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[The Seasons:] SUMMER.

1 FROM yonder fields of aether fair disclos'd,
2 Child of the Sun! illustrious Summer comes
3 In pride of youth, and felt thro' Nature's depth.
4 He comes, attended by the fultry Hours,
5 And ever-fanning Breezes, on his way;
6 While, from his ardent look, the turning Spring
7 Averts her blushful face; and earth, and skies,
8 All-smiling, to his hot dominion leaves.
9 Hence, let me haste into the mid-wood shade,
10 Where scarce a sun-beam wanders thro' the gloom;
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11 And on the dark-green grass, beside the brink
12 Of haunted stream that by the roots of oak
13 Rowls o'er the rocky channel, lie at large,
14 And sing the glories of the circling year.
15 Come, Inspiration! from thy hermit seat
16 By mortal seldom found: may fancy dare,
17 From thy fix'd serious muse, and raptur'd eye
18 Shot on surrounding heaven, to steal one look,
19 Creative of the poet, every power
20 Exalting to an extasy of soul.
21 And thou, the muse's honour! and her friend!
22 In whom the human graces all unite:
23 Pure light of mind, and tenderness of heart;
24 Genius, and wisdom; the gay social sense,
25 By decency chastiz'd; goodness and wit,
26 In seldom-meeting harmony combin'd;
27 Unblemish'd honour, and an active zeal,
28 For Britain's glory, Liberty, and Man;
29 O Dodington! attend my rural song,
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30 Stoop to my theme, inspirit every line,
31 And teach me to deserve thy best applause.
32 With what a perfect world-revolving power
33 Were first th' unwieldy planets launch'd along
34 Th' illimitable void! Thus to remain,
35 Amid the flux of many thousand years,
36 That oft has swept the busy race of men,
37 And all their labour'd monuments away,
38 Unresting, changless, matchless, in their course;
39 To night and day, with the delightful round
40 Of Seasons, faithful; not excentric once:
41 So pois'd, and perfect is the vast machine.
42 When now no more th' alternate Twins are fir'd,
43 And Cancer reddens with the solar blaze,
44 Short is the doubtful empire of the night;
45 And soon, observant of approaching day,
46 The meek-ey'd morn appears, mother of dews!
47 At first faint-gleaming in the dappled east:
48 Till far o'er aether shoots the trembling glow;
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49 And, from before the lustre of her face,
50 White break the clouds away. With tardy step,
51 Brown night retires. Young day pours in apace,
52 And opens all the lawny prospect wide.
53 The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top
54 Swell on the eye, and brighten with the dawn.
55 Blue thro' the dusk the smoaking currents shine;
56 And from the bladed field the fearful hare
57 Limps aukward; while along the forest glade
58 The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze
59 At early passenger. Musick awakes,
60 The native voice of undissembled joy;
61 And thick around the woodland hymns arise.
62 Rous'd by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves
63 His mossy cottage, where with Peace he dwells;
64 And from the crowded fold in order drives
65 His flock, to taste the verdure of the morn.
66 Falsly luxurious, will not man awake,
67 And, starting from the bed of sloth, enjoy
68 The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour,
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69 To meditation due, and sacred song.
70 And is there ought in sleep can charm the wise?
71 To lie in dead oblivion, losing half
72 The fleeting moments of too short a life?
73 Total extinction of th' enlighten'd soul!
74 Or else to feverish vanity alive,
75 Wilder'd, and tossing thro' distemper'd dreams?
76 Who would in such a gloomy state remain,
77 Longer than nature craves; when every Muse,
78 And every blooming Pleasure wait without,
79 To bless the wildy-devious morning walk?
80 But yonder comes the powerful king of day,
81 Rejoycing in the east. The lessening cloud,
82 The kindling azure, and the mountain's brim
83 Tipt with aetherial gold, his near approach
84 Betoken glad: and now apparent all,
85 Aslant the dew-bright earth, and colour'd air,
86 He looks in boundless majesty abroad;
87 And sheds the shining day, that burnish'd plays
88 On rocks, and hills, and towers, and wandering streams,
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89 High-gleaming from afar. Prime chearer Light!
90 Of all material beings first, and best!
91 Efflux divine! Nature's resplendent robe!
92 Without whose vesting beauty all were wrapt
93 In unessential gloom; and thou, red Sun,
94 In whose wide circle worlds of radiance lie,
95 Exhaustless Brightness, may I sing of thee!
96 Who would the blessings, first and last, recount,
97 That in a full effusion from thee flow,
98 As soon might number, at the height of noon,
99 The rays that radiate from thy cloudless sphere,
100 A universal glory darting round.
101 'Tis by thy secret, strong, attractive force,
102 As with a chain indissoluble bound.
103 Thy system rolls entire; from the far bourne
104 Of slow-pac'd Saturn to the scarce seen disk
105 Of Mercury, lost in excessive blaze.
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106 Informer of the planetary train!
107 Without whose vital and effectual glance,
108 They wou'd be brute, uncomfortable mass,
109 And not as now the green abodes of life!
110 How many forms of being wait on thee!
111 Inhaling gladness; from th' unfetter'd mind,
112 By thee sublim'd, to that day-living race,
113 The mixing myriads of thy setting beam.
114 The vegetable world is also thine,
115 Parent of Seasons! from whose rich-stain'd rays,
116 Reflected various, various colours rise:
117 The freshening mantle of the youthful year;
118 The wild embroidery of the watry vale;
119 With all that chears the sense, and charms the heart.
120 The branching grove thy lusty product stands,
121 Diffus'd, and deep; to quench the summer noon,
122 And crowd a shade for the retreating swain,
123 When on his russet fields you look direct.
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124 Fruit is thy bounty too, with Juice replete,
125 Acid, or mild; and from thy ray receives
126 A flavour, pleasing to the taste of man.
127 By thee concocted blushes; and, by thee
128 Fully matur'd, into the verdant lap
129 Of Industry the mellow plenty falls.
130 Extensive harvests wave at thy command;
131 And the bright ear, consolidate by thee,
132 Bends unwitholding to the reaper's hand.
133 Even Winter speaks thy power; whose every blast,
134 O'ercast with tempest, or severely sharp
135 With breathing frost, is eloquent of thee,
136 And makes us languish for thy vernal gleams.
137 Shot to the bowels of the teeming earth,
138 The ripening ore confesses all thy power.
139 Hence Labour draws his tools; hence waving War
140 Flames on the day; hence busy Commerce binds
141 The round of nations in a golden chain;
142 And hence the sculptur'd palace, sumptuous, shines
143 With glittering silver, and refulgent gold.
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144 Th' unfruitful rock itself impregn'd by thee,
