A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800

By Ronald S. Crane | Go to book overview

THOMAS WARTON, JR.
(1728-1745-1790)

The Pleasures of Melancholy1

--Praecipe lugubres
Cantus, Melpomene!--

MOTHER of musings, Contemplation sage,
Whose grotto stands upon the topmost rock
Of Teneriff; 'mid the tempestuous night,
On which, in calmest meditation held,

Thou hear'st with howling winds the beating rain 5
And drifting hail descend; or if the skies
Unclouded shine, and thro' the blue serene
Pale Cynthia rolls her silver-axled car,
Whence gazing stedfast on the spangled vault
Raptur'd thou sitt'st, while murmurs indistinct 10
Of distant billows sooth thy pensive ear
With hoarse and hollow sounds; secure, self-blest,
There oft thou listen'st to the wild uproar
Of fleets encount'ring, that in whispers low
Ascends the rocky summit, where thou dwell'st 15
Remote from man, conversing with the spheres!
O lead me, queen sublime, to solemn glooms
Congenial with my soul; to cheerless shades,
To ruin'd seats, to twilight cells and bow'rs,
Where thoughtful Melancholy loves to muse, 20
Her fav'rite midnight haunts. The laughing scenes
Of purple Spring, where all the wanton train
Of Smiles and Graces seem to lead the dance
In sportive round, while from their hands they show'r
Ambrosial blooms and flow'rs, no longer charm; 25
Tempe, no more I court thy balmy breeze,
Adieu green vales! ye broider'd meads, adieu!

Beneath yon ruin'd abbey's moss-grown piles
Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve,

Where thro' some western window the pale moon 30
Pours her long-levell'd rule of streaming light;
While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
Save the lone screech-owl's note, who builds his bow'r
Amid the mould'ring caverns dark and damp,
Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves 35
Of flaunting ivy, that with mantle green

____________________
1
Written in 1745. Published in 1747. Text of Works, fifth edition, 1802.

-802-

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