1753
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Health.

Scots Magazine 15 (February 1753) 76.

Anonymous


An allegorical ode after Milton's L'Allegro, not signed. Health is prettily imaged as Diana: "But chief, who lov'st, like Cynthus' queen, | In golden zone, and mantle green, | Grac'd with the quiver's iv'ry pride, | Thy beauteous locks with fillets ty'd, | To urge the keen fate-pointed dart, | That swift o'ertakes the flying hart: | When sated with the vig'rous sport, | To what cool grot dost thou resort?" This passage is followed a depiction of Health in retirement, surrounded by a train of personified passions.



Goddess! presiding o'er the plains,
Auspicious to the lab'ring swains,
Hygeia, thou whose eyes display
The lustre of meridian day;
Whose roseat cheeks such tints adorn,
As paint the blush of conscious Morn,
When glowing with superior charms,
She woo's young Ceph'lus to her arms:
Dryad, that lov'st at early dawn
Vig'rous to trace the dewy lawn,
To breathe the balm-impregned gale,
When flow'rs their liquid souls exhale:
But chief, who lov'st, like Cynthus' queen,
In golden zone, and mantle green,
Grac'd with the quiver's iv'ry pride,
Thy beauteous locks with fillets ty'd,
To urge the keen fate-pointed dart,
That swift o'ertakes the flying hart:
When sated with the vig'rous sport,
To what cool grot dost thou resort?
In what pure spring's translucent wave,
Dost thou delight thy limbs to lave?
What though no sculpture's forming art,
Does to rough marble life impart;
No canvas drinks the varied dyes
That speak historic to the eyes;
No pealing organ swells the note,
No viol aids the eunuch's throat?
Yet there shall smiling Flora bring
The blooming pride of all the spring;
Shall bid the stately tulips rise,
And crocus shine in golden dyes;
Shall bid the lily, jasmine, rose,
O'ershade thee in the soft repose.
There too each poet of the grove,
Inspir'd by thee with joy and love,
Shall wake some sweetly soothing strain,
Which Phoebus self might entertain.
Pale Envy there shall ne'er be seen;
Nor Lux'ry, soft enslaving queen,
Shall introduce disease and pain,
To rack the nerves, and fire the brain.
There Hope still plumes his golden wings,
And gay Content her requiem sings;
There still shall smile heart-chearing Joy,
Of Innocence the lovely boy;
Fair Chastity of heav'nly birth,
Scarce deigning to be seen on earth;
And Temp'rance sage, with youthful face,
Conspire to consecrate the place.

"Auspicious goddess, still impart
Thy vital influence to my heart;
For, ah! shouldst thou withdraw thy aid,
The bloom of all the spring wou'd fade;
Music in vain to joys inspire,
And Discord string the poet's lyre;
Fortune unmark'd wou'd smile, and Fame
Unheard diffuse the fav'rite name:
Ev'n Freedom's self would rule in vain,
And all be gloom, and grief, and pain."

[p. 76]