“To my Garden”
Fair Abode of Rural Ease,
Scene of Beauty, and of Peace!
When with anxious Care opprest,
Charm, O! charm my Soul to rest!
In thy Walks I musing trace 5
Youthful Flora’s various Race;
In thy fragrant Shades reclin’d,
Soothe with Song my vacant Mind.
When the God of Verse and Day,
Lends the Western World his Ray; 10
While the Virgin Queen of Night,
Sheds around her Silver Light;
While Favonius breathes a Gale,
Sweet as o’er Sabea’s Vale;
Here retir’d, in artless Lays, 15
Nature’s Daughter sings her Praise.
While the blushing Rose-bud vies
With the fring’d Carnation’s Dyes;
While chaste Daphne’s Branches twine
With the balmy Eglantine; 20
Beauty’s Pow’rs my Mind inspire,
Bolder now I strike the Lyre.
But the trembling Strings rebound,
“Sweet Philander!” Darling Sound!
Not the friendly Western Gales 25
Dancing o’er the verdant Vales,
Nor the Black-bird’s Evening Strains,
Soothe the Breast where Cupid reigns.
Flora’s Charms no more I view;
No more the Heav’n’s etherial Blue; 30
Unheeded Philomel complains;
In vain fair Cynthia gilds the Plains:
Beauty fades, and Pleasure’s flown—
My Mind contemplates him alone.
6 Flora The Roman “goddess of the flowering of plants” (Encyclopedia Britannica).
9 God of Verse and Day Apollo, god of the sun and poetry (Encyclopedia Britannica).
11 Virgin Queen of Night Diana, Roman goddess of wild animals, the hunt, and later the moon after connections were made between her and the Greek goddess Artemis (Encyclopedia Britannica).
13 Favonius Roman god of the west wind, also known as Zephyrus in the Greek tradition, who kissed a nymph named Chloris and turned her into Flora (Encyclopedia Britannica).
14 Sabea Pre-Islamic Southwestern Arabia (Encyclopedia Britannica).
16 Nature’s Daughter Persephone, queen of the underworld and daughter of Demeter, Greek goddess of agriculture (Encyclopedia Britannica).
19 Daphne’s Branches A reference to a laurel tree; according to Greek mythology, Daphne asked her father to turn her into a laurel tree in order to escape Apollo’s advances (Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology).
20 Eglantine Small, prickly wild rose with fragrant foliage and numerous small pink flowers (Encyclopedia Britannica).
28 Cupid The Roman god of “love in all its varieties” (Encyclopedia Britannica).
30 etherial Archaic spelling of “ethereal,” “heavenly, celestial” (OED).
31 Philomel Also known as “Philomela;” here the mythological personification of the nightingale.
32 Cynthia “A poetic name for the Moon personified as a goddess” (OED).
Source: Original Poems on Several Occasions. By Miss Whateley (London 1764), pp. 98-99. [Google Books]
Edited by Jordie Palmer