The Castle of Indolence/D

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    And every where huge cover'd Tables ſtood,
    With Wines high-flavour'd and rich Viands crown'd;
    Whatever ſprightly Juice or taſteful Food
    On the green Boſom of this Earth are found,
    And all old Ocean genders in his Round:
    Some Hand unſeen Theſe ſilently diſplay'd,
    Even undemanded, by a Sign or Sound;
    You need but wiſh, and, inſtantly obey'd,
Fair-rang'd the Diſhes roſe, and thick the Glaſſes play'd.


    Here Freedom reign'd, without the leaſt Alloy;
    Nor Goſſip's Tale, nor ancient Maiden's Gall,
    Nor ſaintly Spleen durſt murmur at our Joy,
    And with envenom'd Tongue our Pleaſures pall.
    For why? There was but One great Rule for All;
    To wit, That each ſhould work his own Deſire,
    And eat, drink, ſtudy, ſleep, as it may fall,
    Or melt the Time in Love, or wake the Lyre,
And carol what, unbid, the Muſes might inſpire.


    The Rooms with coſtly Tapeſtry were hung,
    Where was inwoven many a gentle Tale;
    Such as of old the rural Poets ſung,
    Or of Arcadian or Sicilian Vale:
    Reclining Lovers, in the lonely Dale,
    Pour'd forth at large the ſweetly-tortur'd Heart;
    Or, looking tender Paſſion, ſwell'd the Gale,
    And taught charm'd Echo to reſound their Smart;
While Flocks, Woods, Streams, around, Repoſe and Peace impart.


    Thoſe pleas'd the moſt, where, by a cunning Hand,
    Depainted was the Patriarchal Age;
    What Time Dan Abraham left the Chaldee Land,
    And paſtur'd on from verdant Stage to Stage,
    Where Fields and Fountains freſh could beſt engage.
    Toil was not then. Of nothing took they Heed,
    But with wild Beaſts the ſilvan War to wage,
    And o'er vaſt Plains their Herds and Flocks to feed:
Bleſt Sons of Nature they! True Golden Age indeed!


    Sometimes the Pencil, in cool airy Halls,
    Bade the gay Bloom of Vernal Landſkips riſe,
    Or Autumn's varied Shades imbrown the Walls:
    Now the black Tempeſt ſtrikes the aſtoniſh'd Eyes;
    Now down the Steep the flaſhing Torrent flies;
    The trembling Sun now plays o'er Ocean blue,
    And now rude Mountains frown amid the Skies;
    Whate'er Lorrain light-touch'd with ſoftening Hue,
Or ſavage Roſa daſh'd, or learned Pouſſin drew.


    Each Sound too here to Languiſhment inclin'd,
    Lull'd the weak Boſom, and induced Eaſe.
    Aerial Muſic in the warbling Wind,
    At Diſtance riſing oft, by ſmall Degrees,
    Nearer and nearer came, till o'er the Trees
    It hung, and breath'd ſuch Soul-diſſolving Airs,
    As did, alas! with ſoft Perdition pleaſe:
    Entangled deep in its enchanting Snares,
The liſtening Heart forgot all Duties and all Cares.


    A certain Muſick, never known before,
    Here lull'd the penſive melancholy Minds;
    Full easily obtain'd. Behoves no more,
    But ſidelong, to the gently-waving Wind,
    To lay the well-tun'd Inſtrument reclin'd;
    From which, with airy flying Fingers light,
    Beyond each mortal Touch the moſt refin'd,
    The God of Winds drew Sounds of deep Delight:
Whence, with juſt Cauſe, The Harp of Æolus it hight.


    Ah me! what Hand can touch the Strings ſo fine?
    Who up the lofty Diapaſan roll
    Such ſweet, ſuch ſad, ſuch ſolemn Airs divine,
    Then let them down again into the Soul?
    Now riſing Love they fan'd; now pleaſing Dole
    They breath'd, in tender Muſings, through the Heart;
    And now a graver ſacred Strain they ſtole,
    As when Seraphic Hands an Hymn impart:
Wild warblings Nature all, above the Reach of Art!


