ODE to a WATER NYMPH.
1 YE green-hair'd nymphs! whom PAN allows
2 To tend this sweetly-solemn†
† A seat near ** finely situated with a great command of water, but disposed in a very false taste, which gave occasion to this Ode. Wood,
3 To speed the shooting scions into boughs,
4 And call the roseate blossoms from the bud;[Page 298]
5 But chief, thou NAID, wont so long to lead
6 This fluid crystal sparkling as it flows;
7 Whither, ah! whither art thou fled?
8 What shade is conscious to thy woes?
9 Ah! 'tis yon poplar's aweful gloom;
10 Poetick eyes can pierce the scene,
11 Can see thy dropping head, thy with'ring bloom,
12 See grief diffus'd o'er all thy languid mien.
13 Well may'st thou wear misfortune's fainting air,
14 Well rend those flow'ry honours from thy brow,
15 Devolve that length of careless hair,
16 And give yon azure veil to flow
17 Loose to the wind. For ah! thy pain
18 The pitying Muse can well relate:
19 Ah! let her, plaintive, pour the tend'rest strain,
20 To teach the Echoes thy disastrous fate.
21 'Twas where the alder's close-knit shade entwin'd
22 (What time the dog-star's fires intensely burn,)
23 In gentlest indolence reclin'd,
24 Beside your ever-trickling urn
25 You slept serene; all free from fears,
26 No friendly dream foretold your harm,
27 When sudden, see! the tyrant Art appears
28 To snatch the liquid treasures from thy arm.
29 Art, Gothick Art, has seiz'd thy darling vase,
30 That vase which silver-slipper'd Thetis gave,
31 For some soft story told with grace,
32 Amid th' associates of the wave;[Page 299]
33 When in sequester'd coral vales,
34 While worlds of waters roll'd above,
35 The circling sea-nymphs told alternate tales
36 Of fabled changes, and of slighted love.
37 Ah! loss too justly mourn'd! for now the fiend
38 Has on yon shell-wrought terras pois'd it high,
39 And thence he bids its streams descend,
40 With torturing regularity;
41 From step to step with sullen sound
42 The forc'd cascades indignant leap,
43 Till pent they sill the bason's measur'd round,
44 There in a dull stagnation doom'd to sleep.
45 Lost is the vocal pebble's gurgling song,
46 The rill soft-dripping from its rocky spring,
47 No free meander winds along,
48 Or curls, when Zephyr waves his wing,
49 These charms, alas! are now no more —
50 Fortune, oh! give me to redeem
51 The ravish'd vase; oh! give me to restore
52 Its pristine honours to this hapless stream!
53 Then, Nymph, again, with all their native ease,
54 Thy wanton waters, volatile and free,
55 Shall wildly warble, as they please,
56 Their soft loquacious harmony.
57 Where-e'er they vagrant chuse to rove,
58 There will I lead, not force their way,
59 Whether to gloom beneath the shady grove,
60 Or in the mead reflect the sparkling ray.[Page 300]
61 Not HAGLEY'S various stream shall thine surpass,
62 Tho' Nature, and her LYTTELTON ordain
63 That there the NAID band shou'd grace
64 With ev'ry watry charm the plain;
65 That there the frequent rills shou'd roll,
66 And health to ev'ry flow'r dispense,
67 Free as their master pours from all his soul
68 The gen'rous tide of warm benevolence;
69 Shou'd now glide sweetly plaintive thro' the vale
70 In melting murmurs querulously slow;
71 Soft as that master's love-lorn tale,
72 When LUCY calls forth all his woe:
73 Shou'd now from steepy heights descend,
74 Deep thund'ring the rough rocks among,
75 Loud as the praise applauding senates lend,
76 When England's cause inspires his glowing tongue.