1791
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Address to Evening.

Gentleman's Magazine 61 (January 1791) 68.

Juventus


This imitation of Milton's Il Penseroso, signed "Juventus," appears to take its inspiration from Collins's Ode to Evening. The ode is descriptive rather than allegorical, presenting Evening synecdochically as a breeze moving over the landscape and, of course, as the inspiration producing the description itself: "O'er the village-steeple fly, | Turn the weather-cock on high, | Glitt'ring like thy fav'rite star, | To the Cestrian Hills afar."



Modest Evening, come, O! breathe
Thy cool zephyrs o'er the heath,
On the craggy mountain's brow,
Through the watery vale below,
And along the grassy mead,
Where the kine refuse to feed,
Moving slow towards the gate,
Where the blooming milk-maids wait:
Now, with breath more rudely cool,
Discompose the stagnant pool;
Where little insects circles make,
Dimpling soft the silent lake:
Now direct thy quickening breeze
Through the sable forest trees:
Then approach the river's bank,
Where the cattle bending drink,
Where the painted vessel sails;
There dispense thy pleasant gales:
Westward, up the flow'ry lawn,
Where the sun his shade hath drawn,
Thither bending thy meek blast,
Soon be Aston's Hillock past:
Where the cuckoo, lonely bird,
Ever with the Spring is heard:
O'er the village-steeple fly,
Turn the weather-cock on high,
Glitt'ring like thy fav'rite star,
To the Cestrian Hills afar:
Now descend upon the green,
Where the rustic youths are seen,
To toss the quoit, or pitch the bar,
Or battle in fictitious war;
While virgins twist the flowers that blow,
To bind the conquering hero's brow.

Now as the Sun his journey ends,
And blazing to the Sea descends,
Swiftly o'er the dusky Sea,
Come — and breathe, sweet Eve, on me.

[p. 68]