1774
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Invitation. Written at St. Petersburgh.

Poems, chiefly Rural.

William Richardson


The poet bids his Lesbia to help him to endure the rigors of a frigid climate: "Come then, my lovely Maid, and bring | The kindly influence of Spring: | Come with thy animating air, | And nature's weary waste repair." Before becoming humanities professor at Glasgow, William Richardson had tutored the children of Charles Cathcart while living in Russia from 1768 to 1772. Raymond Dexter Havens includes this poem in his list of Milton imitations.



Lesbia, return — I cannot say
To flowery fields, and seasons gay:
The Muse desponding cannot sing
Of the sweet garniture of Spring,
Of sunny hills, and verdant vales,
And groves, and streams, and gentle gales:
These in more hospitable climes
May run mellifluent in my rhymes:
For Winter, hoary and severe,
Rules, a imperious despot, here.
In chains the headlong flood he binds,
He rides impetuous on the winds,
Before him awful forests bend,
And tempests in his train contend.
But what though wintry winds prevail,
And Boreas sends his rattling hail,
Siberian snows, and many a blast
Howling along the dreary waste,
From Samoida to the shores
Where the agitated Euxine roars,
Thy blameless wit, thy polished sense,
Can ease and gaiety dispense.
Come then, my lovely Maid, and bring
The kindly influence of Spring:
Come with thy animating air,
And nature's weary waste repair.

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