Today is Ostara, the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. To celebrate, I decided to read Blake’s “To Spring” this morning.
O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
Through the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!
The hills tell one another, and the listening
Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turn’d
Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth
And let thy holy feet visit our clime!
Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.
O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour
Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put
Thy golden crown upon her languish’d head,
Whose modest tresses are bound up for thee.
Reading this poem immediately conjured images of Botticelli’s Primavera. I could clearly see Venus, “with dewy locks,” standing in the center of a sacred grove. Beside her is Flora, the goddess of flowers and spring, adorned in “perfumèd garments.” They are joined by a host of other mythological figures, all celebrating the arrival of spring and the rebirth of the earth.
Blake achieves with his words what Botticelli creates with images, an allegory of spring that draws upon the symbolism of rebirth and regeneration as embodied in the goddess. After an exceedingly harsh winter, this is exactly what I needed. As I hear the birds singing outside and gaze through my window upon my sun-bathed garden, I also feel an internal rebirth. I can’t wait to get out and work in the garden this weekend.
I hope this poem has inspired you as it has me, and may you have a blessed spring!