Greenwich Hill

Mr Gifford

First of May


Though clouds obscured the morning hour
 And keen and eager blew the blast
And drizzling fell the cheerless shower
 As doubtful to the skiff we passed.


All soon propitious to our prayer
 Gave promise of a brighter day
The clouds dispers’d in purer air
 The blast in zephyrs died away


So have we, Love, a day enjoy’d
 On which we both — and yet who knows
May dwell with pleasure unalloy’d
 And dread no thorn beneath the rose


How pleasant, from that dome crown’d hill
 To view the varied scene below
Woods, ships, and spires, and lovelier still
 The circling Thames’ majestic flow


How sweet as indolently laid
 We overhang that long drawn dale
To watch the chequer’d light and shade
 That glanc’d upon the shifting sail


And when the shadow’s rapid growth
 Proclaim’d the noon tide hour expir’d
And though unwearied, nothing loath
 We to our simple meal retired


The sportive wile, the blameless jest
 The careless mind’s spontaneous flow
Gave to that simple meal a zest
 Which richer tables may not know


The babe that on its mother’s breast
 Has toy’d and wanton’d for a while
And sinking to unconscious rest
 Looks up to catch a parting smile


Feels less assured than thou dear maid
 Where ere thy ruby lips could part
(It’s close to mine thy cheek was laid,)
 Thine eyes had open’d all thy heart


Then, thou, I mark’d the chasten’d joy
 That lightly o’er thy features stole
From vows repaid (my sweet employ)
 From truth from innocence of soul


While every word dropped on my ear
 So soft (and yet it seems to thrill)
So sweet, that ’twas a heaven to hear
 And e’en thy pause had musick still


And O, how like a fairy dream
 To gaze in silence on the tide
While soft and warm the sunny gleam
 Slept on the glassy surface wide


And many a thought of fancy bred
 Wild, soothing, tender, undefin’d
Play’d lightly round the heart and shed
 Delicious languour o’er the mind


So hours like moments wing’d their flight
 Till now the Boatman on the shore
Impatient of the evening light
 Recall’d us by the darking oar


Well Anna many days like this
 I cannot, must not, hope to share
For I have found an hour of bliss
 Still follow’d by an age of care


Yet oft when memory intervenes
 But you dear maid be happy still
Nor e’er regret mid fairer scenes
 The day we passed on Greenwich Hill