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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1809.7
The Winds
“The Rev. Wm. Lisle Bowles”
[William Lisle Bowles][1]
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXXIX (June, 1809), p. 550

    When pale October bade the flow'rs adieu,
And Autumn sung amid the seaman's shrouds,
Methought I saw four winged forms that flew
With garments streaming light amid the clouds;
    From adverse regions of the sky
    In dim succession they went by;
The first, as o'er the billowy deep he past,
Blew from his shadowy trump a war-denouncing blast.

    Upon a beaked promontory high,
With streaming beard, and cloudy brow severe,
I mark'd the Father[2] of the frowning year:
    Dark vapours roll'd o'er the tempestuous sky.
When creeping Winter from his cave came forth—
"Stern Herald of the storm, what from the North!"
'Shouts and the noise of Battle! and again
    He blew from his dark trump a deadlier blast,
'Shouts and the noise of Battle: the long main
Seem'd with hoarse voice to answer as he past.

The moody South went by, and silence kept;
    The cloudy rack oft hid his mournful mien,
And frequent fell the show'r, as if he wept
    The eternal havock of this mortal scene;
As if he wish'd for ever thus to throw
His misty mantle o'er a world of woe.

But rousing him from his desponding trance
    Cold Eurus blew his short and shrilling horn,
In his right hand he bore an icy lance,
    That far off glitter'd in the frost of morn.
The Old Man knew the clarion from afar—
"What from the East!" he cry'd: 'Shouts and
                   the noise of War!'

    Who comes in soft and spicy vest
    From the mild region of the West,
An azure veil bends waving o'er his head,
And show'rs of violets at his feet are spread?
'T is Zephyr, with a look as young and fair
    As when his lucid wings conveyed
    That beautiful and gentle maid
Psyche,[3] transported thro' the air
The blissful couch of Love's own god to share;
    He brings again the morn of May;
        The lark amid the clear blue sky
        Carols, but is not seen so high;
    And all the howling winds fly far away.
I cried, "O Father of the world, whose might
    The storm, the darkness, and the winds obey;
Oh when will thus the long tempestuous night
    Of warfare and of woe be roll'd away?
O when will cease the uproar and the din,
And Peace breathe soft, 'Summer is coming in'[4]


Notes

1. William Lisle Bowles (1762-1850), divine, poet, and antiquary. In 1776, Bowles attended the Winchester School under Joseph Warton who encouraged him to write poetry. He later studied under Thomas Warton. In 1759, Bowles published Fourteen Sonnetswritten chiefly on Picturesque Spots during a Journey which was an extraordinary success. He is the subject of a sonnet by Coleridge, first published in The Morning Chronicle, December 26, 1794. In 1806, Bowles edited Pope, an edition noted for the hostile spirit of its introduction. His Poetical Works in a collected edition with a memoir by Reverend George Gilfallan were published in Edinburgh in 1855.

2. [Author's note]: "''He comes, the Father of the tempest forth.' THOMSON."

3. [Author's note]: "Alluding to the beautiful fable of Psyche carried by Zephyr to be married to Cupid."

4. [Author's note]: "'Sommer is cummin inn.'—Old Ballad."

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September 2004