An Ode to Spring.

Gentleman's Magazine 37 (April 1767) 183.


The ode is "supposed to have been written by the celebrated Vanessa, in consequence of her passion for Dean Swift," p. 183. Vanessa pours out her heart to Swift like a latter-day Eloisa to Abelard: "My guide, instructor, lover, friend, | (Dear names) in one idea blend." Raymond Dexter Havens includes this lyric in his list of imitations of Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. The "Ode to Spring" is paired with an "Ode to Wisdom by the Same" in stanzas in which Vanessa asks the goddess to "calm my troubled breast."

Hail, blushing goddess, beauteous spring,
Who, in thy jocund train, doth bring
Loves and graces smiling hours,
Balmy breezes, fragrant flowers,
Come, with tints of roseate hue,
Nature's faded charms renew.

Yet why should I thy presence hail?
To me no more the breathing gale
Comes fraught with sweets, no more the rose
With such transcendent beauty blows,
As when Cadenus blest the scene,
And shar'd with me these joys serene.
When, unperceiv'd, the lambent fire
Of Friendship, kindled new desire;
Still list'ning to his tuneful tongue,
The truths, which angels might have sung,
Divine imprest their gentle sway,
And sweetly stole my soul away.
My guide, instructor, lover, friend,
(Dear names) in one idea blend;
Oh! still conjoin'd, your incense rise,
And waft sweet odours to the skies.

[p. 183]