145 In dark retirement, forms the lucid stone;
146 Collected light, compact; that polish'd bright,
147 And all its native lustre let abroad,
148 Shines proudly on the bosoms of the fair.
149 At thee the ruby lights his deepening glow,
150 A bleeding radiance, grateful to the view.
151 From thee the saphire, solid aether, takes
152 His hue cerulean; and, of evening tinct,
153 The purple-streaming amethyst is thine.
154 With thy own smile the yellow topaz burns.
155 Nor deeper verdure dies the robe of Spring,
156 When first she gives it to the southern gale,
157 Than the green emerald shows. But, all combin'd,
158 Thick thro' the whitening opal play thy beams;
159 Or, flying several from its surface, form
160 A trembling variance of revolving hues,
161 As the site varies in the gazer's hand.
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162 The very dead creation, from thy touch,
163 Assumes a mimic life. By thee refin'd,
164 In brisker measures, the relucent stream
165 Frisks o'er the mead. The precipice abrupt,
166 Projecting horror on the blacken'd flood,
167 Softens at thy return. The desart joys
168 Wildly, thro' all his melancholy bounds.
169 Rude ruins glitter; and the briny deep,
170 Seen from some pointed promontory's top,
171 Reflects, from every fluctuating wave,
172 A glance extensive as the day. But these,
173 And all the much transported muse can sing,
174 Are to thy beauty, dignity, and use,
175 Unequal far, great delegated source,
176 Of light, and life, and grace, and joy below!
177 How shall I then attempt to sing of him,
178 Who, Light Himself, in uncreated light
179 Invested deep, dwells awfully retir'd
180 From mortal eye, or angel's purer ken;
181 Whose single smile has, from the first of time,
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182 Fill'd, over-flowing, all those lamps of heaven,
183 That beam for ever thro' the boundless sky:
184 But, should he hide his face, th' astonish'd sun,
185 And all th' extinguish'd stars, would loosening reel,
186 Wide from their spheres, and chaos come again.
187 And yet, was every faultering tongue of man,
188 Almighty Poet! silent in thy praise;
189 Thy matchless works in each exalted line,
190 And all the full harmonic universe,
191 Would vocal, or expressive, thee attest,
192 The cause, the glory, and the end of all!
193 To me be nature's volume wide display'd;
194 And to peruse the broad illumin'd page,
195 Or, haply catching inspiration thence,
196 Some easy passage, raptur'd, to translate,
197 My sole delight; as thro' the falling glooms
198 Pensive I muse, or with the rising day
199 On fancy's eagle-wing excursive soar.
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200 Fierce-flaming up the heavens, the piercing sun
201 Melts into limpid air the high-rais'd clouds,
202 And morning mists, that hover'd round the hills
203 In party-colour'd bands; till all unveil'd
204 The face of nature shines, from where earth seems,
205 Far-stretch'd around, to meet the bending sphere.
206 Half in a blush of clustering roses lost,
207 Dew-dropping coolness to the shade retires;
208 And tyrant heat, dispreading thro' the sky,
209 By sharp degrees, his burning influence reigns
210 On man, and beast, and herb, and tepid stream.
211 Who can unpitying see the flowery race,
212 Shed by the morn, their new-flush'd bloom resign,
213 Before th' unbating beam? So fade the fair,
214 When fevers revel thro' their azure veins.
215 But one, the follower of the sun, they say,
216 Sad when he sets shuts up her yellow leaves.
217 Weeping all night; and, when he warm returns,
218 Points her enamour'd bosom to his ray.
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219 Home, from his morning task, the swain retreats;
220 His flock before him stepping to the fold:
221 While the full-udder'd mother lows around
222 The chearful cottage then expecting food,
223 The food of innocence, and health! The daw,
224 The rook and magpie, to the grey-grown oaks
225 (That the calm village, in their verdant arms,
226 Sheltering, embrace) direct their lazy flight;
227 Where on the mingling boughs they sit embower'd,
228 All the hot noon, till cooler hours arise.
229 Faint, underneath, the homely fowls convene;
230 And, in a corner of the buzzing shade,
231 The house dog, with th' employless grey-hound, lies,
232 Outstretch'd, and sleepy. In his slumbers one
233 Attacks the nightly thief, and one exults
234 O'er hill and dale; till, waken'd by the wasp,
235 They bootless snap. Nor shall the muse disdain
236 To let the little noisy summer-race
237 Live in her lay, and flutter thro' her song,
238 Not mean, tho' simple; to the sun ally'd,
239 From him their high descent, direct, they draw.
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240 Wak'd by his warmer ray, the reptile young
241 Come wing'd abroad; by the light air upborn,
242 Lighter, and full of life. From every chink,
243 And secret corner, where they slept away
244 The wintry glooms, by myriads, all at once,
245 Swarming, they pour: green, speckled, yellow, grey,
246 Black, azure, brown; more than th' assisted eye
247 Of poring virtuoso can discern.
248 Ten thousand forms! Ten thousand different tribes!
249 People the blaze. To sunny waters some
250 By fatal instinct fly; where on the pool
251 They, sportive, wheel; or, sailing down the stream,
252 Are snatch'd immediate by the springing Trout,
253 Often beguil'd. Some thro' the green-wood glade
254 Delight to stray; there lodg'd, amus'd, and fed,
255 In the fresh leaf. Luxurious, others make
256 The meads their choice, and visit every flower,
257 And every latent herb; but careful still
258 To shun the mazes of the sounding bee,
259 As o'er the blooms he sweeps. Some to the house,
260 The fold, and dairy, hungry, bend their flight;
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261 Sip round the pail, or taste the curdling cheese:
262 Oft, inadvertent, by the boiling stream
263 Are pierc'd to death; or, weltering in the bowl,
264 With powerless wings around them wrapt, expire.
265 But chief to heedless flies the window proves
266 A constant death; where, gloomily retir'd,
267 The villain spider lives, cunning, and fierce,
268 Mixture abhorr'd! Amid a mangled heap
269 Of carcasses, in eager watch he sits,
270 O'erlooking all his waving snares around.
271 Within an inch the dreadless wanderer oft
272 Passes, as oft the ruffian shows his front.
273 The prey at last ensnar'd, he dreadful darts,
274 With rapid glide, along the leaning line;
275 And, fixing in the fly his cruel fangs,
276 Strides backward grimly pleas'd: the fluttering wing,
277 And shriller sound declare extream distress,
278 And ask the helping, hospitable hand.
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279 Echoes the living surface of the ground;
280 Nor undelightful is the ceaseless hum,
281 To him who muses thro' the woods at noon;
282 Or drowsy shepherd, as he lies reclin'd,
283 With half-shut eyes, beneath the floating shade
284 Of willows grey, close-crouding o'er the brook.
285 Let no presuming impious railer tax
286 Creative Wisdom, as if ought was form'd
287 In vain, or not for admirable ends.
288 Shall little, haughty ignorance pronounce
289 His works unwise; of which the smallest part
290 Exceeds the narrow vision of his mind?
291 Thus on the concave of a sounding dome,
292 On swelling columns heav'd, the pride of art!
293 Wanders a critic fly; his feeble ray
294 Extends an inch around, yet blindly bold
295 He dares dislike the structure of the whole.
296 And lives the man, whose universal eye
297 Has swept at once th' unbounded scheme of things;
298 Mark'd their dependance so, and firm accord,
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299 As with unfaultering accent to conclude
