Mary Robinson ( )

Ode to Health

Come, bright-eyed maid, 
Pure offspring of the tranquil mind,
Haste, my fevrish temples bind
With olive wreaths of emrald hue
Steepd in morns ethereal dew, 
Where in mild HELVETIAs shade, 
Blushing summer round her flings
Warm gales and sunny showrs that hang upon her wings. 

Ill seek thee in ITALIAs bowrs, 
Where supine on beds of flowrs
Melodys soul-touching throng
Strike the soft lute or trill the melting song: 
Where blithe FANCY, queen of pleasure,
Pours each rich luxuriant treasure. 
For thee Ill climb the breezy hill, 
While the balmy dews distill 
Odours from the budding thorn, 
Dropd from the lustrous lids of morn; 
Who, starting from her shadwy bed, 
Binds her gold fillet round the mountains head. 

There Ill press from herbs and flowrs
Juices blessd with opiate powrs, 
Whose magic potency can heal
The throb of agonizing pain, 
And thro the purple swelling vein
With subtle influence steal: 
Heavn opes for thee its aromatic store
To bathe each languid gasping pore;
But where, O where, shall cherishd sorrow find
The lenient balm to soothe the feeling mind. 

O, memry! busy barbrous foe, 
At thy fell touch I wake to woe: 
Alas! the flattring dream is oer, 
From thee the bright illusions fly, 
Thou bidst the glittring phantoms die, 
And hope, and youth, and fancy, charm no more. 

No more for me the tip-toe SPRING
Drops flowrets from her infant wing; 
For me in vain the wild thymes bloom
Thro the forest flings perfume; 
In vain I climb thembroiderd hill 
To breathe the clear autumnal air; 
In vain I quaff the lucid rill 
Since jocund HEALTH delights not there
To greet my heart:no more I view, 
With sparkling eye, the silvry dew 
Sprinkling Mays tears upon the folded rose, 
As low it droops its young and blushing head, 
Pressd by grey twilight to its mossy bed: 
No more I lave amidst the tide, 
Or bound along the tufted grove, 
Or oer enameld meadows rove, 
Where, on Zephyrs pinions, glide
Salubrious airs that waft the nymph repose. 

Lightly oer the yellow heath
Steals thy soft and fragrant breath,
Breath inhald from musky flowrs
Newly bathd in perfumd showrs. 
See the rosy-fingerd morn
Opes her bright refulgent eye, 
Hills and valleys to adorn, 
While from her burning glance the scatterd vapours fly. 

Soon, ah soon! the painted scene,
The hills blue top, the valleys green, 
Midst clouds of snow, and whirlwinds drear, 
Shall cold and comfortless appear: 
The howling blast shall strip the plain, 
And bid my pensive bosom learn, 
Tho NATUREs face shall smile again, 
And, on the glowing breast of Spring
Creation all her gems shall fling, 
YOUTHs April morn shall neer return. 

Then come, Oh quickly come, Hygeian Maid! 
Each throbbing pulse, each quivring nerve pervade. 
Flash thy bright fires across my languid eye, 
Tint my pale visage with thy roseate die, 
Bid my hearts current own a temprate glow, 
And from its crimson source in tepid channels flow. 

O HEALTH, celestial Nymph! without thy aid
Creation sickens in oblivions shade: 
Along the drear and solitary gloom
We steal on thorny footsteps to the tomb; 
Youth, age, wealth, poverty alike agree 
To live is anguish, when deprivd of Thee. 
To THEE indulgent Heavn benignly gave
The touch to heal, the extacy to save. 
The balmy incense of thy fostring breath
Wafts the wan victim from the fangs of Death, 
Robs the grim Tyrant of his trembling prize, 
Cheers the faint soul, and lifts it to the skies. 

Let not the gentle rose thy bounty drest 
To meet the rising son with odrous breast, 
Which glowd with artless tints at noon-tide hour, 
And shed soft tears upon each drooping flower, 
With withring anguish mourn the parting Day, 
Shrink to the Earth, and sorrowing fade away.

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. To Cesario
  2. The Poor Singing Dame
  3. Sonnet to Evening
  4. Sonnet to My Beloved Daughter
  5. Sonnet 40. On the Low Margin

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