Hence, iron-scepter'd winter, haste
To bleak Siberian waste!
Haste to thy polar solitude;
Mid cataracts of ice,
Whose torrents dumb are stretch'd in fragments rude,
From many an airy precipice,
Where, ever beat by sleety show'rs,
Thy gloomy Gothic castle tow'rs;
Amid whose howling iles and halls,
Where no gay sunbeam paints the walls,
On ebon throne thou lov'st to shroud,
Thy brows in many a murky cloud.
E'en now, before the vernal heat,
Sullen I see thy train retreat:
Thy ruthless host stern Eurus guides,
That on a ravenous tiger rides,
Dim-figur'd on whose robe are shewn
Shipwrecks, and villages o'erthrown:
Grim auster, dropping all with dew,
In mantle clad of watchet hue:
And cold, like Zemblan savage seen,
Still threatening with his arrows keen;
And next, in furry coat embost
With icicles, his brother frost.
Winter farewell! thy forests hoar,
Thy frozen floods delight no more;
Farewell the fields, so bare and wild!
But come thou rose-cheek'd cherub mild,
Sweetest summer! haste thee here,
Once more to crown the gladden'd year.
Thee april blythe, as long of yore,
Bermudas' lawns he frolick'd o'er,
With muskie nectar-trickling wing,
(In the new world's first dawning spring,)
To gather balm of choicest dews,
And patterns fair of various hues,
With which to paint in changeful dye,
The youthful earth's embroidery;
To cull the essence of rich smells
In which to dip his new-born bells;
Thee, as he skim'd with pinions fleet,
He found an infant, smiling sweet;
Where a tall citron's shade imbrown'd
The soft lap of the fragrant ground.
There on an amaranthine bed,
Thee with rare nectarine fruits he fed;
Till soon beneath his forming care,
You bloom'd a goddess debonnair;
And then he gave the blessed isle
Aye to be sway'd beneath thy smile:
There plac'd thy green and grassy shrine,
With myrtle bower'd and jessamine:
And to thy care the task assign'd
With quickening hand, and nurture kind,
His roseate infant-births to rear,
Till Autumn's mellowing reign appear.
Haste thee nymph! and hand in hand,
With thee lead a buxom band;
Bring fantastic-footed Joy,
With Sport that yellow-tressed boy.
Leisure, that through the balmy sky,
Chases a crimson butterfly.
Bring Health that loves in early dawn
To meet the milk-maid on the lawn;
Bring Pleasure, rural nymph, and Peace,
And that sweet stripling, Zephyr, bring,
Meek, cottage-loving shepherdess!
Light, and for ever on the wing.
Bring the dear Muse, that loves to lean
On river-margins, mossy green.
But who is she, that bears thy train,
Pacing light the velvet plain?
The pale pink binds her auburn hair,
Her tresses flow with pastoral air;
'Tis May the Grace——confest she stands
By branch of hawthorn in her hands:
Lo! near her trip the lightsome Dews,
Their wings all ting'd in iris-hues;
With whom the pow'rs of Flora play,
And paint with pansies all the way.
Oft when thy season, sweetest Queen,
Has drest the groves in liv'ry green;
When in each fair and fertile field
Beauty begins her bow'r to build;
While Evening, veil'd in shadows brown,
Puts her matron-mantle on,
And mists in spreading steams convey
More fresh the fumes of new-shorn hay;
Then, Goddess, guide my pilgrim feet
Contemplation hoar to meet,
As slow he winds in museful mood,
Near the rush'd marge of cherwell's flood;
Or o'er old avon's magic edge,
Whence Shakespeare cull'd the spiky sedge,
All playful yet, in years unripe,
To frame a shrill and simple pipe.
There thro' the dusk but dimly seen,
Sweet ev'ning objects intervene:
His wattled cotes the shepherd plants,
Beneath her elm the milk-maid chants.
The woodman, speeding home, awhile
Rests him at a shady stile.
Nor wants there fragrance to dispense
Refreshment o'er my soothed sense;
Nor tangled woodbines balmy bloom,
Nor grass besprent, to breathe perfume:
Nor lurking wild-thyme's spicy sweet
To bathe in dew my roving feet:
Nor wants there note of Philomel,
Nor sound of distant-tinkling bell:
Nor lowings faint of herds remote,
Nor mastiff's bark from bosom'd cott:
Rustle the breezes lightly borne
Of deep-embattel'd ears of corn:
Round ancient elm, with humming noise,
Full loud the chaffer-swarms rejoice.