300 That This availeth nought? Has any seen
301 The mighty chain of beings, lessening down
302 From Infinite Perfection to the brink
303 Of dreary Nothing, desolate abyss!
304 Recoiling giddy thought: or with sharp glance,
305 Such as remotely-wafting spirits use,
306 Beheld the glories of the little world?
307 Till then alone let zealous praise ascend,
308 And hymns of heavenly wonder, to that Power,
309 Whole wisdom shines as lovely on our minds,
310 As on our smiling eyes his servant-sun.
311 Thick in yon stream of light, a thousand ways,
312 Upwards and downwards, thwarting, and convolv'd,
313 The quivering kingdoms sport; with tempest-wing,
314 Till Winter sweeps them from the face of day.
315 Even so luxurious men, unheeding, pass
316 An idle summer-life in fortune's shine,
317 A season's glitter! In soft-circling robes,
318 Which the hard hand of Industry has wrought,
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319 The human insects glow; by Hunger fed,
320 And chear'd by toiling Thirst, they rowl about
321 From toy to trifle, vanity to vice;
322 Till blown away by Death, Oblivion comes
323 Behind, and strikes them from the book of life.
324 Now swarms the village o'er the jovial mead;
325 The rustic youth, brown with meridian toil,
326 Healthful, and strong; full as the summer-rose
327 Blown by prevailing suns, the blooming maid,
328 Half-naked, swelling on the sight, and all
329 Her kindled graces burning o'er her cheek.
330 Even stooping age is here; and infant-hands
331 Trail the long rake, or with the fragrant load
332 O'ercharg'd, amid the soft oppression roll.
333 Wide flies the tedded grain; all in a row
334 Advancing broad, or wheeling round the field,
335 They spread the tawny Harvest to the sun,
336 That casts refreshful round a rural smell:
337 Or, as they rake the green-appearing ground,
338 And drive the dusky wave along the mead,
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339 Rises the russet hay-cock thick behind,
340 In order gay. While heard from dale to dale,
341 Waking the breeze, resounds the blended voice
342 Of happy labour, love, and social glee.
343 'Tis raging noon; and, vertical, the sun
344 Shoots thro' th' expanding air a torrid gleam.
345 O'er heaven and earth, far as the darted eye
346 Can pierce, a dazling deluge reigns; and all
347 From pole to pole is undistinguish'd blaze.
348 Down to the dusty earth the sight, o'erpower'd,
349 Stoops for relief; but thence ascending streams,
350 And keen reflection pain. Burnt to the heart
351 Are the refreshless fields; their arid hue
352 Adds a new fever to the sickening soul:
353 And o'er their slippery surface wary treads
354 The foot of thirsty pilgrim, often dipt
355 In a cross rill, presenting to his wish
356 A living draught: he seels before he drinks!
357 Echo no more returns the sandy sound
358 Of sharpening scythe; the mower, sinking, heaps
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359 O'er him the humid hay, with flowers perfum'd;
360 And scarce a chirping grashopper is heard
361 Thro' the dumb mead. Distressful nature pants.
362 The desart reddens; and the stubborn rock,
363 Split to the center, sweats at every pore.
364 The very streams look languid from afar;
365 Or, thro' the fervid glade, impetuous hurl
366 Into the shelter of the crackling grove.
367 All-conquering heat, oh intermit thy wrath!
368 And on my throbbing temples potent thus
369 Beam not so hard! Incessant still you flow,
370 And still another fervent flood succeeds,
371 Pour'd on the head profuse. In vain I sigh,
372 And restless turn, and look around for night;
373 Night is far off; and hotter hours approach.
374 Who can endure! the too resplendent scene
375 Already darkens on the dizzy sight,
376 And double objects dance; unreal sounds
377 Sing deep around; a weight of sultry dew
378 Hangs deathful on the limbs; shiver the nerves;
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379 The supple sinews sink; and on the heart,
380 Misgiving, horror lays his heavy hand.
381 Thrice happy he! that on the sunless side
382 Of a romantic mountain, forest-crown'd,
383 Beneath the whole collected shade reclines:
384 Or in the gelid caverns, woodbine-wrought,
385 And fresh bedew'd with ever-spouting streams,
386 Sits coolly calm; while all the world without,
387 Unsatisfy'd, and sick, tosses in noon.
388 Emblem instructive of the virtuous man,
389 Who keeps his temper'd mind serere, and pure,
390 And all his passions aptly harmoniz'd,
391 Amid a jarring world, with vice inflam'd.
392 Welcome, ye shades! ye bowery thickets, hail!
393 Ye lofty pines! ye venerable oaks!
394 Ye ashes wild, resounding o'er the steep!
395 Delicious is your shelter to the soul,
396 As to the hunted hart the sallying spring,
397 Or stream full-flowing, that his swelling sides
398 Laves, as he floats along the herbag'd brink.
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399 Cold thro' the nerves, your pleasing comfort glides;
400 The heart beats glad; the fresh-expanded eye,
401 And ear resume their watch; the sinews knit;
402 And life shoots swift thro' every lighten'd limb.
403 All in th' adjoining brook, that shrills along
404 The vocal grove, now fretting o'er a rock,
405 Now scarcely moving thro' a reedy pool,
406 Now starting to a sudden stream, and now
407 Gently diffus'd into a limpid plain;
408 A various groupe the herds and flocks compose;
409 Rural confusion! On the grassy bank
410 Some ruminating lie; while others stand
411 Half in the flood, and often bending sip
412 The circling surface. In the middle droops
413 The strong laborious ox, of honest front,
414 Which incompos'd he shakes; and from his sides
415 The troublous insects lashes with his tail,
416 Returning still. Amid his subjects safe,
417 Slumbers the monareh-swain; his careless arm
418 Thrown round his head on downy moss sustain'd;
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419 Here laid his scrip, with wholesome viands fill'd;
420 And there his sceptre-crook, and watchful dog.
421 Light fly his slumbers, if perchance a flight
422 Of angry hornets fasten on the herd;
423 That startling scatters from the shallow brook,
424 In search of lavish stream. Tossing the foam,
425 They scorn the keeper's voice, and scour the plain,
426 Thro' all the bright severity of noon;
427 While, from their labouring breasts, a hollow moan
428 Proceeding, runs low-bellowing round the hills.
429 Oft in this season too the horse provok'd,
430 While his big sinews, full of spirits, swell,
431 Trembling with vigour, in the heat of blood,
432 Springs the high fence; and o'er the field effus'd,
433 Darts on the gloomy flood, with steady eye,
434 And heart estrang'd to fear: his nervous chest,
435 Luxuriant, and erect, the seat of strength!
436 Bears downth' opposing stream: quenchless his thirst,
437 He takes the river at redoubled draughts;
438 And with wide nostrils, snorting, skims the wave.
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439 Still let me pierce into the midnight depth
440 Of yonder grove, of wildest, largest growth;
441 That, high embowering in the middle air,
442 Nods o'er the mount beneath. At every step,
443 Solemn, and slow, the shadows blacker fall,
444 And all is awful, silent gloom around.
445 These are the haunts of meditation, these
446 The scenes where antient Bards th' inspiring breath,
447 Extatic felt, and, from this world retir'd,
448 Convers'd with angels, and immortal forms,
449 On heavenly errants bent: to save the fall
450 Of virtue strugling on the brink of vice;
451 In waking whispers, and repeated dreams,
452 To hint pure thought, and warn'd the favour'd soul,
453 For future tryals fated to prepare;
454 To prompt the Poet, who devoted gives
455 His muse to better themes; to sooth the pangs
456 Of dying Saints; and from the Patriot's breast,
457 (Backward to mingle in detested war,
458 But foremost when engag'd) to turn the death;
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459 And numberless such offices of love,
460 Daily, and nightly, zealous to perform.
461 Shook sudden from the bosom of the sky,
462 A thousand shapes or glide athwart the dusk,
463 Or stalk majestick on. Arous'd, I feel
464 A sacred terror, and severe delight,
465 Creep thro' my mortal frame; and thus, methinks,
466 Those accents murmur'd in th' abstracted ear,
467 Pronounce distinct. "Be not of us afraid,
468 " Poor kindred man, thy fellow-creatures, we
469 "From the same Parent-Power our beings drew,
470 " The, same our Lord, and laws, and great pursuit.
