Ode to Cynthia, on the Approach of Spring

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Now in the cowslip's dewy cell
The fairies make their bed,
They hover round the crystal well,
The turf in circles tread.

The lovely linnet now her song
Tunes sweetest in the wood;
The twittering swallow skims along
The azure liquid flood.

The morning breeze wafts Flora's kiss
In fragrance to the sense;
The happy shepherd feels the bliss,
And she takes no offence.

But not the linnet's sweetest song
That ever fill'd the wood;
Or twittering swallow that along
The azure liquid flood

Skims swiftly, harbinger of spring,
Or morning's sweetest breath,
Or Flora's kiss, to me can bring
A remedy for death.

For death-what do I say? Yes, death
Must surely end my days,
If cruel Cynthia slights my faith,
And will not hear my lays.

No more with festive garlands bound,
I at the wake shall be;
No more my feet shall press the ground
In dance with wonted glee;

No more my little flock I'll keep,
To some dark cave I'll fly;
I've nothing now to do but weep,
To mourn my fate, and sigh.

Ah! Cynthia, thy Damon's cries
Are heard at dead of night;
But they, alas! are doom'd to rise
Like smoke upon the sight.

They rise in vain, ah me! in vain
Are scatter'd in the wind;
Cynthia does not know the pain
That rankles in my mind.

If sleep perhaps my eyelids close,
'Tis but to dream of you;
A while I cease to feel my woes,
Nay, think I 'm happy too.

I think I press with kisses pure,
Your lovely rosy lips;
And you're my bride, I think I'm sure,
Till gold the mountain tips.

When waked, aghast I look around,
And find my charmer flown;
Then bleeds afresh my galling wound,
While I am left alone.

Take pity, then, O gentlest maid!
On thy poor Damon's heart:
Remember what I've often said,
'Tis you can cure my smart.

© William Shenstone