Hymn on Solitude
by James Thomson (1700-1748)
Hail, mildly pleasing Solitude,
Companion of the wise and good,
But from whose holy piercing eye
The herd of fools and villains fly.
Oh! how I love with thee to walk,
And listen to thy whispered talk,
Which innocence and truth imparts,
And melts the most obdurate hearts.
A thousand shapes you wear with ease,
And still in every shape you please.
Now wrapt in some mysterious dream,
A lone philosopher you seem;
Now quick from hill to vale you fly,
And now you sweep the vaulted sky;
A shepherd next, you haunt the plain,
And warble forth your oaten strain;
A lover now, with all the grace
Of that sweet passion in your face;
Then, calmed to friendship, you assume
The gentle looking HERTFORD’s bloom,
As, with her MUSIDORA, she
(Her MUSIDORA fond of thee)
Amid the long-withdrawing vale
Awakes the rivalled nightingale.
Thine is the balmy breath of morn,
Just as the dew-bent rose is born;
And, while meridian fervors beat,
Thine is the woodland dumb retreat;
But chief, when evening scenes decay
And the faint landscape swims away,
Thine is the doubtful soft decline,
And that best hour of musing thine.
Descending angels bless thy train,
Thy virtues of the sage and swain—
Plain Innocence, in white arrayed,
Before thee lifts her fearless head;
Religion’s beams around thee shine
And cheer thy glooms with light divine;
About thee sports sweet Liberty,
And rapt Urania sings to thee.
Oh, let me pierce thy secret cell,
And in thy deep recesses dwell!
Perhaps from Norwood’s oak-clad hill,
When Meditation has her fill,
I just may cast my careless eyes
Where London’s spiry turrets rise,
Think of its crimes, it cares, its pain,—
Then shield me in the woods again.