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But kercheft in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or ufher'd with a fhower ftill,
When the guft hath blown his fill,
Ending on the rufsling leaves
With minute drops from off the eaves.
And when the fun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, goddefs, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And fhadows brown, that Sylvan loves,
Of pine, or monumental oak,
Where the rude ax with heavy stroke
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt;
There in close covert by fome brook,
Where no profaner eye may look,
Hide me from day's garish eye,
While the bee with honied thigh,
That at her flow'ry work doth fing,
And the waters murmuring,
With fuch confort as they keep
Entice the dewy feather'd Sleep;
And let some ftrange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings in airy stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
Softly on my eye-lids laid:
And, as I wake, fweet mufic breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by fome spirit to mortals good,
Or th' unfeen genius of the wood.
But let my dew-feet never fail
To walk the ftudious cloyfters pale,
And love the high-embowed roof,
With antique pillars maffy proof,
And ftoried windows richly dight,
Cafting a dim religious light:
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voic'd choir below,
In fervice high, and anthems clear,
As may with sweetness through mine ear
Diffolve me into extafies,
And bring all heav'n before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Find out the peaceful hermitage,
The hairy gown, and moffy cell,
Where I may fit and rightly spell
Of every ftar that heav'n doth fhew,
And every herb that fips the dew;
Till old experience do attain
To fomething like prophetic ftrain.
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
And I with thee will chufe to live.
These poems are to be admired, as well for their clofe, fignificant, and expreffive defcriptions, as for the frequent and beautiful ufe the poet has made of the figure called Profopopia; by which he has perfonified almost every object in his view, raised a great number of pleasing images, and introduced qualities and things inanimate as living and rational beings.
We cannot quit this fubject without taking fome notice of that excellent poem, left us by Mr. Thomson, intituled the Seafons; which, notwithstanding fome parts of it are didactic, may with propriety be inferted under this head. 4 In this work, the author has given us a poetical, philo fophical, and moral defcription of the four feafons, viz. Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
Under Spring, he has defcribed the feafon as it ufually affects the various parts of nature, afcending from the lower to the higher, and confidered the influence of the Spring on inanimate matter, on vegetables, on brute animals, and on man ; after which he concludes with a diffuafive from the wild and irregular paffion of love, and recommends that of a pure and happy kind. The whole is embellished with fuitable digreffions, and moral reflections and wrought up with wonderful art. His Addrefs to heaven in favour of the farmer, and what follows in praise of agriculture, is extremely beautiful..
Be gracious, HEAVEN! for now laborious man
Has done his part. Ye foftering breezes, blow
Ye foft'ning dews, ye tender fhowers, descend!
And temper all, thou world-reviving fun,.
Into the perfect year! nor ye who live
In luxury and cafe, in pomp and pride,
Think these loft themes unworthy of your ear:
Such themes as these the rural MARO fung
To wide-imperial ROME, in the full height
Of elegance and tafte, by Greece refin'd.
In antient times, the facred plough employ'd
The kings, and awful fathers of mankind :
And fome, with whom compar'd your infect-tribes
Are but the beings of a fummer's day,
Have held the scale of empire, rul'd the storm
Of mighty war; then, with victorious hand,
Difdaining little delicacies, feiz'd
The plough, and greatly independent liv'd.
His defcription of a gentle refreshing rain, and of the rainbow is, I think, inimitable.
The north-eaft fpends his rage; he now, fhut up
Within his iron cave, th' affusive south
Warms the wide air, and o'er the void of heaven
Breathes the big clouds with vernal showers diftent.
At first a dufky wreath they feem to rife,
Scarce ftaining ether; but by fwift degrees,
In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour
Along the loaded fky, and mingling deep
Sits on th' horizon round a fettled gloom.
