1803
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Solitude, an Ode.

Morning Chronicle (27 August 1803).

B. T.


An allegorical ode in octosyllabic couplets after Milton's Il Penseroso, signed "B. T., London, Feb. 1803." "Wealth" makes an unusual addition to Solitude's train: "WEALTH, in purple vest array'd, | And MODESTY, that courts the shade; | TRUTH, disdaining puff'd pretence, | Meek unconscious INNOCENCE; | TRANQUILLITY, unknown to CARE, | Fairest where all forms are fair." This writer contributed several poems to the Morning Chronicle about this time.



GENIUS of the desert wild,
NATURE'S misanthropic child!
'Tis within yon hermit cell
SOLITUDE, thou lov'st to dwell,
Or, with fairy feet to dance
O'er the clifted height's expanse,
Or, in the lonesome vale to stray
And trim the lamp of life away!

Hence NOISE and FOLLY, idle brood,
Fly, fly the haunts of SOLITUDE.
Shrouded in the dumb retreat
Muffled SILENCE takes her set,
And MELANCHOLY droops her head,
And sighs and weeps till HOPE is fled:
While pious SUPPLICATION stands
With asking eye and lifted hands,
And MEM'RY grasps in chequer'd ray
The fleeting forms of YESTERDAY!

WEALTH, in purple vest array'd,
And MODESTY, that courts the shade;
TRUTH, disdaining puff'd pretence,
Meek unconscious INNOCENCE;
TRANQUILLITY, unknown to CARE,
Fairest where all forms are fair;
And sweet CONTENT, that's blest to roam
Never from her native home;
SOLITUDE! thy charms supply
And tune the Soul to HARMONY!

For Thee, when PHOSPHOR'S purple beam
Plays upon the chrystal stream;
When the ZEPHYRS silky sway
Chills the fervid heat of day;
When wrapt in EVENING'S gloomy damp
The little Glow-Worm lights her lamp,
Or TWILIGHT'S herald, bird of care,
Flits beneath the lucid air,
And sickly tapers shed their light
Along the misty veil of NIGHT,
SOLITUDE! for thee I sigh,
For Thou art best society!

With thee, from RIOT'S revel reign,
From PLEASURE'S pantomimic train,
From GLORY'S prostituted palm,
I seek the philosophic calm;
Whether to track Caucasian snow,
Or in the torrid Tropic glow,
To mark the circling Ocean's bound,
Or trace a streamlet by its sound.

O! might the hours of musing stay!
Or fly, as they have fled to-day:
Now LEARNING'S sacred heaps I'd tread
In converse with the mighty dead;
Now rove the silent walls among,
Where torrents flow'd from TULLY'S tongue;
Or tow'rd Vesuvius' summit turn
To drop a tear on PLINY'S urn;
And, as the tell-tale moments fly,
Ponder on Immortality!

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