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ODE

COMPOSED ON MAY MORNING

          WHILE from the purpling east departs
            The star that led the dawn,
          Blithe Flora from her couch upstarts,
            For May is on the lawn.
          A quickening hope, a freshening glee,
            Foreran the expected Power,
          Whose first-drawn breath, from bush and tree,
            Shakes off that pearly shower.

          All Nature welcomes Her whose sway
            Tempers the year's extremes;                              10
          Who scattereth lustres o'er noon-day,
            Like morning's dewy gleams;
          While mellow warble, sprightly trill,
            The tremulous heart excite;
          And hums the balmy air to still
            The balance of delight.

          Time was, blest Power! when youths and maids
            At peep of dawn would rise,
          And wander forth, in forest glades
            Thy birth to solemnize.                                   20
          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;                           30
          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.                                     40

          And if, on this thy natal morn,
            The pole, from which thy name
          Hath not departed, stands forlorn
            Of song and dance and game;
          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;                                50
          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;                              60
          His voice shall chant, in accents clear,
            Throughout the live-long day,
          Till the first silver star appear,
            The sovereignty of May.
                                                              1826.


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