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James Thomson (1700-1748)

Hymn on Solitude


              1      Hail, mildly pleasing solitude,
              2Companion of the wise and good;
              3But, from whose holy, piercing eye,
              4The herd of fools, and villains fly.
              5Oh! how I love with thee to walk,
              6And listen to thy whisper'd talk,
              7Which innocence, and truth imparts,
              8And melts the most obdurate hearts.

              9      A thousand shapes you wear with ease,
            10And still in every shape you please.
            11Now wrapt in some mysterious dream,
            12A lone philosopher you seem;
            13Now quick from hill to vale you fly,
            14And now you sweep the vaulted sky;
            15A shepherd next, you haunt the plain,
            16And warble forth your oaten strain;
            17A lover now, with all the grace
            18Of that sweet passion in your face:
            19Then, calm'd to friendship, you assume
            20The gentle-looking Hertford's bloom,
            21As, with her Musidora, she,
            22(Her Musidora fond of thee)
            23Amid the long withdrawing vale,
            24Awakes the rival'd nightingale.

            25      Thine is the balmy breath of morn,
            26Just as the dew-bent rose is born;
            27And while meridian fervours beat,
            28Thine is the woodland dumb retreat;
            29But chief, when evening scenes decay,
            30And the faint landskip swims away,
            31Thine is the doubtful soft decline,
            32And that best hour of musing thine.

            33      Descending angels bless thy train,
            34The virtues of the sage, and swain;
            35Plain Innocence in white array'd,
            36Before thee lifts her fearless head:
            37Religion's beams around thee shine,
            38And cheer thy glooms with light divine:
            39About thee sports sweet Liberty;
            40And rapt Urania sings to thee.

            41      Oh, let me pierce thy secret cell!
            42And in thy deep recesses dwell!
            43Perhaps from Norwood's oak-clad hill,
            44When meditation has her fill,
            45I just may cast my careless eyes
            46Where London's spiry turrets rise,
            47Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain,
            48Then shield me in the woods again.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: James Ralph, Miscellaneous Poems by several hands (London: Ackers, 1729). B-10 4853 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1729
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP 2.657.
Recent editing: 2:2002/5/8

Form: couplets


Other poems by James Thomson