Martha Ferrar Peckard, “An Ode to Spring. By a Lady”

[MARTHA FERRAR PECKARD]

“An Ode to Spring. By a Lady”

 Hail, genial goddess, bloomy spring!
Thy blest return, O! let me sing,
And aid my languid lays.
Let me not sink in sloth supine,
While all creation, at thy shrine                                          5
Its annual tribute pays.

Escap’d from Winter’s freezing pow’r,
Each blossom greets thee, and each flow’r,
While foremost of the train,
By nature (artless handmaid!) dreft,                                 10
The snow-drop comes in lilly’d vest,
Prophetic of thy reign.

The lark now strains his warbling throat,
And, with a loud and chearful note,
Calls Echo from her cell.                                                15
Be warn’d, ye fair, that listen round,
A beauteous nymph became a sound,
By having lov’d too well.

The bright-hair’d sun, with warmth divine,
Bids trees and shrubs before thy shrine                            20
Their infant buds display.
Again the streams refresh the plains,
Which winter bound in icy chains
And sparkling bless his ray!

Life- giving Zephyrs breathe around,                                   25
And insant glows th’ enamell’d ground.
With nature’s vary’d hues:
Not so returns our youth decay’d;
Alas! nor air, nor sun, nor shade,
The spring of life renews.                                             30

The sun’s too quick–revolving beam,
Dissolves at once the human dream,
And brings th’ appointed hour.
Too late we catch his parting ray,
And mourn the idly-wasted day                                          35
No longer in our power.

Then happiest he, whose lengthen’d sight,
Pursues by virtue’s steady light
A hope beyond the skies;
Where frowning winter ne’er shall come,                          40
But rosy spring for ever bloom,
And suns eternal rise!

NOTES:

Author  Attribution based on the poem’s appearance in Dodsley’s Collection of Poems by Several Hands in 1758 (5:332-4).  See Emily Lorraine de Montluzin, The Poetry of the Gentleman’s Magazine (1731-1800): A Database of Titles, Authors, and First Lines.

 genial  “Literary (especially of air or climate), pleasantly mild, and warm” (OED).

languid lays  Weak verses.

supine  “Lying on one’s back, lying down” (OED).

11 snow-drop “A bulbous European plant which bears drooping white flowers during the late winter” (OED); lilly’d vest  Used here as an adjective, which means “purity and beauty” (OED).

13  lark  “A small ground-dwelling songbird with elongated hind claws and a song that is delivered on the wing, typically crested and with brown streaky plumage” (OED).

15  Echo  “Greek Mythology, a nymph deprived of speech by Hera in order to stop her chatter, and left able only to repeat what others had said. She also has a lovely sound” (OED).

 25  Zephyrs “Personification of the west wind” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 25 (1755), p. 37.

Edited by Nariman Ayesh


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