WRITTEN AT THE APPROACH OF SPRING.
1 STERN Winter hence with all his train removes;
2 And chearful skies and limpid streams are seen;
3 Thick-sprouting foliage decorates the groves;
4 Reviving herbage robes the fields in green.
5 Yet lovelier scenes shall crown th' advancing year;
6 When blooming Spring's full bounty is display'd;
7 The smile of beauty every vale shall wear;
8 The voice of song enliven every shade.
9 O Fancy, paint not coming days too fair!
10 Oft for the prospects sprightly May should yield,
11 Rain-pouring clouds have darken'd all the air,
12 Or snows untimely whiten'd o'er the field:
13 But should kind Spring her wonted bounty shower,
14 The smile of beauty and the voice of song;
15 If gloomy thought the human mind o'erpower,
16 Ev'n vernal hours glide unenjoy'd along.
17 I shun the scenes where maddening Passion raves;
18 Where Pride and Folly high dominion hold,
19 And unrelenting Avarice drives her slaves
20 O'er prostrate Virtue in pursuit of gold:
21 The grassy lane, the wood-surrounded field,
22 The rude stone-fence with fragrant wall-flowers gay,
23 The clay-built cot, to me more pleasure yield
24 Than all the pomp imperial domes display;
25 And yet ev'n here amid these secret shades,
26 These simple scenes of unreprov'd delight,
27 Affliction's iron hand my breast invades,
28 And Death's dread dart is ever in my sight.
29 While genial suns to genial showers succeed;
30 (The air all mildness, and the earth all bloom)
31 While herds and flocks range sportive o'er the mead;
32 Crop the sweet herb, and snuff the rich perfume;
33 O why alone to hapless man deny'd
34 To taste the bliss inferior beings boast!
35 O why this fate that fear and pain divide
36 His few short hours on earth's delightful coast!
37 Ah cease — no more of Providence complain!
38 'Tis sense of guilt that wakes the mind to woe,
39 Gives force to fear, adds energy to pain,
40 And palls each joy by heaven indulg'd below:
41 Why else the smiling infant train so blest,
42 Ere dear-bought knowledge ends the peace within,
43 Or wild desire inflames the youthful breast,
44 Or ill propension ripens into sin?
45 As to the bleating tenants of the field,
46 As to the sportive warblers on the trees,
47 To them their joys sincere the seasons yield,
48 And all their days and all their prospects please;
49 Such joys were mine when from the peopled streets,
50 Where on Thamesis' banks I liv'd immur'd,
51 The new blown fields that breath'd a thousand sweets,
52 To Surry's wood-crown'd hills my steps allur'd:
53 O happy hours, beyond recovery fled!
54 What share I now "that can your loss repay,"
55 While o'er my mind these glooms of thought are spread,
56 And veil the light of life's meridian ray?
57 Is there no power this darkness to remove?
58 The long-lost joys of Eden to restore,
59 Or raise our views to happier seats above,
60 Where Fear, and Pain, and Death shall be no more?
61 Yes, those there are who know a Saviour's love
62 The long-lost joys of Eden can restore,
63 And raise their views to happier seats above,
64 Where Fear, and Pain, and Death shall be no more:
65 These grateful share the gift of Nature's hand;
66 And in the varied scenes that round them shine;
67 (The Fair, the Rich, the Awful, and the Grand)
68 Admire th' amazing workmanship divine.
69 Blows not a flow'ret in th' enamel'd vale,
70 Shines not a pebble where the rivulet strays;
71 Sports not an insect on the spicy gale;
72 But claims their wonder and excites their praise.
73 For them ev'n vernal nature looks more gay,
74 For them more lively hues the fields adorn;
75 To them more fair the fairest smile of day,
76 To them more sweet the sweetest breath of morn.
77 They feel the bliss that hope and faith supply;
78 They pass serene th' appointed hours that bring
79 The day that wafts them to the realms on high;
80 The day that centers in eternal spring.