Gateway to the Classics: Oxford Book of English Verse, Part 1 by Arthur Quiller-Couch
Oxford Book of English Verse, Part 1 by  Arthur Quiller-Couch

A Summer Day

O Perfect Light, which shaid away

The darkness from the light,

And set a ruler o'er the day,

Another o'er the night—

Thy glory, when the day forth flies,

More vively doth appear

Than at mid day unto our eyes

The shining sun is clear.

The shadow of the earth anon

Removes and drawis by,

While in the East, when it is gone,

Appears a clearer sky.

Which soon perceive the little larks,

The lapwing and the snipe,

And tune their songs, like Nature's clerks,

O'er meadow, muir, and stripe.

Our hemisphere is polisht clean,

And lighten'd more and more,

While everything is clearly seen

Which seemit dim before:

Except the glistering astres bright,

Which all the night were clear,

Offuskit with a greater light

No longer do appear.

The golden globe incontinent

Sets up his shining head,

And o'er the earth and firmament

Displays his beams abread.

For joy the birds with boulden throats

Against his visage sheen

Take up their kindly musick notes

In woods and gardens green.

The dew upon the tender crops,

Like pearlis white and round,

Or like to melted silver drops,

Refreshis all the ground.

The misty reek, the clouds of rain,

From tops of mountains skails,

Clear are the highest hills and plain,

The vapours take the vales.

The ample heaven of fabrick sure

In cleanness does surpass

The crystal and the silver pure,

Or clearest polisht glass.

The time so tranquil is and still

That nowhere shall ye find,

Save on a high and barren hill,

An air of peeping wind.

All trees and simples, great and small,

That balmy leaf do bear,

Than they were painted on a wall

No more they move or steir.

Calm is the deep and purple sea,

Yea, smoother than the sand;

The waves that weltering wont to be

Are stable like the land.

So silent is the cessile air

That every cry and call

The hills and dales and forest fair

Again repeats them all.

The flourishes and fragrant flowers,

Through Phoebus' fostering heat,

Refresht with dew and silver showers

Cast up an odour sweet.

The cloggit busy humming bees,

That never think to drone,

On flowers and flourishes of trees

Collect their liquor brown.

The Sun, most like a speedy post

With ardent course ascends;

The beauty of the heavenly host

Up to our zenith tends.

The burning beams down from his face

So fervently can beat,

That man and beast now seek a place

To save them from the heat.

The herds beneath some leafy tree

Amidst the flowers they lie;

The stable ships upon the sea

Tend up their sails to dry.

With gilded eyes and open wings

The cock his courage shows;

With claps of joy his breast he dings,

And twenty times he crows.

The dove with whistling wings so blue

The winds can fast collect;

Her purple pens turn many a hue

Against the sun direct.

Now noon is went; gone is midday,

The heat doth slake at last;

The sun descends down West away,

For three of clock is past.

The rayons of the sun we see

Diminish in their strength;

The shade of every tower and tree

Extendit is in length.

Great is the calm, for everywhere

The wind is setting down;

The reek throws right up in the air

From every tower and town.

The gloming comes; the day is spent;

The sun goes out of sight;

And painted is the occident

With purple sanguine bright.

Our west horizon circular

From time the sun be set

Is all with rubies, as it were,

Or roses red o'erfret.

What pleasure were to walk and see,

Endlong a river clear,

The perfect form of every tree

Within the deep appear.

O then it were a seemly thing,

While all is still and calm,

The praise of God to play and sing

With cornet and with shalm!

All labourers draw home at even,

And can to others say,

Thanks to the gracious God of heaven,

Which sent this summer day.

— Alexander Hume

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