The Avon Poem by Richard Jago

The Avon

From Edge-Hill, Book I

Hail, beauteous Avon, hail! on whose fair banks
The smiling daisies, and their sister tribes,
Violets, and cuckoo-buds, and lady-smocks,
A brighter dye disclose, and proudly tell,
That Shakspeare, as he stray'd these meads along,
Their simple charms admir'd, and in his verse
Preserv'd, in never-fading bloom to live.
And thou, whose birth these walls unrival'd boast,
That mock' st the rules of the proud Stagyrite,
And learning's tedious toil hail, mighty bard!
Thou great magician, hail! Thy piercing thought
Unaided saw each movement of the mind,
As skilful artists view the small machine,
The secret springs and nice dependencies,
And to thy mimic scenes, by fancy wrought
To such a wondrous shape, th'impassion'd breast
In floods of grief or peals of laughter bow d,
Obedient to the wonder-working strain,
Like the tun'd string responsive to the touch,
Or to the wizard s charm, the passive storm
Humour and wit, the tragic pomp, or phrase
Familiar, flow'd spontaneous from thy tongue,
As flowers from Nature s lap. Thy potent spells
From their bright seats aerial sprites detain'd,
Or from their unseen haunts, and slumbering shades,
Awak'd the fairy tribes, with jocund step
The circled green and leafy hail to tread
While, from his dripping caves, old Avon sent
His willing Naiads to their harmless rout.

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