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Jaur, Thoxison, a distinguished British poet, born at Ednam, near Kelso, in Scotland, in 1700, was one of the nine children of the Rev. Mr. Thomson, minister of that place. James was sent to the school of Jedburgh, where he attracted the notice of a neighbouring minister by his propensity to poetry, who encouraged his early attempts, and corrected his performances. On his removal from school, he was sent to the university of Edinburgh, where he chiefly attended to the cultivation of his poetical faculty; but the death of his father, during his second session, having brought his mother to Edinburgh for the purpose of educating her children, James complied with the advice of his friends, and entered upon a course of divinity. Here, we are told, that the explanation of a psalm having been required from him as a probationary exercise, he performed it in language so splendid, that he was reproved by his professor for employing a diction which it was not likely that any one of his future audience could comprehend. This admonition completed the disgust which he felt for the profession chosen for him; and having connected himself with some young men in the university who were aspirants after literary eminence, he readily listened to the advice of a lady, the friend of his
mother, and determined to try his fortune in the
great metropolis, London. In 1725 Thomson came by sea to the capital, where he soon found out his college acquaintance, Mallet, to whom he showed his poem of “Winter,” then composed in detached passages of the descriptive kind. Mallet advised him to form them into a connected piece, and immediately to print it. It was purchased for a small sum, and appeared in 1726, dedicated to Sir Spencer Compton. Its merits, however, were little understood by the public; till Mr. Whateley, a person of acknowledged taste, happening to cast an eye upon it, was struck with its beauties, and gave it vogue. His dedicatee, who had hitherto neglected him, made him a present of twenty guineas, and he was introduced to Pope, Bishop Rundle, and Lord-chancellor Talbot. In 1727, he published another of his seasons, “Summer,” dedicated to Mr. Doddington, for it was still the custom for poets to pay this tribute to men in power. In the same year he gave to the public his “Poem, sacred to the memory of Sir Isaac Newton,” and his “ Britannia.” His “Spring” was published in 1728, addressed to the Countess of Hertford; and the Seasons were completed by the addition of “Autumn,” dedicated to Mr. Onslow, in 1730, when they were published collectively. As nothing was more tempting to the cupidity of an author than dramatic composition, Thomson resolved to become a competitor for that laurel also, and in 1728, he had the influence to bring upon the
stage of Drury-lane, his tragedy of “Sophonisła-" It was succeeded by “Agamemnon:” “Edward and Eleonora ;” and “Tancred and Sigismunda . " but although these pieces were not without their merits, the moral strain was too prevalent for the public taste, and they have long ceased to occupy the theatre. Through the recommendation of Dr. Rundle, he was, about 1729, selected as the travelling associate of the Hon. Mr. Talbot, eldest son of the Chancellor, with whom he visited most of the courts of the European continent. During this tour, the idea of a poem on “Liberty” suggested itself, and after his return, he employed two years in its completion. The place of secretary of the briefs, which was nearly a sinecure, repaid him for his attendance on Mr. Talbot. “Liberty” at length appeared, and was dedicated to Frederic, Prince of Wales, who, in opposition to the court, affected the patronage of letters, as well as of liberal sentiments in politics. He granted Thomson a pension, to remunerate him for the loss of his place by the death of Lord-chancellor Talbot. In 1746, appeared his poem, called “The Castle of Indolence.” which had been several years under his polishing hand, and by many is considered as his principal performance. He was now in tolerably affluent, circumstances, a place of Surveyor-general of the Leeward Islands, given him by Mr. Lyttleton, bringing him in, after paying a deputy, about Sool. a year. He did not, however, long enjoy this state of comfort; for returning one evening from London to Kew-lane, he was attacked by a fever, which proved fatal in August 1748, the 48th year of his age. He was interred without any memorial in Richmond church; but a monument was erected to his memory, in Westminster Abbey, in 1762, with the profits arising from an edition of his works published by Mr. Millar. Thomson in person was large and ungainly, with a heavy, unanimated countenance, and having nothing in his appearance in mixed society indicating the man of genius or refinement. He was, however, easy and cheerful with select friends, by whom he was singularly beloved for the kindness of his heart, and his freedom from all the malignant passions which too often debase the literary character. His temper was much inclined to indolence, and he was fond of indulgence of every kind; in particular he was more attached to the pleasures of sense, than the sentimental delicacy of his writings would induce a reader to suppose. For the moral tendency of his works, no author has deserved more praise; and no one can rise from the perusal of his pages, without being sensible of a melioration of his principles or feelings. The poetical merits of Thomson, undoubtedly stand most conspicuous in his Seasons, the first long
tion to his fame has principally arisen from his
composition, perhaps, of which natural description was made the staple, and certainly the most fertile of grand and beautiful delineations, in great measure deduced from the author's own observation. Its diction is somewhat cumbrous and laboured, but energetic and expressive. Its versification does not denote a practised ear, but is seldom unpleasantly harsh. Upon the whole, no poem has been more, and more deservedly, popular; and it has exerted a powerful influence upon public taste, not only in this country, but throughout Europe. Any addi
THE SEASONS. SPRING, 1728.
Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos, Nunc frondent sylvae, nunc formosissimus annus. VIRG.
The subject proposed. Inscribed to the Countess of Hertford. The season is described as it affects the various parts of Nature, ascending from the lower to the higher; with digressions arising from the subject. Its influence on inanimate matter, on vegetables, on brute animals, and, last, on man; concluding with a dissuasive from the wild and irregular passion of love, opposed to that of a pure and happy kind.
Cour. gentle Spring, ethereal Mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
While music wakes around, veil'd in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.
O Hertford, fitted or to shine in courts
With unaffected grace, or walk the plain -
With innocence and meditation join'd
Hin soft assemblage, listen to my song,
Which thy own Season paints; when Nature all
Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.
And see where surly Winter passes off,
Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts:
His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill,
The shatter'd forest, and the ravag'd vale;
While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch,
Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost,
The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.
As yet the trembling year is unconfirm’d,
And Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze,
Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets
Deform the day delightless: so that scarce
The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulpht
To shake the sounding marsh; or from the shore
The plovers when to scatter o'er the heath,
And sing their wild notes to the listening waste.
At last from Aries rolls the bounteous Sun,
And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more
“Castle of Indolence,” an allegorical composition in the manner and stanza of Spenser, and among the imitators of this poet, Thomson may deserve the preference, on account of the application of his fable, and the moral and descriptive beauties by which it is filled up. This piece is entirely free from the stiffness of language perceptible in the author's blank verse, which is also the case with many of his songs, and other rhymed poems.
Th’ expansive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold;
But, full of life and vivifying soul, thin,
Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them
Fleecy and white, o'er all-surrounding heaven.
Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfin'd,
Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays.
Joyous, th’ impatient husbandman perceives
Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers
Drives from their stalls, to where the well-us'd
Lies in the furrow, loosen’d from the frost.
There, unrefusing, to the harness'd yoke
They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil,
Cheer'd by the simple song and soaring lark.
Meanwhile incumbent o'er the shining share
The master leans, removes th' obstructing clay,
Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe.
White through the neighbouring field the sower
With measur’d step; and liberal throws the grain
Into the faithful bosom of the ground:
The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the scene.
Be gracious, Heaven! for now laborious man
Has done his part. Ye fostering breezes, blow !
Ye softening dews, ye tender showers, descend!
And temper all, thou world-reviving Sun,
Into the perfect year ! Nor ye who live
In luxury and ease, in pomp and pride,
Think these lost themes unworthy of your ear:
Such themes as these the rural Maro sung
To wide-imperial Rome, in the full height
Of elegance and taste, by Greece refin'd.
In ancient times, the sacred plough employ'd
The kings, and aweful fathers of mankind:
And some, with whom compar'd your insect-tribes
Are but the beings of a summer's day,
Have held the scale of empire, rul'd the storm
Of mighty war; then, with unwearied hand,
Disdaining little delicacies, seiz'd
The plough, and greatly independent liv'd.
Ye generous Britons, venerate the plough ;
And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
Let Autumn spread his treasures to the Sun,
Luxuriant and unbounded : as the Sea,
Far through his azure turbulent domain,
Your empire owns, and from a thousand shores
Wafts all the pomp of life into your ports;
So with superior boon may your rich soil,
Exuberant, Nature's better blessings pour
O'er every land, the naked nations clothe,
And be th' exhaustless granary of a world !