Not fuch as wintry-ftorms on mortals shed,
Oppreffing life; but lovely, gentle, kind,
And full of every hope and every joy,
The wifh of nature. Gradual finks the breeze
Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
Is heard to quiver thro' the clofing woods,
Or ruffling turn the many-twink'ling leaves,
Of afpin tall. Th' uncurling floods, diffus'd
In glaffy breadth, feem thro' delufive lapse
Forgetful of their courfe. 'Tis filence all,
And pleafing expectation. Herds and flocks
Drop the dry fprig, and mute imploring eye
The falling verdure. Hufh'd in fhort fufpenfe
The plumy people ftreak their wings with oil,
To throw the lucid moisture trickling off;
And wait th' approaching fign to ftrike, at once,
Into the general choir. Even mountains, vales,
And forests feem, impatient, to demand
The promis'd fweetnefs. Man fuperior walks
Amid the glad creation, mufing praife,
And looking lively gratitude. At laft,
The clouds confign their treasures to the fields;
And, foftly shaking on the dimpled pool
Prelufive drops, let all their moisture flow,
In large effufion, o'er the freshened world.`
The ftealing fhower is fcarce to patter heard,
By fuch as wander thro' the forrest walks,
Beneath the umbrageous multitude of leaves.
But who can hold the fhade, while heaven defcends
In univerfal bounty, fhedding herbs,
And fruits, and flowers, on nature's ample lap ?
Swift fancy fir'd anticipates their growth;
And while the mighty nutriment diftills,
Beholds the kindling country colour round.
Thus all day long the full diftended clouds Indulge their genial ftores, and well-fhower'd earth Is deep enrich'd with vegetable life; Till, in the western fky, the downward fun Looks out, effulgent, from amid the flush Of broken clouds, gay-fhifting to his beam. The rapid radience inftantaneous strikes Th'illumin'd mountain, thro' the foreft ftreams, Shakes on the floods, and in a yellow mift, Far fmoaking o'er th' interminable plain, In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems. Moift, bright, and green, the landskip laughs around. Full fwell the woods; their every music wakes, Mix'd in wild concert with the warbling brooks Increas'd, the diftant bleatings of the hills, And hollow lows refponfive from the vales, Whence blending all the fweetened zephyr fprings. Mean time refracted from yon eaftern cloud, Beftriding earth, the grand ethereal bow Shoots up immenfe; and every hue unfolds, In fair proportion running from the red, To where the violet fades into the sky. Here, awful NEWTON, the diffolving clouds Form, fronting on the fun, the fhowry prifm; And to the fage-inftructed eye unfold The various twine of light, by thee disclos'd
From the white mingling maze, Not fo the boy;
He wondering views the bright enchantment bend,
Delightful, o'er the radient fields, and runs
To catch the falling glory; but amaz'd
Beholds th' amufive arch before him fly,
Then vanquish quite away. Still night fucceeds,
A foftened shade, and faturated earth
Awaits the morning-beam, to give to light,
Rais'd thro' ten thousand different plaftic tubes,
The balmy treasures of the former day.
That part where he prefers the vegetable to the animal food, and inveighs against the cruelty of deftroying thofe creatures, that are not only inoffenfive, but ferviceable to us, is pathetic and fublime.
Shall Man, whom nature form'd of milder clay,
With every kind emotion in his heart,
And taught alone to weep; while from her lap
She pours ten thousand delicacies, herbs,
And fruits, as numerous as the drops of rain,
Or beams that gave them birth: fhall he fair form!
Who wears sweet fmiles, and looks erect on heaven,
E'er ftoop to mingle with the prowling herd
And dip his tongue in gore? The beast of prey,
Blood-ftain'd deferves to bleed: but you, ye flocks,
What have you done; ye peaceful people, what,
To merit death? You, who have given us milk.
In luscious ftreams, and lent us your own coat
Against the winter's cold? And the plain Ox;
That harmlefs, honeft, guilelefs animal,
In what has he offended? He, whofe toil,
Patient and ever ready, clothes the land
With all the pomp of harveft; shall he bleed,
And ftruggling groan beneath the cruel hands
Even of the clown he feeds?
The description of the garden, and the apoftrophe to the Supreme being on that occafion, are both pious and poetical; as alfo is the defcription of the feathered songsters, and their Loves; but thefe and other parts, equally beautiful, are too long to be here inferted. The author con