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Time was, blest Power! when youths and maids of dawn would rise,

At

peep

And wander forth, in forest glades

Thy birth to solemnize.

Though mute the song-to grace the rite

Untouched the hawthorn bough, Thy Spirit triumphs o'er the slight; Man changes, but not Thou!

Thy feathered Lieges bill and wings
In love's disport employ ;

Warmed by thy influence, creeping things

Awake to silent joy:

Queen art thou still for each gay plant
Where the slim wild deer roves;
And served in depths where fishes haunt
Their own mysterious groves.

Cloud-piercing peak, and trackless heath,
Instinctive homage pay;

Nor wants the dim-lit cave a wreath
To honour thee, sweet May!
Where cities fanned by thy brisk airs
Behold a smokeless sky,

Their puniest flower-pot-nursling dares
To open a bright eye.

And if, on this thy natal morn,
The pole, from which thy name
Hath not departed, stands forlorn
Of song and dance and game;

VOL. IV.

Still from the village-green a vow
Aspires to thee addrest,
Wherever peace is on the brow,
Or love within the breast.

Yes! where Love nestles thou canst teach

The soul to love the more; Hearts also shall thy lessons reach

That never loved before.

Stript is the haughty one of pride,
The bashful freed from fear,
While rising, like the ocean-tide,
In flows the joyous year.

Hush, feeble lyre! weak words refuse
The service to prolong!
To yon exulting thrush the Muse
Entrusts the imperfect song;

His voice shall chant, in accents clear,

Throughout the live-long day,

Till the first silver star appear,
The sovereignty of May.

1826

275

XXXIX.

TO MAY.

THOUGH many suns have risen and set
Since thou, blithe May, wert born,
And Bards, who hailed thee, may forget
Thy gifts, thy beauty scorn;
There are who to a birthday strain
Confine not harp and voice,
But evermore throughout thy reign
Are grateful and rejoice!

Delicious odours! music sweet,
Too sweet to pass away!
Oh for a deathless song to meet
The soul's desire-a lay

That, when a thousand years are told,
Should praise thee, genial Power!
Through summer heat, autumnal cold,
And winter's dreariest hour.

Earth, sea, thy presence feel-nor less,
If yon ethereal blue

With its soft smile the truth express,
The heavens have felt it too.
The inmost heart of man if glad

Partakes a livelier cheer;

And eyes that cannot but be sad

Let fall a brightened tear.

Since thy return, through days and weeks
Of hope that grew by stealth,
How many wan and faded cheeks
Have kindled into health!
The Old, by thee revived, have said,
"Another year is ours;"

And wayworn Wanderers, poorly fed,
Have smiled upon thy flowers.

Who tripping lisps a merry song
Amid his playful peers ?
The tender Infant who was long
A prisoner of fond fears;

But now, when every sharp-edged blast
Is quiet in its sheath,

His Mother leaves him free to taste
Earth's sweetness in thy breath.

Thy help is with the weed that creeps
Along the humblest ground;
No cliff so bare but on its steeps
Thy favours may be found;
But most on some peculiar nook
That our own hands have drest,
Thou and thy train are proud to look,
And seem to love it best.

And yet how pleased we wander forth When May is whispering, "Come! "Choose from the bowers of virgin earth "The happiest for your home;

"Heaven's bounteous love through me is spread

"From sunshine, clouds, winds, waves, "Drops on the mouldering turret's head, "And on your turf-clad graves!"

Such greeting heard, away with sighs
For lilies that must fade,
Or the rathe primrose as it dies
Forsaken' in the shade!

Vernal fruitions and desires

Are linked in endless chase; While, as one kindly growth retires, Another takes its place.

And what if thou, sweet May, hast known
Mishap by worm and blight;

If expectations newly blown

Have perished in thy sight;

If loves and joys, while up they sprung,

Were caught as in a snare;

Such is the lot of all the young,

However bright and fair.

Lo! Streams that April could not check
Are patient of thy rule;
Gurgling in foamy water-break,
Loitering in glassy pool:

By thee, thee only, could be sent
Such gentle mists as glide,
Curling with unconfirmed intent,
On that green mountain's side.

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