On Happiness In This Life



The morning opens very freshly gay
And life itself is in the month of May.
With green my fancy paints an arbour o'er
And flowrets with a thousand colours more;
Then falls to weaving that, and spreading these
And softly shakes them with an easy breeze,
With golden fruit adorns the bending shade,
Or trails a silver water o'er its bed.
Glide, gentle water, still more gently by
While in this summer-bower of bliss I lye
And sweetly sing of sense delighting flames,
And nymphs and shepherds soft invented names,
Or view the branches which around me twine
And praise their fruit, diffusing sprightly wine,
Or find new pleasures in the world to praise
And still with this return adorn my lays;
'Range round your gardens of eternal spring,
'Go range my senses while I sweetly sing.'

In vain, in vain alas, seduc'd by ill
And acted wildly by the force of will!
I tell my soul it will be constant May,
And Charm a season never made to stay,
My beauteous arbour will not stand a storm,
The world but promises, and can't perform:
Then fade ye leaves and wither all ye flow'rs,
I'll doat no longer in enchanted bow'rs;
But sadly mourn in melancholy song,
The vain conceits that held my soul so long.
The lusts that tempt us with delusive show,
And sin brought forth for everlasting woe.
Thus shall the notes to sorrow's object rise,
While frequent rests procure a place for sighs;
And as I moan upon the naked plain,
Be this the burthen closing ev'ry strain;
Return my senses, range no more abroad,
He'll only find his bliss, who seeks for God.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:27 min read
104

Quick analysis:

Scheme AAXXBBXXCCDDEEFFGG HHAAIIBBJJKKLLMMXX
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,508
Words 281
Stanzas 2
Stanza Lengths 18, 18

Thomas Parnell

Thomas Parnell was an Anglo-Irish poet and clergyman who was a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He was the son of Thomas Parnell of Maryborough, Queen's County now Port Laoise, County Laoise}, a prosperous landowner who had been a loyal supporter of Cromwell during the English Civil War and moved to Ireland after the restoration of the monarchy. Thomas was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and collated archdeacon of Clogher in 1705. He however spent much of his time in London, where he participated with Pope, Swift and others in the Scriblerus Club, contributing to The Spectator and aiding Pope in his translation of The Iliad. He was also one of the so-called "Graveyard poets": his 'A Night-Piece on Death,' widely considered the first "Graveyard School" poem, was published posthumously in Poems on Several Occasions, collected and edited by Alexander Pope and is thought by some scholars to have been published in December of 1721 (although dated in 1722 on its title page, the year accepted by The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature; see 1721 in poetry, 1722 in poetry). It is said of his poetry 'it was in keeping with his character, easy and pleasing, ennunciating the common places with felicity and grace. more…

All Thomas Parnell poems | Thomas Parnell Books

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