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In April's gilded morn when south winds blow,
And gently shake the hawthorn's silver crown,
Wafting its scent the forest-glade adown,
The dewy shelter of the bounding doe,
Then, under trees, soft tufts of primrose show
Their palely-yellowing flowers; to the moist sun
Blue harebells peep, while cowslips stand unblown,
Plighted to riper May; and lavish flow
The larks loud carols in the wilds of air.
O! not to Nature's glad enthusiast cling
Avarice and pride. Through her now blooming sphere
Charm'd as he roves, his thoughts enraptur'd spring
To Him, who gives frail man's appointed time
These cheering hours of promise and of prime.
I love to rise ere gleams the tardy light,
Winter's pale dawn; and as warm fires illume,
And cheerful tapers shine around the room,
Through misty windows bend my musing sight,
Where, round the dusky lawn, the mansions white,
With shutters clos’d, peer faintly through the gloom,
That slow recedes; while yon grey spires assume,
Rising from their dark pile, an added height
By indistinctness given. Then to decree
The grateful thoughts to God, ere they unfold
To friendship or the Muse, or seek with glee
Wisdom's rich page ! O hours more worth than gold,
By whose blest use we lengthen life, and free
From drear decays of age, outlive the old !
Since dark December shrouds the transient day,
And stormy winds are howling in their ire,
Why com’st not Thou, who always can’st inspire
The soul of cheerfulness, and best array
A sullen hour in smiles ? O haste to pay
The cordial visit sullen hours require !
Around the circling walls a glowing fire
Shines; but it vainly shines in this delay
To blend thy spirit's warm Promethean light.
Come then, at Science' and at Friendship’s call,
Their vow'd disciple ; come, for they invite !
The social Powers without thee languish all.
Come, that I may not hear the winds of night,
Nor count the heavy eave-drops as they fall!
Lo, the year's Final Day! Nature performs
Its obsequies with darkness, wind, and rain ;
But man is jocund. Hark, th' exultant strain
From towers and steeples drowns the wintry storms !
No village-spire but to the cots and farms,
Right merrily, its scant and tuneless peal
Rings round. Ah, joy ungrateful, mirth insane!
Wherefore the senseless triumph, ye, who feel
This annual portion of brief life the while
Depart for ever? Brought it no dear hours
Of health and night-rest? none that saw the smile
On lips belov’d? 0, with as gentle powers
Will the next pass ? ye pause—yet careless hear
Strike these last clocks, that knell th’ Expiring Year!
RAPT Contemplation, bring thy waking dreams
To this umbrageous vale at noon-tide hour,
While full of thee seems every bending flower,
Whose petals tremble o'er the shadow'd streams!
Give thou Honora's image, when her beams,
Youth, beauty, kindness, shone ; what time she wore
That smile, of gentle yet resistless power
To soothe each painful passion's wild extremes.
Here shall no empty, vain intruder chase,
With idle converse, thy enchantment warm,
That brings, in all its interest, all its grace,
The dear, persuasive, visionary Form.
Can real life a rival blessing boast,
When thou canst thus restore Honora early last?