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Rural Odes for May.

GRAY'S ODE ON THE SPRING.

Lo ! where the rosy-bosomed hours,

Fair Venus' train, appear,
Disclose the long-expected flowers,

And wake the purple year!
The attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,

The untaught harmony of Spring : While, whispering pleasures as they fly, Cold zephyrs through the clear blue sky

Their gathered fragrance fling. Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch

A broader, browner shade,
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech

O'er-canopies the glade,
Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the muse shall sit, and think

(At ease reclined in rustic state), How vain the ardor of the crowd, How low, how little, are the proud,

How indigent the great!
Still is the toiling hand of Care ;

The panting herds repose ;
Yet hark, how through the peopled air

The busy murmur glows !
The insect youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honeyed spring,

And float amid the liquid noon :
Some lightly o'er the current skiin
Some show their gayly-gilded trim,

Quick-glancing to the sun. To Contemplation's sober eye

Such is the race of Man ;
And they that creep, and they that fly,

Shall end where they began.
Alike the busy and the gay
But flutter through life's little day,

In Fortune’s varying colors dresscd ; Bruised by the hand of rough mischance, Or chilled by age, their airy dance

They leave, in dust to rest.
Methinks I hear, in accents low,

The sportive, kind reply ;
Poor moralist ! and what art thou ?

A solitary fly!
Thy joy no glittering female meets,
No hive bast thou of hoarded sweets,

No painted plumage to display :
On hasty wings thy youth is flown ;
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone

We frolic while 't is May.

DAWES'S “SONG OF SPRING.'T is the season of tender delight,

The season of fresh-springing flowers ;
Young Spring in the joy of her beauty is bright,

And leads on the rapturous hours ;
Fair nature is loud in her transport of pleasure,

The woods and the valleys reëcho her lay;
The robin now warbles his love-breathing measure,

And scatters the blossoms while tilting the spray; One impulse of tenderness thrills through the groves, While the birds carol sweetly their innocent loves. How mild is the zephyr that blows !

What fragrance his balmy wings bear -
He breathes as if fearful to brush from the rose

The dew-drops so tremulous there!
The stream flowing gently beside the green cresses

So lightsomely dashes their tendrils away — It seems some fond mother, who while she caresses,

Would sportfully chide her young children at play. Hear the minstrel-bee lulling the blossoms to rest, For the nectar he sips as the wild-flowers' guest ! Look out, then, on Nature a while,

Observe her inviting thee now, Benevolence beams in her sunshiny smile,

And blandishment sits on her brow : [flowing, Come stray with me, love, where the fountains are

And wild flowers cluster to drink of the stream; While watching the lily and daffodil blowing,

No moment of bliss shall so exquisite seem; When nature invites thee, 0! why, then, delay ; While joy is still waking, away! love, away!

PERCIVAL'S “REIGN OF MAY.” I FEEL a newer life in every gale ;

The winds, that fan the flowers,
And with their welcome breathings fill the sail,

Tell of serener hours, -
Of hours that glide unfelt away

Beneath the sky of May.
The spirit of the gentle south wind calls

From his blue throne of air,
And where his whispering voice in music falls,

Beauty is budding there ;
The bright ones of the valley break

Their slumbers and awake.
The waving verdure rolls along the plain,

And the wide forest weaves,
To welcome back its playful mates again,

A canopy of leaves ;
And from its darkening shadow floats

A gush of trembling notes.

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Fairer and brighter spreads the reign of May;

The tresses of the woods With the light dallying of the west wind play,

And the full-brimming floods, As gladly to their goal they run,

Hail the returning sun.

MILTON'S “MAY MORNING.” Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger, Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her The flowery May, who from her green lap throws The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose. Hail, bounteous May! that dost inspire Mirth and youth and warm desire ; Woods and groves are of thy dressing, Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. Thus we salute thee with our early song, And welcome thee and wish thee long.

Behold the young, the rosy Spring,
Gives to the breeze her scented wing,
While virgin graces, warm with May,
Fling roses o'er her dewy way.
The murmuring billows of the deep
Have languished into silent sleep.
And mark! the flitting sea-birds lave
Their plumes in the reflecting wave ;
While cranes from hoary Winter fly
To flutter in a kinder sky.
Now the genial star of day
Dissolves the murky clouds away,
And cultured field and winding stream
Are freshly glittering in his beam.

Now the earth prolific swells
With leafy buds and flowery bells ;
Gemming shoots the olive twine,
Clusters bright festoon the vine ;
All along the branches creeping,
Through the velvet foliage peeping,
Little infant fruits we see
Nursing into luxury.

