IN IMITATION OF SPENSER.
1 ERE yet I sing the round revolving year,
2 And show the toils and pastime of the swain,
o Mr. Thomson, author of the Seasons. Alcon's grave I drop a pious tear;
4 Right well he knew to raise his learned strain,
5 And, like his Milton, scorn'd the rhiming chain.
6 Ah! cruel Fate, to tear him from our eyes;
7 Receive this wreath, albe the tribute's vain;
8 From the green sod may flowers immortal rise,
9 To mark the sacred spot where the sweet Poet lies!
10 It is the Cuckoo that announceth Spring,
11 And with hisp
p Revengeful. wreakful tale the spouse doth fray;
12 Mean while the Finches harmless ditties sing,
13 And hop, in buxom youth, from spray to spray,[Page 231]
14 Proud as Sir Paridel of rich array.
15 The little wantons that draw Venus team,
16 Chirp amorous thro' the grove in beavies gay;
17 And he, who erst gain'd Leda's fond esteem,
18 Now sails on Thamis' tide, the glory of the stream!
19 Proud as the Turkish soldan, chaunticleer
20 Sees, with delight, his numerous race around:
21 He grants fresh favours to each female near;
22 For love as well as cherisaunce renown'd.
23 The waddling dame that did the Gauls confound,
24 Her tawny sons doth lead to rivers cold;
25 While Juno'sq
q Darling. dearling, with majestic bound,
26 To charm hisr
r Lover. leman doth his train unfold,
27 That glows with vivid green, that flames with burning gold.
28 The balmy cowslip gilds the smiling plain,
29 The virgin snow-drop boasts her silver hue,
30 An hundred tints the gaudy daisy stain,
31 And the meek violet, in amis blue
32 Creeps low to earth, and hides from public view:
33 But the rank nettle rears her crest on high;
34 So ribaulds loose their front unblushing shew,
35 While modest merit doth neglected lie,
36 And pines in lonely shade unseen of vulgar eye.
37 See! all around the gall-lesss
s Doves. culvers bill,
38 Mean while the nightingale's becalming lays
39 Mix with the plaintive music of the rill,
40 The which in varioust
t Circles, or windings. gyres the meadowu
u Bathes. bays.
41 Behold! the welkin bursts into a blaze!
42 Fast by the car of light the nimble Hours,
43 In songs of triumph, hail his genial rays,
44 And, as theyx
x Go. wend to Thetis cooling bowers,
45 They bound along the sky, and strew the heavens with flowers.
46 And now the human bosom melts to love;
47 The raptur'd Bard awakes his skilful lyre,
48 By running streams, or in the laurel grove,
49 He tunes to amorous notes his sounding wire:
50 All, all his harmony, and all desire.
51 The happy numbers charm the blooming maid;
52 Her blushing cheeks pronounce her heart on fire,
53 She now consents, then shuns th' embowering shade,
54 With faint reluctance yields; desirous, yet afraid.
55 Now rustic Cuddy, with untutor'd throat,
56 (Tho' much admir'd, I ween, of nymph and swain)
57 By various songs would various ends promote.
58 Seeks he to prove that woman's vows are vain!
59 He Bateman's fortune tells, a baleful strain! [Page 233]
60 And if to honour Britain he be led,
61 He sings a 'prentice bold, in londs profane,
62 Who, all unarm'd, did strike two lions dead,
63 Tore forth their savage hearts, and did a princess wed.
64 But hark! the bag-pipe summons to the green,
65 The jocund bag-pipe, that awaketh sport;
66 The blithesome lasses, as the morning sheen,
67 Around the flower-crown'd may-pole quick resort:
68 The Gods of pleasure here have fix'd their court.
69 Quick on the wing the flying moment seize,
70 Nor build up ample schemes, for life is short,
71 Short as the whisper of the passing breeze.
72 Yet, ah! in vain I preach — mine heart is ill at ease.
[Page 234] 1 BENEATH yony
y Knotty. snubby oak's extended shade
2 Safe let me hide me from the eye of day;
3 Nor shall the dog-star this retreat invade,
4 As thro' the heavens he speeds his burning way:
5 The sultry lion rages for his prey.
6 Ah Phoebus, quench thy wild destroying fire,
7 Each flower, each shrub doth sink beneath thy ray,
8 Save the fresh laurel, that shall ne'er expire.
9 The leaves that crown a bard may brave celestial ire.
10 Or shall I hie to mine own hermitage,
11 Round which the wanton vine her arms doth wind,
12 There may I lonely turn the sacred page,
13 Improve my reason, and amend my mind;
14 Here 'gainst Life's ills a remedy I find.
15 An hundred flowers emboss the verdant ground;
16 A little brook doth my sweet cottage bind,
17 Its waters yield a melancholy sound,
18 And sooth to study deep, or lull to sleep profound.
19 The playful insect hopping in the grass
20 Doth tire the hearer with his sonnet shrill;
21 The pool-sprung gnat on sounding wing doth pass,
22 And on thez
z Starting, flying-out. ramping steed doth suck his fill;
