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"Thou, therefore (as the most afflicted may),
ON THE APPROACH OF SPRING.
WRITTEN IN THE AUTHOR'S TWENTIETH YEAR.
Time, never wandering from his annual round, Bids Zephyr breathe the Spring, and thaw the ground;Bleak Winter flies, new verdure clothes the plain, And Earth assumes her transient youth again. Dream I, or also to the Spring belong Increase of genius, and new powers of song?Spring gives them, and, how strange soe'er it seems, Impels me now to some harmonious themes. Castalia's fountain and the forked hill.
By day, by night, my raptured fancy fill;
My bosom burns and heaves, I hear within
A sacred sound that prompts me to begin.
Lo, Phcebus comes! with his bright hair he blends
The radiant laurel wreath; Phcebus descends:
I mount, and undepressed by cumbrous clay
Through cloudy regions win my easy way;
Rapt, through poetic shadowy haunts I fly;
The shrines all open to my dauntless eye,
My spirit searches all the realms of light,
And no Tartarean gulfs elude my sight.
But this ecstatic trance—this glorious storm
Of inspiration—what will it perform?
Spring claims the verse, that with his influence glows,
And shall be paid with what himself bestows.
Thou, veiled with opening foliage, lead'st the throng Of feathered minstrels, Philomel! in song; Let us, in concert, to the season sing, Civic and sylvan heralds of the Spring!
With notes triumphant Spring's approach declare! To Spring, ye Muses, annual tribute bear! The Orient left and /Ethiopia's plains, The Sun now northward turns his golden reins; Night creeps not now, yet rules with gentle sway, And drives her dusky horrors swift away; Now less fatigued, on this ethereal plain Bootes follows his celestial wain; And now the radiant sentinels above, Less numerous, watch around the courts of Jove.
For, with the night, force, ambush, slaughter fly,
And no gigantic guilt alarms the sky.
Now haply says some shepherd, while he views,
Recumbent on a rock, the reddening dews,
This night, this surely, Phcebus missed the Fair,
Who stops his chariot by her amorous care.
Cynthia, delighted by the morning's glow,
Speeds to the woodland, and resumes her bow;
Resigns her beams, and, glad to disappear,
Blesses his aid who shortens her career.
Come—Phcebus cries—Aurora come—too late
Thou lingerest, slumbering, with thy withered mate!
Leave him, and to Hymettus' top repair!
Thy darling Cephalus expects thee there.
The goddess, with a blush, her love betrays,
But mounts, and, driving rapidly, obeys.
Earth now desires thee, Phcebus! and to engage
Thy warm embrace, casts off the guise of age;
Desires thee, and deserves; for who so sweet,
When her rich bosom courts thy genial heat?
Her breath imparts to every breeze that blows
Arabia's harvest, and the Paphian rose.
Her lofly fronts she diadems around
With sacred pines, like Ops on Ida crowned;
Her dewy locks with various flowers new-blown
She interweaves, various, and all her own,
For Proserpine, in such a wreath attired,
Tamarian Dis himself with love inspired.
Fear not, lest, cold and coy, the nymph refuse!
1 lerself, with all her sighing Zephyrs, sues;
Each courts thee, fanning soft his scented wing,
And all her groves with warbled wishes ring.
Nor, unendowed and indigent, aspires
The amorous Earth to engage thy warm desires,
But, rich in balmy drugs, assists thy claim,
Divine Physician! to that glorious name.
If splendid recompense, if gifts can move
Desire in thee (gifts often purchase love),
She offers all the wealth her mountains hide,
And all that rests beneath the boundless tide.
I low oft, when headlong from the heavenly steep
She sees thee playing in the western deep*
I low oft she cries—" Ah Phcebus! why repair
Thy wasted force, why seek refreshment there?
Can Tethys win thee? wherefore shouldst thou lave
A face so fair in her unpleasant wave?
Come, seek my green retreats, and rather chuse
To cool thy tresses in my crystal dews,
The grassy turf shall yield thee sweeter rest;
Come, lay thy evening glories on my breast,
And breathing fresh, through many a humid rose,
Soft whispering airs shall lull thee to repose!
No fears I feel lite Semcle to die,
Thus breathes the wanton Earth her amorous flame,
TO CHARLES DEODATI,
Who, while he spent his Christmas in the country, sent the Author a poetical Epistle, in which he requested that his verses, if not so good as usual, might be excused on account of the many feasts to which his friends had invited him, and which would not allow him leisure to finish them as he wished.
With no rich viands overcharged, I send
Health, which perchance you want, my pampered friend;
But wherefore should thy muse tempt mine away
From what she loves, from darkness into day?
Art thou desirous to be told how well
I love thee, and in verse? verse cannot tell,
For verse has bounds, and must in measure move
But neither bounds nor measure knows my love. •
How pleasant, in thy lines described, appear
December's harmless sports, and rural cheer! 10
French spirits kindling with caerulean fires,
And all such gambols as the time inspires!
Think not that wine against good verse offends l
Sing sweetly—why? no vine would flourish there, 20 What in brief numbers sung Anacreon's muse?Wine, and the rose, that sparkling wine bedews. Pindar with Bacchus glows—his every line Breathes the rich fragrance of inspiring wine, While, with loud crash o'erturned, the chariot lies And brown with dust the fiery courser flies. The Roman lyrist steeped in wine his lays, So sweet in Glycera's and Chloe's praise. Now too the plenteous feast and mantling bowl Nourish the vigour of thy sprightly soul; 30 The flowing goblet makes thy numbers flow, And casks not wine alone, but verse bestow. Thus Phcebus favours, and the arts attend, Whom Bacchus, and whom Ceres, both befriend:What wonder, then, thy verses are so sweet, In which these triple powers so kindly meet?The lute now also sounds, with gold inwrought, And touched with flying fingers, nicely taught;In tapestried halls, high-roofed, the sprightly lyre Directs the dancers of the virgin choir. 40
If dull repletion fright the muse away, Sights, gay as these, may more invite her stay:
And, trust me, while the ivory keys resound,
Wouldst thou, (perhaps 'tis hardly worth thine ear)
This theme on reeds of Albion I rehearse: