Verses Written at the commencement of Spring. 1802

Written at the commencement of Spring.
1802 [1] 

Oh, breathe once more upon my brow
Soft gale of Spring, forgotten never!
For thus thy breath appear'd as now
In days of joy, ah lost for ever!
Put forth thy fresh and tender leaves5
Soft Eglantine, of fragrance early,
Thee, Memory first reviv'd perceives,
From childhood's dawn still welcom'd yearly.
Burst from thy leafy sheath once more,
Bright hyacinth! thy splendor shewing,10
The sun thy hues shall now restore
In all their foreign lustre glowing.
Oh, plume again thy jetty wing,
Sweet Blackbird charm thy listning lover!
For thus, ev'n thus I heard thee sing,15
When hopes could smile that now are over.
And thou, dear Redbreast, let me hear
Exchang'd once more thy wintry measure,
Thy notes proclaim the spring-tide near,
As they were wont in hours of pleasure.20
The lark shall mount the sapphire skies,
And wake the grateful song of gladness,
One general peal from earth shall rise
And man alone shall droop in sadness.
'Twas here, by peace and friendship blest,25
I paid to Spring my yearly duty,
When last she deck'd her fragrant breast
In all the glowing pride of beauty.
'Twas here the cordial look of love
From every eye benignly flowing,30
Bade the kind hours in union move
Each lip the ready smile bestowing.
But where the blooming cherub Boy
Who hail'd with us the pleasant season?
Whose smiles recall'd each childish joy35
That sadder years resign'd to reason.
Those bright, those laughing eyes, where Love
And Innocence are seen embracing,
Those fairy hands that graceful move
Their fancy-formed circles tracing.40
Oh! haste as thou wert wont to do,
We'll mount yon shrubby steep together,
Thy care the first wood-flowers shall shew
Thyself all blooming as the weather.
Haste, sweetest babe, belov'd of all!45
Our cheerful hours without thee languish,
Ah hush, he hears no more thy call,
Ah hush, nor wake a parent's anguish!
That lip of roses glows no more,
That beaming glance in night is clouded;50
Those bland endearments all are o'er,
In death's dark pall for ever shrouded.
No, Angel sweetness! not for ever,
Tho' Heav'n from us thy charms hath hidden,
We joy for thee, tho' forc'd to sever,55
Oh favor'd guest, thus early bidden!
Ev'n o'er thy dying couch, sweet boy!
A heav'nly Messenger presided,
He beckon'd thee to seats of joy,
To fields of endless pleasure guided.60
No, not for thee this bitter tear,
It falls for those yet doom'd to sorrow;
Who feel the load of life severe,
Who mourn the past, nor hope the morrow.
It falls for those who left behind65
Must fill their woes allotted measure;
Who muse on hopes to death consign'd,
On visions of departed pleasure.
For those who thro' life's dreary night
Full many a watchful hour shall number,70
And sigh for long-delayed light
Or envy those who early slumber.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Verses Written at the Commencement of Spring. 1802" is printed in Psyche, with Other Poems and Mary. The editor of Psyche, with Other Poems notes the poem was "Written at Waltrim, the seat of the Reverend M. Sandys, who had lately lost a beloved child" (313). The editor of Mary dates the poem to 1803 and includes a four-stanza "Answer, by Mrs. S----" (22). The transcription in NLI MS 49,155/1 dates the poem to April 1803. The poem mourns the death of Tighe's nephew William Sandys, whose initials, W S, appear on the funeral urn in the image. BACK