    Such the gay Splendor, the luxurious State,
    Of Caliphs old, who on the Tygris' Shore,
    In mighty Bagdat, populous and great,
    Held their bright Court, where was of Ladies ſtore;
    And Verſe, Love, Muſic ſtill the Garland wore:
    When Sleep was coy, the Bard, in Waiting there,
    Chear'd the lone Midnight with the Muſe's Lore;
    Compoſing Muſic bade his Dreams be fair,
And Muſic lent new Gladneſs to the Morning Air.


    Near the Pavilions where we ſlept, ſtill ran
    Soft-tinkling Streams, and daſhing Waters fell,
    And ſobbing Breezes ſigh'd, and oft began
    (So work'd the Wizard) wintry Storms to ſwell,
    As Heaven and Earth they would together mell:
    At Doors and Windows, threatening, ſeem'd to call
    The Demons of the Tempeſt, growling fell,
    Yet the leaſt Entrance found they none at all;
Whence ſweeter grew our Sleep, ſecure in maſſy Hall.


    And hither Morpheus ſent his kindeſt Dreams,
    Raiſing a World of gayer Tinct and Grace;
    O'er which were ſhadowy caſt Elyſian Gleams,
    That play'd, in waving Lights, from Place to Place,
    And ſhed a roſeate Smile on Nature's Face.
    Not Titian's Pencil e'er could so array,
    So fleece with Clouds the pure Etherial Space;
    Ne could it e'er ſuch melting Forms diſplay,
As looſe on flowery Beds all languiſhingly lay.


    No, fair Illuſions! artful Phantoms, no!
    My Muſe will not attempt your Fairy-Land:
    She had no Colours that like you can glow;
    To catch your vivid Scenes too groſs her Hand.
    But ſure it is, was ne'er a ſubtler Band
    Than theſe ſame guileful Angel-ſeeming Sprights,
    Who thus in Dreams, voluptuous, ſoft, and bland,
    Pour'd all th' Arabian Heaven upon our Nights,
And bleſs'd them oft beſides with more refin'd Delights.


    They were in Sooth a moſt enchanting Train,
    Even feigning Virtue; ſkilful to unite
    With Evil Good, and ſtrew with Pleaſure Pain.
    But for thoſe Fiends, whom Blood and Broils delight;
    Who hurl Wretch, as if to Hell outright,
    Down down black Gulphs, where ſullen Waters ſleep,
    Or hold him clambering all the fearful Night
    On beetling Cliffs, or pent in Ruins deep:
They, till due Time ſhould ſerve, were bid far hence to keep.


    Ye Guardian Spirits, to whom Man is dear,
    From theſe foul Demons ſhield the Midnight Gloom!
    Angels of Fancy and of Love, be near,
    And o'er the Blank of Sleep diffuſe a Bloom!
    Evoke the ſacred Shades of Greece and Rome,
    And let them Virtue with a Look impart!
    But chief, a while o lend us from the Tomb
    Thoſe long-loſt Friends from whom in Love we ſmart,
And fill with pious Awe and Joy-mixt Woe the Heart.


    Or are you ſportive—Bid the morn of Youth
    Rise to new Light, and beam afreſh the Days
    Of Innocence, Simplicity, and Truth;
    To Cares eſtrang'd, and Manhood's thorny Ways.
    What Tranſport! To retrace our boyiſh Plays,
    Our eaſy Bliſs, when each Thing Joy ſupply'd:
    The Woods, the Mountains, and the warbling Maze
    Of the wild Brooks—But, fondly wandering wide,
My Muſe, reſume the Taſk that yet doth thee abide.


    One great Amuſement of our Houſhold was,
    In a huge cryſtal magic Globe to ſpy,
    Still as you turn'd it, all Things that do paſs
    Upon this Ant-Hill Earth; where conſtantly
    Of idly-buſy Men the reſtleſs Fry
    Run buſtling too and fro with fooliſh Haſte,
    In ſearch of Pleaſures vain that from them fly,
    Or which obtain'd the Caitiffs dare not taſte:
When nothing is enjoy'd, can there be greater Waſte?