1792
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hymn to Health.

Universal Magazine 91 (November 1792) 370.

Anonymous


A rather humble ode to Health in the measure of L'Allegro that presents the goddess as the sum of felicity: "If any other bliss from heaven | To soothe the soul of man is given, | Any sweet recompense is given, | With thee, and cherish'd by thy smile, | (Best of the immortal powers above!) | They flourish all." The poem, included in Raymond Dexter Havens's catalogue of Milton imitations, is not signed.



O worthiest of esteem and love,
Of all the immortal powers above,
Hygeia, sweetest nymph! with thee
May all my future days be free!
Nor thou with me refuse to dwell,
A willing inmate of my cell!

For every joy which wealth bestows,
Which from the love of offspring flows,
Which towering empire gives, the height
Of human bliss, man's chief delight;
Whate'er from Beauty's magic fire,
Those darling objects of desire,
Whom, plac'd before our ravish'd view
We with impetuous speed pursue
Toward the snares, and hidden nets,
Which laughter-loving Venus sets;
If any other bliss from heaven
To soothe the soul of man is given,
Any sweet recompense is given,
With thee, and cherish'd by thy smile,
(Best of the immortal powers above!)
They flourish all; before thee rove
Each Grace, each Virtue, while the ray
Of pure content beams cheerful day.

But from thy presence doom'd to part,
No transport strikes man's anxious heart;
Thick clouds of woe o'erspread his eye,
The Loves, and winged Pleasures fly.

[p. 370]