View page 97
Page 97
ODE to SPRING spacer

Hope waits upon the flowery prime.

S WEET daughter of a rough and stormy fire,
Hoar Winter's blooming child ; delightful Spring !
    Whose unshorn locks with leaves
    And swelling buds are crowned ;

From the green islands of eternal youth,
(Crown'd with fresh blooms, and ever springing shade,)
    Turn, hither turn thy step,
    O thou, whose powerful voice

View page 98
Page 98
More sweet than softest touch of Doric reed,
Or Lydian flute, can sooth the madding winds,
    And thro' the stormy deep
    Breathe thy own tender calm.

Thee, best belov'd ! the virgin train await
With songs and festal rites, and joy to rove
    Thy blooming wilds among,
    And vales and dewy lawns,

With untir'd feet ; and cull thy earliest sweets
To weave fresh garlands for the glowing brow
    Of him, the favour'd youth
    That prompts their whisper'd sigh.

Unlock thy copious stores ; those tender showers
That drop their sweetness on the infant buds,
    And silent dews that swell
    The milky ear's green stem.

View page 99
Page 99
And feed the slowering osier's early shoots ;
And call those winds which thro' the whispering boughs
    With warm and pleasant breath
    Salute the blowing flowers.

Now let me sit beneath the whitening thorn,
And mark thy spreading tints steal o'er the dale ;
    And watch with patient eye
    Thy fair unfolding charms.

O nymph approach ! while yet the temperate sun
With bashful forehead, thro' the cool moist air
    Throws his young maiden beams,
    And with chaste kisses woes

The earth's fair bosom ; while the streaming veil
Of lucid clouds with kind and frequent shade
    Protect thy modest blooms
    From his severer blaze.

View page 100
Page 100
Sweet is thy reign, but short ; The red dog-star
Shall scorch thy tresses, and the mower's scythe
    Thy greens, thy flow'rets all,
    Remorseless shall destroy.

Reluctant shall I bid thee then farewel ;
For O, not all the Autumn's lap contains,
    Nor Summer's ruddiest fruits,
    Can aught for thee atone

Fair Spring ! whose simplest promise more delights
Than all their largest wealth, and thro' the heart
    Each joy and new-born hope
    With softest influence breathes.