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HAIL, happy shades! though clad with heavy snows,
At sight of you with joy my bosom glows;
Ye arching pines, that bow with every breeze,
Ye poplars, elms, all hail! my well-known trees!
And now my peaceful mansion strikes my eye,
And now the tinkling rivulet I spy;
My little garden, Flora, hast thou kept,
And watch'd my pinks and lilies, while I wept?
Or has the grubbing swine, by furies led,
The enclosure broke, and on my flowrets fed?
Ah me! that spot with blooms so lately grac'd,
With storms and driving snows, is now defaced;
Sharp icicles from every bush depend,
And frosts all dazzling o'er the beds extend:
Yet soon fair spring shall give another scene,
And yellow cowslips gild the level green;
My little orchard sprouting at each bough,
Fragrant with clustering blossoms deep shall glow:
Ah! then 't is sweet the tufted grass to tread,
But sweeter slumbering is the balmy shade;
The rapid humming-bird, with ruby breast,
Seeks the parterre with early blue-bells drest,
Drinks deep the honeysuckle dew, or drives
The labouring bee to her domestic hives:
Then shines the lupine bright with morning gems,
And sleepy poppies nod upon their stems;
The humble violet, and the dulcet rose,
The stately lily then, and tulip blows.
Farewell, my Plutarch! farewell, pen and muse!
Nature exults —shall I her call refuse?
Apollo fervid glitters in my face,
And threatens with his beam each feeble grace:
Yet still around the lovely plants I toil,
And draw obnoxious herbage from the soil;
Or with the lime-twigs little birds surprise;
Or angle for the trout of many dyes.
But when the vernal breezes pass away,
And loftier Phoebus darts a fiercer ray,
The spiky corn then rattles all around,
And dashing cascades give a pleasing sound;
Shrill sings the locust with prolonged note,
The cricket chirps familiar in each cot.
The village children, rambling o'er yon hill,
With berries all their painted baskets fill.
They rob the squirrel's little walnut store,
And climb the half-exhausted tree for more;
Or else to fields of maze nocturnal hie,
Where hid, the elusive water-melons lie;
Sportive, they make incisions in the rind,
The riper from the immature to find;
Then load their tender shoulders with the prey,
And laughing, bear the bulky fruit away.
Ann Eliza Bleecker [1752-1783]