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(4 May 1749 – 28 October 1806 / London)

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April

GREEN o'er the copses spring's soft hues are spreading,
High wave the reeds in the transparent floods,
The oak its sear and sallow foliage shedding,
From their moss'd cradles start its infant buds.
Pale as the tranquil tide of summer's ocean,
The willow now its slender leaf unveils;
And through the sky with swiftly fleeting motion,
Driv'n by the wind, the rack of April sails.
Then, as the gust declines, the stealing showers
Fall fresh and noiseless; while at closing day
The low sun gleams on moist and half-blown flowers,
That promise garlands for approaching May.
Bless'd are yon peasant children, simply singing,
Who through the new-sprung grass rejoicing rove;
More bless'd! to whom the time , fond thought is bringing,
Of friends expected, or returning love.
The pensive wanderer bless'd, to whom reflection
Points out some future views that soothe his mind;
Me how unlike!--whom cruel recollection
But tells of comfort I shall never find!

Hope, that on Nature's youth is still attending,
No more to me her syren song shall sing;
Never to me her influence extending,
Shall I again enjoy the days of Spring!
Yet, how I loved them once these scenes remind me,
When light of heart, in childhood's thoughtless mirth,
I reck'd not that the cruel lot assign'd me
Should make me curse the hour that gave me birth!
Then, from thy wild-wood banks, Aruna! roving,
Thy thymy downs with sportive steps I sought,
And Nature's charms, with artless transport loving,
Sung, like the birds, unheeded and untaught.
But now the springtide's pleasant hours returning,
Serve to awaken me to sharper pain;
Recalling scenes of agony and mourning,
Of baffled hope and prayers preferr'd in vain.
Thus shone the sun, his vernal rays displaying,
Thus did the woods in early verdure wave,
While dire disease on all I loved was preying,
And flowers seem'd rising but to strew her grave.
Now, 'mid reviving blooms, I coldly languish,
Spring seems devoid of joy to me alone;
Each sound of pleasure aggravates my anguish,
And speaks of beauty, youth, and sweetness gone.
Yet, as stern duty bids, with faint endeavour
I drag on life, contending with my woe,
Though conscious misery still repeats, that never
My soul one pleasurable hour shall know.
Lost in the tomb, when Hope no more appeases
The fester'd wounds that prompt the eternal sigh,
Grief, the most fatal of the heart's diseases,
Soon teaches, whom it fastens on, to die.

The wretch undone, for pain alone existing,
The abject dread of death shall sure subdue,
And far from his decisive hand resisting,
Rejoice to bid a world like this, adieu.

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010


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