Then stealing with the muffled oar,
Far shaded by the rocky shore,
Rush the night-prowlers on the prey,
And turn to groans his roundelay.
Strange — that where Nature loved to trace,
As if for Gods, a dwelling place,
And every charm and grace hath mixed
Within the Paradise she fixed,
There man, enamoured of distress, 50
Should mar it into wilderness, '
And trample, brute-like, o'er each flower
That tasks not one laborious hour ;
Nor claims the culture of his hand
To bloom along the fairy land.
But springs as to preclude his care,
And sweetly woos him — but to spare !
Strange — that where all is Peace beside.
There Passion riots in her pride.
And Lust and Rapine wildly reign 60
To darken o'er the fair domain.
It is as though the Fiends prevailed
Against the Seraphs they assailed.
And, fixed on heavenly thrones, should dwell
The freed inheritors of Hell ;
So soft the scene, so formed for joy,
So curst the tyrants that destroy !
He who hath bent him o'er the dead '*• ^
Ere the first day of Death is fled,
i. Should wan (on in a wilderness. — MS^^
ii. The first draft of this celebrated passage differs in many
I. [Compare "Beyond Milan the country wore the aspect of a wider devastation ; and though everything seemed more quiet, the repose was like that of death spread over features which retain the