1765 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Tooke

John Nichols, "Spring. Inscribed to Mr. T." 1765; Nichols, Select Collection of Poems (1780-82) 8:141-43.



Still must, my friend, the briny torrent flow?
Still must the Muse a funeral dirge rehearse?
Still breathe thy strains in energetic woe?
Still filial duty claim the heart-felt verse?

No! change thy numbers! let the Sapphic lyre
Again invite the melting soul to peace;
With Lyric sweetness join Pindaric fire,
And emulate the prodigies of Greece!

Ah! dwell no longer on the woe-fraught page!
Cease for a while on Plato's strains to pore:
Let sprightlier themes thy studious thoughts engage,
And hail Parnassus in a lighter lore.

Blame not my counsel — 'tis with kind intent—
Though dear the parent — terrible the stroke—
The meed she gain'd of years devoutly spent—
The chain, which stay'd her flight to Heaven, is broke!

'Tis Friendship's force impels an unskill'd Muse,
With zeal officious, to remove thy grief;
And wilt thou still inflexibly refuse
To talk of comfort, or receive relief?

See! lovely Spring, with renovating hand,
Her blooming empire o'er the world display!
Plenty she scatters through the smiling land,
And with new raptures wakes the genial day!

See! Nature's gifts demand the tuneful voice!
The vernal meads thy devious steps invite;
In Heaven-taught lays, where warbling larks rejoice,
And Philomela's trillings chear the night!

Heedful no more of Winter's dreary reign,
Of frozen slumbers, or of drifted snow,
The sportive floods their wonted channels gain,
And glide unmindful of their frigid foe!

None now are dumb! — The vegetative race
With eloquence unfathomable preach;
Inaminates now wear a pleasing face;
And to mankind instructive lessons teach!

Loos'd from his rein, th' important courser bounds,
Neighs to the Heavens, and shares the general joy;
With savage gratitude the grove resounds;
Love-bleating hymns the milder flocks employ!

Nor is man silent! — Chearful as the day,
Salubrious hinds the festive dance explore;
Their only wish (bland health and pleasure gay)
Th' Eternal grants — enraptur'd they adore!

Join then the blissful choir! — The chearful note
Let Echo's magic from the caves resound!
Whilst o'er the lawns astonish'd Wood-nymphs float,
And Sylphs, well-pleas'd, in myriads flock around!

Here if the poignant pangs of Sorrow dart,
Or the fell daemon Grief perchance alarms,
Safely repose each secret of thy heart,
And lull each care in Amarantha's arms!

Here too the spirit so completely blest,
(A mother once — a guardian-angel now!)
Shall ease the sigh, which heaves thy labouring breast,
And heaven-ward waft the well-directed vow!