Nor only through the lenient air this change,
Delicious, breathes; the penetrative Sun,
His force deep-darting to the dark retreat
Of vegetation, sets the steaming Power
At large, to wander o'er the vernant Earth,
In various hues; but chiefly thee, gay Green'
Thou smiling Nature's universal robe
United light and shade' where the sight dwells
With growing strength, and ever-new delight.
From the moist meadow to the wither'd hill,
Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs,
And swells, and deepens, to the cherish'd eye.
The hawthorn whitens : and the juicy groves
Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees, ,
Till the whole leafy forest stands display'd,
In full luxuriance to the sighing gales;
Where the deer rustle through the twining brake,
And the birds sing conceal’d. At once array'd
In all the colours of the flushing year,
By Nature's swift and secret-working hand,
The garden glows, and fills the liberal air
With lavish fragrance; while the promis'd fruit
Lies yet a little embryo, unperceiv'd
Within its crimson folds. Now from the town
Buried in smoke, and sleep, and noisome damps,
Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields, [drops
Where freshness breathes, and dash the trembling
From the bent bush, as through the verdant maze
Of sweet-brier hedges I pursue my walk;
Or taste the smell of dairy; or ascend
Some eminence, Augusta, in thy plains,
And see the country, far diffus'd around,
One boundless blush, one white-empurpled shower
Of mingled blossoms; where the raptur'd eye
Hurries from joy to joy, and, hid beneath
The fair profusion, yellow Autumn spies.
If, brush'd from Itussian wilds, a cutting gale
Rise not, and scatter from his humid wings
The clammy mildew ; or, dry-blowing, breathe
Untimely frost; before whose baleful blast
The full-blown Spring through all her foliage
Joyless and dead, a wide-dejected waste.
For oft, engender'd by the hazy north,
Myriads on myriads, insect armies waft
Keen in the poison'd breeze; and wasteful eat
Through buds and bark, into the blacken'd core,
Their eager way. A feeble race yet oft
The sacred sons of vengeance 1 on whose course
Corrosive famine waits, and kills the year.
To check this plague, the skilful farmer chaff,
And blazing straw, before his orchard burns;
Till, all involv’d in smoke, the latent foe
From every cranny suffocated falls:
Or scatters o'er the blooms the pungent dust
Of pepper, fatal to the frosty tribe:
Or, when th' envenom'd leaf begins to curl,
With sprinkled water drowns them in their nest;
Nor, while they pick them up with busy bill,
The little trooping birds unwisely scares.
Be patient, swains; these cruel-seeming winds
Blow not in vain. Far hence they keep repress'd
Those deepening clouds on clouds, surcharg’d with
That, o'er the vast Atlantic hither borne,
In endless train, would quench the summer-blaze,
And, cheerless, drown the crude unripened year.
The north-east spends his rage; he now shut
Within his iron cave, th’ effusive south
Warms the wide air, and o'er the void of heaven
Breathes the big clouds with vernal showers distent.
At first a dusky wreath they seem to rise,
Scarce staining ether; but by swift degrees,
In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour sails
Along the loaded sky, and mingled deep
Sits on th' horizon round a settled gloom:
Not such as wintery-storms on mortals shed,
Oppressing life; but lovely, gentle, kind,
And full of every hope, and every joy,
The wish of Nature. Gradual sinks the breeze
Into a perfect calm ; that not a breath
Is heard to quiver through the closing woods,
Or rustling turn the many twinkling leaves
Of aspin tall. Th' uncurling floods, diffus'd
In glassy breadth, seem through delusive lapse
Forgetful of their course. 'Tis silence all,
And pleasing expectation. Herds and flocks
Drop the dry sprig, and mute-imploring, eye
The falling verdure. Hush'd in short suspense,
The plumy people streak their wings with oil,
To throw the lucid moisture trickling off;
And wait th' approaching sign to strike, at once,
Into the general choir. Ev’n mountains, vales,
And forests seem, impatient, to demand
The promis'd sweetness. Man superior walks
Amid the glad creation, musing praise,
And looking lively gratitude. At last,
The clouds consign their treasures to the fields;
And, softly shaking on the dimpled pool
Prelusive drops, let all their moisture flow,
In large effusion, o'er the freshen'd world.
The stealing shower is scarce to patter heard,
By such as wander through the forest walks,
Beneath th' umbrageous multitude of leaves.
But who can hold the shade, while Heaven descends
In universal bounty, shedding herbs,
And fruits, and flowers, on Nature's ample lap 2
Swift fancy fir'd anticipates their growth;
And, while the milky nutriment distils,
Beholds the kindling country colour round.
