He that never loved before, Let him love to-morrow! He that hath loved o'er and o'er, Let him love to-morrow!
Spring, young Spring, with song and mirth, Spring is on the newborn earth. Spring is here, the time of love —The merry birds pair in the grove, And the green trees hang their tresses, Loosen'd by the rain's caresses. Tomorrow sees the dawn of May, When Venus will her sceptre sway, Glorious, in her justice-hall: There where woodland shadows fall, On bowers of myrtle intertwined, Many a band of love she'll bind.
Tomorrow is the day when first From the foam-world of Ocean burst, Like one of his own waves, the bright Dione (mythology)|Dione, queen of love and light, Amid the sea-gods' azure train, 'Mid the strange horses of the main.
She it is that lends the hours Their crimson glow, their jewel-flowers: At her command the buds are seen, Where the west-wind's breath hath been, To swell within their dwellings green. She abroad those dewdrops flings, Dew that night's cool softness brings; How the bright tears hang declining, And glisten with a tremulous shining, Almost of weight to drop away, And yet too light to leave the spray.
Fresh be your coronals of flowers, And green your overarching bowers, To-morrow brings us the return Of Ether's primal marriage-morn. In amorous showers of rain he came T' embrace his bride's mysterious frame, To generate the blooming year, And all the produce Earth does bear. Venus still through vein and soul Bids the genial current roll; Still she guides its secret course With interpenetrating force, And breathes through heaven, and earth, and sea, A reproductive energy.
She old Troy's extinguish'd glory Revived in Latium's later story, When, by her auspices, her son Laurentia's royal damsel won. She vestal Rhea's spotless charms Surrender'd to the War-god’s arms; She for Romulus that day The Sabine daughters bore away; Thence sprung the Rhamnes' lofty name, Thence the old Quirites came; And thence the stock of high renown, The blood of Romulus, handed down Through many an age of glory pass'd, To blaze in Caesar's at last.
, the Vigil of Venus
, is a Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
poem, probably written in the 4th century. It is generally thought to have been by the poet Tiberianus, due to strong similarities with the latter’s poem Amnis ibat
. It was written professedly in early spring on the eve of a three-nights' festival of Venus
Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex,sexual seduction and fertility, who played a key role in many Roman religious festivals and myths...
(probably April 1–3). The setting seems to be Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...
. The poem describes the annual awakening of the vegetable and animal world through the goddess. It is notable because of its focus on the natural world
Romanticism, a philosophical, literary, artistic and cultural era which began in the mid/late-1700s as a reaction against the prevailing Enlightenment ideals of the day , also influenced poetry...
— something never before seen in Roman poetry — which marks the transition from Roman poetry to Medieval poetry
Because most of what we have was written down by clerics, much of extant medieval poetry is religious. The chief exception is the work of the troubadours and the minnesänger, whose primary innovation was the ideal of courtly love. Among the most famous of secular poetry is Carmina Burana, a...
. It consists of ninety-three verses in trochaic septenarius
In ancient Greek and Latin literature, the trochaic septenarius is one of two major forms of poetic metre based on the trochee as its dominant rhythmic unit, the other being trochaic octonarius. It is used in drama and less often in poetry....
, and is divided into strophe
A strophe forms the first part of the ode in Ancient Greek tragedy, followed by the antistrophe and epode. In its original Greek setting, "strophe, antistrophe and epode were a kind of stanza framed only for the music," as John Milton wrote in the preface to Samson Agonistes, with the strophe...
s of unequal length by the refrain:
The poem ends with the nightingale’s song, and a poignant expression of personal sorrow:
The poem was set to music by Frederic Austin
Frederic Austin was an English baritone singer, a musical teacher and composer in the period 1905–30. He is best remembered for his restoration and production of The Beggar's Opera by John Gay and Johann Christoph Pepusch, and its sequel, Polly, in 1920–23...
for chorus and orchestra (first performance, Leeds Festival 1931) and by George Lloyd
George Lloyd may refer to:*George Lloyd, 1st Baron Lloyd , British politician*George Lloyd , member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly*George Lloyd , Bishop of Sodor and Man and Bishop of Chester, 1605–1614...
for soprano, tenor, chorus and orchestra (1980)