Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
First of May
By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
(See full text.)

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,        5
  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 noonday,
  Like morning’s dewy gleams;
While mellow warble, sprightly trill,
  The tremulous heart excite;
And hums the balmy air to still        15
  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        25
  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.
*        *        *        *        *
And if, on this thy natal morn,
  The pole, from which thy name
Hath not departed, stands forlorn        35
  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.        40
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,        45
  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!        50
To yon exulting thrush the Muse
  Intrusts the imperfect song;
His voice shall chant, in accents clear,
  Throughout the livelong day,
Till the first silver star appear,        55
  The sovereignty of May.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.