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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Ode on the Spring

By Thomas Gray (1716–1771)

LO! where the rosy-bosomed Hours,

Fair Venus’s train, appear,

Disclose the long-expecting flowers,

And wake the purple year!

The Attic warbler pours her throat,

Responsive to the cuckoo’s note,

The untaught harmony of spring;

While, whispering pleasure as they fly,

Cool zephyrs through the clear blue sky

Their gathered fragrance fling.

Where’er the oak’s thick branches stretch

A broader, browner shade,

Where’er the rude and moss-grown beech

O’er-canopies the glade,

Beside some water’s rushy brink

With me the Muse shall sit, and think

(At ease reclined in rustic state)

How vain the ardor of the crowd,

How low, how little are the proud,

How indigent the great!

Still is the toiling hand of Care;

The panting herds repose:

Yet hark! how through the peopled air

The busy murmur glows!

The insect-youth are on the wing,

Eager to taste the honeyed spring,

And float amid the liquid noon;

Some lightly o’er the current skim,

Some show their gayly gilded trim

Quick-glancing to the sun.

To Contemplation’s sober eye

Such is the race of Man;

And they that creep, and they that fly,

Shall end where they began.

Alike the Busy and the Gay

But flutter through life’s little day,

In Fortune’s varying colors drest;

Brushed by the hand of rough Mischance,

Or chilled by Age, their airy dance

They leave, in dust to rest.

Methinks I hear, in accents low,

The sportive kind reply:

Poor moralist! and what art thou?

A solitary fly!

Thy joys no glittering female meets,

No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,

No painted plumage to display:

On hasty wings thy youth is flown;

Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone—

We frolic while ’tis May.