1795
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Address to Summer.

Universal Magazine 96 (May 1795) 369.

Anna Maria Porter


A blank verse ode in the manner of Milton's L'Allegro, signed "Miss Anna Maria Porter." The opening line of this allegorical ode betrays its Della Cruscan inspiration, and Miss Porter's erotic personification of the summer season rivals the early Keats in its delicious vulgarity: "Come in thy varied robe of russet green, | Thy naked bosom swelling on the air, | To catch a cooling kiss from love-sick gales; | Thy flush'd cheek shaded by a lucid veil | Form'd of such clouds as on the blue vault float." Anna Maria Porter, the younger sister of Jane Porter, was seventeen years of age in 1795.

An "Ode to Spring" in the same measure by Miss Porter was reprinted in Poetical Beauties of Modern Writers (1798, 1803).



Come, blue-ey'd daughter of the bright-hair'd sun!
And with fleet footsteps chase the loitering spring
Across the wide fields of the radiant sky;
Come in thy varied robe of russet green,
Thy naked bosom swelling on the air,
To catch a cooling kiss from love-sick gales;
Thy flush'd cheek shaded by a lucid veil
Form'd of such clouds as on the blue vault float,
When with a despot's state, hot noon-day reigns:
Thy rosy lips breathing all Hybla's balm,
And shining in the beaming light of day;
Thine eyes of living fire, dissolving closed
In soft voluptuous languishment, and each
Cerulean orb, swimming in brilliant dew;
While o'er thy blooming neck, and shoulders bare,
Wild fly thy tresses clad in radiant gold!
Come, with thy graceful form all loose array'd
In robes more fine, than dark Arachme's woof,
Or filmy gossamer, or silken flower!
Come, and with all thy bashful-blushing beams,
Weave the rich mantle of resplendent June!
Unfold the glowing blossoms of the rose,
And cast the woodbine's rich ambrosia round!
Wake all the air to melody, and shed
Thro' every bower, romantic dell or glade,
The musky balm, the nectar of thy breath—
Ah, in thy reign, how sweet the breezy wood,
The shady bank dew-dropping, and the sound
Of bickering waters, and of soft cascades!
How sweet the wild thyme on the boundless downs,
And drowsy humming of the woodland bee!
How sweet the evening walk beneath the lime,
The beech umbrageous, and the poplar pale,
To taste the humid honey of the flowers;
To catch the fanning of the west-wind's wing,
To view the bright Venus ope her silver eye,
And glimmer thro' the foliage of the trees!
Ye often tasted pleasures! How my soul
Beats, burns, and trembles for those joys again—
O! haste then, lovely season, speed the hours,
Which on the laughing spring attendant wait,
And roll o'er the radiant clouds, thy blazing car!—
But, oh! if in thy train thou dost not bring
Those who before gave all yon prospect's charms,
Lent fragrance to the shrubs, and clothed the earth
In one wide blush of sweetly mingling hues,
Then come not near me, but in pilgrim's weeds,
Quench all the bloom, that gilds thy virgin cheek,
And turn its warm tints to a paler dye;
Be pale and joyless, hide thy sunny eyes
In tears dejected, and with leaden foot,
Slow tread the cheerless earth: I want no flowers,
No cooling breezes, nor no evening walks,
If those I love share not the bliss with me!

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