1796
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Vernal Ode.

City Gazette and Daily Advertiser (26 February 1796).

Gavin Turnbull


An imitation of Milton's L'Allegro "From a collection of poems written by Mr. Turnbull, of the Church-street Theatre." The thespian-poet was an acquaintance of Robert Burns who had recently emigrated to Charleston from Scotland. The poem, which hails the Spring as the season of love, sports a pretty milkmaid: "And the lovely milk-maid clean, | Barefoot tripping o'er the green, | Who all unconscious of her charms, | The heart of every rustic warms; | And singing as she bears her pail, | Rouses the echoes of the dale." The poem is likely taken from Poems (1794) printed in Scotland. An "Ode to Melancholy" by Turnbull printed in the Columbian Herald for 12 April is modeled on Il Penseroso, but is not legible as seen. An elaborate "Ode to Columbus" signed "G. T." appears in the City Gazette for 5 March.



Haste ye hours, and bring the day
That ushers in the jocund May,
With fragrant Flora in her train,
To deck with flow'rs the earth again;
And Venus, queen of soft desire,
To wake the lover's ardent fire,
Blythe Mirth, a laughter-loving maid,
And Health, in rosy smiles array'd.
Come sweet nymphs, and bring along,
Joy and pleasure to my song;
Wake me with the bird of morn,
Ere the dew drops leave the thorn,
To behold the radiant sun,
When his race is first begun,
Shining on the distant hills,
Dancing on the chrystal rills;
Where the straw-roof'd cots are seen,
Rear'd upon the margin green,
Whence the swains, whom labour calls,
Issue from their lowly walls,
And far remov'd from care and pain,
Chaunt aloud some merry strain:
Whilst upon the dewy ground,
The sportive cattle nimbly bound,
And lambkins, on the yellow mead,
Dancing to the shepherd's reed:
And the lovely milk-maid clean,
Barefoot tripping o'er the green,
Who all unconscious of her charms,
The heart of every rustic warms;
And singing as she bears her pail,
Rouses the echoes of the dale.
Where the winding river flows,
Softly murm'ring as it goes,
On whose banks the waving woods,
Give to view the recent buds,
And the lily white as snow,
And the yellow primrose grow;
There, Amanda, let us lie
Secure from ev'ry vagrant eye,
And listen to the cuckoo's song,
Sounding loud the woods among;
While each soft enamour'd dove,
Courting on the boughs above,
Will instruct thee how to love.

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