An Ode of Petrarch

Mrs Dobson

To the Fountain of Valchinsa

 Ye clear & sparkling streams,
 Warmed by the sunny beams,
Through whose transparent crystal Laura play’d;
 Ye boughs, that deck the grove,
 Where Spring her chaplets wove,
While Laura lay beneath the quivering shade;
 Sweet herbs, & blooming flowers
 That crown yon vernal bowers
Forever fatal, yet forever dear:
 And ye, that heard my sighs
 When first she charmed my eyes,
Soft breathing gales, my dying accents hear.
 If heaven has fix’d my doom,
 That love must quite consume
My bursting heart, & close my eyes in death;
 Ah! grant this slight request,
 That here my urn may rest
When to its mansion flies my vital breath.
 This pleasing hope will smooth
 My anxious mind, & sooth
The pangs of that inevitable hour;
 My spirit will not grieve
 Her mortal vale to leave
In these calm shades, and this enchanting bower.
 Haply the guilty maid
 Through yon accustom’d glade
To my sad tomb will take her lonely way,
 Where first her beauty’s light
 O’erpower’d my dazzled sight,
When love on this fair border bad me stray:
 There sorrowing shall she see,
 Beneath an aged tree,
Her true but hapless lover’s lowly bier;
 Too late her tender sighs
 Shall melt the pitying skies,
And her soft veil shall hide the gushing tear.
 O! well-remember’d day,
 When on yon bank she lay
Meek in her pride, and in her rigour mild;
 The young & blooming flowers,
 Falling in fragrant showers,
Shone on her neck, and on [her] Bosom smil’d:
 Some on her mantle hung,
 Some in her locks were strung,
Like orient gems in rings of flaming gold;
 Some in a spicy cloud
 Descending, call’d aloud
“Here love & youth the reins of empire hold.”
 I view’d the heavenly maid,
 And, rapt in wonder, said
“The groves of Eden gave this angel birth;”
 Her look, her voice, her smile,
 That might all heaven beguile,
Wafted my soul above the realms of earth:
 The star-bespangled skies
 Were open’d to my eyes;
Sighing I said, “Whence rose this glittering scene?”
 Since that auspicious hour,
 This bank, and od’rous bower,
My morning couch, & evening haunt has been.
 Well may’st thou blush, my song,
 To leave the rural throng,
And fly thus artless to my Laura’s ear;
 But were thy poet’s fire
 Ardent as his desire,
Thou wert a song that heaven might stoop to hear.