Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
To Spring: On the Banks of the Cam
By William Stanley Roscoe (1782–1843)
 
O THOU that from the green vales of the West
Com’st in thy tender robes with bashful feet,
And to the gathering clouds
Liftest thy soft blue eye:
 
I woo thee, Spring!—tho’ thy dishevell’d hair        5
In misty ringlets sweep thy snowy breast,
And thy young lips deplore
Stern Boreas’ ruthless rage:
 
While morn is steep’d in dews, and the dank show’r
Drops from the green boughs of the budding trees;        10
And the thrush tunes his song
Warbling with unripe throat:
 
Thro’ the deep wood where spreads the sylvan oak
I follow thee, and see thy hands unfold
The love-sick primrose pale        15
And moist-eyed violet:
 
While in the central grove, at thy soft voice,
The Dryads start forth from their wintry cells,
And from their oozy waves
The Naiads lift their heads        20
 
In sedgy bonnets trimm’d with rushy leaves
And water-blossoms from the forest stream,
To pay their vows to thee,
Their thrice adorèd queen!
 
The stripling shepherd wand’ring thro’ the wood        25
Startles the linnet from her downy nest,
Or wreathes his crook with flowers,
The sweetest of the fields.
 
From the grey branches of the ivied ash
The stock-dove pours her vernal elegy,        30
While further down the vale
Echoes the cuckoo’s note.
 
Beneath this trellis’d arbour’s antique roof,
When the wild laurel rustles in the breeze,
By Cam’s slow murmuring stream        35
I waste the live-long day;
 
And bid thee, Spring, rule fair the infant year,
Till my loved Maid in russet stole approach:
O yield her to my arms,
Her red lips breathing love!        40
 
So shall the sweet May drink thy falling tears,
And on thy blue eyes pour a beam of joy;
And float thy azure locks
Upon the western wind.
 
So shall the nightingale rejoice thy woods,        45
And Hesper early light his dewy star;
And oft at eventide
Beneath the rising moon,
 
May lovers’ whispers soothe thy list’ning ear,
And as they steal the soft impassion’d kiss,        50
Confess thy genial reign,
O love-inspiring Spring!
 
 
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