HOLMES'S “ SPRING SCENE.” WINTER is past ; the heart of Nature warms Beneath the wreck of unresisted storms; Doubtful at first, suspected more than seen, The southern slopes are fringed with tender green ; On sheltered banks, beneath the dripping eaves, Spring's earliest nurslings spread their glowing

leaves, Bright with the hues from wider pictures won, White, azure, golden, — drift, or sky, or sun : The snowdrop bearing on her radiant breast The frozen trophy torn from winter's crest ; The violet gazing on the arch of blue Till her own iris wears its deepened hue ; The spendthrift crocus, bursting through the mould, Naked and shivering, with his cup of gold. Swelled with new life, the darkening elm on high Prints her thick buds against the spotted sky; On all her boughs the stately chestnut cleaves The gummy shroud that wraps her embryo leaves ; The housefly, stealing from his narrow grave, Drugged with the opiate that November gave, Beats with faint wing against the snowy pane, Or crawls tenacious o'er its lucid plain ; From shaded chinks of lichen-crusted walls In languid curves the gliding serpent crawls ; The bog's green harper, thawing from his sleep, Twangs a boarse note, and tries à shortened leap. On floating rails that face the softening noon, The still, shy turtles range their dark platoons, Or toiling, aimless, o'er the mellowing fields, Trail through the grass their tessellated shields. At last young April, ever frail and fair, Wooed by her playmate with the golden hair, Chased to the margin of receding floods, O'er the soft meadows starred with opening buds, In tears and blushes sighs herself away, And hides her cheek beneath the flowers of May.

DRYDEN'S “ EMILY A-MAYING.” The young Emilia, fairer to be seen Than the fair lily on the flowery green More fresh than May herself in blossoms new For with the rosy color strove her hue Waked, as her custom was, before the day, To do the observance due to sprightly May ; For sprightly May commands our youth to keep The vigils of her nights, and breaks their sluggard

sleep. Each gentle breath with kindly warmth she moves; Inspires new flames, revives extinguished loves.

In this remembrance, Emily, ere day,
Arose, and dressed herself in rich array ;
Fresh as the month, and as the morning fair,
Adown her shoulders fell her length of hair ;
A ribbon did the braided tresses bind,
The rest was loose, and wantoned in the wind.
Aurora had but newly chased the night,
And purpled o'er the sky with blushing light,
When to the garden walk she took her way
To sport and trip along in cool of day,
And offer maiden vows in honor of the May.

At every turn she made a little stand,
And thrust among the thorns her lily hand,
To draw the rose ; and every rose she drew,
She shook the stalk, and brushed away the dew ;
Then parti-colored flowers of white and red
She wove, to make a garland for her head :
This done, she sung and carolled out so clear,
That men and angels might rejoice to hear :
Our wondering Philomel forgot to sing,
And learned from her to welcome in the Spring.

Ramsay's "Gentle Shepherd."

"

THE PERSONS.

My Peggy smiles sae kindly,

Whene'er I whisper love, That I look down on a' the town, That I look down upon a crown. My Peggy smiles sae kindly,

It makes me blyth and bauld ; And naething gi’es me sic delight

As wauking of the fauld.

SIR WILLIAM WORTHY.
Patie, the Gentle Shepherd, in love with Peggy.
ROGER, a rich young shepherd, in love with Jenny.
SYMON,
Glard, S

two old shepherds, tenants to Sir William.
BAULDY, a hynd, engaged with Neps.
PEGGY, thought to be Glaud's niece.
JENNY, Glaud's only daughter.
Marse, an old woman supposed to be a witch.
ELSPA, Symon's wife.

MADGE, Glaud's sister.
SCENE — A shepherd's village and fields some few miles

south-west from Edinburgh.
TIME OF ACTION - Within twenty-four hours.
First act begins at eight in the morning.
Second act begins at eleven in the forenoon.
Third act begins at four in the afternoon.
Fourth act begins at nine o'clock at night.
Fifth act begins by day-light next morning.

My Peggy sings sae saftly,

When on my pipe I play.
By a' the rest it is confest, -
By a' the rest, that she sings best.
My Peggy sings sae saftly,

And in her sangs are tauld,
With innocence, the wale o' sense,

At wauking of the fauld.

ACT I.-SCENE I.

PROLOGUE TO THE SCENE.

Beneath the south side of a craigy bield,
Where crystal springs the halesome waters yield,
Twa youthfu' shepherds on the gowans lay,
Tenting their flocks ae bonny morn of May.
Poor Roger granes, till hollow echoes ring;
But blyther Patie likes to laugh and sing.