Thus all day long the full-distended clouds
Indulge their genial stores, and well-shower'd earth
Is deep-enrich'd with vegetable life;
Till, in the western sky, the downward Sun
Looks out, effulgent, from amid the flush
Of broken clouds, gay-shifting to his beam.
The rapid radiance instantaneous strikes
Th’ illumin'd mountain, through the forest streams,
Shakes on the floods, and in a yellow mist,
Far smoking o'er th’ interminable plain,
In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems.
Moist, bright, and green, the landscape laughs
Full swell the woods; their very music wakes,
Mix'd in wild concert with the warbling brooks
Increas'd, the distant bleatings of the hills,
And hollow lows responsive from the vales,
Whence blending all the sweeten’d zephyr springs.
Meantime, refracted from yon eastern cloud,
Bestriding Earth, the grand ethereal bow
Shoots up immense; and every hue unfolds,
In fair proportion running from the red,
To where the violet fades into the sky.
Here, awful Newton, the dissolving clouds
Form, fronting on the Sun, thy showery prism,
And to the sage-instructed eye unfold
The various twine of light, by thee disclos'd
*rom the white mingling maze. Not so the boy,
He wondering views the bright enchantment bend,
Delightful, o'er the radiant fields, and runs
To catch the falling glory; but amaz'd
Beholds th' amusive arch before him fly,
Then vanish quite away. Still night succeeds,
A soften’d shade, and saturated earth
Awaits the morning-beam, to give to light,
Rais'd through ten thousand different plastic tubes,
The balmy treasures of the former day.
Then spring the living herbs, profusely wild,
O'er all the deep-green earth, beyond the power
Of botanists to number up their tribes:
Whether he steals along the lonely dale,
In silent search; or through the forest, rank
With what the dull incurious weeds account,
Bursts his blind way; or climbs the mountain-rock,
Fir’d by the nodding verdure of its brow:
With such a liberal hand has Nature flung
Their seeds abroad, blown them about in winds,
Innumerous mix'd them with the nursing mould,
The moistening current, and prolific rain.
But who their virtues can declare 2 who pierce,
With vision pure, into these secret stores,
Of health, and life, and joy 2 The food of man,
While yet he liv'd in innocence, and told
A length of golden years; unflesh'd in blood,
A stranger to the savage arts of life,
Death, rapine, carnage, surfeit, and disease;
The lord, and not the tyrant, of the world.
The first fresh dawn then wak'd the gladden'd
Of uncorrupted man, nor blush'd to see
The sluggard sleep beneath its sacred beam :
For their light slumbers gently fum'd away;
•nd up they rose as vigorous as the Sun,
Or to the culture of the willing globe,
Or to the cheerful tendence of the flock.
Meantime the song went round; and dance and sport,
Wisdom and friendly talk, successive, stole
Their hours away; while in the rosy vale
Love breath'd his infant sighs, from anguish free,
And full replete with bliss; save the sweet pain,
That, inly thrilling, but exalts it more.
Nor yet injurious act, nor surly deed,
Was known among those happy sons of Heaven;
For reason and benevolence were law.
Harmonious Nature too look'd smiling on.
Clear shone the skies, cool'd with eternal gales,
And balmy spirit all. The youthful Sun
Shot his best rays, and still the gracious clouds
Propp'd fatness down; as o'er the swelling mead,
The herds and flocks, commixing, play'd secure.
This when, emergent from the gloomy wood,
The glaring lion saw, his horrid heart
Was meeken'd, and he join'd his sullen joy,
For music held the whole in perfect peace :
Soft sigh'd the flute; the tender voice was heard,
Warbling the varied heart; the woodlands round
Apply'd their quire; and winds and waters flow'd
In consonance. Such were those prime of days.
But now those white unblemish'd manners,
The fabling poets took their golden age,
Are found no more amid these iron times,
These dregs of life " Now the distemper'd mind
Has lost that concord of harmonious powers,
Which forms the soul of happiness; and all
Is off the poise within : the passions all
Have burst their bounds; and reason, half extinct,
(or impotent, or else approving, sees
The foul disorder. Semseless, and deform'd,
Convulsive anger storms at large; or pale,
And silent, settles into fell revenge.
