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Now infant April joins the Spring,
And views the wat'ry sky ;
As youngling linnet tries its wing,
And fears at first to fly.
With timid step she ventures on,
And hardly dares to smile;
Till blossoms open one by one,
And sunny hours beguile.
In wanton gambols, like a child,
She tends her early toils ;
And seeks the buds along the wild,
That blossom while she smiles :
Or, laughing on, with nought to chide,
She races with the hours;
Or sports by Nature's lovely side,
And fills her lap with flow'rs.
The shepherd, on his pasture-walks,
The first fair cowslip finds,
Whose tufted flowers, on slender stalks,
Keep nodding to the winds.
And though the thorns withhold the May,
Their shades the violets bring, Which children stoop for in their play, As tokens of the Spring.
Sweet month! thy pleasures bid thee be
The fairest child of Spring;
And every hour that comes with thee,
Comes some new joy to bring :
The trees still deeper in their bloom,
Grass greens the meadow lands; And flowers with ev'ry morning come,
As dropt by fairy hands.
The field and garden's lovely hours
Begin and end with thee;
For what's so sweet as peeping flowers,
And bursting buds to see?
What time the dew's unsullied drops,
In burnish'd gold distil,
On crocus flowers’ unclosing tops,
And drooping daffodil ?
To see thee come, all hearts rejoice,
And warm with feelings strong;
With thee all Nature finds a voice,
And hums a waking song.
The lover views thy welcome hours,
And thinks of summer come;
And takes the maid thy early flowers,
To tempt her steps from home.
Though, at her birth, the northern gale
Come with its withering sigh ; And hopeful blossoms, turning pale,
Upon 'her bosom die ;
Ere April seeks another place,
And ends her reign in this,
She leaves us with as fair a face,
As e'er gave birth to bliss.
Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too;
Unconscious of a less propitious clime,
There blooms exotic beauty, warm and snug,
While the winds whistle, and the snows descend;
The spiry myrtle, with unwithering leaf,
Shines there, and flourishes. The golden boast
Of Portugal, and western India, there
The ruddier orange, and the paler lime,
Peep through their polished foliage at the storm,
And seem to smile at what they need not fear.
The amomum there, with interiingling flow'rs
And cherries, hangs her twigs. Geranium boasts
Her crimson honours; and the spangled beau
Ficoides glitters bright the winter long.
All plants, of every leaf, that can endure
The winter's frown, if screen'd from his shrewd bite,
Live there and prosper ;—those Ausonia claims,
Levantine regions these; th’ Azores send
Their jessamine, her jessamine, remote
Caffraria ; foreigners from many lands,
They form one social shade, as if conven'd
By magic summons of th’ Orpheian lyre;
Yet just arrangement, rarely brought to pass
But by a master's hand, disposing well
diversities of leaf and flow'r,
Must lend its aid t'illustrate all their charms,
And dress the regular, yet various scene.
Plant behind plant aspiring, in the van
The dwarfish; in the rear retir’d, but still
Sublime above the rest, the statelier stand.
So once were ranged the sons of ancient Rome,
A noble show! while Roscius trod the stage ;
And so, while Garrick, as renowned as he,
The sons of Albion ; fearing each to lose
Some note of Nature's music from his lips,
And covetous of Shakspeare's beauty, seen
In every flash of his far-beaming eye.
Nor taste alone, and well-contriv’d display
Suffice to give the marshall'd ranks the grace
Of their complete effect. Much yet remains
Unsung, and many cares are yet behind,
And more laborious ; cares on which depends
Their vigour, injur'd soon, not soon restor’d.
The soil must be renew'd, which, often wash'd,
Loses its treasure of salubrious salts,
And disappoints the roots; the slender roots
Close interwoven, where they meet the vase
Must smooth be shorn away ; the sapless branch
Must fly before the knife; the wither'd leaf
Must be detach'd, and where it strews the floor,
Swept with a woman's neatness, breeding else
Contagion, and disseminating death.
Discharge but these kind offices, (and who
Would spare, that loves them, offices like these?)
Well they reward the toil. The sight is pleas'd ;
The scent regal'd; each odorif'rous leaf,
Each op'ning blossom, freely breathes abroad
Its gratitude, and thanks him with its sweets.
To deck the shapely knoll, That softly swell’d, and gaily dress'd, appears A flow'ry island from the dark green lawn Emerging, must be deem'd a labour due To no mean hand, and asks the touch of taste. Here also grateful mixture of well-match'd And sorted hues, (each giving each relief, And by contrasted beauty shining more,) Is needful. Strength may wield the pond'rous spade, May turn the clod, and wheel the compost home; But elegance, chief grace the garden shows, And most attractive, is the fair result Of thought, the creature of a polish'd mind. Without it, all is gothic as the scene To which th' insipid citizen Near yonder heath ; where industry misspent, But proud of his uncouth ill-chosen task, Has made a heaven on earth; with suns and moons