I. Song. Look, Nymphs and Shepherds, look! What sudden blaze of majesty Is that which we from hence descry, Too divine to be mistook? This, this is she 5 To whom our vows and wishes bend: Here our solemn search hath end. Fame, that her high worth to raise Seemed erst so lavish and profuse, We may justly now accuse 10 Of detraction from her praise: Less than half we find expressed; Envy bid conceal the rest. Mark what radiant state she spreads, In circle round her shining throne 15 Shooting her beams like silver threads: This, this is she alone, Sitting like a goddess bright In the centre of her light. Might she the wise Latona be, 20 Or the towered Cybele, Mother of a hundred gods? Juno dares not give her odds: Who had thought this clime had held A deity so unparalleled? 25
As they come forward, the Genius of the Wood appears, and, turning toward them, speaks.
Gen. Stay, gentle Swains, for, though in this disguise, I see bright honor sparkle through your eyes; Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung Of that renowned flood, so often sung, Divine Alpheus, who, by secret sluice, 30 Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse; And ye, the breathing roses of the wood, Fair silver-buskined Nymphs, as great and good. I know this quest of yours and free intent Was all in honor and devotion meant 35 To the great mistress of yon princely shrine, Whom with low reverence I adore as mine, And with all helpful service will comply To further this night’s glad solemnity, And lead ye where ye may more near behold 40 What shallow-searching Fame hath left untold; Which I full oft, amidst those shades alone, Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon. For know, by lot from Jove, I am the Power Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower, 45 To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove With ringlets quaint and wanton windings wove; And all my plants I save from nightly ill Of noisome winds and blasting vapors chill; And from the boughs brush off the evil dew, 50 And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue, Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,  Or hurtful worm with cankered venom bites. When evening gray doth rise, I fetch my round Over the mount, and all this hallowed ground; 55 And early, ere the odorous breath of morn Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tasselled horn Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about, Number my ranks, and visit every sprout With puissant words and murmurs made to bless. 60 But else, in deep of night, when drowsiness Hath locked up mortal sense, then listen I To the celestial Sirens’ harmony, That sit upon the nine infolded spheres, And sing to those that hold the vital shears, 65 And turn the adamantine spindle round On which the fate of gods and men is wound. Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie, To lull the daughters of Necessity, And keep unsteady Nature to her law, 70 And the low world in measured motion draw After the heavenly tune, which none can hear Of human mould with gross unpurged ear. And yet such music worthiest were to blaze The peerless height of her immortal praise 75 Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit, If my inferior hand or voice could hit Inimitable sounds. Yet, as we go, Whate’er the skill of lesser gods can show I will assay, her worth to celebrate, 80 And so attend ye toward her glittering state; Where ye may all, that are of noble stem, Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture’s hem. II. Song. O’er the smooth enamelled green, Where no print of step hath been, 85 Follow me, as I sing And touch the warbled string: Under the shady roof Of branching elm star-proof Follow me. 90 I will bring you where she sits, Clad in splendor as befits Her deity. Such a rural Queen All Arcadia hath not seen. 95 III. Song. Nymphs and Shepherds, dance no more By sandy Ladon’s lilied banks; On old Lycæus, or Cyllene hoar, Trip no more in twilight ranks; Though Erymanth your loss deplore, 100 A better soil shall give ye thanks. From the stony Mænalus Bring your flocks, and live with us; Here ye shall have greater grace, To serve the Lady of this place. 105 Though Syrinx your Pan’s mistress were, Yet Syrinx well might wait on her. Such a rural Queen All Arcadia hath not seen.