1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

Anonymous, "An Ode for the Birth-Day of James Thomson, Author of The Seasons" The Polyanthos [Boston] S3 4 (April 1814) 51-53.



[At Ednam in the west of Scotland, on the 22d of September, the birth day of the celebrated author of "the Seasons" is kept with all the reverence due to the name of a poet universally admired, and all the enthusiasm of affection for his memory, as a native of that part of the country. The bust of the bard is crowned with laurel, the nymphs and swains foot it on the green to the sound of the tabor, and the day closes with jollity and song. The following Ode was lately written and sung on one of these occasions.]

All hail, thou bright, propitious day;
Long shalt thou be to Britain dear;
And may thy dawning orient ray
With lustre crown the circling year.

Awake, sweet Morn, and plume thy wing,
With splendour smile o'er freedom's land,
And thou, Apollo, give to sing,
Thy son's sweet natal morn at hand.

And O! clear, consecrated scene,
Still to his memory sacred be;
Rob'd rich in gay perennial green,
May future ages Ednam see.

On thee may Spring her verdure shed,
Fair as the landscape which he drew,
And Summer all the beauties spread
His Heav'n-taught Muse hath sung so true.

In Autumn may thy fertile vales
Be crown'd with sheaves, rich as his song,
And may each son of thy soft dales
Be as their poet's Winter strong.

Hither let every Scotian bard
Come, and a grateful tribute pay;
And, as a mark of true regard,
Their bays before his altar lay.

And thou, O B —, whose magic pen
A flowery balland did prepare,
Come, honour'd bard, to grace the train,
And all its kind effusions share.

O bring with thee thy Doric reed,
And from it pour a plaintive lay,
Let thy sweet Muse tell vale and mead
That Scotia loves her Thomson's clay.

And you, ye modest virgins fair,
With glowing breast this scene attend,
To crown his name a wreath prepare,
For he was yours and virtue's friend.

He well could warn your sliding hearts,
To guard against the infectious wound,
Which adulation smooth imparts,
When Ev'ning draws her curtain round.

And when on Ednam's verdant top
In modest beauty you appear,
With conscious hearts blush not to drop
For his sweet shade a tender tear.

For tho' in Richmond's hallow'd fane
In peaceful urn his ashes sleep,
Long, long shall every Scotian swain
His name in dear remembrance keep.

And oft as Time returns the day,
The day his birth hath sacred made,
Ednam shall wake the fervid lay,
To sooth her native poet's shade.

Fair flowing Tweed, with limpid stream.
O bear its echo o'er the vale,
Bland zephyrs catch the tender theme,
And breathe it soft each balmy gale.

While Seasons roll their annual round,
While freedom flames beneath the sky,
Some generous breast shall still be found,
For him to heave a heart-felt sigh.

Dear shade, farewell! — forgive the Muse
Does thus thy loss with grief deplore,
Her scanty wreath do not refuse,
Wet with a tear — she has no more !