1Departing summer hath assumed
2An aspect tenderly illumed,
3The gentlest look of spring;
4That calls from yonder leafy shade
5Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
6A timely carolling.
7No faint and hesitating trill,
8Such tribute as to winter chill
9The lonely redbreast pays!
10Clear, loud, and lively is the din,
11From social warblers gathering in
12Their harvest of sweet lays.
13Nor doth the example fail to cheer
14Me, conscious that my leaf is sere,
15And yellow on the bough:-
16Fall, rosy garlands, from my head!
17Ye myrtle wreaths, your fragrance shed
18Around a younger brow!
19Yet will I temperately rejoice;
20Wide is the range, and free the choice
21Of undiscordant themes;
22Which, haply, kindred souls may prize
23Not less than vernal ecstasies,
24And passion's feverish dreams.
25For deathless powers to verse belong,
26And they like Demi-gods are strong
27On whom the Muses smile;
28But some their function have disclaimed,
29Best pleased with what is aptliest framed
30To enervate and defile.
31Not such the initiatory strains
32Committed to the silent plains
33In Britain's earliest dawn:
34Trembled the groves, the stars grew pale,
35While all-too-daringly the veil
36Of nature was withdrawn!
37Nor such the spirit-stirring note
38When the live chords Alcæus smote,
39Inflamed by sense of wrong;
40Woe! woe to Tyrants! from the lyre
41Broke threateningly, in sparkles dire
42Of fierce vindictive song.
43And not unhallowed was the page
44By wingèd Love inscribed, to assuage
45The pangs of vain pursuit;
46Love listening while the Lesbian Maid
47With finest touch of passion swayed
48Her own Æolian lute.
49O ye, who patiently explore
50The wreck of Herculanean lore,
51What rapture! could ye seize
52Some Theban fragment, or unroll
53One precious, tender-hearted scroll
54Of pure Simonides.
55That were, indeed, a genuine birth
56Of poesy; a bursting forth
57Of genius from the dust:
58What Horace gloried to behold,
59What Maro loved, shall we enfold?
60Can haughty Time be just!
RPO poem Editors
W. J. Alexander; William Hall Clawson
RP (1916), p. 229; RPO 1997.