Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825)
VERSES WRITTEN IN AN ALCOVE.
Jam Cytherea choros ducit Venus, imminente Luna. HORAT.
Now the moonbeam's trembling lustre
Silvers o'er the dewy green,
And in soft and shadowy colours
Sweetly paints the chequered scene.
Here between the opening branches
Streams a flood of softened light;
There the thick and twisted foliage
Spreads the browner gloom of night.
This is sure the haunt of fairies,
In yon cool alcove they play;
Care can never cross the threshold,--
Care was only made for day.
Far from hence be noisy Clamour,
Sick Disgust and anxious Fear;
Pining Grief and wasting Anguish
Never keep their vigils here.
Tell no tales of sheeted spectres
Rising from the quiet tomb;
Fairer forms this cell shall visit,
Brighter visions gild the gloom.
Choral songs and sprightly voices
Echo from her cell shall call;
Sweeter, sweeter than the murmur
Of the distant waterfall.
Every ruder gust of passion
Lulled with music dies away,
Till within the charmed bosom
None but soft affections play:
Soft as when the evening breezes
Gently stir the poplar grove;
Brighter than the smile of Summer,
Sweeter than the breath of Love.
Thee the' enchanted Muse shall follow,
Lissy! to the rustic cell;
And each careless note repeating,
Tune them to her charming shell.
Not the Muse who wreathed with laurel
Solemn stalks with tragic gait,
And in clear and lofty vision
Sees the future births of fate;
Not the maid who crowned with cypress
Sweeps along in sceptred pall,
And in sad and solemn accents
Mourns the crested hero's fall;--
But that other smiling sister,
With the blue and laughing eye,
Singing, in a lighter measure,
Strains of woodland harmony:
All unknown to fame and glory,
Easy, blithe and debonair,
Crowned with flowers, her careless tresses
Loosely floating on the air.
Then when next the star of evening
Softly sheds the silent dew,
Let me in this rustic temple,
Lissy! meet the Muse and you.