John Arthur Phillips

Here you will find the Long Poem Cyder: Book I of poet John Arthur Phillips

Cyder: Book I

-- -- Honos erit huic quoq; Pomo? Virg.

 What Soil the Apple loves, what Care is due
 To Orchats, timeliest when to press the Fruits,
 Thy Gift, Pomona, in Miltonian Verse
 Adventrous I presume to sing; of Verse
 Nor skill'd, nor studious: But my Native Soil
 Invites me, and the Theme as yet unsung.

 Ye Ariconian Knights, and fairest Dames,
 To whom propitious Heav'n these Blessings grants,
 Attend my Layes; nor hence disdain to learn,
 How Nature's Gifts may be improv'd by Art.

 And thou, O Mostyn, whose Benevolence,
 And Candor, oft experienc'd, Me vouchsaf'd
 To knit in Friendship, growing still with Years,
 Accept this Pledge of Gratitude and Love.
 May it a lasting Monument remain
 Of dear Respect; that, when this Body frail
 Is moulder'd into Dust, and I become
 As I had never been, late Times may know
 I once was blest in such a matchless Friend.

 Who-e'er expects his lab'ring Trees shou'd bend
 With Fruitage, and a kindly Harvest yield,
 Be this his first Concern; to find a Tract
 Impervious to the Winds, begirt with Hills,
 That intercept the Hyperborean Blasts
 Tempestuous, and cold Eurus nipping Force,
 Noxious to feeble Buds: But to the West
 Let him free Entrance grant, let Zephyrs bland
 Administer their tepid genial Airs;
 Naught fear he from the West, whose gentle Warmth
 Discloses well the Earth's all-teeming Womb,
 Invigorating tender Seeds; whose Breath
 Nurtures the Orange, and the Citron Groves,
 Hesperian Fruits, and wafts their Odours sweet
 Wide thro'the Air, and distant Shores perfumes.
 Nor only do the Hills exclude the Winds:
 But, when the blackning Clouds in sprinkling Show'rs
 Distill, from the high Summits down the Rain
 Runs trickling; with the fertile Moisture chear'd,
 The Orchats smile; joyous the Farmers see
 Their thriving Plants, and bless the heav'nly Dew.

 Next, let the Planter, with Discretion meet,
 The Force and Genius of each Soil explore;
 To what adapted, what it shuns averse:
 Without this necessary Care, in vain
 He hopes an Apple-Vintage, and invokes
 Pomona's Aid in vain. The miry Fields,
 Rejoycing in rich Mold, most ample Fruit
 Of beauteous Form produce; pleasing to Sight,
 But to the Tongue inelegant and flat.
 So Nature has decreed; so, oft we see
 Men passing fair, in outward Lineaments
 Elaborate; less, inwardly, exact.
 Nor from the sable Ground expect Success,
 Nor from cretaceous, stubborn and jejune:
 The Must, of pallid Hue, declares the Soil
 Devoid of Spirit; wretched He, that quaffs
 Such wheyish Liquors; oft with Colic Pangs,
 With pungent Colic Pangs distress'd, he'll roar,
 And toss, and turn, and curse th'unwholsome Draught.
 But, Farmer, look, where full-ear'd Sheaves of Rye
 Grow wavy on the Tilth, that Soil select
 For Apples; thence thy Industry shall gain
 Ten-fold Reward; thy Garners, thence with Store
 Surcharg'd, shall burst; thy Press with purest Juice
 Shall flow, which, in revolving Years, may try
 Thy feeble Feet, and bind thy fault'ring Tongue.
 Such is the Kentchurch, such Dantzeyan Ground,
 Such thine, O learned Brome, and Capel such,
 Willisian Burlton, much-lov'd Geers his Marsh,
 And Sutton-Acres, drench'd with Regal Blood
 Of Ethelbert, when to th'unhallow'd Feast
 Of Mercian Offa he invited came,
 To treat of Spousals: Long connubial Joys
 He promis'd to himself, allur'd by Fair
 Elfrida's Beauty; but deluded dy'd
 In height of Hopes -- Oh! hardest Fate, to fall
 By Shew of Friendship, and pretended Love!

 I nor advise, nor reprehend the Choice
 Of Marcley-Hill; the Apple no where finds
 A kinder Mold: Yet 'tis unsafe to trust
 Deceitful Ground: Who knows but that, once more,
 This Mount may journey, and, his present Site
 Forsaking, to thy Neighbours Bounds transfer
 The goodly Plants, affording Matter strange
 For Law-Debates? If, therefore, thou incline
 To deck this Rise with Fruits of various Tastes,
 Fail not by frequent Vows t'implore Success;
 Thus piteous Heav'n may fix the wand'ring Glebe.

 But if (for Nature doth not share alike
 Her Gifts) an happy Soil shou'd be with-held;
 If a penurious Clay shou'd be thy Lot,
 Or rough unweildy Earth, nor to the Plough,
 Nor to the Cattle kind, with sandy Stones
 And Gravel o'er-abounding, think it not
 Beneath thy Toil; the sturdy Pear-tree here
 Will rise luxuriant, and with toughest Root
 Pierce the obstructing Grit, and restive Marle.

 Thus naught is useless made; nor is there Land,
 But what, or of it self, or else compell'd,
 Affords Advantage. On the barren Heath
 The Shepherd tends his Flock, that daily crop
 Their verdant Dinner from the mossie Turf,
 Sufficient; after them the Cackling Goose,
 Close-grazer, finds where