“Posthumous,” “Morning Stanzas in October”

“POSTHUMOUS”

 “MORNING STANZAS in October

 The spreading oak and silver poplar tall,
Now feel the approach of winter’s dreary hour;
And from on high their faded honours fall,
In many a silent melancholy shower.

Still is each feather’d songster in the grove,                               5
Unless the Robin swell his little throat;
Still is the Blackbird, still the plaintive dove;
Nor floats aloft the Sky Lark’s bolder note.

Pleas’d with the calmness of the rising morn,
Faint spreading o’er the east it’s milder light;                   10
The healthful huntsman winds his early horn,
And sounds a farewell to the ling’ring night.

The sluggish mist now leaves the low, dank vale,
And slowly climbs the distant mountain’s side;
Whilst the blithe milkmaid sings beneath her pail                   15
And welcomes morn, whatever it betide.

The shepherd’s fleecy charge his fold forsakes;
The nightly-plundering fox, and timorous hare,
The coverts seek: And man once more awakes
To grief, to joy; to pleasure, or to care.                                20

NOTES:

5 feather’d songster Birds that sing.

7 plaintive “Afflicted by sorrow; grieving, lamenting” (OED).

8 Sky Lark “The common lark of Europe, Alauda arvensis, so called from its habit of soaring towards the sky while singing” (OED).

18 timorous “Full of or affected by fear (either for the time or habitually)” (OED).

19 coverts “A covering” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (November, 1768), p. 536.

Edited by Jasmine Lopez


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