John Arthur Phillips

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

Cyder: Book II

O Harcourt, Whom th' ingenuous Love of Arts 
 Has carry'd from Thy native Soil, beyond 
 Th' eternal Alpine Snows, and now detains 
 In Italy's waste Realms, how long must we 
 Lament Thy Absence? Whilst in sweet Sojourn 
 Thou view'st the Reliques of old Rome; or what, 
 Unrival'd Authors by their Presence, made 
 For ever venerable, rural Seats, 
 Tibur, and Tusculum, or Virgil's Urn 
 Green with immortal Bays, which haply Thou, 
 Respecting his great Name, dost now approach 
 With bended Knee, and strow with purple Flow'rs; 
 Unmindful of Thy Friends, that ill can brook 
 This long Delay. At length, Dear Youth, return, 
 Of Wit, and Judgement ripe in blooming Years, 
 And Britain's Isle with Latian Knowledge grace. 
 Return, and let Thy Father's Worth excite 
 Thirst of Preeminence; see! how the Cause 
 Of Widows, and of Orphans He asserts 
 With winning Rhetoric, and well argu'd Law! 
 Mark well His Footsteps, and, like Him, deserve 
 Thy Prince's Favour, and Thy Country's Love. 

 Mean while (altho' the Massic Grape delights 
 Pregnant of racy Juice, and Formian Hills 
 Temper Thy Cups, yet) wilt not Thou reject 
 Thy native Liquors: Lo! for Thee my Mill 
 Now grinds choice Apples, and the British Vats 
 O'erflow with generous Cyder; far remote 
 Accept this Labour, nor despise the Muse, 
 That, passing Lands, and Seas, on Thee attends. 

 Thus far of Trees: The pleasing Task remains, 
 To sing of Wines, and Autumn's blest Increase. 
 Th' Effects of Art are shewn, yet what avails 
 'Gainst Heav'n? Oft, notwithstanding all thy Care 
 To help thy Plants, when the small Fruit'ry seems 
 Exempt from Ills, an oriental Blast 
 Disastrous flies, soon as the Hind, fatigu'd, 
 Unyokes his Team; the tender Freight, unskill'd 
 To bear the hot Disease, distemper'd pines 
 In the Year's Prime, the deadly Plague annoys 
 The wide Inclosure; think not vainly now 
 To treat thy Neighbours with mellifluous Cups, 
 Thus disappointed: If the former Years 
 Exhibit no Supplies, alas! thou must, 
 With tastless Water wash thy droughty Throat. 

 A thousand Accidents the Farmer's Hopes 
 Subvert, or checque; uncertain all his Toil, 
 'Till lusty Autumn's luke-warm Days, allay'd 
 With gentle Colds, insensibly confirm 
 His ripening Labours: Autumn to the Fruits 
 Earth's various Lap produces, Vigour gives 
 Equal, intenerating milky Grain, 
 Berries, and Sky-dy'd Plums, and what in Coat 
 Rough, or soft Rind, or bearded Husk, or Shell; 
 Fat Olives, and Pistacio's fragrant Nut, 
 And the Pine's tastful Apple: Autumn paints 
 Ausonian Hills with Grapes, whilst English Plains 
 Blush with pomaceous Harvests, breathing Sweets. 
 O let me now, when the kind early Dew 
 Unlocks th' embosom'd Odors, walk among 
 The well rang'd Files of Trees, whose full-ag'd Store 
 Diffuse Ambrosial Steams, than Myrrh, or Nard 
 More grateful, or perfuming flow'ry Beane! 
 Soft whisp'ring Airs, and the Larks mattin Song 
 Then woo to musing, and becalm the Mind 
 Perplex'd with irksome Thoughts. Thrice happy time, 
 Best Portion of the various Year, in which 
 Nature rejoyceth, smiling on her Works 
 Lovely, to full Perfection wrought! but ah, 
 Short are our Joys, and neighb'ring Griefs disturb 
 Our pleasant Hours. Inclement Winter dwells 
 Contiguous; forthwith frosty Blasts deface 
 The blithsome Year: Trees of their shrivel'd Fruits 
 Are widow'd, dreery Storms o'er all prevail. 
 Now, now's the time; e'er hasty Suns forbid 
 To work, disburthen thou thy sapless Wood 
 Of its rich Progeny; the turgid Fruit 
 Abounds with mellow Liquor; now exhort 
 Thy Hinds to exercise the pointed Steel 
 On the hard Rock, and give a wheely Form 
 To the expected Grinder: Now prepare 
 Materials for thy Mill, a sturdy Post 
 Cylindric, to support the Grinder's Weight 
 Excessive, and a flexile Sallow' entrench'd, 
 Rounding, capacious of the juicy Hord. 
 Nor must thou not be mindful of thy Press 
 Long e'er the Vintage; but with timely Care 
 Shave the Goat's shaggy Beard, least thou too late, 
 In vain should'st seek a Strainer, to dispart 
 The husky, terrene Dregs, from purer Must. 
 Be cautious next a proper Steed to find, 
 Whose Prime is past; the vigorous Horse disdains 
 Such servile Labours, or, if forc'd, forgets 
 His past Atchievements, and victorious Palms. 
 Blind Bayard rather, worn with Work, and Years, 
 Shall roll th' unweildy Stone; with sober Pace 
 He'll tread the circling Path 'till dewy Eve, 
 From early Day-spring, pleas'd to find his Age 
 Declining, not unuseful to his Lord. 

 Some, when the Press, by utmost Vigour screw'd, 
 Has drain'd the pulpous Mass, regale their Swine 
 With the dry Refuse; thou, more wise shal