Awake, my Muse! awake each slumb'ring string,
And (mighty subject!) of a Mushroom sing,
Fair to the eye, and pleasant to the taste;
Charm'd by the note, a pigmy group, in haste,
Lay down their grainy loads, as slow they move
Thro' lanes of reed and grass, to them a grove!
As if an Orpheus thou, they gather round,
Erect their tiny ears, and drink the sound.
Gray was the sky, save where the eastern ray
O'er fragrant hills proclaim'd th' approaching day;
Rurilla, loveliest virgin of the plain,
With spirits light, and mind without a stain,
Rose from her simple bed, refresh'd with rest;
Ah, Sleep! with marble finger had'st thou prest
Her lovely eyelids till a later hour,
And by a blissful vision's fairy pow'r
Hadst thou impress'd her mind with forms of love,
The walk at eve, the kiss, the murm'ring dove,
The little nymph had never sought the plain,
Nor fill'd with one romantic thought this brain.
In russet gown, with sweet and simple air,
She issued forth, like Hebe, young and fair,
To neighb'ring field, fresh as the rosy dawn;
Nor stile oppos'd her; like a bounding fawn
Graceful she sprang: so prankish was the air,
Had but the love-sick Daphanel been there,
He would have sigh'd: alas! poor love-sick fool!
Thou rather Zephyr dost inflame than cool!
And now, my Muse, the fatal spot disclose,
Where, bath'd with dew, the modest Mushroom rose.
Less fair the swan, by Richmond's flow'ry side,
That in the river views herself with pride,
As, gazing on her, some their stay prolong,
To see her sail in majesty along.
Ill-fated child of earth! thy charms so fair,
As oft with youthful beauty, prove thy snare:
Now, as with dewy-spangled feet is seen
The lovely maid to trace each ringlet green,
Not distant far thy skin of velvet white
She views, and to thee presses with delight
Oh! might some deity, with potent arm,
Arrest her flight, and alter ev'ry charm;
Like Niobe dissolve into a tear,
Or like the Delian virgin, when with fear
She fled! - See on each beauteous limb appear
Soft leaves and flow'rs, the sweetest of the year;
And, taking root, spread round her fragrant breath
O'er the fair form that now she dooms to death:
But, ah! in vain, the pray'r no goddess hears;
She bends - she plucks - and, bath'd in purple tears,
The much-priz'd victim in her lap she bears!
Tears that, preserv'd in crystal, will prolong,
And paint its worth beyond this simple song.