1778
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Spring.

General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer (8 May 1778).

Cumbriensis


A descriptive ode in the manner of Milton's L'Allegro signed "Cumbriensis." This is one of the more original treatments of a familiar topic in the Milton series, the contrast of light and dark taking on theological overtones. This is perhaps typical of north-country poetry, like the pronunciation of the word "plough": "Furrows, deck'd with early dew, | Turn obedient to the plough; | And, in gladd'ning hope elate, | Rustics hale enjoy their state!" The General Advertiser was publishing a considerable amount of verse at this time.



Now the rosy-bosom'd Spring,
Borne on soft and silken wing,
From its Cornucopia pours
Verdant plants, and blooming flow'rs;
And the Sun, with strange surprise,
Sees a new Creation rise!
Balmy Zephyrs, sweet and bland,
Scatter fragrance o'er the land;
And, in playful mazes, fly
Through the bright and liquid sky!
Strangers to corroding care,
Songsters carrol in the air;
And around, below, above,
All his harmony and love!

Jarring Discord! hence! away!
From the confines of the day;
And in dark and joyless cell,
With the Fiends and Furies dwell!

Insects o'er the current glide,
And unfurl their painted pride;
Playful, till the tempest drives,
And cuts short their little lives!
Free from busy hopes and fears,
Happy ignorance is theirs!
Never seek they to explore
What the future has in store;
But in scenes of present joy,
Their specific pow'rs employ!—
Prescience of an adverse Fate
Antedates the awful weight;
And 'tis folly to foreknow
What is only fraught with woe!

Now the village babes are seen
Lightly tripping on the green;
And, like cherubs, hand in hand,
Form a lovely, smiling band!—
O that men, by children taught,
Guiltless were, in deed and thought!

Furrows, deck'd with early dew,
Turn obedient to the plough;
And, in gladd'ning hope elate,
Rustics hale enjoy their state!
Blissful curse! to bid them toil,
Till that barren desart smile;
THAT the source of all their wealth,
And the best of blessings, Health!

Culture, and indulgent skies,
Re-create a Paradise;
Sweet, as old Euphrates found
Eden's consecrated ground,
'Ere the grizly spectre, Sin,
Awful daring! ent'red in;
And, with fascinating lure,
Gave the wound, so hard to cure!

These the pleasures, free from strife,
Which attend a rural life;
Why shou'd I, a recreant clown,
Flutter in the smoaky town?

[unpaginated]