Inscription in an Arbour.

A Collection of Poems in Four Volumes. By Several Hands. [George Pearch, ed.]

Rev. Philip Parsons

A Miltonic ode modeled somewhat on Milton's companion poems. The speaker is Oberon, who after setting the scene bids Envy, love of sordid gain, Malice, Revenge, Lust, and Vice stand apart: "Hence! nor near the spot be found! | 'Hence! avaunt! — 'tis holy ground.'" Originally anonymous, the poem as later identified by Isaac Reed as "By the Rev. Mr. Parsons of Wye, Kent." The source has not been traced, and I have been unable to identify Philip Parsons.

Mark, mortals! mark with awe profound
What solemn stillness reigns around;
Know then, though strange it may appear,
Spirits — why start? inhabit here.
Whene'er we leave this circled green,
We Fairies chuse this shaded scene;
Though mortal hands have form'd these bowers,
Yet is the sweet retirement ours.
For here, when as the pallid moon
"Riding near her highest noon,"
Edging the clouds with silver white,
Darts through these shades a chequer'd light,
Here, when we cease our airy sport,
We range our bands and fix our court.
My royal throne, exalted high,
Unseen by feeble, mortal eye,
Though spangled with ten thousand dews,
Though colour'd with ten thousand hues,
(Approach nor with unhallow'd hands)
Beneath you tall Laburnum stands.
Then enter here with guiltless mind,
Spurn each vile passion far behind.
Hence Envy with her pining train,
And venal love of sordid gain!
Hence Malice, rankling at the heart!
And dire Revenge with poison'd dart!
Hence Lust with sly uneasy mien,
That through the twilight creeps unseen!
Hence Vice! avoid this arching grove,
Pollution follows where you move;
Hence! nor near the spot be found!
"Hence! avaunt! — 'tis holy ground."

[(1783) 3:277-78]