
16 To wash them in a spring that late I mark'd.
17 There the first motions of the deathful day[Page 291]
18 I heard, as listening to the trickling wave
19 I stood attentive: when like rising storms,
20 Hoarse, hollow murmurs from afar I heard,
21 And undistinguish'd sounds of distant din.
22 Alarm'd I stood, unknowing whence it came;
23 And from the fount my flock unwash'd I drove
24 Suspecting danger: when as nearer yet,
25 I came advancing, all was tumult loud,
26 All was tempestuous din on every side,
27 And all around the roar of war was up,
28 From rock to rock retost, from wood to wood.
29 Not half so loud the tumbling cataract
30 Is heard to roar, that from the pine-clad cliff
31 Precipitates its waves; whose distant sounds
32 I oft have listen'd, as at twilight grey
33 I pent my flocks within their wattled cotes.
34 For three revolving days, nor voice of bird
35 Melodious chaunting, or the bleat of sheep,
36 Or lowing oxen, near the fatal place
37 Were heard to sound; but all was silence sad!
38 The ancient grove of elms deserted stood,
39 Where long had dwelt an aged race of rooks,
40 That with their nests had crowded every branch,
41 We oft have heard them at the dusk of eve
42 In troops returning to their well known home,
43 In mingled clamours sounding from on high!
44 Corin, thou know'st the fir-invested cave,
45 Where late we shelter'd from a gathering storm,
46 Our flocks together driven: beneath its shade
47 I had appointed at sweet even-tide
48 To meet my Delia homeward as she pass'd,
49 Bearing her milking-pail: Alas! the thoughts
50 Of that sweet congress, the preceding night
51 Soften'd my dreams, and all my senses lull'd,
52 And with more joyful heart at morn I rose.
53 But ah! that tumult cropt my blooming hopes,
54 And in confusion wrapt my love and me.
55 That day, nor in the fold my flock I pent,
56 Or walk'd at eve the vales, or on the turf
57 Beneath the wonted oak my dinner took,
58 Or slept at noon amid my languid sheep,
59 Repos'd at ease on the green meadow's bed.
60 When sable night came on, for not even yet
61 The tumult had subsided into peace,
62 Even then low sounds, and interrupted bursts
63 Of war we heard, and cries of dying men,
64 And a confus'd hum of the ceasing storm.
65 All night close-shrouded in a forest thick
66 Wakeful I sat, my flock around me laid;
67 And of neglected boughs I kindled up
68 A scanty flame, whose darkly-gleaming blaze
69 Among th' enlighten'd trees form'd hideous shapes,[Page 293]
70 And spectres pale, to my distemper'd mind.
71 How oft I look'd behind with cautious fear,
72 And trembled at each motion of the wind! —
73 But where did you, Calistan, shelter seek?
74 What dark retreat conceal'd your wandering steps?
75 Corin, thou know'st the fur-clad Hermit's cell,
76 Deep-arch'd beneath a rock among the wilds;
77 Thither I bent my flight, a welcome guest,
78 And not unknown; for when my flock I fed
79 Of late beneath the neighbouring pastures green,
80 I oft was wont, invited at his call,
81 At noon beneath his cavern to retire
82 From the sun's heat, where all the passing hours
83 The good old man improv'd with converse high,
84 And in my breast enkindled Virtue's love;
85 Nor seldom would his hospitable hand
86 Afford a short repast of berries cool,
87 Which o'er the wilds (his scanty food) he pluck'd:
88 Here was my refuge. — All the live-long night
89 Pensive by one pale lonesome lamp we sat,
90 And listen'd to the bleak winds whistling loud,
91 And the shrill crash of forests from without.
92 Soon as the morning dawn'd, the craggy height
93 Of the steep rock I climb'd, on whose wild top
94 His rustic temple stood, and moss-grown cross
95 (The sacred object of his pious prayers)
96 Form'd of a tall fir's thunder-blasted trunk:[Page 294]
97 Where all beneath th' expansive plains I saw
98 With white pavilions hid, in deep array.
99 There too my little fold, which late I left
100 Standing at eve, amid the warlike scene
101 With tearful eyes affrighted, I beheld.
102 Alas, how chang'd the scene! when there I pitch'd
103 Those hurdled cotes, the night was calm and mild,
104 And all was peaceful. I remember well,
105 While there within that fold my flock I pent;
106 How blythe I heard my beauteous Delia sing!
107 Her distant echoing voice how sweetly rung,
108 And all my ravish'd senses wrapt in bliss!
109 Hast thou not seen the fatal plain of death,
110 Where rag'd the conflict? There, they say, at eve
111 Grim ghosts are seen of men that there were slain,
112 Pointing their wounds, and shrieking to their mates,
113 Still doom'd to haunt the fields on which they fell.
114 Corin, no more. This lamb demands my speed.
115 See how the youngling hangs his sickly head,
116 Tender, and fainting for his wonted food!
117 I haste to place him in my sheltering cot,
118 Fed from my hand, and cherish'd by my care. —
119 And see, my friend, far off in darken'd west
120 A cloud comes on, and threatens sudden rains:
121 Corin, farewell, the storm begins to lower.