23 Ah me, can little creatures work such ill!
24 The patient cow doth, to eschew the heat,
25 Her body steep within the neighbouring rill;
26 And while the lambs in fainter voices bleat,
27 Their mothers hang their head, in doleful plight I weet.
a Careless.Rechless of seasons, see the lusty swains
29 Along the meadow spread the tawny hay;
30 The maidens too undaunted seek the plains,
31 Ne fear to show their faces to the ray;
32 But all the honest badge of toil display. [Page 235]
33 See how they mould the haycock's rising head;
34 While wanton Colin, full of amorous play,
35 Down throweth Susan, who doth shriek for dread.
36 Fear not — thou canst be hurt upon so soft a bed.
37 At length the sun doth hasten to repose,
38 And all the vault of heaven is streak'd with light;
39 In flamy gold the ruddy welkin glows,
40 And, for the noon-day heat, our pains dothb
b Requite. quite,
41 For all is calm, serene, and passing bright:
42 Favonius gentle skims along the grove,
43 And sheds sweet odours from his pennons light.
44 The little bat in giddy orbs doth rove,
45 And loud the screech-owl shrieks, to rouse her blue-ey'd love.
46 Menalcas came to taste the evening gale,
47 His cheeks impurpled with the rose of youth;
48 He won each damsel with his piteous tale,
49 They thought they listen'd to the words of truth,
50 Yet their belief did work them muchelc
c Sorrow. ruth.
51 His oaths were light as gossimer, or air,
52 His tongue was poisonous as an aspic's tooth.
53 Ah! cease to promise joy, and give despair:
54 'Tis brave to smite the foe; 'tis base to wrong the fair.
55 The gentle Thyrsis, mild as opening morn,
56 Came to the lawn, and Marian there was found;
57 Marian whom many huswife arts adorn:
58 Right well she knew the apple to surround
59 With dulcet crust: and Thomalin renown'd
60 For prowd
d Hardy, valiant. atchievements in the wrestling ring;
61 He held at nought the vantage of the ground,
62 But prone to earth the hardiest wight would fling;
63 Such was Alcides erst, if poetse
e Truth. sooth do sing.
64 From tree-crown'd hill, from flower-enamel'd vale,
65 The mild inhabitants in crouds appear
66 To tread a measure; while Night's regent pale
67 Doth thro' the sky her silver chariot steer,
68 Whose lucid wheels were deck'd with dew-drops clear;
69 The which, like pearls, descended on the plain.
70 Now every youth doth clasp his mistress dear,
71 And every nymph rewards her constant swain.
72 Thrice happy he who loves, and is belov'd again.
1 SEE jolly Autumn, clad in hunter's green,
2 In wholesomef
f Vigour. lusty-hed doth mount the sphere;
3 A leafy girlond binds her temples sheen,
4 Instudded richly with the spiky ear.
5 Her right hand bears a vine-incircled spear;
6 Such as the crew did wield whom Bacchus lad,
7 When to the Ganges he his course did steer;
8 And in her left a bugle-horn she had,
9 On which sheg
g Often. est did blow, and made the heart right glad.
10 In slow procession moves the tottering wain,
11 The sun-burnt hinds their finish'd toilh
h Follow. ensue;
12 Now in the barn they house the glittering grain,
13 And there the cries of "harvest home" renew.
14 The honest farmer does his friendsi
i Salute. salew;
15 And them with jugs of ale his wife doth treat,
16 Which for that purpose she at home did brew;
17 They laugh, they sport, and homely jests repeat,
18 Then smack their lasses lips, their lips as honey sweet.
19 On every hill the purple blushing vine
20 Beneath her leaves her racy fruit doth hide:
k Although. Albe she pour not floods of foaming wine,
22 Yet are we not potations bland denied;
23 See where the pear-tree doth in earth abide!
24 Bruise her rich fruitage, and the grape disdain;
25 The apple too will grant a generous tide,
26 To sing whose honours Thenot rais'd his strain,
27 Whose soul-inchanting lays still charm the listening plain.
28 Thro' greyish mists behold Aurora dawns,
29 And to his sport the wary fowler hies;
30 Crouching to earth his guileful pointer fawns,
31 Now the thick stubble, now the clover tries,
32 To find where, with his race, the partridge lies.
33 Ah! luckless fire, ah! luckless race, I ween,
34 Whom force compels or subtle arts surprize;
l Daedalus envying Perdix his nephew's skill in mechanics, threw him into the sea. He escaped death by being changed into a partridge. uncles wait to cause thee dolorousm
m Anguish, pain. teen,
36 Doom'd to escape the deep, and perish on the green.
37 The full-mouth'd hounds pursue the timorous hare,
38 And the hills echo to the joyful cry;
39 Ah! borrow the light pennons of the hare,
40 If you'ren[Page 239]
n Reach'd, overtaken. arraught, you die, poor wretch, you die.
