To Spring.

Universal Magazine 75 (March 1785) 156-57.


An imitation of Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso that follows its original closely enough to invite some formal comparisons. For example, in treating the subject of Spring, the poet substitutes for the story of Euridyce, the story of Proserpina: "For she, sad nymph, had only stray'd | To bask amid thy fragrant blooms, | And fill her lap with thy perfumes | When he, black God! with grim delight, | Bore the wild maid to endless night." The poem, which is in the descriptive rather than the allegorical mode, is not signed.

Hence, Winter, gloomy power!
Beneath thine iron rod we groan too long;
Nor venal sight, nor song
Hath ye awoke to soothe the lagging hour.
Go, with thy loathed band,
Where hills of ice, and snowy mountains rise,
Whose strength the sun defies:
There, amid dismal caves, and icy thrones,
Dispense thine horrid frowns;
While storms, and hail, and wind for ever fill the land.
But come, soft Spring, no more delay
To bless us with thy genial sway!
Thy beams have yet but faintly shone,
By storms, and darkness soon o'er-blown;

No fost'ring warmth they yet have shed
To wake the verdure of the mead;
To ope the primrose' wild perfume,
Or rear to life the vi'let's bloom.
Then come, sweet nymph, with fixed pace!
The tyrant shall with fearful face
Behold far off thy steady beams,
And haste away his ragged teams.
O come, thou Queen of gay delights,
Tho' late, to bless our longing sights!
Flow'rs shall spring up beneath thy way,
And earth, and air, and seas be gay.
Adown the mountain's woody side
The tumbling torrent shall subside;
And the whistling wind no more
Thro' the castles turret's roar;
But rills shall lulling music keep,
And spires, and battlements shall peep
With glittering hue, amid the shade,
While shepherd's pipes shall from the glade
Echo sweet; and virgins gay,
With fresh bloom'd cheeks, to hear them play,
Shall issue from the castle's bounds,
And dance to thee their merry rounds.
On shadowy greens to thee the Fays
Shall there a moon-light altar raise;
And there, by Cynthia's paly ray,
Will I to thee my orgies pay!—
Meads shall smile; the frisking flock
Shall bleat from valley, and from rock;
And oft at fold their tinkling bell
Shall wake the Poet's pensive shell;
To thee by twilight he shall sing,
Sooth'd by the air soft-murmuring.
At morn, from furrow'd lands afar,
Plowmen's songs shall tend thy car;
And the woodman's echoing stroke,
That too often had awoke
The genius of the deepen'd wood
From the still shades of his abode.
But within the fertile vale,
Daisied pastures shall not fail,
With flow'rets wild of ev'ry hue,
To ope their blossoms to thy view;
While the steeple bells shall ring,
And down the wave their echoes fling,
Which, soften'd by the warbling wind,
With extacies shall fill the mind.
In yonder pansied meadow's bound,
With hills, and wood enclos'd around,
My love and I will wildly stray,
To pick each flower, that drinks thy ray.
May her enchanting form no fate,
Like that unhappy maid's, await,
Whom gloomy Dis by force convey'd
To his low region's dismal shade!
For she, sad nymph, had only stray'd
To bask amid thy fragrant blooms,
And fill her lap with thy perfumes
When he, black God! with grim delight,
Bore the wild maid to endless night.
Ah, no! I never will profane
With gloomy fears thy joyous reign;
But, while this youthful blood shall sport
Within thy veins, I thee will court;
The pleasures of thy train will join,
To hail thy blooming nymphs divine;
To them my tales of love repeat,
And mark, how thy prolific heat
On their soft cheeks bid blushes rise,
And sheds sweet languour o'er their eyes.

If hoary locks my temples shade,
Ere in the peaceful grave I'm laid,
Then may I haunt the rural hall,
Round which the rooks, with clamorous call,
To thee their early rites begin,
Far from the peopled city's din;
Watch how the buds their leaves display;
And sooth'd by them, when Eve shall come,
Mark their thick flocks returning home!
Awhile contentious strife, and noise,
And loud complaint, their rest destroys;
But by degrees the tumults close,
The murmurers sink to calm repose.
While thus I watch them to their nest,
Sooth'd by soft sympathy to rest,
Sweet slumbers o'er mine eyes will creep,
And in mild dreams my fancy steep.

Thus, Spring, with thee I'll pass my day,
Thus sooth my evening hours away;
Thus, as I totter on life's brink,
To my last slumbers softly sink.

[pp. 156-57]