1791
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to the Morning.

Poems by Thomas Townshend, Esq.

Thomas Townshend


A descriptive ode in octosyllabic couplets, after Milton's L'Allegro — somewhat. After a convention opening, the mode unexpectedly divigates into the Anacreontic as the poet instructs the Morning to present its sweets to the fair Julia. The diction throughout is in the Della Crucsan manner: "Lo! Zephyr, now thy wandering child, | Couching 'midst the violets wild, | Bathes his young wing in scented dews, | And brisk his fragrant toil renews, | Sweeps lightly o'er the breathing scene, | And wakens all his breezy train." Julia is also invoked in the companion "Ode to the Evening" printed immediately following.

Townshend's poems were originally printed in Dublin; a London edition followed five years later with appropriately precious illustrations by Thomas Stoddard. After his early fling with the elfin muse, the poet devoted himself to the law and Irish politics.



O! Thou who wrap'st the infant day
In varied robe of blushing gray,
Whose dewy tresses wreath'd with light,
Wave o'er the mountain's bright'ning height,
Who wak'st the vap'ry-skirted vale,
To songful life, fair Morning, hail!
Yok'd with bonds of beamy red
The blushing hours and pleasures lead
Thy gemmy car, while the young ray
Gilds softly o'er the op'ning day,
And lights upon the dew-prest flow'r,
The pouring stream, or ivied tow'r.
Lo! Zephyr, now thy wandering child,
Couching 'midst the violets wild,
Bathes his young wing in scented dews,
And brisk his fragrant toil renews,
Sweeps lightly o'er the breathing scene,
And wakens all his breezy train.
Go, airy band, swift speed away,
Collect each dawning charm of day,
Each luscious sweet insatiate sip,
And pour it on my Julia's lip;
Light as her morning dreams repair,
Throng gently round my slumbering fair;
Soft on her pillow whisp'ring stand,
Say that e'er Morn's orient hand
Had painted gay the fields of light,
Cold dripping with the damps of night,
Pensive beside this desart stream
I've sigh'd and call'd on Julia's name.

[pp. 53-54]