471 "Once some of us, like thee, thro' stormy life,
472 " Toil'd, tempest-beaten, e'er we could attain
473 "This holy calm, this harmony of mind,
474 " Where purity and peace immingle charms.
475 "Then fear us not; but with responsive song,
476 " Oft in these dim recesses, undisturb'd
477 "By noisy folly, and discordant vice,
478 " Of nature sing with us, and nature's God.
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479 "And frequent at the middle waste of night,
480 " Or all day long, in desarts still, are heard,
481 "Now here, now there, now wheeling in mid-sky,
482 " Around, or underneath, aerial sounds,
483 "Sent from angelic harps, and voices join'd.
484 " A happiness bestow'd by us, alone,
485 "On contemplation, or the hallow'd ear
486 " Of Poet, swelling to seraphic strain. "
487 Thus up the Mount, in visionary muse,
488 I stray, regardless whither; till the stun
489 Of a near fall of water every sense
490 Wakes from the charm of thought: swift-shrinking back,
491 I stand aghast, and view the broken scene.
492 Smooth to the shaggy brink a spreading flood
493 Rolls fair and placid; till collected all,
494 In one big glut, as sinks the shelving ground,
495 Th' impetuous torrent, tumbling down the steep,
496 Thunders and shakes th' astonish'd country round.
497 Now a blue watry sheet; anon dispers'd,
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498 A hoary mist; then gathered in again,
499 A darted stream aslant the hollow rock,
500 This way, and that tormented; dashing thick,
501 From seep to seep, with wild, infracted course,
502 And restless roaring to the humble vale.
503 With the rough prospect tir'd, I turn my gaze,
504 Where, in long vista, the soft-murmuring main
505 Darts a green lustre, trembling thro' the trees;
506 Or to yon silver-streaming threads of light,
507 A showery radiance, beaming thro' the boughs.
508 Invited from the rock, to whose dark cliff
509 He clings, the steep-ascending eagle soars,
510 With upward pinions thro' th' attractive gleam:
511 And, giving full his bosom to the blaze,
512 Gains on the sun; while all the feathery race,
513 Smote with afflictive noon, disorder'd droop,
514 Deep in the thicket; or, from bower to bower
515 Responsive, force an interrupted strain.
516 The stock-dove only thro' the forest cooes,
517 Mournfully hoarse; oft ceasing from his plaint,
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518 Short interval of weary woe! again
519 The sad idea of his murder'd mate,
520 Struck from his side by savage fowler's guile,
521 Across his fancy comes; and then resounds
522 A louder song of sorrow thro' the grove.
523 Beside the dewy border let me sit,
524 All in the freshness of the humid air;
525 There on that rock by Nature's chissel carv'd
526 An ample chair, moss-lin'd, and over head
527 By flowering umbrage shaded; where the bee
528 Strays diligent, and with th' extracted sweet
529 Of honey-suckle loads his little thigh.
530 And what a various prospect lies around!
531 Of hills, and vales, and woods, and lawns, and spires,
532 And towns betwixt, and gilded streams; till all
533 The stretching landskip into smoak decays.
534 Happy Britannia! where the Queen of arts,
535 Inspiring vigour, Liberty abroad
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536 Walks thro' the land of Heroes, unconfin'd
537 And scatters plenty with unsparing hand.
538 Rich is the soil, and merciful the skies;
539 Thy streams unfailing in the summer's drought;
540 Unmatch'd thy guardian-oaks; thy vallies float
541 With golden waves; and on thy mountains flocks
542 Bleat, numberless; while, roving round their sides,
543 Bellow the blackening herds in lusty droves.
544 Beneath, thy meadows flame, and rise unquell'd,
545 Against the mower's scythe. On every hand,
546 Thy villas shine. Thy country teems with wealth,
547 And Property assures it to the swain,
548 Pleas'd, and unweary'd, in his certain toil.
549 Full are thy cities with the Sons of art;
550 And trade, and joy, in every busy street,
551 Mingling are heard: even Drudgery himself,
552 As at the car he sweats, or dusty hews
553 The palace-stone, looks gay. Thy crouded ports,
554 Where rising masts an endless prospect yield,
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555 With labour burn, and echo to the shouts
556 Of hurry'd sailor, as he hearty waves
557 His last adieu, and loosening every sheet,
558 Resigns the spreading vessel to the wind.
559 Bold, firm, and graceful, are thy generous youth,
560 By hardship sinew'd, and by danger fir'd,
561 Scattering the nations where they go; and first,
562 Or in the listed plain, or wintry seas.
563 Mild are thy glories too, as o'er the plans
564 Of thriving peace thy thoughtful sires preside;
565 In genius, and substantial learning high;
566 For every virtue, every worth renown'd,
567 Sincere, plain-hearted, hospitable, kind;
568 Yet like the mustering thunder when provok'd;
569 The dread of tyrants, and the sole resource
570 Of such as under grim oppression groan.
571 Thy sons of glory many! thine a More,
572 As Cato firm, as Aristides just,
573 Like rigid Cincinnatus nobly poor,
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574 A dauntless soul, erect, who smil'd on death.
575 Frugal, and wise, a Walsingham is thine;
576 A Drake, who made thee mistress of the deep,
577 And bore thy name in thunder round the world.
578 Then flam'd thy spirit high; but who can speak
579 The numerous worthies of the maiden reign?
580 In Raleigh mark their every glory mix'd,
581 Raleigh, the scourge of Spain! whose breast with all
582 The sage, the patriot, and the hero burn'd.
583 Nor sunk his vigour, when a coward-reign
584 The warrior fetter'd, and at last resign'd,
585 To glut the vengeance of a vanquish'd foe.
586 Then deep thro' fate his mind retorted saw,
587 And with his prison-hours enrich'd the world;
588 Yet found no times, in all the long research,
589 So glorious, or so base, as those he prov'd,
590 In which he conquer'd, and in which he bled.
591 A Hambden thine, of unsubmitting soul;
592 Who stemm'd the torrent of a downward age,
593 To slavery prone; and bade thee rise again,
594 In all thy native pomp of Freedom fierce.
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595 Nor can the muse the gallant Sidney pass,
596 The plume of war! with every lawrel crown'd,
597 The lover's myrtle, and the poet's bay.
598 Nor him of later name, firm to the cause
599 Of Liberty, her rough determin'd friend,
600 The British Brutus; whose united blood
601 With Russel, thine, thou patriot wise, and calm,
602 Stain'd the sad annals of a giddy reign;
603 Aiming at lawless power, tho' meanly sunk
604 In loose inglorious sloth. High thy renown
605 In Sages too, far as the sacred light
606 Of science spreads, and wakes the muses' song.
607 Thine is a Bacon form'd of happy mold,
608 When Nature smil'd, deep, comprehensive, clear,
609 Exact, and elegant; in one rich soul,
610 Plato, the Stagyrite, and Tully join'd.
611 The generous
* Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftsbury.
