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XVIII. But if a little exercise you chuse, Some zest for ease, 'tis pot forbidden here. Amid the groves you may indulge the Muse, Or tend the blooms, and deck the vernal year; Or softly stealing, with your watry gear, Along the brooks, the crimson-spotted fry You may delude: The whilst, amus’d, you hear Now the hoarse stream, and now the Zephyr's
sigh, Attuned to the birds, and woodland melody..
XIX. O grievous folly! to heap up estate, Losing the days you see beneath the sun; When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting fate, And gives the untasted portion you have won, With ruthless toil, and many a wretch undone, To those who mock you gone to Pluto's reign, There with sad ghosts to pine, and shadows dun:
But sure it is of vanities most vain, To toil for what you here untoiling may obtain.”.
XX. He ceas'd. But still their trembling ears retain'd The deep vibrations of his witching song; That, by a kind of magic power, constrain’d To enter in, pell-mell, the listening throng. Heaps pour'd on heaps, and yet they slipt along, Iu silent ease: as when beneath the beam Of summer-moons, the distant woods among,
Or by some flood all silver'd with the gleam, The soft-embodied Fays through airy portalstream: XXI. By the smooth demon so it orderd was, And here his baneful bounty first began : Though some there were who would not further
For do their very best they cannot fly,
XXII. When this the watchful wicked wizard saw, With sudden spring he leap'd upon them' strait; And soon as touch'd by his unhallow'd paw, They found themselves within the cursed gate ; Full hard to be repass'd, like that of fate. Not stronger were of old the giant-crew, Who sought to pull high Jove from regal state;
Though feeble wretch he seem’d, of sallow hue: Certes, who bides his grasp, will that encounter rue.
Their joints unknit, their sinews melt apace;
She waxeth very weakly as she warms,
XXIV. Wak'd by the crowd, slow from his bench arose A comely full-spread porter, swoln with sleep : His calm, broad, thoughtless aspect breath'd
repose; And in sweet torpor he was plunged deep, Ne could himself from ceaseless yawning keep ; While o'er his eyes the drowsy liquor ran, Through which his half-wak’d soul would faintly
peep. Then taking his black staff he call'd his man, And rous'd himself as much as rouse himself he can.
XXV. The lad leap'd lightly at his master's call. He was, to weet, a little roguish page, Save sleep and play who minded nought at all, Like most the untaught striplings of his age. This boy he kept each band to disengage, Garters and buckles, task for him unfit, But ill-becoming his grave personage,
And which his portly paunch would not permit, So this same limber page to all performed it.
XXVI. Meantime the master-porter wide display'd Great store of caps, of slippers, and of gowns ; Wherewith he those who enter'd in, array'd Loose, as the breeze that plays along the downs, And waves the sunimer-woods when evening
frowns. O fair undress, best dress! it checks no vein, But every flowing limb in pleasure drowns, And heightens ease with grace. This done, right
fain, Sir porter sat him down, and turn'd to sleep again.
XXVII. Thus easy rob’d, they to the fountain sped, That in the middle of the court up-threw A stream, high-spouting from its liquid bed, And falling back again in drizzly dew: There each deep draughts, as deep he thirsted, It was a fountain of Nepenthe rare: [drew. Whence, as Dan Homer sings, huge pleasannce And sweet oblivion of vile earthly care; [grew, Fair gladsome waking thoughts, and joyous
dreams more fair.
XXVIII. This rite perform’d, all inly pleas'd and still, Withouten tromp, was proclamation made : “ Ye sons of Indolence, do what you will ; And wander where you list, through hall or glade! Be no man's pleasure for another staid ; Let each as likes him best his hours employ, And curs'd be he who minds his neighbour's trade!
Here dwells kind ease and unreproving joy: He little merits bliss who others can annoy.”
XXIX. Strait of these endless numbers, swarming round, As thick as idle motes in sunny ray, Not one eftsoons in view was to be found, But every man strolld off his own glad way. Wide o'er this ample court's blank area, With all the lodges that thereto pertain'd, No living creature could be seen to stray ;
While solitude, and perfect silence reign'd; So that to think you dreamt you almost was con
A vast assembly moving to and fro: [show. Then all at once in air dissolves the wondrous
XXXI. Ye gods of quiet, and of sleep profound ! Whose soft dominion o'er this castle sways, And all the widely-silent places round, Forgive me, if my trembling pen displays What never yet was sung in mortal lays. But how shall I attempt such arduous string, I who have spent my nights and nightly days, In this soul-deadening place, loose-loitering? Ah! how shall I for this uprear my moulted wing?
XXXII. Come on, my Muse, nor stoop to low despair, Thou imp of Jove, touch'd by celestial fire ! Thou yet shalt sing of war, and actions fair, Which the bold sons of Britain will inspire; Of ancient bards thon yet shalt sweep the lyre ; Thou yet shalt tread in tragic pall the stage, Paint love's enchanting woes, the hero's ire,
The sage's calm, the patriot's noble rage, [age. Dashing corruption down through every worthless
? Those islands on the western coast of Scotland, called the Hebrides.