Base envy withers at another's joy,
And hates that excellence it cannot reach.
Desponding fear, of feeble fancies full,
Weak and unmanly, loosens every power.
Ev’n love itself is bitterness of soul,
A pensive anguish pining at the heart;
Or, sunk to sordid interest, feels no more
That noble wish, that never-cloy'd desire,
Which, selfish joy disdaining, seeks alone
To bless the dearer object of its flame.
Hope sickens with extravagance; and grief,
Of life impatient, into madness swells;
Or in dead silence wastes the weeping hours.
These, and a thousand mixt emotions more,
From ever-changing views of good and ill,
Form'd infinitely various, vex the mind
With endless storm: whence, deeply rankling, grows
The partial thought, a listless unconcern,
Cold, and averting from our neighbour's good;
Then dark disgust, and hatred, winding wiles,
Coward deceit, and ruffian violence;
At last, extinct each social feeling, fell
And joyless inhumanity pervades
And petrifies the heart. Nature disturb’d
Is deem’d, vindictive, to have chang'd her course.
Hence, in old dusky time, a deluge came :
When the deep-cleft disparting orb, that arch'd
The central waters round, impetuous rush'd,
With universal burst, into the gulph,
And o'er the high-pil'd hills of fractur'd earth
Wide dash'd the waves, in undulation vast;
Till, from the centre to the streaming clouds,
A shoreless ocean tumbled round the globe.
The Seasons since have, with severer sway,
Oppress'd a broken world: the Winter keen
Shook forth his waste of snows; and Summer shot
His pestilential heats. Great Spring, before,
Green'd all the year; and fruits and blossoms
In social sweetness, on the self-same bough.
Pure was the temperate air; and even calm
Perpetual reign'd, save what the zephyrs bland
Breath'd o'er the blue expanse: for then nor storms
Were taught to blow, nor hurricanes to rage;
Sound slept the waters; no sulphureous glooms
Swell'd in the sky, and sent the lightning forth;
While sickly damps, and cold autumnal fogs,
Hung not, relaxing, on the springs of life.
But now, of turbid elements the sport,
From clear to cloudy tost, from hot to cold,
And dry to moist, with inward-eating change,
Our drooping days are dwindled down to nought,
Their period finish'd ere 'tis well begun.
And yet the wholesome herb neglected dies;
Though with the pure exhilarating soul
Of nutriment, and health, and vital powers,
Beyond the search of art, 'tis copious blest.
For, with hot ravine fir’d, ensanguin'd man
Is now become the lion of the plain,
And worse. The wolf, who from the nightly fold
Fierce drags the bleating prey, ne'er drunk her milk,
Nor wore her warming fleece: nor has the steer,
At whose strong chest the deadly tiger hangs,
E'er plough'd for him. They too are temper'd high,
With hunger stung and wild necessity,
Nor lodges pity in their shaggy breast.
But 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: shall he, fair form'
Who wears sweet smiles, and looks erect on Heaven,
E'er stoop to mingle with the prowling herd,
And dip his tongue in gore? The beast of prey,
Blood-stain'd, deserves to bleed: but you, ye flocks,
What have ye done; ye peaceful people, what,
To merit death? you who have given us milk
In lascious streams, and lent us your own coat
Against the winter's cold 2 And the plain ox,
That harmless, honest, guileless animal,
In what has he offended? he, whose toil,
Patient and ever ready, clothes the land
With all the pomp of harvest: shall he bleed,
And struggling groan beneath the cruel hands
Ev’n of the clown he feeds; and that, perhaps,
To swell the riot of th’ autumnal feast,
Won by his labour? Thus the feeling heart
Would tenderly suggest: but 'tis enough,
In this late age, adventurous, to have touch'd
Light on the numbers of the Samian sage.
High Heaven forbids the bold presumptuous strain,
Whose wisest will has fix'd us in a state
That must not yet to pure perfection rise.
Now, when the first foul torrent of the brooks,
Swell'd with the vernal rains, is ebb'd away,
And, whitening, down their mossy-tinctur'd stream
Descends the billowy foam : now is the time,
While yet the dark-brown water aids the guile,
To tempt the trout. The well-dissembled fly,
The rod fine-tapering with elastic spring,
Snatch'd from the hoary steed the floating line,
And all thy slender wat'ry stores, prepare.
