Hail! festal Easter that dost bring
Approach of sweetly-smiling spring,
When Nature's clad in green:
When feather'd songsters through the grove
With beasts confess the power of love
And brighten all the scene.
Now youths the breaking stages load
That swiftly rattling o'er the road
To Greenwich haste away:
While some with sounding oars divide
Of smoothly-flowing Thames the tide
All sing the festive lay.
With mirthful dance they beat the ground,
Their shouts of joy the hills resound
And catch the jocund noise:
Without a tear, without a sigh
Their moments all in transports fly
Till evening ends their joys.
But little think their joyous hearts
Of dire Misfortune's varied smarts
Which youthful years conceal:
Thoughtless of bitter-smiling Woe
Which all mankind are born to know
And they themselves must feel.
Yet he who Wisdom's paths shall keep
And Virtue firm that scorns to weep
At ills in Fortune's power,
Through this life's variegated scene
In raging storms or calm serene
Shall cheerful spend the hour.
While steady Virtue guides his mind
Heav'n-born Content he still shall find
That never sheds a tear:
Without respect to any tide
His hours away in bliss shall glide
Like Easter all the year.