Meantime, a thousand dies invest
The ruby chambers of the West!
That all aslant the village tow'r
A mild reflected radiance pour,
While, with the level-streaming rays
Far seen its arched windows blaze:
And the tall grove's green top is dight
In russet tints, and gleams of light;
So that the gay scene by degrees
Bathes my blythe heart in extasies;
And Fancy to my ravish'd sight
Pourtrays her kindred visions bright.
At length the parting-light subdues
My soften'd soul to calmer views,
And fainter shapes of pensive joy,
As twilight dawns, my mind employ,
Till from the path I fondly stray
In musings lapt, nor heed the way;
Wandering thro' the landscape still,
Till Melancholy has her fill;
And on each moss-wove border damp,
The glow-worm hangs his fairy lamp.
But when the Sun, at noon-tide hour,
Sits throned in his highest tow'r;
Me, heart-rejoicing Goddess, lead
To the tann'd hay-cock in the mead:
To mix in rural mood among
The nymphs and swains, a busy throng;
Or, as the tepid odours breathe,
The russet piles to lean beneath:
There as my listless limbs are thrown
On couch more soft than palace down;
I listen to the busy sound
Of mirth and toil that hums around;
And see the team shrill-tinkling pass,
Alternate o'er the furrow'd grass.
But ever, after summer show'r,
When the bright sun's returning pow'r,
With laughing beam has chas'd the storm,
And chear'd reviving nature's form;
By sweet-brier hedges, bathed in dew,
Let me my wholsome path pursue;
There issuing forth the frequent snail,
Wears the dank way with slimy trail,
While as I walk, from pearled bush;
The sunny-sparkling drop I brush;
And all the landscape fair I view
Clad in robe of fresher hue:
And so loud the blackbird singe,
That far and near the valley rings.
From shelter deep of shaggy rock
The shepherd drives his joyful flock;
From bowering beech the mower blythe
With new-born vigour grasps the scythe;
While o'er the smooth unbounded meads
His last faint gleam the rainbow spreads.
But ever against restless heat,
Bear me to the rock-arch'd seat,
O'er whose dim mouth an ivy'd oak
Hangs nodding from the low-brow'd rock;
Haunted by that chaste nymph alone,
Whose waters cleave the smoothed stone,
Which, as they gush upon the ground,
Still scatter misty dews around:
A rustic, wild, grotesque alcove,
Its side with mantling woodbines wove;
Cool as the cave where Clio dwells,
Whence Helicon's fresh fountain wells;
Or noon-tide grott where Sylvan sleeps
In hoar Lycæum's piny steeps.
Me, Goddess, in such cavern lay,
While all without is scorch'd in day;
Sore sighs the weary swain, beneath
His with'ring hawthorn on the heath;
The drooping hedger wishes eve,
In vain, of labour short reprieve!
Meantime, on Afric's glowing sands
Smote with keen heat, the trav'ler stands:
Low sinks his heart, while round his eye
Measures the scenes that boundless lie,
Ne'er yet by foot of mortal worn,
Where Thirst, wan pilgrim, walks forlorn.
How does he with some cooling wave
To slake his lips, or limbs to lave!
And thinks, in every whisper low,
He hears a bursting fountain flow.
Or bear me to yon antique wood,
Dim temple of sage Solitude!
But still in fancy's mirror seen
Some more romantic scene would please,
There within a nook most dark,
Where none my musing mood may mark;
Let me in many a whisper'd rite
The Genius old of Greece invite,
With that fair wreath my brows to bind,
Which for his chosen imps he twin'd,
Well nurtur'd in Pierian lore,
On clear Ilissus' laureat shore.——
Till high on waving nest reclin'd,
The raven wakes my tranced mind!
Or to the forest-fringed vale
Where widow'd turtles love to wail,
Where cowslips clad in mantle meek,
Nod their tall heads to breezes weak:
In the midst, with sedges grey
Crown'd, a scant riv'let winds its way,
And trembling thro' the weedy wreaths,
Around an oozy freshness breathes.
