To The Cam
Soon shall the young ambrosial spring
Wanton forth, in garlands gay,
And, spreading soft her virgin wing,
Shall wed the Lord of Day.
Soon shall reviving Nature homage yield,
And, breathing incense, lead her tuneful train
O'er hill and dale, soft vale, and cultur'd field;
The bard, the lover, and the jocund swain,
Their new-born joys shall sing; earth, sea, and sky,
All wake for thee, fair Spring, their sweetest minstrelsy.
What though the winds, and sleety shower,
May seem awhile to hush the grove?
Soon, wak'd by Nature's living power,
Shall breath the voice of love!
The lark gay mount, to hail the purple dawn,
And its clear matin carol thro' the sky,
The throstle's mellow warblings cheer the morn,
The linnet softly trill on hawthorn nigh;
The mists shall vanish soon, and soon the breeze
Kiss every glowing flower, and fan the trembling trees.
I, too, the cheering warmth shall feel,
And join the rapturous choral song,
Musing smooth numbers, as I steal,
O Cam! thy banks along.
Tho' near thy banks no myrtle breathe perfume,
No rose unfold its blushing beauties near,
Tho' here no stately tulip spread its bloom,
Nor towering lily deck the gay parterre:
(Inclos'd within the garden's fair domain,
These all, in eastern pride, shall hold their golden reign:)
Yet wild flowers o'er the fruitful scene,
Warm'd by the touch of gentle May,
Shall rise, obedient to their queen,
In simple beauty gay.
To me the violet sheds the richest sweet,
To me the king-cup shines with brightest hues;
The primrose pale, like modest virtue neat,
E'en the meek daisy, can instruct the Muse:
Roving with silent eyes, she loves to stand,
And in the field-flow'r views a more than master's hand.
E'en now the sun-beam, dazzling bright,
Quick dances on the crisped stream;
And soft, tho' fleeting gales invite
The fond poetic dream.
Nor does in vain the swan majestic sail,
Nor glittering insect range the rushy brink;
Nor the fish sporting down the current steal,
And the light songsters on the margin drink;
Then, wild with bliss, shiver the painted wing,
And to their feather'd loves their sweetest wood-notes sing.
Yet must we leave thy blooming reign:—
And short that reign, thou lovely Spring—
What time Fate's high decrees ordain,
Or wills the sovereign King!
Yes, all thy shadowy clouds, thy rainbow hues,
Thy flowers, and songs, thy gales, and glossy bloom,
All must be left, tho' friendly to the Muse;
And man, poor man, lie down in cheerless gloom;
That season cold of death shall chill his tongue,
Nor beauty's smile return, that wak'd the vernal song.
But speed the hours on restless wing?
Must love's light season flit away?
Then hail, O man, the coming spring,
And seize the sweets of May;
Where now the bard of Camus' classic stream,
The skilful hand that wak'd th' Aeolian lyre?
Ah! sleeps with him the spring-enamour'd theme:
From him the loves, and 'Venus' train' retire,—
He too, who trac'd the crystal streams of light,
And Nature's spacious fields, great Newton, sleeps in night.
No more he treads this hallow'd ground,
Nor tracks in thought yon boundless sky;
Ah! Science can but gaze around,
Then, like the Muse, shall die.
Oh! quit then, Fancy, queen of songs and wiles,
The pearl-enamell'd grot, the moss-grown cell,
Thy many thousand hills, and purple isles,
And deign, oh! deign, near sedgy Cam to dwell;
Still let the song of love the valleys cheer,
And blooming Science spread fair spring-time all the year.
After A Tour At The Close Of Autumn
Now farewell, summer's fervid sky,
That, while the sun thro' Cancer rides
With chariot slow, and fever'd eye,
Scorches the beach-clad forest sides!
And farewell earlier autumn's sober ray,
Which, the warm labours of the sickle o'er,
Could make the heart of swain industrious gay,
Viewing in barn secure his wheaten store,
What time the social hours mov'd blithe along,
Urg'd by the nut-brown ale, and jolly harvest-song.
What different scenes around me rise!
Now midst a naked scene I roam,
Where the rude haunt in hillocks lies,
Where the rash sportsman frights the grove.
Ah! cruel sport; ah! pain-awak'ning sound!
How hoarse your death-note to his list'ning ear,
Who late, wild-warbled-music floating sound,
Blest the wild warblers of the rising year;
Who, as each songster strain'd his little throat,
Grateful himself would try the soft responsive note.
Yet still in autumn's fading form
The tender melting charm we chace,
(Such as, love's season past still warm
The sober matron's modest face)
Mild-beaming suns, oft hid by fleeting clouds,
Blue mantled skies, light fringed with golden hues,
Brooks, whose swoln waters mottled leaves o'erspread;
Fields, where the plough, its steady course pursues;
And woods, whose many-shining leaves might move
Fancy's poetic hand to paint some orange grove.
Oh! still, for fancy is a child,
Still with the circling hours I play,
And feast on hips and blackberries wild,
As truant school-boy gay;
Or eager plunge in cool pellucid stream,
Heedless, that Summer's sultry day is fled;
Or muse, as breathes the flute, the rural theme,
Such theme as fancy's song may yet bestead;
Or stretch'd at ease will teach the list'ning groves
In tuneful Maro's strains, some rosy rustic loves.
Now bear me to the distant wood;
Or bear me to the silent stream,
Where erst I stray'd in serious mood,
Lost in some rapt'rous dream,
To me, Oh! Hornsey, what retreat so fair?
What shade to me so consecrate as thine?
And, on thy bank, poor streamlet, did I care
For all the spring-haunts of the tunefull nine?
Ah! pleasures, how ye lengthen, as ye fade,
As spreads the sun's faint orb at twilight's dubious shade.
For, Oh! pale stream, how many a tear
I mingled in thy waters slow!
For, mid the blossoms of its spring,
Youth has its tale of woe!
And thus thro' life — for what is human life?
A changeful day, a motley-tinctur'd scene;
How quick succeed the hours of peace and strife!
How sombre tints o'erspread the chearful green!
E'en while faint hope lights up her brightest sky,
She wavers midst her doubts, and learns to heave a sigh.
But, lo! the sun now seeks the west,
And, see! the distant landscape dies—
And, now with anxious cares opprest
I view yon dome arise.
Ah! soon, too soon I give the faint adieu,
And my song sleeps, as fades the cheerful day;
Soon shall the dusky city bound my view,
And hag-eyed Spleen November's call obey:
Ye fields, ye groves, whose every charm could please,
Ye gentle friends, adieu, and farewell, rural ease.
Yet fields, and groves, and gentle friends,
When memory bids, shall re-appear,
Quick, where she lifts her wand, ascend
The long departed year;
The choirs, whose warblings charm'd the youthful spring,
And summer's glittering tribes, and all that now
Of autumn fades, their mingled charms shall bring,
And the full year mid winter's reign shall glow;
While fancy, as the vision'd forms arise,
Shall pencil woods, and groves, and fields, and purple skies.