Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Hymn to May
By Nathaniel Evans (1742–1767)
 
NOW had the beam of Titan gay
Usher’d in the blissful May,
Scattering from his pearly bed,
Fresh dew on every mountain’s head;
Nature mild and debonair,        5
To thee, fair maid, yields up her care.
May, with gentle plastic hand,
Clothes in flowery robe the land;
O’er the vales the cowslips spreads,
And eglantine beneath the shades;        10
Violets blue befringe each fountain,
Woodbines lace each steepy mountain;
Hyacinths their sweets diffuse,
And the rose its blush renews;
With the rest of Flora’s train,        15
Decking lowly dale or plain.
 
  Through creation’s range, sweet May!
Nature’s children own thy sway—
Whether in the crystal flood,
Amorous, sport the finny brood;        20
Or the feather’d tribes declare,
That they breathe thy genial air,
While they warble in each grove
Sweetest notes of artless love;
Or their wound the beasts proclaim,        25
Smitten with a fiercer flame;
Or the passions higher rise,
Sparing none beneath the skies,
But swaying soft the human mind
With feelings of ecstatic kind—        30
Through wide creation’s range, sweet May!
All nature’s children own thy sway.
 
  Oft will I, (e’er Phosphor’s light
Quits the glimmering skirts of night)
Meet thee in the clover field,        35
Where thy beauties thou shalt yield
To my fancy, quick and warm,
Listening to the dawn’s alarm,
Sounded loud by Chanticleer,
In peals that sharply pierce the ear.        40
And, as Sol his flaming car
Urges up the vaulted air,
Shunning quick the scorching ray,
I will to some covert stray,
Coolly bowers or latent dells,        45
Where light-footed silence dwells,
And whispers to my heaven-born dream,
Fair Schuylkill, by thy winding stream!
There I ’ll devote full many an hour,
To the still-finger’d Morphean power,        50
And entertain my thirsty soul
With draughts from Fancy’s fairy bowl;
Or mount her orb of varied hue,
And scenes of heaven and earth review.
 
Nor in milder eve’s decline,        55
As the sun forgets to shine,
And sloping down the ethereal plain,
Plunges in the western main,
Will I forbear due strain to pay
To the song-inspiring May;        60
But as Hesper ’gins to move
Round the radiant court of Jove,
(Leading through the azure sky
All the starry progeny,
Emitting prone their silver light,        65
To re-illume the shades of night)
Then, the dewy lawn along,
I ’ll carol forth my grateful song,
Viewing with transported eye
The blazing orbs that roll on high,        70
Beaming lustre, bright and clear,
O’er the glowing hemisphere.
Thus from the early blushing morn,
Till the dappled eve’s return,
Will I, in free unlabor’d lay,        75
Sweetly sing the charming May!
 
 
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