1761
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Health.

Gentleman's Magazine 31 (February 1761) 87.

Joseph Cockfield


This unsigned Ode to Health boasts the unusual feature that its images are entirely topographical. It also tries to rhyme "dawn" with "corn." The identification of the author is from Ian A. Gordon, Shenstone's Miscellany (1952) 159. William Shenstone discusses emendations to this and other of Cockfield's poems in a letter to the poet, 17 September 1761. Joseph Cockfield, a Quaker friend of John Langhorne and John Scott of Amwell, seems to have published a number of small poems anonymously, some in William Dodd's Christian Magazine.



Nymph, that flies from crowded street,
From the proud lord's splendid seat,
Now, a dryad of the wood,
Now, a naiad of the flood,
Goddess fair, and blythe, and gay,
Health, accept th' unpolish'd lay.
Yon pleasing, shady, row of trees,
Fresh zephyr's cool and fragrant breeze,
The lov'd approach of eve or dawn,
The walk thro' waving ears of corn,
The gliding stream, the hawthorn shade,
Sweet Philomela's serenade,
The lily's beauteous virgin snows,
The cowslip pale, and rathe primrose,
And each gay, each rural sight,
Yield no pleasure or delight
To the wretch that sighs for thee,
That sighs for Health and Liberty.

Sylvan maiden, blooming fair,
Hear thy constant vot'ry's pray'r;
From the barren desart haste,
From Norwegia's cheerless waste,
From the cataracts of the Nile,
Or Bermuda's pleasant isle,
Through fair Britain's meadows stray,
Come and make all nature gay.

[p. 87]