PATIE AND ROGER.

This sunny morning, Roger, cheers my blood, And puts all nature in a jovial mood. How heartsome is 't to see the rising plants, – To hear the birds chirm o'er their pleasing rants ! How halesome is't to snuff the cawler air, And all the sweets it bears, when void of care ! What ails thee, Roger, then ? what gars thee grane ? Tell me the cause of thy ill-seasoned pain.

ROGER. I'm born, O Patie ! to a thrawart fate. I'm born to strive with hardships sad and great! Tempests may cease to jaw the rowan flood, Corbies and tods to grein for lambkins' blood, But I, opprest with never-ending grief, Maun ay despair of lighting on relief.

PATIE. The bees shall loath the flower, and quit the hive, The saughs on boggie ground shall cease to thrive, Ere scornfu' queans, or loss of warldly gear, Shall spill my rest, or ever force a tear!

SANG I.

TUNE. — “The wauking of the faulds.'1

PATIE.

My Peggy is a young thing,

Just entered in her teens,
Fair as the day, and sweet as May,
Fair as the day, and always gay.
My Peggy is a young thing,

And I'm not very auld,
Yet well I like to meet her at

The wauking of the fauld.

ROGER.

My Peggy speaks sae sweetly,

Whene'er we meet alane, I wish nae inair to lay my care, — I wish nae mair of a' that's rare. My Peggy speaks sae sweetly,

To a' the lave I'm cauld ; But she gars a' my spirits glow,

At wauking of the fauld.

Sae might I say ; but it's no easy done By ane whase saul's sae sadly out of tune. You have sae saft a voice, and slid a tongue, You are the darling of baith auld and young. If I but ettle at a sang, or speak, They dit their lugs, syne up their leglens cleek, And jeer me hameward frae the loan or bught, While I'm confused with mony a vexing thought. Yet I am tall, and as well built as thee, Nor mair unlikely to a lass's ee ; For ilka sheep ye have, I'll number ten ; And should, as ane may think, come farther ben.

1. The wauking of the faulils' was towards the end of July, after the lamby were weaned ; the ewes, at the rising and setting the sun, were milked for the production of grease to smear with, and the making of cheese.

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But aiblins ! nibour, ye have not a heart, And downa eithly with your cunzie part ; If that be true, what signifies your gear ? A mind that's scrimpit never wants some care.

ROGER.

My byar tumbled, nine braw nowt were smoored, Three elf-shot were, yet I these ills endured : In winter last my cares were very sma', Tho' scores of wathers perished in the snaw.

I wish I cou'dna looe her ; but in vain ; I still maun doat, and thole her proud disdain. My Bawty is a cur I dearly like, Till he yowl'd sairl she strak the poor dumb tyke. If I had filled a nook within her breast, She wad have shawn mair kindness to my beast. When I begin to tune my stock and horn, With a' her face she shaws a cauldrife scorn. Last night I played — ye never heard sic spite — O'er Bogie' was the spring, and her delyte, Yet tauntingly she at her cousin speered, Gif she could tell what tune I played, and sneered ! Flocks, wander where ye like, I dinna care, I'll break my reed, and never whistle mair!

PATIE.

Were your bein rooms as thinly stocked as mine, Less ye wad loss, and less ye wad repine. He that has just enough can soundly sleep ; The o'ercome only fashes fowk to keep.

PATIE.

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Sax good fat lambs, I sald them ilka clute At the West-port, and bought a winsome flute, Of plum-tree made, with iv'ry virles round, A dainty whistle, with a pleasant sound : I'll be mair canty wit, — and near cry dool,Than you with all your cash, ye dowie fool !

ROGER.

Na, Patie, na! I'm nae sic churlish beast; Some other thing lies heavier at my breast. I dreamed a dreary dream this hinder night, That gars my flesh a' creep yet with the fright.

PATIE.

Now, to a friend, how silly's this pretence, To ane wha you and a' your secrets kens ! Daft are your dreams, as daftly wad ye hide Your well-seen love, and dorty Jenny's pride. Take courage, Roger, me your sorrows tell, And safely think nane kens them but yoursell.