Ashley thine, the friend of man;
612 Who scann'd his nature with a brother's eye,
613 His weakness prompt to shade, to raise his aim,
614 To touch the finer movements of the mind,
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615 And with the moral Beauty charm the heart.
616 What need I name thy Boyle, whose pious search
617 Still sought the great Creator in his works,
618 By sure experience led? And why thy Locke,
619 Who made the whole internal world his own?
620 Let comprehensive Newton speak thy fame,
621 In all philosophy. For solemn song,
622 Is not wild Shakespear nature's boast, and thine?
623 And every greatly amiable muse
624 Of elder ages in thy Milton met?
625 His was the treasure of two thousand years,
626 Seldom indulg'd to man; a god-like mind,
627 Unlimited, and various, as his Theme;
628 Astonishing as Chaos; as the bloom
629 Of blowing Eden fair; foft as the talk
630 Of our grand Parents, and as Heaven sublime.
631 May my song soften as, thy daughters, I,
632 Britannia, hail! for beauty is their own,
633 The feeling heart simplicity of life,
634 And elegance, and taste: the faultless form,
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635 Shap'd by the hand of Harmony; the cheek,
636 Where the live crimson, thro' the native white
637 Soft-shooting, o'er the face diffuses bloom,
638 And every nameless grace; the parted lip,
639 Like the red rose-bud, moist with morning-dew,
640 Breathing delight; and, under flowing jet,
641 Or sunny ringlets, or of circling brown,
642 The neck slight-shaded, and the swelling breast;
643 The look resistless, piercing to the soul,
644 And by the soul inform'd, when, drest in love,
645 She sits high smiling in the conscious eye.
646 Island of bliss! amid the suject seas,
647 That thunder round thy rocky coasts, set up,
648 At once the wonder, terror, and delight,
649 Of distant nations; whose remotest shore
650 Can soon be shaken by thy naval arm;
651 Not to be shook thyself, but all assaults
652 Baffling, like thy hoar cliffs the loud sea-wave.
653 O Thou! by whose almighty Nod the scale
654 Of empire rises, or alternate falls,
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655 Send forth the saving Virtues round the land,
656 In bright patrol: white Peace, and social Love;
657 The tender-looking Charity, intent
658 On gentle deeds, and shedding tears thro' smiles;
659 Undaunted Truth, and Dignity of mind;
660 Courage compos'd, and keen; sound Temperance,
661 Healthful in heart and look; clear Chastity,
662 With blushes reddening as she moves along,
663 Disorder'd at the deep regard she draws;
664 Rough Industry; Activity untry'd,
665 With copious life inform'd, and all awake:
666 While, in the radiant front, superior shines
667 That first paternal Virtue, public Zeal,
668 Who casts o'er all an equal, wide survey,
669 And ever musing on the common weal,
670 Stll labours glorious with some brave design.
671 Thus far transported by my country's love,
672 Nobly digressive from my theme, I've aim'd
673 To sing her praises in ambitious verse;
674 While, slightly to recount, I simply meant,
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675 The various summer-horrors, which infest
676 Kingdoms that scorch below severer suns:
677 Kingdoms on which, direct, the flood of day
678 Oppressive falls, and gives the gloomy hue,
679 And feature gross; or worse, to ruthless deeds,
680 Wan jealousy, red rage, and fell revenge,
681 Their hasty spirit prompts. Ill-fated race!
682 Altho' the treasures of the sun be theirs,
683 Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines;
684 Whence, over sands of gold, the Niger rolls
685 His amber wave; while on his balmy banks,
686 Or in the spicy Abyssinian vales,
687 The citron, orange, and pomegranate, drink
688 Intolerable day, yet in their coats
689 A cooling juice contain. Peaceful beneath,
690 Leans the huge elephant; and in his shade
691 A multitde of beauteous creatures play,
692 And birds of bolder note rejoice around.
693 And oft amid their aromatic groves,
694 Touch'd by the torch of noon, the gummy bark,
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695 Smouldering, begins to roll the dusky wreath.
696 Instant, so swift the ruddy ruin spreads,
697 A cloud of incense shadows all the land;
698 And, o'er a thousand thundering trees at once,
699 Riots with lawless rage the running blaze:
700 But ciefly should fomenting winds assist,
701 And doubling blend the circulating waves
702 Of flame tempestuous; or directly on,
703 Far-streaming, drive them thro' the forest's length.
704 But other views await; where heaven above
705 Glows like an arch of brass; and all below,
706 The brown-burnt earth a mass of iron lies;
707 Of fruits, and flowers, and every verdure spoilt;
708 Barren, and bare, a joyless, weary waste;
709 Thin-cottag'd; and in time of trying need,
710 Abandon'd by the vanish'd brook; like one
711 Of fading fortune by his treacherous friend.
712 Such are thy horrid desarts, Barca; such
713 Zaara, thy hot inhospitable sands;
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714 Continuous rising often with the blast,
715 Till the sun sees no more; and unknit earth,
716 Shook by the south into the darken'd air,
717 Falls in new hilly kingdoms o'er the waste.
718 Hence late expos'd (if distant fame says true)
719 A smother'd city from the sandy wave
720 Emergent rose; with olive-fields around,
721 Fresh woods, reclining herds, and silent flocks,
722 Amusing all, and incorrupted seen.
723 For by the nitrous penetrating salts,
724 Mix'd copious with the sand, pierc'd, and preserv'd,
725 Each object hardens gradual into stone,
726 Its posture fixes, and its colour keeps.
727 The statue-folk, within, unnumber'd croud
728 The streets, in various attitudes surpriz'd
729 By sudden fate, and live on every face
730 The passions caught, beyond the sculptor's art.
731 Here leaning soft, the marble-lovers stand,
732 Delighted even in death; and each for each
733 Feeling alone, with that expressive look,
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734 Which perfect Nature only knows to give.
735 And there the father agonizing bends
736 Fond o'er his weeping wife, and infant train
737 Aghast, and trembling, tho' they know not why.
738 The stiffen'd vulgar stretch their arms to heaven,
739 With horror starting; while in council deep
740 Assembled full, the hoary-headed sires
741 Sit sadly-thoughtful of the public fate.
742 As when old Rome, beneath the raging Gaul,
743 Sunk her proud turrets resolute on death,
744 Around the Forum sat the grey divan
745 Of Senators, majestic, motionless,
746 With ivory-staves, and in their awful robes
747 Dress'd like the falling fathers of mankind;
748 Amaz'd, and shivering, from the solemn sight
749 The red barbarians shrunk, and deem'd them Gods.
750 'Tis here that Thirst has fix'd his dry domain;
751 And walks his wide, malignant round, in search
752 Of pilgrim lost; or on the
* In the desart of Araoan are two tombs with inscriptions on them, importing that the persons there interr'd were a rich merchant, and a poor carrier, who both died of thirst; and that the former had given to the latter ten thousand ducats for one cruise of water.
