The River


Hail sacred spring, whose fruitful stream
Fattens the flocks, and cloaths the plain,
The melancholy poets theme,
And solace of the thirsty swain.


Thou fly'st, like time, with eager haste;
Behind thy self thou still dost stay;
Thy stream, like his, is never past,
And yet is ever on the way.


While mankind boasts superior sight,
With eyes erect the heav'ns to see;
The starry eyes of heav'n delight
To gaze upon themselves in thee.


A second sun thou dost present,
And bring new heav'ns before our eyes;
We view a milder firmament,
And pleas'd, look downward to the skies.


Thy streams were once th' impartial test
Of untaught nature's humble pride,
When by thy glass the nymphs were drest,
In flow'rs, the honours of thy side.


Of thee they drank, till blushing fruit
Was ravisht from the tender vine;
And man, like thee, was impollute,
Till mischief learn'd to mix with wine.
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