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WITH dalliance rude young Zephyr woos
Coy May: full oft with kind excuse
The boisterous boy the fair denies,
Or with a scornful smile complies.
Mindful of disaster past,
And shrinking at the northern blast,
The sleety storm returning still,
The morning hoar, and evening chill;
Reluctant comes the timid Spring.
Scarce a bee, with airy ring,
Murmurs the blossom'd boughs around,
That clothe the garden's southern bound:
Scarce a sickly straggling flower
Decks the rough castle's rifted tower:
Scarce the hardy primrose peeps
From the dark dell's entangled steeps;
O'er the field of waving broom
Slowly shoots the golden bloom:
And, but by fits, the furze-clad dale
Tinctures the transitory gale.
While from the shrubbery's naked maze,
Where the vegetable blaze
Of Flora's brightest 'broidery shone,
Every chequer'd charm is flown;
Save that the lilac hangs to view
Its bursting gems in clusters blue.
Scant along the ridgy land
The beans their new-born ranks expand: The fresh-turn'd soil with tender blades Thinly the sprouting barley shades:
Fringing the forest's devious edge,
Half rob'd appears the hawthorn hedge; Or to the distant eye displays
Weakly green its budding sprays.
The swallow, for a moment seen,
Skims in haste the village green:
From the gray moor, on feeble wing;
The screaming plovers idly spring:
The butterfly, gay-painted soon,
Explores awhile the tepid noon;
And fondly trusts its tender dyes
To fickle suns, and flattering skies.
Fraught with a transient, frozen shower,
If a cloud should haply lower,
Sailing o'er the landscape dark,
Mute on a sudden is the lark;
But when gleams the Sun again
O'er the pearl-besprinkled plain,
And from behind his wat'ry vail
Looks through the thin descending hail,
She mounts, and, lessening to the sight,
Salutes the blithe return of light,
And high her tuneful track pursues
Mid the dim rainbow's scatter'd hues..
Where in venerable rows
Widely waving oaks enclose
The moat of yonder antique hall,
Swarm the rooks with clamorous call
And to the toils of nature true,
Wreathe their capacious nests anew.
Musing through the lawny park,
The lonely poet loves to mark
How various greens in faint degrees
Tinge the tall groups of various trees;
While, careless of the changing year,
The pine, cerulean, never sere,
Towers distinguish'd from the rest,
And proudly vaunts her winter vest.
Within some whispering osier isle,
Where Glym's* low banks neglected smile;
And each trim meadow still retains
The wintry torrent's oozy stains:
Beneath a willow, long forsook,
The fisher seeks his custom'd nook;
And bursting through the crackling sedge,
That crowns the current's cavern'd edge,
He startles from the bordering wood
The bashful wild-duck's early brood.
O'er the broad downs, a novel race,
Frisk the lambs with faltering pace,
And with eager bleatings fill
The foss that skirts the beacon'd hill.
His free-born vigour yet unbroke
To lordly man's usurping yoke,
The bounding colt forgets to play,
Basking beneath the noon-tide ray,
And stretch'd among the daisies pied
Of a green dingle's sloping side:
While far beneath, where Nature spreads
Her boundless length of level meads,
*The Glym is a small river in Oxfordshire, flowing through Warton's parish of Kiddington.
In loose luxuriance taught to stray
A thousand tumbling rills inlay
With silver veins the vale, or pass
Redundant through the sparkling grass.
Yet, in these presages rude,
Midst her pensive solitude,
Fancy, with prophetic glance,
Sees the teeming months advance;
The field, the forest, green and gay,
The dappled slope, the tedded hay;
Sees the reddening orchard blow,
The harvest wave, the vintage flow;
Sees June unfold his glossy robe
Of thousand hues o'er all the globe;
Sees Ceres grasp her crown of corn,
And plenty load her ample horn.
ON THE APPROACH OF SUMMER
HENCE, iron-sceptred Winter, haste,
To bleak Siberian waste!
Haste to thy poplar solitude;
Mid cataracts of ice,
Whose torrents dumb are stretch'd in fragments
From many an airy precipice,
Where, ever beat by sleety showers,
Thy gloomy gothic castle towers;
Amid whose howling aisles and halls,
Where no gay sunbeam paints the walls,
On ebon throne thou lov'st to shroud
Thy brows in many a murky cloud.
Ev'n 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 shown
Shipwrecks, and villages o'erthrown:
Grim Auster, drooping 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 forest 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 blithe, as long of yore,
Bermudas' lawns he frolic'd o'er,
With musky 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 skimm'd with pinions fleet
He found an infant, smiling sweet;
Where a tall citron's shade embrown'd
The soft lap of the fragrant ground.