1745
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Spring.

A Collection of original Poems and Translations. By John Whaley.

Rev. Sneyd Davies


A descriptive ode in octosyllabic measure, after Milton's L'Allegro. The poem was likely written some time in the 1730s when Sneyd Davies seems to have been most prolific. While hardly a Spenserian, Davies was a Miltonist in the Horatian vein, one of the transitional poets sometimes described as an early romantic. While at Eton, he translated Shakespeare and Milton into Latin verses reprinted in Nichols, Illustrations (1817-58) 1:616-17.

Samuel Egerton Brydges: "Dr. Sneyd Davies was a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge; Rector of Kingsland in Herefordshire, in his own patronage; and Archdeacon of Derby, and Prebendary of Lichfield, by the gift of his friend Dr. Cornwallis, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. He was a man of amiable character, and died 6 Feb. 1769. His poems, scattered about in various collections, exhibit proofs of great genius, as well as learning" Censura Literaria 3 (1807) 329.

Walter Scott: "Dr. Davies was, during several years, canon residentiary of LIchfield cathedral. A few of his compositions enrich the 5th vol. of the edition of Dodsley's poems printed in 1782. But a much larger number of his pieces may be found in the volume of Whaley's poems, dedicated to Horace Walpole. They are there under the this title, 'By a Friend'" Anna Seward, Letters, ed. Scott (1811) 1:194.

Raymond Dexter Havens notes another passage adapted from the companion poems in Davies's verse epistle to the Rev. Timothy Thomas, in the same volume; The Influence of Milton (1922) 471.



Fairest Quarter of the Year,
Absent long — O re-appear.
Ruthless Stranger to our Isle,
Where hast been this tedious while?
Brooding o'er the Southern Main,
Nursing Oranges in Spain?
Or if in Italian Air,
The Citron Blossom was thy Care,
Thrice the Sun has annual whirl'd
His Car flaming round the World,
And you never ventur'd forth,
Dainty Lady, so far North.

Saw you not the British Swain
Wishful, beck'ning you in vain?
Nor had Ears to his sad Lay,
Chiding your unkind Delay?

But your sober Plea produce,
We admit the Just Excuse:
Wither'd Hag, deform'd and black,
Sullen Winter kept you back,
Ling'ring long her frosty Rear;—
And by then we hop'd you near;
Summer with her tawny Face,
Had got Possession of the Place.

Thus between two neighb'ring Powers,
Some fair Province lifts her Towers;
Some Silesia tempting lies,
To either Borderer a Prize,

Jostled no more 'twixt Cold and Heat,
Now regain thy ancient Seat,
Nor thy Sister Seasons rude
On thy Right again intrude,
But ever flourish blith and free
Restor'd to thy gay Tetrarchy.

How did Nature sad, forlorn,
Naked in thy Absence mourn?
The wrinkled Earth of Moisture dried,
With Frost and Sun alternate fried,
The tainted Grass forgot to shoot,
The Trees were ignorant of Fruit,
And Ceres shew'd us here and there
A stragling Solitary Ear.

Bless us! knew you what we felt,
You are gentle and wou'd melt.
Come abroad, o'er Hill and Vale
Floating in a show'ry Gale,
Till thirsty Nature has her Fill,
In big round precious Drops distill.
With encreasing Lamp of Day
Come and smile the Storms away,
Genial Pow'r! Creating Queen!
Touch the Forest into Green:
Come at length and spread around
Thy broider'd Mantle o'er the Ground.
Come, and ever re-appear,
Fairest Quarter of the Year.

[pp. 229-32]