Henry James Pye
October And May - Poem by Henry James Pye
ADDRESSED TO SAMUEL JAMES ARNOLD, Esq.
: 'Behold, with mild and matron mien,
'With sober eye, and brow serene,
'October sweep along;
'Bright are her groves with vivid dyes,
'Refulgent beam her cloudless skies,
'And sweet her red-breast's song.
'Her temper bland, no passions sway,
'The same to-morrow as to-day,
'Her tints so soft, so warm,
'That Painting, with enraptur'd view,
'Hangs o'er each variegated hue,
'And copies every charm.
'Then let the Muse's thrilling lyre
'To Painting join its silver wire,
'And hail October's fame;
'Nor let that peevish vixen May,
'Whose frowns and tears deform the day,
'Her notes for ever claim.'
Why, faith! there's truth in what you say:
Yet poets love the young and gay;—
Though fickle May is teasing,
Though frowns and tears obscure her smiles,
In spite of all her pouting wiles
The little vixen's pleasing.
Then when she smiles, she smiles so sweet,
Such colours and such perfumes meet,
Such health is in her hue;
Such odours from her bosom breathe,
That poets give to her the wreath,
Who smell, as well as view.
Besides, you painters have the art,
Charms artificial to impart,
And make the wrinkle sleek.
Though red the blushing hawthorn shine,
To me it looks like deep carmine
Upon a faded cheek.
See how the hawthorn snowy blooms;
Its scent the passing gale perfumes:
Mark how the lilac blows—
Profuse while Flora o'er the meads,
Where'er the laughing goddess treads,
Her fragrant burden throws.
'But Spring's gay landscape shows too bright
'Masses of vegetable white,
'And light unvaried green;'—
Can then the artist's partial eye
No charm in Nature's works descry,
Unless he paint the scene?
The rugged brow, the form uncouth,
Will more than beauty or than youth
The painter's skill engage;
But will from youth and beauty's charms
The painter fly, and in his arms
Clasp ugliness and age?
Light ills, whence comic laughter flows,
And tragedy's severer woes,
Are favourites of the Muse;
But days replete with ease and joy,
Unting'd by aught of pain's alloy,
In real life we choose.
Say, can the robin's plaintive note
Mate Philomela's warbling throat
Which nightly charms the grove;
Or full and sweet, the feather'd throng,
Who loudly chant the matin song
Of ecstacy and love?
And bounding see in sportive dance,
Frolic the summer months advance,
Led on by youthful May;
While on October's solemn state
The hours of dreary winter wait,
The heralds of decay.
The frowning brow, the tearful eye
Of blooming May shall swiftly fly,
And every cloud be past;
While on October's richest hue
Doubtful we throw an anxious view,
And fear each smile her last.
But you, my friend, whose gifted mind,
In friendly union fondly join'd,
The sister arts inspire;
Who know alike with skilful hand
The glowing pencil to command,
And strike the sacred lyre,
Will now mild Autumn's various dyes,
His mellow tints, and purple skies,
With plastic hand pourtray;
Now taste the fragrant breath of Spring,
Her sylvan chorus join, and sing
The ambrosial sweets of May.
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