Oft when fair Cynthia’s silver light
Illumes the ebon face of night,
Alone confessed to poets’ sight
On Earth the nimble fairies dance,
Now o’er the grass they sportive hop
Now gambol on the mushroom’s top,
Or now in graceful groups advance.
By night they sport, th’approach of day,
Bids all to Fairy Land away,
For should in Phoebus’ golden ray
A lingering sprite be seen to rove
That sprite a tedious year must dwell
A prisoner in a flowery cell
Or in a songster of the grove.
At mortal or immortal hearts
Alike Love points his golden darts
Alike the flame his shaft imparts,
As many a far-famed bard has told.
In Fairy Land there dwelt a pair
Titania’s daughter, Rosa fair
And one Sir Philomel the bold.
Once through the shadow of the night,
The god observed them dancing light,
Instant he chose two arrows bright
And fixed the points in either heart.
Henceforth on flowery banks reclined
While each to each revealed their mind
The lovers sat from all apart.
Where Persia’s kings the sceptre sway
“Where flowers a brighter hue display
And deeper drink the golden day”
They with their noble sovereigns came
An Amra blossom’s fragrant shade
Concealed the lover and the maid
Who owned their mutual flame.
In vain the birds their song begun
To warn them of the rising sun
They never thought that night was flown
But heedless talked and talked again.
A fragrant rose, soon Rosa grew,
Soon Philomel, a bulbul flew
Nor either could their shape regain.
By day deep sighs alone expressed
The anguish of his wounded breast,
The orb that chased his bosom’s rest
Was ever present to his sight,
When Eve began her dews to shower
He perched beside his much loved flower
And hailed with songs th’approach of night.
The pensive flower expressed alone
Her woes in fragrance soothing tone
No ear might ever her moan
Save him caused her bosom smart
For twelve long months they strove in vain
Their former station to regain
And fruitless tried their every art.
But when the spring o’er laughing mead
Again her robe of verdure spread
Their shape regained, they homeward fled
There now in bliss united dwell,
But still the rose adorns our plains
While pensive bulbul still retains
The name of noble Philomel.