1813
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Il Penseroso. L'Allegro.

Monthly Magazine 36 (September 1813) 140-41.

Anonymous


A lyric variation of Milton's companion poems in which two female speakers discourse in contrasting measures: "What care I, tho' melancholy | Laugh at love, and call it folly; | Let me see my Lubin smile, | I will fear nor fraud nor guile."



IL PENSEROSO.
'Twas at the twilight hour,
Down in a darkling dell,
When gloomy skies did lour,
And scatter'd rain-drops fell,
Beneath an aged thorn,
A slow-pac'd, stealing, stream beside,
A maiden sat forlorn;
She lov'd from revelry to hide,
And fled the sounds of joy unholy,
To the arms of Melancholy.

She sang a song of woe,
While sighs her bosom shook,
And as her tears did flow,
They dimpled in the brook,
"O gently breathing wind,
Soft music only to me bear,
For I am not inclin'd
The flattering voice of joy to hear.
Let not mirthful noisy folly
Break upon my melancholy.

"O little fish that glide
The pebbled bed below;
Ye sportive skim the tide,
Alas, ye do not know
The cruel arts of Man,
His gilded bait and guileful hook,
Enjoy life as ye can,
And swim in peace the crystal brook.
I loathe the playful life of folly,
Leave me to my melancholy.

"O sear and yellow leaf,
Torn from thy parent tree,
Thy life, like mine, is brief,
To die thou teachest me.
O little, little wren,
Who courtest solitude,
Within the gloomy glen,
I like thy soft note, wild and rude,
Plaintive twittering 'neath the holly,
Oh! it soothes my melancholy.

L'ALLEGRO.
Give me mirth and give me glee,
Melancholy's not for me;
Still defer the hour of sorrow,
Laugh to-day and grieve tomorrow.

If the life of man be brief,
Like the yearly falling leaf,
While the zephyrs wave the trees,
Let me flutter in the breeze.

Let me, like the giddy fly,
Sport, nor think the tempest nigh;
Taste life's pleasures while I may,
Dancing in the noon-tide ray.

With solitary wren,
Let the mourner haunt the glen;
Sweeter far, o'er upland park,
Soars on morning's wing the lark.

What care I, tho' melancholy
Laugh at love, and call it folly;
Let me see my Lubin smile,
I will fear nor fraud nor guile.

Give me mirth and give me glee,
Melancholy's not for me;
Still defer the hour of sorrow,
Laugh to-day and grieve to-morrow.

[pp. 140-41]