AT COLEORTON HALL, LEICESTERSHIRE
TELL me, ye Zephyrs! that unfold,
While fluttering o'er this gay Recess,
Pinions that fanned the teeming mould
Of Eden's blissful wilderness,
Did only softly-stealing hours
There close the peaceful lives of flowers?
Say, when the 'moving' creatures saw
All kinds commingled without fear,
Prevailed a like indulgent law
For the still growths that prosper here? 10
Did wanton fawn and kid forbear
The half-blown rose, the lily spare?
Or peeped they often from their beds
And prematurely disappeared,
Devoured like pleasure ere it spreads
A bosom to the sun endeared?
If such their harsh untimely doom,
It falls not 'here' on bud or bloom.
All summer long the happy Eve
Of this fair Spot her flowers may bind, 20
Nor e'er, with ruffled fancy, grieve,
From the next glance she casts, to find
That love for little things by Fate
Is rendered vain as love for great.
Yet, where the guardian fence is wound,
So subtly are our eyes beguiled
We see not nor suspect a bound,
No more than in some forest wild;
The sight is free as air--or crost
Only by art in nature lost. 30
And, though the jealous turf refuse
By random footsteps to be prest,
And feed on never-sullied dews,
'Ye', gentle breezes from the west,
With all the ministers of hope
Are tempted to this sunny slope!
And hither throngs of birds resort;
Some, inmates lodged in shady nests,
Some, perched on stems of stately port
That nod to welcome transient guests; 40
While hare and leveret, seen at play,
'Appear' not more shut out than they.
Apt emblem (for reproof of pride)
This delicate Enclosure shows
Of modest kindness, that would hide
The firm protection she bestows;
Of manners, like its viewless fence,
Ensuring peace to innocence.
Thus spake the moral Muse--her wing
Abruptly spreading to depart, 50
She left that farewell offering,
Momento for some docile heart;
That may respect the good old age
When Fancy was Truth's willing Page;
And Truth would skim the flowery glade,
Though entering but as Fancy's Shade.