But let not on thy hook the tortur'd worm,
Convulsive, twist in agonizing folds;
Which, by rapacious hunger swallow'd deep,
Gives, as you tear it from the bleeding breast
Of the weak helpless uncomplaining wretch,
Harsh pain, and horrour to the tender hand.
When with his lively ray the potent Sun
Has pierc'd the streams, and rous'd the finny race,
Then issuing cheerful, to thy sport repair;
Chief should the western breezes curling play,
And light o'er ether bear the shadowy clouds.
High to their fount, this day, amid the hills
And woodlands warbling round, trace up the brooks;
The next, pursue their rocky-channell'd maze,
Down to the river, in whose ample wave
Their little Naiads love to sport at large.
Just in the dubious point, where with the pool
Is mix'd the trembling stream, or where it boils
Around the stone, or from the hollow'd bank
Reverted plays in undulating flow,
There throw, nice judging, the delusive fly;
And as you lead it round in artful curve,
With eye attentive mark the springing game.
Straight as above the surface of the flood
They wanton rise, or urg'd by hunger leap,
Then fix, with gentle twitch, the barbed hook:
Some lightly tossing to the grassy bank,
And to the shelving shore, slow-dragging some,
With various hand proportion'd to their force.
lf yet too young, and easily deceiv'd,
A worthless prey scarce bends your pliant rod,
Him, piteous of his youth, and the short space
He has enjoy'd the vital light of Heaven,
Soft disengage, and back into the stream
The speckled captive throw. But should you lure
From his dark haunt, beneath the tangled roots
Of pendant trees, the monarch of the brook,
Behoves you then to ply your finest art.
Long time he, following cautious, scans the fly;
And oft attempts to seize it, but as oft
The dimpled water speaks his jealous fear.
At last, while haply o'er the shaded Sun
Passes a cloud, he desperate takes the death,
With sullen plunge. At once he darts along,
Deep-struck, and runs out all the lengthen’d line:
Then seeks the farthest ooze, the sheltering weed,
The cavern'd bank, his old secure abode;
And flies aloft, and flounces round the pool,
Indignant of the guile. With yielding hand,
That feels him still, yet to his furious course
Gives way, you, now retiring, following now,
Across the stream, exhaust his idle rage:
Till floating broad upon his breathless side,
And to his fate abandon'd, to the shore
You gaily drag your unresisting prize.
Thus pass the temperate hours: but when the Sun
Shakes from his noon-day throne the scattering
Ev’n shooting listless languor through the deeps;
Then seek the bank where flowering elders crowd,
Where, scatter'd wild, the lily of the vale
Its balmy essence breathes, where cowslips hang
The dewy head, where purple violets lurk,
With all the lowly children of the shade:
Or lie reclin'd beneath yon spreading ash,
Hung o'er the steep; whence, borne on liquid wing,
The sounding culver shoots; or where the hawk,
High, in the beetling cliff, his aéry builds.
There let the classic page the fancy lead
Through rural scenes; such as the Mantuan swain
Paints in the matchless harmony of song.
Or catch thyself the landscape, gliding swift
Athwart imagination's vivid eye:
Or by the vocal woods and waters lull'd,
And lost in lonely musing, in the dream,
Confus'd, of careless solitude, where mix
Ten thousand wandering images of things,
Soothe every gust of passion into peace;
All but the swellings of the soften’d heart,
That waken, not disturb, the tranquil mind.
Behold yon breathing prospect bids the Muse
Throw all her beauty forth. But who can paint
Like Nature? Can imagination boast,
Amid its gas creation, hues like hers?
Or can it mix them with that matchless skill,
And lose them in each other, as appears
In every bud that blows? If fancy then
Unequal fails beneath the pleasing task,
Ah, what shall language do? ah, where find words
Ting'd with so many colours; and whose power,
To life approaching, may perfume my lays
With that fine oil, those aromatic gales
That inexhaustive flow continual round?
Yet, though successless, will the toil delight.
Come then, ye virgins and ye youths, whose hearts
Have felt the raptures of refining love!
And thou, Amanda, come, pride of my song!
Form'd by the Graces, loveliness itself!
Come with those downcast eyes, sedate and sweet,
Those looks demure, that deeply pierce the soul,
Where, with the light of thoughtful reason mix’d,
Shines lively fancy and the feeling heart:
O come! and while the rosy-footed May
Steals blushing on, together let us treat