Ode to Spring
by Anna Laetitia Aikin (1773)
Hope waits upon the flowery prime.
SWEET daughter of a rough and stormy fire,
Hoar Winter’s blooming child ; delightful Spring !
Whose unshorn locks with leaves
And swelling buds are crowned ;
From the green islands of eternal youth,
(Crown’d with fresh blooms, and ever springing shade,)
Turn, hither turn thy step,
O thou, whose powerful voice
More sweet than softest touch of Doric reed,
Or Lydian flute, can sooth the madding winds,
And thro’ the stormy deep
Breathe thy own tender calm.
Thee, best belov’d ! the virgin train await
With songs and festal rites, and joy to rove
Thy blooming wilds among,
And vales and dewy lawns,
With untir’d feet ; and cull thy earliest sweets
To weave fresh garlands for the glowing brow
Of him, the favour’d youth
That prompts their whisper’d sigh.
Unlock thy copious stores ; those tender showers
That drop their sweetness on the infant buds,
And silent dews that swell
The milky ear’s green stem.
And feed the slowering osier’s early shoots ;
And call those winds which thro’ the whispering boughs
With warm and pleasant breath
Salute the blowing flowers.
Now let me sit beneath the whitening thorn,
And mark thy spreading tints steal o’er the dale ;
And watch with patient eye
Thy fair unfolding charms.
O nymph approach ! while yet the temperate sun
With bashful forehead, thro’ the cool moist air
Throws his young maiden beams,
And with chaste kisses woes
The earth’s fair bosom ; while the streaming veil
Of lucid clouds with kind and frequent shade
Protect thy modest blooms
From his severer blaze.
Sweet is thy reign, but short ; The red dog-star
Shall scorch thy tresses, and the mower’s scythe
Thy greens, thy flow’rets all,
Remorseless shall destroy.
Reluctant shall I bid thee then farewel ;
For O, not all the Autumn’s lap contains,
Nor Summer’s ruddiest fruits,
Can aught for thee atone
Fair Spring ! whose simplest promise more delights
Than all their largest wealth, and thro’ the heart
Each joy and new-born hope
With softest influence breathes.