1802
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hymn to Autumn.

Poems on Various Subjects, by Thomas Dermody.

Thomas Dermody


An imitation of Collins's Ode to Evening in sixteen blank-verse quatrains. Like several imitators before, Thomas Dermody substitutes the annual for the diurnal cycle, while retaining much of the original imagery. Where Collins introduces the seasons at the end of his ode, Dermody introduces the passions: "For, ever in thy rear is Genius seen, | Inly conversing with himself; and, then | Contrasting with each sight, | The creatures of the Mind" p. 100.

Critical Review: "These Poems are evidently the productions of a man of genius; but they seem to be desultory effusions, neither premeditated nor corrected. Mr. Dermody has read our older and better poets with feeling and attention: he has imitated their manner and their spelling, and the inartificial structure of their stories. But this is blind admiration. However sweet in its sounds and beautiful in its separate lines, poetry will fail to please, if it be not connected with some interest of narrative, some manliness of thought, some delineation of human character or human action" NS 37 (January 1803) 49.



Now, when the Sun, with less enamour'd beam,
Lights the faint blushes of the fading year,
Oh teach me, matron staid!
To woo thy tender calm;

For much I love the languish of thine eye,
Luxurious stream'd o'er each congenial scene,
That lends to all around
A delicate repose;

Whether thy ev'ning-clouds their skirts unfold
Of paler purple, thro' the forest-gloom
Effusing partial streaks,
From their ethereal glow;

Or, the blue bosom of the tranquil lake,
Where Silence sits amid the dusky steam,
Scarce undulating, heaves
Thy chasten'd smile beneath.

Thy auburn locks with dewey woodbine drest,
Ere yet the sere wreath withers on thy brow,
Or brumal blasts deform
Thy stole of sober green,

Oft, mid the leafy wilderness of shade,
Thro' its obscure recesses moaning deep,
But yet without a wind,
Conduct my devious step!

Nor seldom, let me catch the softer dash
Of distant water, from some willowy sluice,
Prone to its pebbled bed
Bounding in faery fall;

Or, curfew's slumb'rous swing from village-spire;
Or, hollow hum of whisp'ring voices near,
Homeward returning late;
Or watchdog's sullen bay.

Meanwhile, the mellow swell of past'ral flute,
May, from her thicket lure the ATTIC bird,
With one sad-closing strain,
To harmonize the whole.

Then will the Muse (the Muse, thy handmaid fair,)
When all the hamlet's hush'd in silence sweet,
Resume her solemn song,
Her song of grateful praise;

For, ever in thy rear is Genius seen,
Inly conversing with himself; and, then
Contrasting with each sight,
The creatures of the Mind.

Thine, Wisdom too, and rapt Devotion, thine,
List'ning the sphery chime, with pauseful ear;
Sage Meditation still,
And eagle-pinion'd Thought.

While those, with brighter yet, that troop behind,
Content, blithe child of Labour, well repaid,
(Who, laughing, leads along
Brown Harvest's buxom form,

The poppy nodding mid her sheafy crest,)
And Vintage, flush'd with his own ruddy grape,
Complete thy festal train,
Superior to assault;

Well, loveliest AUTUMN, mayst thou mock the rage
Of WINTER, surly dotard, following fierce,
With frozen breath malign
To blight thy later blooms;

Nor need'st thou, yet, the full, voluptuous glare
Of Summer, envy, more divinely drest,
By Nature's liberal hand
In plenitude and peace!

[pp. 98-101]