41 Nought will avail the pity-pleading eye,
42 For our good squire doth much against you rail,
43 And saith you often magic arts do try;
44 At times you wave Grimalkin's sooty tail,
45 Or on a beesom vild you thro' the welkin sail.
46 The stag is rous'd; he stems the threatening flood,
47 That shall ere long his matchless swiftness quell;
48 And, to avoid the tumult of the wood,
49 Amongst his well knowno
o Companions, pheers attempts top
p Mix. mell:
50 With horn and hoof his purpose they repell.
51 Thus, should a maid from Virtue's lore ystray,
52 Your sex, my Daphne, show their vengeance sell;
53 Your cruel selves with gall the shaftq
q Bathe. embay,
54 And lash from Pardon's shrine the penitent away.
55 Now silence charms the sages of the gown,
56 To purer air doth speed each crafty wight;
57 The well-squeez'd client quits the dusty town,
58 Grown grey in the asserting of his right,
59 With head yfraught with law, and pockets light,
60 Well pleas'd he wanders o'er the fallow lea,
61 And views each rural object with delight.
62 Ne'er be my lot the brawling courts to see;
63 Who trusts to lawyer's tongue doth muchr
r Judges ill. misween, perdy.
64 Right bless'd the man who free from bitters
s Sorrow. bale,
65 Doth in the little peaceful hamlet dwell,
66 No loud contention doth his ears assail,
67 Save when the tempest whistles o'er his cell:
68 The fruitful down, the flower-depainted dell,
69 To please his eyne are variously array'd;
70 And when in roundelay his flame he'd tell,
71 He gains a smile from his beloved maid;
72 By such a gentle smile an age of pain's repaid.
1 THE little brook that erst my cot did lave,
2 And o'er its flinty pavement sweetly sung,
3 Doth now forget to roll her wanton wave,
4 For Winter hoar her icy chain has flung,
5 And still'd the babbling music of her tongue.
6 The lonely woodcock seeks the splashy glen,
7 Each mountain head with fleecy snow is hung;
8 The snipe and duck enjoy the moorish fen,
t Hermits. Eremites they live, and shun the sight of men.
u Stupified. wareless sheep no longer bite the mead,
11 No more the plough-boy turns the stubborn ground,
12 At the full crib the horned labourers feed,
13 Their nostrils cast black clouds of smoak around;
14 A squalid coat doth the lean steed surround.
15 The wily fox doth prowl abroad for prey,
16 Rechless of snares, or of th' avenging hound;
17 And trusty Lightfoot, now no longer gay,
18 Sleeps at the kitchen hearth his cheerless hours away.
19 Where erst the boat, and slowly moving barge,
20 Did with delight cut thro' the dimpling plain,
21 Now wanton boys and men do roam at large;
22 The river-gods quit their usurp'd domain,
23 And of the wrong at Neptune's court complain.
24 There mote you see mild Avon crown'd with flowers,
25 And milky Wey withouten spot or stain;
26 There the fair stream that washes Hampton's bowers,
27 And Isis who with pride beholds her learned towers.
28 Intent on sport, the ever jocund throng
29 Quit their warm cots, and for the game prepare;
30 Behold the restless foot-ball whirls along,
31 Now near the earth, now mounted high in air.
32 Thus often men, in life's wild lottery fare,
33 Who quit true bliss to grasp an empty toy.
34 Our honest swains for wealth nor titles care,
35 But lusty health in exercise employ.
36 The distant village hears the rude tumultuous joy.
37 The careful hedger looks the fields around,
38 To see what labour may his skill demand;
39 He mends the fence, repairs the sinking mound,
40 Or in long drains he cuts the lower land,
41 That shall henceforth all sudden floods withstand.
42 Mean while at home his dame, with silver hair,
43 Doth sit incircled by a goodly band
44 Of lovely maids, who various works prepare,
45 All chaste as Jove's wise child, as Cupid's mother fair.
46 She them discourses not of fashions nice,
47 Nor of the trilling notes which eunuchs sing;
48 Allurements vain, that prompt the soul to vice!
49 Ne tells she them of Kesar or of king;
50 Too great the subject for so mean a ring.
51 Her lessons teach to swell the capon's size;
52 To make the hen a numerous offspring bring;
53 Or how the way-ward mother to chastise,
54 When from her vetchy nest the weetless vagrant hies.
55 When glistering spangles deck the robe of night,
56 And all their kine in pens avoid the cold,
57 The buxom troops, still eager of delight,
58 Round Damon's eyne ax
x A linnen cloth. drapet white infold,
59 He darkling gropes till he some one can hold. [Page 243]
60 Next Cori hides his head, and must impart
61 What wanton fair-one smote his hand so bold.
62 He Delia names, nor did from truth depart;
63 For well he knew her touch, who long had fir'd his heart.
64 Stay, I conjure you by your hopes of bliss,
65 Trust not, my Daphne, the rough-biting air,
66 Let not rude winds those lips of softness kiss;
67 Will Eurus stern the charms of beauty spare?
68 No, he will hurt my rosy-featur'd fair,
69 If aught so bright dares rugged carl invade,
70 Too tender thou such rough assaults to bear;
71 The mountain ash may stand tho' stripp'd of shade,
72 But at the slightest wound the silken flowers will fade.