1810
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Cheerfulness.

The Poetical Magazine 3 (1810) 340-41.

B. B.


An imitation of Milton's L'Allegro, signed "B. B., Austin-Friars": "Then deign with me to be a guest, | And ev'ry season shall be blest: | If such the happiness you bring, | 'Twill change dull Winter's reign to Spring." The author's "humble lays" are more humble than most. The Poetical Magazine consisted entirely of verse; the contributions varied widely in kind and quality.



To thee, sweet maid! serenely mild—
To thee, fair Nature's sportive child—
Sweet Cheerfulness! in humble lays,
I tune my reed to sing thy praise!
Where'er my roving steps I bend,
Do thou, blithe nymph, my path attend;
And choose for me that fair retreat,
Which thou hast made thy blissful seat;—
With thee and Health, (thrice happy band!)
Content shall join us hand in hand;
And, as together oft we stray,
With fresh-cull'd roses strew the way;
Such as fair Nature's hands bestow,
And with luxuriant beauty blow;
While zephyrs waft the fragrant scent
To the bless'd home of sweet Content:
There Mirth without restraint resides,
And o'er each happy hour presides:
Tho' small my hut, and coarse my fare,
Still all is bless'd if thou art there;
Such pleasures will attend my fate,
I'll envy not the pompous great,
Who only seek for wealth and fame,
And only know thee as a name.

Then let me fly the giddy court,
And to the cheerful groves resort;
And, as I move in verdant bow'rs,
Be thou companion of my hours:
'Mid beauteous nymphs and happy swains,
In peaceful woods, o'er fertile plains;
Where mountains with the sunbeams glow,
And limpid streams meand'ring flow;
There ruddy Health shall blithe advance,
And lead me to the mazy dance:
Thou, Cheerfulness, in simple vest
Of innocence, so sweetly drest,
Shalt sprightly tune the sportive lay,
And with thy presence crown the day.
When early breaks the roseate morn,
What glowing tints thy cheeks adorn!
Thy garb bespangled o'er with dew,
Thy eyes of Heaven's etherial blue!
So fair thy form, so blithe thy mien,
Great goddess of the sylvan scene!

If cares disturb the tranquil hour,
How sure thy aid, how soft thy pow'r;
How sweet the solace you impart,
When sorrow wounds the feeling heart!
Without thee all is chill and drear,
But Nature smiles shouldst thou appear:
November's gloom we scarce perceive,
If thou but cheer the winter's eve.
When frosts and chilling winds congeal,
And snows the mountain-tops conceal;
When wildly blows the piercing blast,
And Heav'n's bright azure storms o'ercast;
When lightning's vivid flashes glare,
Or thunders dire convulse the air,—
Thy presence shall my bosom warm,
And shield me from the pelting storm.
Then deign with me to be a guest,
And ev'ry season shall be blest:
If such the happiness you bring,
'Twill change dull Winter's reign to Spring.

[pp. 340-41]