1797
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hymn to Health.

City Gazette and Daily Advertiser (19 May 1797).

Anonymous


A Miltonic ode, not signed, somewhat in the manner of William Collins: "Oh HEALTH! I know thy blue-bright eye, | Thy dewy lip, thy rosy die, | Thy dimpled cheek, thy lively air, | That wins a smile from pining CARE." This Charleston newspaper does not claim the poem as an original, but neither does it give a source. Allegorical odes and Della Cruscan poetry had not been popular in Charleston.



O by the gentle gales that blow,
Refreshing, from the mountain's brow,
By the vermeil bloom of morn,
By the dew-drop on the thorn,
By the sky-lark's matin lay,
By the flowers that blooming May
Sprinkles on the meads and hills,
By the brooks and fuming rills,
Come, smiling HEALTH, and deign to be
Our queen of rural sports and glee.
What sudden radiance gilds the skies!
What warblings from the groves arise!
A breeze more odif'rous blows;
The stream more musically flows!
A brighter smile the valley wears!
And lo! the lovely queen appears.
Oh HEALTH! I know thy blue-bright eye,
Thy dewy lip, thy rosy die,
Thy dimpled cheek, thy lively air,
That wins a smile from pining CARE.
Soft pinion'd gales around thee breathe,
Perfuming dews thy tresses bathe,
The zone of VENUS girds thy waist,
The young LOVES flutter round thy breast,
And on thy path the rose-wing'd hours
Scatter their ever-varying flowers.
See! the nymphs and every swain
Mingle in the festive train,
With roguish winks and winning wiles,
And whispering low, and dimpling smiles,
And many a tale, devis'd with care,
To win the bashful maiden's ear,
And sweetly-soothing blandishment,
And the coy air of half consent,
And JOY, with rose complexion'd LAUGHTER,
With hobbling footstep tottering after.
Goddess, ever blithe and fair,
Ever mild and debonair,
Stay with us, and deign to be
Our queen of rural mirth and glee.

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