March 17, 2004

Song to a fair young lady, going out of the town in the spring

The first verse of this poem, written by Dryden's namesake, the poet John Dryden (1631-1700), seems especially appropriate as we approach the first official day of spring, but switch suddenly from mud with a few flowers starting to grow to seven inches of snow on the ground.

Ask not the cause why sullen Spring
So long delays her flowers to bear;
Why warbling birds forget to sing,
And winter storms invert the year:
Chloris is gone; and fate provides
To make it Spring where she resides.

Chloris is gone, the cruel fair;
She cast not back a pitying eye:
But left her lover in despair
To sigh, to languish, and to die:
Ah! how can those fair eyes endure
To give the wounds they will not cure!

Great God of Love, why hast thou made
A face that can all hearts command,
That all religions can invade,
And change the laws of every land?
Where thou hadst plac'd such power before,
Thou shouldst have made her mercy more.

When Chloris to the temple comes,
Adoring crowds before her fall;
She can restore the dead from tombs
And every life but mine recall.
I only am by Love design'd
To be the victim for mankind.

Dryden's poetry seems like a stark contrast with most of what I publish here. I wonder what he'd think of this place named after him. (He's not quite so distant as many of the Roman and Greek namesakes of places in upstate New York, certainly.)

Posted by simon at March 17, 2004 4:50 PM in ,
Note on photos