Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HERMIT, by JAMES BEATTIE

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THE HERMIT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still
Last Line: "and beauty immortal awakes from the tomb."
Subject(s): Nature

1 AT the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove,
When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill,
And nought but the nightingale's song in the grove:
'Twas thus, by the cave of the mountain afar,
While his harp rung symphonious, a hermit began:
No more with himself or with nature at war,
He thought as a sage, though he felt as a man.

2 "Ah! why, all abandon'd to darkness and woe,
Why, lone Philomela, that languishing fall?
For Spring shall return, and a lover bestow,
And sorrow no longer thy bosom enthrall.
But if pity inspire thee, renew the sad lay,
Mourn, sweetest complainer, man calls thee to mourn:
O, soothe him whose pleasures like thine pass away:
Full quickly they pass -- but they never return.

3 "Now gliding remote on the verge of the sky,
The Moon, half extinguish'd, her crescent displays:
But lately I mark'd when majestic on high
She shone, and the planets were lost in her blaze.
Roll on, thou fair orb, and with gladness pursue
The path that conducts thee to splendour again.
But man's faded glory what change shall renew?
Ah, fool! to exult in a glory so vain!

4 " 'Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more;
I mourn, but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you;
For morn is approaching, your charms to restore,
Perfumed with fresh fragrance, and glittering with dew:
Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn;
Kind Nature the embryo blossom will save.
But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn?
O when shall it dawn on the night of the grave?

5 " 'Twas thus, by the glare of false Science betray'd,
That leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind;
My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to shade,
Destruction before me, and sorrow behind.
'O pity, great Father of light,' then I cried,
'Thy creature, who fain would not wander from thee:
Lo, humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride:
From doubt and from darkness thou only canst free.'

6 "And darkness and doubt are now flying away;
No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn:
So breaks on the traveller, faint, and astray,
The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn.
See Truth, Love, and Mercy in triumph descending,
And nature all glowing in Eden's first bloom!
On the cold cheek of Death smiles and roses are blending,
And Beauty immortal awakes from the tomb."

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