1770
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Solitude.

London Magazine 39 (Novemeber 1770) 589.

Anonymous


This unsigned retirement ode in six aabccb stanzas recasts portions of L'Allegro and Il Penseroso in a lyric measure. The allegorical personage is largely dissolved into a catalogue of aesthetic pleasures: "Thou give'st the words that glow, Thou give'st the verse to flow, | And bidst wild fancy stretch her varying wing."



Hail! ever awful maid,
In russet vest array'd!
Queen of the distant plain and rural cot!
Within thy peaceful cells
Eternal pleasure dwells,
And heav'n-born virtue seeks thy lonely grot.

Oft when the chearful dawn
Spreads o'er the bright'ning lawn,
With dewy hand thou call'st the op'ning flow'rs;
And when the genial ray,
Glares on the face of day,
Retir'st to cooling shades and fragrant bow'rs.

The soul-inspiring muse
Thy silent step pursues,
With thee she often strikes the trembling string.
Thou give'st the words that glow,
Thou give'st the verse to flow,
And bidst wild fancy stretch her varying wing.

Remote from noise and strife,
And all the cares of life,
With thee reflection ever deigns to dwell;
No rude impetuous noise
Disturb thy sober joys,
But awful silence hovers o'er thy cell.

If midst the lonely shade
Thou rov'st with silent tread,
Where gentle linnets tune the pensive lay,
Or on the mountain's brow,
Amidst the falling dew,
Mark'st the last gleam of evening's parting ray:

Or if thou deign'st to rove
Amid the moss-grown grove,
Or where yon cloyster's mould'ring walls extend,
Or on the briny steep,
Explor'st the caverns deep,
Still shall thy vot'ry on thy steps attend.

[p. 589]