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As they come forward the Genius of the wood appears, and turring
towards them, speaks.
sprung Of that renowned flood, so often sung, Divine Alphéus, who by secret sluice
39 Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse; And ye, the breathing roses of the wood, Fair, silver-buskined Nymphs, as great and good ; I know, this quest of yours, and free intent, Was all in honour and devotion meant To the great mistress of yon princely shrine, Whom with low reverence I adore as mine; And, with all helpful service, will comply To further this night's glad solemnity; And lead ye, where ye may more near behold What shallow-searching Fame hath left untold ; Which I full oft, amidst these shades alone, Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon : For know, by lot from Jove I am the power Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower, To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove With ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove: And all my plants I save from nightly ill Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill : And from the boughs brush off the evil dew,
50 And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue, Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites, Or hurtful worm with cankered venom bites. When Evening gray doth rise, I fetch my round Over the mount, and all this hallowed ground, And early, ere the odorous breath of Morn Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tasseled horn Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about, Number my ranks, and visit every sprout With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless : 60 But else, in deep of night, when drowsiness Hath locked up mortal sense, then listen I To the celestial Sirens' harmony,
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres,
O'ER the smooth enameled green,
Follow me as I sing,
And touch the warbled string,
NYMPHS and Shepherds ! dance no more
By sandy Ladon's lilied banks;
Trip no more in twilight ranks;
Through Erymanth your loss deplore,
A better soil shall give ye thanks.
Such a rural queen
In this monody the Author bewails a learned Friend, unfortunately
drowned in his passage from Chester, on the Irish seas, 1637 ; and by occasion foretells the ruin of our corrupted Clergy, then in their height.
Yet once more, O ye Laurels, and once more
Begin then, Sisters of the Sacred Well !
Together both, ere the high lawns appeared