Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
III. The Seasons
Thomas Gray (1716–1771)
LO! where the rosy-bosomed Hours,
  Fair Venus’ train, appear,
  And wake the purple year!
The Attic warbler pours her throat
Responsive to the cuckoo’s note,        5
The untaught harmony of spring:
While, whispering pleasure as they fly,
Cool zephyrs through the clear blue sky
  Their gathered fragrance fling.
Where’er the oak’s thick branches stretch        10
  A broader, browner shade,
Where’er the rude and moss-grown beech
  O’ercanopies the glade,
Beside some water’s rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think        15
(At ease reclined in rustic state)
How vain the ardor of the crowd,
How low, how little are the proud,
  How indigent the great!
Still is the toiling hand of care;        20
  The panting herds repose:
Yet hark, how through the peopled air
  The busy murmur glows!
The insect youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honeyed spring        25
And float amid the liquid noon:
Some lightly o’er the current skim,
Some show their gayly gilded trim
  Quick-glancing to the sun.
To Contemplation’s sober eye        30
  Such is the race of man;
And they that creep, and they that fly,
  Shall end where they began.
Alike the busy and the gay
But flutter through life’s little day,        35
In Fortune’s varying colors drest:
Brushed by the hand of rough mischance
Or chilled by age, their airy dance
  They leave, in dust to rest.
Methinks I hear in accents low        40
  The sportive kind reply:
Poor moralist! and what art thou?
  A solitary fly!
Thy joys no glittering female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,        45
No painted plumage to display;
On hasty wings thy youth is flown;
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone,—
  We frolic while ’t is May.

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