1830
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Last Swallow.

Antediluvian Sketches; and other Poems. By Richard Howitt.

Richard Howitt


Three Spenserians, on the passing of time and the seasons.

John Wilson: "Richard, too, has a true poetical feeling, and no small poetical power. His unpretending volume of verses well deserves a place in the library along with those of his enlightened relatives — for he loves nature truly as they do, and nature has returned his affection" Blackwood's Magazine 29 (1831); Noctes Ambrosianae (1857) 4:316.



Away — away — why dost thou linger here
When all thy fellows o'er the sea have passed?
Wert thou the earliest comer of the year,
Loving our land, and so dost stay the last?
Hear'st thou no warning in the autumnal blast,
And is the sound of growing streams unheard?
Dost thou not see the woods are fading fast,
Whilst the dull leaves with wailful winds are stirred?—
Haste — haste to other climes, thou solitary bird!

Thy coming was in lovelier skies — thy wing,
Long wearied, rested in delightful bowers;
Thou camest when the living breath of spring
Had filled the world with gladness and with flowers!
Skyward the carolling lark no longer towers:
Alone we hear the robin's pensive lay;
And from the sky of beauty, darkness lowers:
Thy coming was with hope — but thou dost stay
Midst melancholy thoughts, that dwell upon decay.

Blessed are they who have before thee fled!
Their's have been all the pleasures of the prime;
Like those who die before their joys are dead,
Leaving a lovely for a lovelier clime,
Soaring to beautiful worlds on wings sublime!
Whilst thou dost mind me of their doom severe,
Who live to feel the winter of their time;
Who linger on, till not a friend is near—
Then fade into the grave — and go without a tear!

[pp. 45-46]