Merchant's tomb
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753 Triumphant sits, who for a single cruise
754 Of unavailing water paid so dear:
755 Nor could the gold his hard associate save.
756 Here the green serpent gathers up his train,
757 In orbs immense; then darting out anew,
758 Progressive, rattles thro' the wither'd brake;
759 And, rolling frightful, guards the scanty fount,
760 If fount there be: or of diminsh'd size,
761 But mighty mischief, on th' unguarded swain
762 Steals, full of rancour. Here the savage race
763 Roam, licens'd by the shading hour of blood.
764 And foul misdeed, when the pure day has shut
765 His sacred eye. The rabid tyger then,
766 The fiery panther, and the whisker'd pard,
767 (Bespeckled fair, the beauty of the waste)
768 In dire divan, surround their shaggy King,
769 Majestic, stalking o'er the burning sand,
770 With planted step; while an obsequious croud
771 Of grinning forms at humble distance wait.
772 These all together join'd from darksome caves,
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773 Where o'er gnaw'd bones they slumber'd out the day,
774 By supreme hunger smit, and thirst intense,
775 At once their mingling voices raise to Heaven;
776 And with imperious and repeated roars,
777 Demanding food, the wilderness resounds,
778 From Atlas eastward to the frighted Nile.
779 Unhappy he! who from the first of joys,
780 Society, cut off, is left alone
781 Amid this world of death. Ceaseless he sits,
782 Sad on the jutting eminence, and views
783 The rowling main, that ever toils below;
784 Still fondly forming in the farthest verge,
785 Where the round aether mixes with the wave,
786 Ships, dim-discover'd, dropping from the clouds.
787 At evening, to the setting sun he turns
788 A mournful eye, and down his dying heart
789 Sinks helpless; while the wonted roar is up,
790 And hiss continual thro' the tedious night.
791 Yet here, even here, into these black abodes
792 Of monstors, unappall'd, from stooping Rome,
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793 And haughty Caesar, Liberty retir'd,
794 With Cato leading thro' Numidian wilds:
795 Disdainful of Campania's fertile plains,
796 And all the green delights of Italy;
797 When for them she must bend the servile knee,
798 And fawning take the blessings once her own.
799 What need I mention those inclement skies,
800 Where frequent, o'er the sickening city, Plague,
801 The fiercest son of Nemesis divine,
802 Collects a close, incumbent night of death;
803 Uninterrupted by the living winds,
804 Forbid to blow a wholesome breeze; and stain'd
805 With many a mixture, by the sun suffus'd,
806 Of angry aspect? Princely Wisdom then
807 Dejects his watchful eye; and from the hand
808 Of drooping Justice, ineffectual, falls
809 The sword, and balance. Mute the voice of Joy;
810 And hush'd the murmur of the busy world.
811 Empty the streets, with uncouth verdure clad,
812 And rang'd at open noon by beasts of prey,
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813 And birds of bloody beak. The sullen door
814 No visit knows, nor hears the wailing voice
815 Of fervent Want. Even soul-attracted friends,
816 And relatives endear'd for many a year,
817 Savag'd by woe, forget the social tye,
818 The close engagement of the kindred heart;
819 And, sick in solitude, successive die,
820 Untended, and unmourn'd. While to compleat
821 The scene of desolation, wide around,
822 Denying all retreat, the grim guards stand,
823 And give the flying wretch a better death.
824 Much of the force of foreign Summers still,
825 Of growling hills that shoot the pillar'd flame,
826 Of earthquake, and pale famine, could I sing;
827 But equal scenes of horror call me home.
828 For now, slow-settling, o'er the lurid grove,
829 Unusual darkness broods; and growing gains
830 The broad possession of the sky, surcharg'd
831 With wrathful vapour, from the damp abrupt,
832 Where sleep the mineral generations, drawn.
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833 Thence nitre, sulphur, vitriol, on the day
834 Steam, and fermenting in yon baleful cloud,
835 Extensive o'er the world a reddening gloom!
836 In dreadful promptitude to spring, await
837 The high command. A boding silence reigns
838 Dread thro' the dun expanse, save the dull sound,
839 That from the mountain, previous to the storm,
840 Rowls o'er the trembling earth, disturbs the flood,
841 And stirs the forest-leaf without a breath.
842 Prone, to the lowest vale, th' aerial tribes
843 Descend: the tempest-loving raven scarce
844 Dares wing the dubious dusk. In rueful gaze
845 The cattle stand, and on the scouling heavens
846 Cast a deploring eye; by man forsook,
847 Who to the crouded cottage hies him fast,
848 Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.
849 'Tis dumb amaze, and listening terror all;
850 When to the quicker eye the livid glance
851 Appears far south, emissive thro' the cloud;
852 And, by the powerful breath of God inflate,
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853 The thunder raises his tremendous voice;
854 At first low-muttering; but at each approach,
855 The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more
856 The noise astounds: till over head a sheet
857 Of various flame discloses wide, then shuts
858 And opens wider, shuts and opens still
859 Expansive, wrapping aether in a blaze.
860 Follows the loosen'd, aggravated roar,
861 Enlarging, deepening, mingling, peal on peal
862 Crush'd horrible, convulsing heaven and earth.
863 Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail,
864 In the white, heavenly magazines congeal'd;
865 And often fatal to th' unshelter'd head
866 Of man, or rougher beast. Wide-rent the clouds
867 Pour a whole flood; and yet, its rage unquench'd,
868 Th' inconquerable lightning struggles thro',
869 Ragged, and sierce, or in red whirling balls,
870 And strikes the shepherd, as he shuddering sits,
871 Presaging ruin, mid the rocky clift.
872 His inmost marrow feels the gliding flame;
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873 He dies; and, like a statue grim'd with age,
874 His live dejected posture still remains;
875 His russet sing'd, and rent his hanging hat;
876 Against his crook his sooty cheek reclin'd;
877 While, whining at his feet, his hals-slung'd dog,
878 Importunately kind, and fearful, pats
879 On his insensate master for relief.
880 Black from the stroak, above, the mountain-pine,
881 A leaning shatter'd trunk, stands scath'd to heaven,
882 The talk of future ages; and, below,
883 A lifeless groupe the blasted cattle lie:
884 Here the soft flocks, with that same harmless look,
885 They wore alive, and ruminating still,
886 In fancy's eye; and there the frowning bull,
887 And ox half-rais'd. A little further, burns
888 The guiltless cottage; and the haughty dome
889 Stoops to the base. In one immediate flash,
890 The forest falls; or, flaming out, displays
891 The savage-hunts, unpierc'd by day before,
892 Scar'd is the mountain's brow; and from, the cliff
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893 Tumbles the smitten rock. The desart shakes,
