Monday, 9 February 2015

Poetry Revisited: The Winter Nosegay by William Cowper

The Winter Nosegay

(1782)

What Nature, alas! has denied
To the delicate growth of our isle,
Art has in a measure supplied,
And winter is deck’d with a smile.
See, Mary, what beauties I bring
From the shelter of that sunny shed,
Where the flowers have the charms of the spring,
Though abroad they are frozen and dead.

‘Tis a bower of Arcadian sweets,
Where Flora is still in her prime,
A fortress to which she retreats
From the cruel assaults of the clime.
While earth wears a mantle of snow,
These pinks are as fresh and as gay
As the fairest and sweetest that blow
On the beautiful bosom of May.

See how they have safely survived
The frowns of a sky so severe;
Such Mary’s true love, that has lived
Through many a turbulent year.
The charms of the late-blowing rose
Seem graced with a livelier hue;
And the winter of sorrow best shows
The truth of a friend such as you.

William Cowper
(1731-1800)

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