THE VARTREE.

THE VARTREE. [1] 

Quivi le piante più che altrove ombrose
E l'erba molle, e il fresco dolce appare.

Poliziano. [2] 
Sweet are thy banks, Oh Vartree! when at morn
Their velvet verdure glistens with the dew;
When fragrant gales by softest Zephyrs borne
Unfold the flowers, and ope their petals new.
How bright the lustre of thy silver tide5
Which winds reluctant to forsake the vale,
How play the quiv'ring branches on thy side
And lucid catch the sunbeam in the gale!
And sweet thy shade at Noon's more fervid hours,
When faint we quit the upland, gayer lawn,10
To seek the freshness of thy shelt'ring bowers,
Thy chesnut glooms, where day can scarcely dawn.
How soothing in the dark, sequester'd grove
To see thy placid waters seem to sleep,
Pleas'd they reflect the sombre tints they love,15
As unperceiv'd in silent peace they creep.
The deepest foliage bending o'er thy wave
Tastes thy pure kisses with embracing arms,
While each charm'd Dryad stoops her limbs to lave,
Thy smiling Naiad meets her sister charms.20
Beneath the fragrant lime, or spreading beech,
The bleating flocks in panting crowds repose,
Their voice alone my dark retreat can reach,
While peace and silence all my soul compose.
Here Linda [3]  rest! the dangerous path forsake25
Where Folly lures thee, and where Vice ensnares,
Thine Innocence and Peace no longer stake,
Nor barter solid good for brilliant cares.
Shun the vain bustle of the senseless crowd
Where all is hollow that appears like joy;30
Where, the soft claims of feeling disallow'd,
Continual hopes deceive, and the vex'd soul annoy. [4] 
Hast thou not trod each vain and giddy maze
By Flattery led o'er Pleasure's gayest field?
Bask'd in the sunshine of her brightest blaze35
And prov'd whate'er she can her vot'ries [5]  yield?
That full completion of each glowing hope,
Which youth and novelty could scarce bestow,
From the last dregs of joy's exhausted cup
Canst thou expect thy years mature shall know?40
Hast thou not tried the vanities of Life
And all the poor, mean joys of Fashion known?
Blush then to hold with Wisdom longer strife,
Submit at length a better guide to own.
Here woo the Muses in the scenes they love,45
Let Science near thee take her patient stand,
Each weak regret for gayer hours reprove,
And yield thy soul to Reason's calm command.

[Augt 9 1797]

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "The Vartree" is printed in Psyche, with Other Poems (undated) and Mary (dated Rossana July 1797); the illustration in Verses is dated August 9, 1797 (which might apply to the poem or the image). The Vartry river flowed through the Tighe estate at Rossana (depicted in the illustration). BACK

[2] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Here more than anywhere else the plants are shady, the grass is soft, and it appears fresh and sweet." Although these lines are frequently attributed to Angelo Poliziano (by Tighe and others), they come from Francesco Maria Molza's "La Ninfa Tiberina" (stanza 27, lines 213-14), which was published in a collection of poetry attributed primarily to Poliziano: Le elegantissime stanze di M. Angelo Poliziano e la Ninfa tiberina del Molza , colla vita del Poliziano scritta dal Sig. abate Pier Antonio Serassi (1747). BACK

[3] EDITOR'S NOTE: Tighe used the name "Linda" in her literary circle; the editor of Psyche, with Other Poems replaces "Linda" with "Mary." BACK

[4] EDITOR'S NOTE: There is an X penciled at end of this line, which varies significantly from the version of "The Vartree" published in Psyche, with Other Poems: "Fallacious hopes the baffled soul annoy" (line 24). BACK

[5] EDITOR'S NOTE: Vot’ries: a votary is a devout adherent. BACK

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