Verse > Anthologies > Francis T. Palgrave, ed. > The Golden Treasury
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Francis T. Palgrave, ed. (1824–1897). The Golden Treasury.  1875.
 
J. Milton
 
CXII. L'Allegro
 
HENCE, loathèd Melancholy, 
  Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born 
In Stygian cave forlorn 
  'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy! 
Find out some uncouth cell         5
  Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings 
And the night-raven sings; 
  There, under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks 
As ragged as thy locks, 
  In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell!  10
  
        But come, thou Goddess fair and free, 
      In heaven yclept Euphrosyne, 
      And by men, heart-easing Mirth, 
      Whom lovely Venus at a birth, 
      With two sister Graces more,  15
      To ivy-crownèd Bacchus bore; 
      Or whether (as some sager sing) 
      The frolic wind that breathes the spring 
      Zephyr, with Aurora playing, 
      As he met her once a-Maying—  20
      There on beds of violets blue 
      And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew 
      Fill'd her with thee, a daughter fair, 
      So buxom, blithe, and debonair. 
        Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee  25
      Jest, and youthful jollity, 
      Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles, 
      Nods, and becks, and wreathèd smiles 
      Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, 
      And love to live in dimple sleek;  30
      Sport that wrinkled Care derides, 
      And Laughter holding both his sides:— 
      Come, and trip it as you go 
      On the light fantastic toe; 
      And in thy right hand lead with thee  35
      The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty; 
      And if I give thee honour due, 
      Mirth, admit me of thy crew, 
      To live with her, and live with thee 
      In unreprovèd pleasures free;  40
      To hear the lark begin his flight 
      And singing startle the dull night 
      From his watch-tower in the skies, 
      Till the dappled dawn doth rise; 
      Then to come, in spite of sorrow,  45
      And at my window bid good-morrow 
      Through the sweet-brier, or the vine, 
      Or the twisted eglantine: 
      While the cock with lively din 
      Scatters the rear of darkness thin,  50
      And to the stack, or the barn-door, 
      Stoutly struts his dames before: 
      Oft listening how the hounds and horn 
      Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn, 
      From the side of some hoar hill,  55
      Through the high wood echoing shrill: 
      Sometime walking, not unseen, 
      By hedgerow elms, on hillocks green, 
      Right against the eastern gate 
      Where the great Sun begins his state  60
      Robed in flames and amber light, 
      The clouds in thousand liveries dight; 
      While the ploughman, near at hand, 
      Whistles o'er the furrow'd land, 
      And the milkmaid singeth blithe,  65
      And the mower whets his scythe, 
      And every shepherd tells his tale 
      Under the hawthorn in the dale. 
        Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures 
      Whilst the landscape round it measures;  70
      Russet lawns, and fallows gray, 
      Where the nibbling flocks do stray; 
      Mountains, on whose barren breast 
      The labouring clouds do often rest; 
      Meadows trim with daisies pied,  75
      Shallow brooks, and rivers wide; 
      Towers and battlements it sees 
      Bosom'd high in tufted trees, 
      Where perhaps some Beauty lies, 
      The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes.  80
  
        Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes 
      From betwixt two aged oaks, 
      Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met, 
      Are at their savoury dinner set 
      Of herbs, and other country messes  85
      Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses; 
      And then in haste her bower she leaves 
      With Thestylis to bind the sheaves; 
      Or, if the earlier season lead, 
      To the tann'd haycock in the mead.  90
  
        Sometimes with secure delight 
      The upland hamlets will invite, 
      When the merry bells ring round, 
      And the jocund rebecks sound 
      To many a youth and many a maid,  95
      Dancing in the chequer'd shade; 
      And young and old come forth to play 
      On a sunshine holy-day, 
      Till the livelong daylight fail. 
      Then to the spicy nut-brown ale, 100
      With stories told of many a feat, 
      How Faery Mab the junkets eat:— 
      She was pinch'd and pull'd, she said; 
      And he, by Friar's lantern led; 
      Tells how the drudging Goblin sweat 105
      To earn his cream-bowl duly set, 
      When in one night, ere glimpse of morn, 
      His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn 
      That ten day-labourers could not end; 
      Then lies him down the lubber fiend, 110
      And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length 
      Basks at the fire his hairy strength; 
      And crop-full out of doors he flings, 
      Ere the first cock his matin rings. 
      Thus done the tales, to bed they creep, 115
      By whispering winds soon lull'd asleep. 
  
        Tower'd cities please us then 
      And the busy hum of men, 
      Where throngs of knights and barons bold, 
      In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold, 120
      With store of ladies, whose bright eyes 
      Rain influence, and judge the prize 
      Of wit or arms, while both contend 
      To win her grace, whom all commend. 
      There let Hymen oft appear 125
      In saffron robe, with taper clear, 
      And pomp, and feast, and revelry, 
      With mask, and antique pageantry; 
      Such sights as youthful poets dream 
      On summer eves by haunted stream. 130
      Then to the well-trod stage anon, 
      If Jonson's learned sock be on, 
      Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child, 
      Warble his native wood-notes wild. 
  
        And ever against eating cares 135
      Lap me in soft Lydian airs 
      Married to immortal verse, 
      Such as the meeting soul may pierce 
      In notes, with many a winding bout 
      Of linkèd sweetness long drawn out, 140
      With wanton heed and giddy cunning, 
      The melting voice through mazes running, 
      Untwisting all the chains that tie 
      The hidden soul of harmony; 
      That Orpheus' self may heave his head 145
      From golden slumber, on a bed 
      Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear 
      Such strains as would have won the ear 
      Of Pluto, to have quite set free 
      His half-regain'd Eurydice. 150
  
        These delights if thou canst give, 
      Mirth, with thee I mean to live. 
 
 
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