894 And gleams, and grumbles, thro' his deepest dens.
895 Guilt dubious hears, with deeply-troubled thought;
896 And yet not always on the guilty head
897 Falls the devoted flash. Young Celadon
898 And his Amelia were a matchless twain:
899 With equal virtue form'd, and equal grace,
900 The same, distinguish'd by their sex alone:
901 Hers the mild lustre of the blooming morn,
902 And his the radianee of the risen day.
903 They lov'd. But such their guileless passion was,
904 As in the dawn of time alarm'd the heart
905 Of Innocence, and undissembling Truth.
906 'Twas friendship, heighten'd by the mutual wish,
907 Th' enchanting hope, and sympathetick glow,
908 Struck from the charmsul eye. Devoting all
909 To love, each was to each a dearer self;
910 Supremely happy in th' awaken'd power
911 Of given joy. Alone, amid the shades,
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912 Still in harmonious intercourse they liv'd
913 The rural day, and talk'd the flowing heart,
914 Or sigh'd, and look'd unutterable things.
915 Thus pass'd their life, a clear united stream,
916 By care unrnffled; till in evil hour
917 The tempest caught them on the tender walk,
918 Heedless how far. Her breast presageful heav'd
919 Unwonted sighs, and stealing oft a look
920 Of the big gloom, on Celadon her eye
921 Fell tearful, wetting her disorder'd cheek.
922 In vain assuring love, and confidence
923 In heaven repress'd her fear; it grew, and shook
924 Her frame near dissolution. He perceiv'd
925 Th' unequal conflict, and as angels look
926 On dying saints, his eyes compassion shed,
927 With love illumin'd high. "Fear not, he said,
928 " Fair innocence! thou stranger to offence,
929 "And inward storm! He, who yon skies involves
930 " In frowns of darkness, ever smiles on thee,
931 "With full regard. O'er thee the secret shaft
[Page 51]
932 " That wastes at midnight, or th' undreaded hour
933 "Of noon, flies hurtless; and that very voice,
934 " Which thunders terror thro' the conscious heart,
935 "With tongues of seraphs whispers peace to thine.
936 " 'Tis safety to be near thee sure, and thus
937 "To clasp perfection! " From his void embrace,
938 (Mysterious heaven!) that moment, in a heap
939 Of pallid ashes fell the beauteous maid.
940 But who can paint the lover, as he stood,
941 Struck by severe amazement, hating life,
942 Speechless, and fix'd in all the death of woe!
943 So, faint resemblance, on the marble-tomb,
944 The well-dissembl'd mourner stooping stands,
945 For ever silent, and for ever sad.
946 As from the face of heaven the shatter'd clouds
947 Tumultuous rove, th' interminable blue,
948 Delightful swells into the general arch,
949 That copes the nations. Nature from the storm
950 Shines out afresh; and thro' the lighten'd air
951 A higher lustre and a clearer calm,
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952 Diffusive, tremble; while, as if in sign
953 Of danger past, a glittering robe of joy,
954 Set off abundant by the level ray,
955 Inverts the fields, yet dropping from distress.
956 'Tis beauty all, and grateful song around,
957 Joyn'd to the low of kine, and numerous bleat
958 Of flocks thick-nibbling thro' the clover'd vale.
959 And shall the hymn be marr'd by thankless man,
960 Most-favour'd; who with voice articulate
961 Should lead the chorus of this lower world?
962 Shall ho, so soon forgetful of the hand
963 That hush'd the thunder, and expands the sky,
964 After the tempest puff his idle vows,
965 And a new dance of vanity begin,
966 Scarce e'er the pant forsake the feeble heart?
967 Chear'd by the setting beam, the sprightly youth
968 Speeds to the well-known pool, whose crystal depth
969 A sandy bottom shews. A while he stands
970 Gazing th' inverted landskip, half afraid
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971 To meditate the blue profound below;
972 Then plunges headlong down the circling flood.
973 His ebon tresses, and his rosy cheek
974 Instant emerge; and thro' the flexile wave,
975 At each short breathing by his lip repell'd,
976 With arms and legs according well, he makes,
977 As humour leads, an easy-winding path;
978 While, from his polish'd sides, a dewy light
979 Effuses on the pleas'd spectators round.
980 'Twas then beneath a secret-waving shade,
981 Where winded into lovely solituctes
982 Runs out the rambling dale that Damon sat,
983 Thoughtful, and fix'd in philosophic muse:
984 Damon, who still amid the savage woods,
985 And lonely lawns, the force of beauty scorn'd,
986 Firm, and to false philosophy devote.
987 The brook ran babling by; and sighing weak,
988 The breeze among the bending willows play'd:
989 When Sacharissa to the cool retreat,
990 With Amoret, and Musidora stole.
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991 Warm in their cheek the sultry season glow'd;
992 And, rob'd in loose array, they came to bathe
993 Their fervent limbs in the refreshing stream.
994 Tall, and majestic, Sacharissa rose,
995 Superior treading, as on Ida's top
996 (So Grecian bards in wanton fable sung)
997 High-shone the sister and the wife of Jove.
998 Another Pallas Musidora seem'd,
999 Meek-ey'd, sedate, and gaining every look
1000 A surer conquest of the sliding heart.
1001 While, like the Cyprian goddess, Amoret,
1002 Delicious dress'd in rosy-dimpled smiles,
1003 And all one softness, melted on the sense.
1004 Nor Paris panted stronger, when aside
1005 The rival-goddesses the veil divine
1006 Cast unconfin'd, and gave him all their charms,
1007 Than, Damon, thou, the stoick now no more,
1008 But man deep-felt, as from the snowy leg,
1009 And slender foot, th' inverted silk they drew;
1010 As the soft touch dissolv'd the virgin-zone;
1011 And, thro' the parting robe, th' alternate breast,
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1012 With youth wild-throbbing, on thy lawless gaze
1013 Luxuriant rose. Yet more enamour'd still,
1014 When from their naked limbs of glowing white,
1015 In folds loose-floating felt the fainter lawn;
1016 And fair expos'd they stood, shrunk from themselves;
1017 With fancy blushing; at the doubtful breeze
1018 Arous'd, and starting, like the fearful fawn.
1019
* The Venus of Medicis.
So stands the statue that enchants the world,
1020 Her full proportions such, and bashful so
1021 Bends ineffectual from the roving eye.
1022 Then to the flood they rush'd; the plunging fair
1023 The parted flood with closing waves receiv'd;
1024 And, every beauty softening, every grace
1025 Flushing afresh, a mellow lustre shed:
1026 As shines the lilly thro' the crystal mild;
1027 Or as the rose amid the morning-dew
1028 Puts on a warmer glow. In various play,
1029 While thus they wanton'd; now beneath the wave,
1030 But ill conceal'd; and now with streaming locks
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1031 Rising again; the latent Damon drew
1032 Such draughts of love and beauty to the soul,
1033 As put his harsh philosophy to flight,
1034 The joyless search of long-deluded years;
1035 And Musidora fixing in his heart,
1036 Inform'd, and humaniz'd him into man.
1037 This is the purest exercise of health.
1038 The kind refresher of the summer-heats;
1039 Nor when, the brook pellucid, Winter keens,
1040 Would I weak-shivering linger on the brink.
1041 Thus life redoubles, and is oft preserv'd
1042 By the bold swimmer, in the swift illapse
1043 Of accident disasterous. Hence the limbs
1044 Knit into force; and the same Roman arm,
1045 That rose victorious o'er the conquer'd earth,
1046 First learn'd, while tender, to subdue the wave.
1047 Even from the body's purity the mind
1048 Receives a secret, sympathetic aid.
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1049 Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees,
1050 Just o'er the verge of day. The rising clouds,
1051 That shift perpetual in his vivid train,
1052 Their watry mirrors, numberless, oppos'd,
1053 Unfold the hidden riches of his ray;
1054 And chase a change of colours round the sky.
1055 'Tis all one blush from east to west! and now,
1056 Behind the dusky earth, he dips his orb;
1057 Now half immers'd; and now a golden curve
1058 Gives one faint glimmer, and then disappears.
1059 For ever running an enchanted round,
1060 Passes the day, deceitful, tedious, void;
1061 As fleets the vision o'er the formful brain,
1062 This moment hurrying all th' impassion'd soul,
1063 The next in nothing lost. 'Tis so to him,
1064 The dreamer of this earth, a chearless blank:
1065 A sight of horror to the cruel wretch;
1066 Who, rowling in inhuman pleasure deep,
1067 The whole day long has made the widow pine;
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1068 And snatch'd the morsel from her orphan's mouth.