O'er the solitary green,
Nor cott, nor loitering hind is seen:
Nor aught alarms the mute repose,
Save that by fits an heifer lows:
A scene might tempt some peaceful sage
To rear him a lone hermitage;
Fit place his pensive eld might chuse
On virtue's holy lore to muse.
Yet still the sultry noon t' appease
Some more romantic scene might please;
Or fairy bank, or magic lawn,
By Spenser's lavish pencil drawn.
Or bow'r in Vallambrosa's shade,
By legendary pens pourtray'd.
Haste let me shroud from painful light,
On that hoar hill's aereal height,
In solemn state, where waving wide,
Thick pines with darkening umbrage hide
The rugged vaults, and riven tow'rs
Of that proud castle's painted bow'rs,
Whence hardyknute, a baron bold,
In Scotland's martial days of old,
Descended from the stately feast,
Begirt with many a warrior-guest,
To quell the pride of Norway's king,
With quiv'ring lance and twanging string.
As thro' the caverns dim I wind,
Might I that holy legend find,
By fairies spelt in mystic rhimes,
To teach enquiring later times,
What open force, or secret guile,
Dash'd into dust the solemn pile.
But when mild Morn in saffron stole
First issues from her eastern goal;
Let not my due feet fail to climb
Some breezy summit's brow sublime,
Whence nature's universal face,
Illumin'd smiles with new-born grace;
The misty streams that wind below,
With silver-sparkling lustre glow;
The groves, and castled cliffs appear
Invested all in radiance clear;
O! every village-charm beneath!
The smoke that mounts in azure wreath!
O beauteous, rural interchange!
The simple spire, and elmy grange!
Content, indulging blissful hours,
Whistles o'er the fragrant flow'rs,
And cattle rouz'd to pasture new,
Shake jocund from their sides the dew.
'Tis thou, alone, O summer mild,
Canst bid me carol wood-notes wild:
Whene'er I view thy genial scenes:
Thy waving woods, embroider'd greens;
What fires within my bosom wake,
How glows my mind the reed to take!
What charms like thine the muse can call,
With whom 'tis youth and laughter all;
With whom each field's a paradise,
And all the globe a Bow'r of bliss!
With thee conversing, all the day,
I meditate my lightsome lay.
These pedant cloisters let me leave,
To breathe my votive song at eve,
In valleys where mild whispers use;
Of shade and stream, to court the muse;
While wand'ring o'er the brook's dim verge,
I hear the stock-dove's dying dirge.
But when life's busier scene is o'er,
And Age shall give the tresses hoar,
I'd fly soft Luxury's marble dome,
And make an humble thatch my home,
Which sloaping hills around enclose,
Where many a beech and brown oak grows;
Beneath whose dark and branching bow'rs
It's tides a far-fam'd river pours:
By nature's beauties taught to please,
Sweet Tusculane of rural ease!
Still grot of Peace! in lowly shed
Who loves to rest her gentle head.
For not the scenes of Attic art
Can comfort care, or sooth the heart:
Nor burning cheek, nor wakeful eye,
For gold, and Tyrian purple fly.
Thither, kind heav'n, in pity lent,
Send me a little, and content;
The faithful friend, and chearful night,
The social scene of dear delight:
The conscience pure, the temper gay,
The musing eve, and idle day.
Give me beneath cool shades to sit,
Rapt with the charms of classic wit:
To catch the bold heroic flame,
That built immortal Græcia's fame.
Nor let me fail, meantime, to raise
The solemn song to Britain's praise:
To spurn the shepherd's simple reeds
And paint heroic ancient deeds:
To chaunt fam'd arthur's magic tale,
And edward, stern in fable mail.
Or wand'ring brutus' lawless doom,
Or brave bonduca, scourge of Rome;
O ever to sweet Poesie,
Let me live true votary!
She shall lead me by the hand,
Queen of sweet smiles, and solace bland!
She from her precious stores shall shed
Ambrosial flow'rets o'er my head:
She, from my tender youthful cheek,
Can wipe, with lenient finger meek,
The secret and unpitied tear,
Which still I drop in darkness drear.
She shall be my blooming bride,
With her, as years successive glide,
I'll hold divinest dalliance,
For ever held in holy trance.