Daft gowk ! leave aff that silly whingin way, Seem careless, – there's my hand ye 'll win the day. Ilear how I served my lass I looe as weel As yo do Jenny, and with heart as leel. Last morning I was gay and early out, Upon a dyke I leaned glowring about, I saw my Meg come linking o'er the lee ; I saw my Meg, but Meggy saw na me; For yet the sun was wading thro' the mist, And she was close upon me e'er she wist; Her coats were kiltit, and did sweetly shaw Her straight bare legs that whiter were than snaw. Her cockernony snooded up fou sleek, Her haffet locks hang waving on her cheek ; Her cheek sae ruddy, and her een sae clear ; And 0 ! her mouth's like ony hinny pear. Neat, neat she was, in bustine waistcoat clean, As she came skiffing o'er the dewy green : Blythsome I cried, 'My bonny Meg, come here, I ferly wherefore ye're sae soon asteer ; But I can guess, ye’re gawn to gather dew.' She scoured awa, and said, “What's that to you?' • Then, fare ye weel, Meg-dorts; and e'en 's ye like?' I careless cryed, and lap in o'er the dyke. I trow, when that she saw, within a crack, She came with a right thieveless errand back ; Miscawed me first ; then bad me hound my dog, To wear up three waff ewes strayed on the bog. I leugh ; and sae did she ; then with great haste I clasped my arms about her neck and waist ; About her yielding waist, and took a fouth Of sweetest kisses frae her glowing mouth.

ROGER.

Indeed now, Patie, ye have guessed o'er true ; And there is naithing I'll keep up frae

you.
Me dorty Jenny looks upon asquint,
To speak but till her I dare hardly mint ;
In ilka place she jeers me air and late,
And gars me look bombard and unco blate.
But yesterday I met her yont a knowe, –
She fled as frae a shelly-coated kow.
She Bauldy looes, Bauldy that drives the car,
But gecks at me, and says I smell of tar.

PATIE.

But Bauldy looes not her. Right well I wat He sighs for Neps. Sae that may stand for that.

1. Even while he fawned.' - Edition of 1808.

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When maidens, innocently young,

Say often what they never mean, Ne'er mind their pretty, lying tongue,

But tent the language of their een : If these agree, and she persist

To answer all your love with hate, Seek elsewhere to be better blest,

And let her sigh when 't is too late.

Gae farer up the burn to Habbie's How, Where a' the sweets of spring and simmer grow. Between twa birks, out o'er a little lin, The water fa's, and maks a singand din : A pool breast-deep, beneath as clear as glass, Kisses with easy whirles the bordering grass. We'll end our washing while the morning's cool ; And when the day grows het, we'll to the pool, There wash oursells ; 't is healthfu' now in May, And sweetly cauler on sae warm a day.

BOGER.

JENNY

Kind Patie, now fair fa’ your honest heart, Ye're ay sae cadgy, and have sic an art To hearten ane! for now, as clean’s a leek, Ye've cherished me since ye began to speak. Sae, for your pains, I'll make ye a propine (My mother, rest her saul ! she made it fine); A tartan plaid, spun of good hawslock woo, Scarlet and green the sets, the borders blue : With spraings like gowd and siller crossed with black; I never had it yet upon my back. Weel are ye wordy o''t, wha have sae kind Redd up my ravel'd doubts, and cleared my mind.

Daft lassid, when we're naked, what'll ye say, Gif our twa herds come brattling down the brae, And see us sae ? — that jeering fallow, Pate, Wad taunting say, 'Haith, lasses, ye’re no blate !'

PEGGY.

PATIE.

We're far frae ony road, and out of sight; The lads, they're feeding far beyont the height. But tell me - now, dear Jenny, we're our lane What gars ye plague your wooer with disdain ? The neighbors a' tent this as weel as I, That Roger loo's ye, yet ye carena by. What ails ye at him? Troth, between us twa, He's wordy you the best day e'er ye saw !

Weel, had ye there! And since ye've frankly made To me a present of your braw new plaid, My flute's be yours; and she too that's sae nice Shall come a-will, gif ye'll take my advice.

ROGER.

JENNY.

As ye advise, I'll promise to observ't ; But ye maun keep the flute, ye best deserv't. Now tak it out, and gie 's a bonny spring, For I'm in tift to hear you play and sing.

I dinna like him, Peggy, there's an end ! A herd mair sheepish yet I never kenned. He kames his bair, indeed, and gaes right snug, With ribbon-knots at his blue bonnet lug ; Whilk pensylie he wears a thought a-jee, And spreads his garters dic'd beneath his knee ; He falds his owrelay down his breast with care, And few gangs trigger to the kirk or fair ; For a' that, he can neither sing nor say, Except, “How d’ye ?' - or, There's a bonny day.'

PATIE.

But first we'll take a turn up to the height, And see gif all our flocks be feeding right; Be that time bannocks, and a shave of cheese, Will make a breakfast that a laird might please ;

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