No. XIX.

An Invocation to the Nightingale. 


Written near the New Forest in Hampshire. 


Wand’ring o’er the dewy meadow, 

Oft at evening hour I go; 

Fondly courting Philomena’s 

Sympathetic plaints of woe. 


Sometimes hush’d in still attention,

Leaning pensive o’er a stile; 

Fancy bids her sound delusive,

Lull the yielding sense awhile. [254] 


Soft, the visionary music

Rising floats upon the gale; 

Now it sinks in strains more languid,

Dying o’er the distant vale.


Starting from the dream of fancy,

Nought my list’ning ears invade, 

Save the hum of falling waters,

Save the rustling aspin-shade! 


Little songstress, sooth my sorrows, 

Lull my soul with softest airs; 

Such as erst in “Lydian measures,” 

Charm’d the Grecian hero’s cares. 


But if forced by cruel rustics, 

To lament thy ruin’d care; 

Breathe thy saddest strains of anguish, 

Strains, that melodize despair! 


Deeply vers’d in sorrow’s lessons, 

Best my heart thy griefs can know; 

Pity dwells within the bosom, 

Soften’d by an equal woe. [255] 


Would thy melancholy plainings 

All my hapless fate renew; 

Heartfelt signs should load the Zephyr, 

Tears increase the falling dew. 


Cease to shun me, lovely mourner, 

Sweetly breathe the melting strain; 

Oft, thou deign’st to charm the rustic 

Roving thoughtless o’er the plain:


Yet, to him thy softest trillings 

Can no sympathy impart; 

Wouldst thou seek for kindred feelings, 

See them trembling in my heart!


Vain, alas! my invocation, 

Vain the pleadings of the muse!

Deep in silent shades, the charmer

Doth her tuneful lay refuse. 


Homeward as I hopeless wander, 

Faintly sighs the evening breeze;

Shadowy beams the moon’s pale lustre, 

Glittering through the waving trees. [256]