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When the merry bells ring round,
And jocund rebecks sound
To many a youth and many a maid
Dancing in the chequered shade,
And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday,
Till the livelong daylight fail :
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How Faery Mab the junkets eat.
She was pinched and pulled, she said;
And he, by friar's lantern led,
Tells how the drudging goblin sweat
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail hath threshed the corn
That ten day-labourers could not end;
Then lies him down, the lubber fiend,
And, stretched 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,
By whispering winds soon lulled asleep.
Towered cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold,
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
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.
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,
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 linked sweetness long drawn out
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
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heaped Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto to have quite set free
His half-regained Eurydice.
These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
PART OF A MASK, OR ENTERTAINMENT, PRESENTED TO THE COUNTESS
DOWAGER OF DERBY, AT HAREFIELD, BY SOME NOBLE PERSONS
OF HER FAMILY,
The Characters appear on the Scene in pastoral habit, moving towards the seat
of state with this song :
LOOK, nymphs and shepherds, look!
What sudden blaze of majesty
Is that which we from hence descry,
Too divine to be mistook ?
This, this is she
To whom our vows and wishes bend :
Here our solemn search hath end.
Fame, that her high worth to raise
Seemed erst so lavish and profuse,
We may justly now accuse
Of detraction from her praise :
Less than half we find expressed ;
Envy bid conceal the rest.
Mark what radiant state she spreads,
In circle round her shining throne
Shooting her beams like silver threads :
This, this is she alone,
Sitting like a goddess bright
In the centre of her light.
Might she the wise Latona be
Or the towered Cybele,
Mother of a hundred gods?
Juno dares not give her odds :
Who had thought this clime had held
A deity so unparalleled ?