Ode Xiv: To The Honourable Charles Townshend: From The Country
by Mark Akenside
Say, Townshend, what can London boast
To pay thee for the pleasures lost,
The health to-day resign'd,
When spring from this her favorite seat
Bade winter hasten his retreat,
And met the western wind?
Oh knew'st thou how the balmy air,
The sun, the azure heavens prepare
To heal thy languid frame,
No more would noisy courts ingage;
In vain would lying faction's rage
Thy sacred leisure claim.
Oft i look'd forth, and oft admir'd;
Till with the studious volume tir'd
I sought the open day;
And, sure, I cry'd, the rural gods
Expect me in their green abodes,
And chide my tardy lay.
But ah in vain my restless feet
Trac'd every silent shady seat
Which knew their forms of old:
Nor Naiad by her fountain laid,
Nor Wood-nymph tripping through her glade,
Did now their rites unfold:
Whether to nurse some infant oak
They turn the slowly-tinkling brook
And catch the pearly showers,
Or brush the mildew from the woods,
Or paint with noontide beams the buds,
Or breathe on opening flowers.
Such rites, which they with spring renew,
The eyes of care can never view;
And care hath long been mine:
And hence offended with their guest,
Since grief of love my soul oppress'd,
They hide their toils divine.
But soon shall thy inlivening tongue
This heart, by dear affliction wrung,
With noble hope inspire:
Then will the sylvan powers again
Receive me in their genial train,
And listen to my lyre.
Beneath yon Dryad's lonely shade
A rustic altar shall be paid,
Of turf with laurel fram'd:
And thou the inscription wilt approve;
'This for the peace which, lost by love,
By friendship was reclaim'd.'