To the Same (Philoclea)
Hark, how the chill north chides among the trees,
Making us shrink and shiver at the sound!
See, how the snow comes beating in the breeze,
And covers with unkindly cold the ground!
Keen cuts the cold with bitter-biting hate,
And sad th' unsightly season's stormy state.
The dainty daisy, and the primrose pale,
The silver'd snow-drop, and the violet blue,
The gorgeous daffodil that decks the dale,
The crocus glitt'ring in his golden hue,
Fold up their silken leaves, and droop their heads,
As they wou'd shrink again into their beds.
Mute is the music of the thrushes' throat;
No more the lively linnet sweetly sings;
Hush'd is the light lark's wildly warbled note,
And the gay goldfinch droops his gaudy wings;
The robin-red-breast, indigent and chill,
Knocks at the casement with familiar bill.
Pierc'd with the eager air the hardy hind,
Wrapt in his coarse-spun duffield bends along;
And hastens homeward from the wintry wind,
Nor chears his journey with one jocund song:
The houseless herds from such a raging sky
For shelter to the friendly hedge-rows fly.
This is the mirror of my mournfull mind,
All there is winter's waste, alas the while!
For thou, my Philoclea, art unkind,
Ah! too unkind to bless me with a smile:
All as the year with wrathfull winter wasted,
The budding blossoms of my joys are blasted.
Mirth, goddess gay, my pensive breast forsakes,
The lightly tripping train of pleasures flies;
Here his sad seat mute melancholy makes,
And dull despair, the god of doleful sighs:
With chiding blasts blow, blow thou winter's wind,
Thy murmurs are meet music for my wind.
But when the genial ruler of the year
Chears the glad vallies with a vernal ray,
Deck'd in their lovely liveries they appear,
With blooming bushes and fresh flowrets gay:
Pruning their painted plumes the sweet birds sing,
The hills, the dales, the woods, the fountains ring.
So, Philoclea, should'st thou sweetly smile
In pity of my painfull pangs of love,
That smile wou'd ev'ry cruel care beguile,
And wastfull winter from my heart remove;
Rose-robed the sprightly spring wou'd revel here,
And own thee for the ruler of my year.
Robert Potter (1721-1804)
from Poems, 1774
[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]