Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
Ode to Spring
By Anna Letitia Barbauld (1743–1825)
SWEET daughter of a rough and stormy sire,
Hoar Winter’s blooming child; delightful Spring!
  Whose unshorn locks with leaves
  And swelling buds are crowned;
From the green islands of eternal youth,        5
Crowned 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 soothe the madding winds,        10
  And through the stormy deep
  Breathe thine own tender calm.
Thee, best beloved! the virgin train await
With songs and festal rites, and joy to rove
  Thy blooming wilds among,        15
  And vales and dewy lawns,
With untired feet; and cull thy earliest sweet,
To weave fresh garlands for the glowing brow
  Of him, the favoured youth
  That prompts their whispered sigh.        20
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 flowering osier’s early shoots;        25
And call those winds which through 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,        30
  And watch with patient eye
  Thy fair unfolding charms.
O nymph, approach! while yet the temperate sun
With bashful forehead through the cool moist air
  Throws his young maiden beams,        35
  And with chaste kisses wooes
The earth’s fair bosom; while the streaming veil
Of lucid clouds with wind and frequent shade
  Protects thy modest blooms
  From his severer blaze.        40
Sweet is thy reign, but short:—the red dog-star
Shall scorch thy tresses, and the mower’s scythe
  Thy greens, thy flowerets all
  Remorseless shall destroy.
Reluctant shall I bid thee then farewell:        45
For O not all that 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 through the heart        50
  Each joy and new-born hope
  With softest influence breathes.

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