Hail ! sacred thou to sacred joy,1
To mirth and wine, sweet First of May !2
To sports, which no grave cares alloy,3
The sprightly dance, the festive play !4
Hail ! thou, of ever-circling time5
That gracest still the ceaseless flow !6
Bright blossom of the season’s prime,7
Aye hastening on to winter’s snow !8
When first young Spring his angel face9
On earth unveil’d, and years of gold10
Gilt with pure ray man’s guileless race,11
By law’s stern terrors uncontroll’d :12
Such was the soft and genial breeze,13
Mild Zephyr breathed on all around ;14
With grateful glee, to airs like these15
Yielded its wealth th’ unlabour’d ground.16
So fresh, so fragrant is the gale,17
Which o’er the Islands of the Blest18
Sweeps ; where nor aches the limbs assail,19
Nor age’s peevish pains infest.20
Where thy hush’d groves, Elysium, sleep,21
Such winds with whisper’d murmurs blow ;22
So, where dull Lethe’s waters creep :23
They heave, scarce heave, the cypress-bough.24
And such, when heaven with penal flame25
Shall purge the globe, that golden day26
Restoring, o’er man’s brighten’d frame27
Haply such gale again shall play.28
Hail, thou, the fleet year’s pride and prime !29
Hail, day which Fame should bid to bloom !30
Hail, image of primeval time !31
Hail, sample of a world to come !32