To The Cam


Soon shall the young ambrosial spring
Wanton forth, in garlands gay,
And, spreading soft her virgin wing,
Shall wed the Lord of Day.
Soon shall reviving Nature homage yield,
And, breathing incense, lead her tuneful train
O’er hill and dale, soft vale, and cultur’d field;
The bard, the lover, and the jocund swain,
Their new-born joys shall sing; earth, sea, and sky,
All wake for thee, fair Spring, their sweetest minstrelsy.

What though the winds, and sleety shower,
May seem awhile to hush the grove?
Soon, wak’d by Nature’s living power,
Shall breath the voice of love!
The lark gay mount, to hail the purple dawn,
And its clear matin carol thro’ the sky,
The throstle’s mellow warblings cheer the morn,
The linnet softly trill on hawthorn nigh;
The mists shall vanish soon, and soon the breeze
Kiss every glowing flower, and fan the trembling trees.

I, too, the cheering warmth shall feel,
And join the rapturous choral song,
Musing smooth numbers, as I steal,
O Cam! thy banks along.
Tho’ near thy banks no myrtle breathe perfume,
No rose unfold its blushing beauties near,
Tho’ here no stately tulip spread its bloom,
Nor towering lily deck the gay parterre:
(Inclos’d within the garden’s fair domain,
These all, in eastern pride, shall hold their golden reign:)

Yet wild flowers o’er the fruitful scene,
Warm’d by the touch of gentle May,
Shall rise, obedient to their queen,
In simple beauty gay.
To me the violet sheds the richest sweet,
To me the king-cup shines with brightest hues;
The primrose pale, like modest virtue neat,
E’en the meek daisy, can instruct the Muse:
Roving with silent eyes, she loves to stand,
And in the field-flow’r views a more than master’s hand.

E’en now the sun-beam, dazzling bright,
Quick dances on the crisped stream;
And soft, tho’ fleeting gales invite
The fond poetic dream.
Nor does in vain the swan majestic sail,
Nor glittering insect range the rushy brink;
Nor the fish sporting down the current steal,
And the light songsters on the margin drink;
Then, wild with bliss, shiver the painted wing,
And to their feather’d loves their sweetest wood-notes sing.

Yet must we leave thy blooming reign:—
And short that reign, thou lovely Spring—
What time Fate’s high decrees ordain,
Or wills the sovereign King!
Yes, all thy shadowy clouds, thy rainbow hues,
Thy flowers, and songs, thy gales, and glossy bloom,
All must be left, tho’ friendly to the Muse;
And man, poor man, lie down in cheerless gloom;
That season cold of death shall chill his tongue,
Nor beauty’s smile return, that wak’d the vernal song.

But speed the hours on restless wing?
Must love’s light season flit away?
Then hail, O man, the coming spring,
And seize the sweets of May;
Where now the bard of Camus’ classic stream,
The skilful hand that wak’d th’ Aeolian lyre?
Ah! sleeps with him the spring-enamour’d theme:
From him the loves, and ‘Venus’ train’ retire,—
He too, who trac’d the crystal streams of light,
And Nature’s spacious fields, great Newton, sleeps in night.

No more he treads this hallow’d ground,
Nor tracks in thought yon boundless sky;
Ah! Science can but gaze around,
Then, like the Muse, shall die.
Oh! quit then, Fancy, queen of songs and wiles,
The pearl-enamell’d grot, the moss-grown cell,
Thy many thousand hills, and purple isles,
And deign, oh! deign, near sedgy Cam to dwell;
Still let the song of love the valleys cheer,
And blooming Science spread fair spring-time all the year.

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