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And pledging with contented smack The Mermaid in the Zodiac.
Souls of poets dead and gone, What Elysium have ye known, Happy field or mossy cavern, Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern ?
No! those days are gone away,
And their hours are old and gray,
And their minutes buried all
Under the down-trodden pall
Of the leaves of many years :
Many times have Winter's shears,
Frozen North, and chilling East,
Sounded tempests to the feast
Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
Since men knew nor rent nor leases.
No, the bugle sounds no more,
And the twanging bow no more ;
Silent is the ivory shrill
Past the heath and up the hill;
There is no mid-forest laugh,
Where lone Echo gives the half
To some wight, amazed to hear
Jesting, deep in forest drear.
On the fairest time of June You may go, with sun or moon,
Or the seven stars to light you,
Or the polar ray to right you ;
But you never may
Little John, or Robin bold ;
Never one, of all the clan,
Thrumming on an empty can,
Some old hunting ditty, while
He doth his green way beguile
To fair hostess Merriment,
Down beside the pasture Trent;
For he left the merry tale,
Messenger for spicy ale.
Gone, the merry morris din ; Gone, the song of Gamelyn; Gone, the tough-belted outlaw Idling in the “greené shawe ; All are gone away and past ! And if Robin should be cast Sudden from his tufted grave, And if Marian should have Once again her forest days, She would weep, and he would craze : He would swear, for all his oaks, Fall'n beneath the dock-yard strokes, Have rotted on the briny seas ; She would weep that her wild bees Sang not to her-strange! that honey Can't be got without hard money!
So it is ; yet let us sing Honour to the old bow-string ! Honour to the bugle horn! Honour to the woods unshorn ! Honour to the Lincoln green ! Honour to the archer keen! Honour to tight Little John, And the horse he rode upon ! Honour to bold Robin Hood, Sleeping in the underwood ! Honour to Maid Marian, And to all the Sherwood clan ! Though their days have hurried by, Let us two a burden try.
As I lay in my bed slepe full unmete
Was unto me, but why that I ne might
Rest I ne wist, for there n'as erthly wight
(As I suppose) had more of hertis ese
Than I, for I n' ad sicknesse nor disese.-CHAUCER.
What is more gentle than a wind in summer ?
What is more soothing than the pretty hummer
That stays one moment in an open flower,
And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?
What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing
In a green island, far from all men's knowing?
More healthful than the leafiness of dales?
More secret than a nest of nightingales ?
More serene than Cordelia's countenance ?
More full of visions than a high romance ?
What, but thee, Sleep? Soft closer of our eyes !
Low murmurer of tender lullabies !
Light hoverer around our happy pillows !
Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows !
Silent entangler of a beauty's tresses !
Most happy listener! when the morning blesses
Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes
That glance so brightly at the new sun-rise.