1791
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Whitsuntide. Written at Winchester College, on the immediate Approach of the Holidays.

Morning Chronicle (15 June 1791).

Rev. George Huddesford


An imitation of Milton's L'Allegro, describing the out-of-doors pleasures of a schoolboy at Winchester College: "If pleasures such as these await | Thy genial reign, with heart elate | For thee I throw my gown aside, | And hail thy coming, WHITSUNTIDE." Presumably the headmaster Joseph Warton would have scanned these verses. The poem is not signed, though it appears in Huddesford's Salmagundi, published the same year.

Author's note to "choral song": "A Latin Song called 'Domum,' sung with musical accompaniment, on the day before the commencement of their Whitsuntide Vacation, by the Scholars of Winchester College. The words 'Matin hymn,' &c. in the preceding couplet, refer to other ancient customs of that Venerable Seminary" 567n.



Hence, thou fur-clad Winter, fly,
Sire of shiv'ring Poverty!
Who, as thou creep'st, with chilblains lame,
To the crowded charcoal flame,
With chattering teeth and ague cold,
Scarce thy shaking sides canst hold,
Whilst thou draw'st the deep cough out;
God of foot-ball's noisy rout,
Tumult loud and boist'rous play,
The dang'rous slide, the snow-ball fray.

But come, thou genial Son of Spring,
WHITSUNTIDE, and with thee bring
Cricket, nimble boy and light,
In slippers red, and drawers white,
Who, o'er the nicely-measur'd land,
Ranges round his comely band,
Alert to intercept each blow,
Each motion of the wary foe.

Or patient take thy quiet stand,
The angle trembling in thy hand,
Kissing the wave, the frequent fly;
Where the trout, with eager spring,
Forms the many-circled ring,
And, leaping from the silver tide,
Turns to the sun his speckled side.

Or lead where Health, a Naiad fair,
With rosy cheek, and dropping hair,
From the sultry noon-tide beam,
Dives in ITCHIN'S crystal stream.
Thy votaries, rang'd in order due,
To-morrow's wish'd-for dawn shall view
Greeting the radiant Star of Light
With matin hymn and early rite:
Ev'n now, these hallow'd haunts among,
To thee we raise the choral song;
And swell with echoing minstrelsy
The strain of joy and liberty.

If pleasures such as these await
Thy genial reign, with heart elate
For thee I throw my gown aside,
And hail thy coming, WHITSUNTIDE.

[p. 567]