1069 To give his dogs. But to the tuneful mind,
1070 Who makes the hopeless heart to sing for joy,
1071 Diffusing kind beneficence around,
1072 Boastless, as now descends the silent dew;
1073 To him the long review of order'd life
1074 Is inward rapture, only to be felt.
1075 Confess'd from yonder slow-extinguish'd clouds,
1076 All aether saddening, sober Evening takes
1077 Her wonted station in the middle air;
1078 A thousand Shadows at her beck. First This
1079 She sends on earth; then That of deeper die
1080 Steals soft behind; and then a Deeper still,
1081 In circle following circle, gathers round,
1082 To close the face of things. A fresher breeze
1083 Begins to wave the wood, and stir the stream,
1084 Sweeping with shadowy gust the fields of corn;
1085 While the quail clamours for his running mate.
1086 His folded flock secure, the shepherd home
1087 Hies, merry-hearted; and by turns relieves
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1088 The ruddy milk-maid of her brimming pail;
1089 The Beauty, whom perhaps his witless heart,
1090 Unknowing what the joy-mixt anguish means,
1091 Loves fond, by the sincerest language shown
1092 Of cordial glances, and obliging deeds.
1093 Onward they pass, o'er many a panting height,
1094 And valley sunk, and unfrequented; where
1095 At fall of eve the fairy people throng,
1096 In various game, and revelry to pass
1097 The summer-night, as village-stories tell.
1098 But far about they wander from the grave
1099 Of him, whom his ungentle fortune urg'd
1100 Against himself to lift the hated hand
1101 Of violence; by men cast out from life,
1102 And after death, to which they drove his hope,
1103 Into the broad way side. The ruin'd tower
1104 Is also shunn'd; whose hoary chambers hold,
1105 So night-struck fancy dreams, the yelling ghost.
1106 Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge,
1107 The glow-worm lights his lamp; and, thro' the dark,
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1108 Twinkles a moving gem. On Evening's heel,
1109 Night follows fast; not in her winter-robe
1110 Of massy stygian woof, but loose array'd
1111 In mantle dun. A faint erroneous ray,
1112 Glanc'd from th' imperfect surfaces of things,
1113 Flings half an image on the straining eye.
1114 While wavering woods, and villages, and streams,
1115 And rocks, and mountain-tops, that long retain'd
1116 Th' ascending gleam, are all one swimming scene,
1117 Doubtful if seen: whence sudden Vision turns
1118 To heaven; where Venus, in the sterry front,
1119 Shines eminent; and from her genial rise,
1120 When day-light sickens, till it springs afresh,
1121 Sheds influence on earth, to love, and life,
1122 And every form of vegetation kind.
1123 As thus th' effulgence tremulous I drink,
1124 With glad peruse, the lambent lightnings shoot
1125 A-cross the sky; or horizontal dart
1126 O'er half the nations, in a minute's space,
1127 Conglob'd, or long. Astonishment succeeds,
1128 And silence, e'er the various talk begin.
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1129 The vulgar stare; amazement is their joy,
1130 And mystic faith, a fond sequacious herd!
1131 But scrutinous Philosophy looks deep,
1132 With piercing eye, into the latent cause;
1133 Nor can she swallow what she does not see.
1134 With thee, serene Philosophy! with thee,
1135 And thy high praises, let me crown my song!
1136 Effusive source of evidence, and truth!
1137 A lustre shedding o'er th' ennobled mind,
1138 Stronger than summer-noon; and pure as that,
1139 Whose mild vibrations sooth the parted soul,
1140 New to the dawning of coelestial day.
1141 Hence thro' her nourish'd powers, enlarg'd by thee,
1142 She soaring spurns, with elevated pride,
1143 The tangling mass of cares, and low desires,
1144 That bind the fluttering croud; and, angel-wing'd,
1145 The heights of Science, and of Virtue gains,
1146 Where all his calm and clear; with Nature round
1147 Or in the starry regions, or th' abyss,
1148 To Reason's, and to fancy's eye display'd:
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1149 The First up-tracing from the vast inane,
1150 The chain of causes and effects to Him,
1151 Who, all-sustaining, in himself, alone
1152 Possesses Being; while the Last receives
1153 The whole magnificence of heaven and earth.
1154 And every beauty, delicate or bold,
1155 Obvious or more remote, with livelier sense,
1156 A world swift-painted on th' attentive mind.
1157 Tutor'd by thee, hence Poetry exalts
1158 Her voice to ages; and informs the page
1159 With music, image, sentiment, and thought,
1160 Never to die! the treasure of mankind,
1161 Their highest honour, and their truest joy!
1162 Without thee what were unassisted man?
1163 A savage roaming thro' the woods and wilds,
1164 In quest of prey; and with th' unfashion'd furr
1165 Rough-clad; devoid of every honest art,
1166 And elegance of life. Nor home, nor joy
1167 Domestick, mix'd of tenderness and care,
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1168 Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,
1169 Nor law were his; nor property; nor swain,
1170 To turn the furrow; nor mechanic hand
1171 Harden'd to toil; nor sailor bold; nor trade,
1172 Mother severe of infinite delights!
1173 Nothing, save rapine, indolence, and guile,
1174 And woes on woes, a still-revolving train!
1175 Whose horrid circle had made human life
1176 Than non-existence worse. But taught by thee
1177 Ours are the plans of policy, and peace;
1178 To live like brothers, and conjunctive all
1179 Embellish life. While thus laborious crouds
1180 Ply the tough oar, Philosophy directs,
1181 Star-led, the helm; or like the liberal breath
1182 Of urgent heaven, invisible, the sails
1183 Swells out, and bears th' inferior world along.
1184 Nor to this evanescent speck of earth
1185 Poorly confin'd, the radiant tracts on high
1186 Are her exalted range; intent to gaze
1187 Creation thro'; and, from that full complex
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1188 Of never-ending wonders, to conceive
1189 Of the sole Being right, who spoke the word,
1190 And nature mov'd compleat. With inward view,
1191 Thence on th' ideal kingdom swift she turns
1192 Her eye; and instant, at her virtual glance,
1193 Th' obedient phantoms vanish or appear;
1194 Compound, divide, and into order shift,
1195 Each to his rank, from plain perception up
1196 To notion quite abstract; where first begins
1197 The world of spirits, action all, and life
1198 Immediate, and unmix'd. But here the cloud,
1199 So wills Eternal Providence, sits deep.
1200 Enough for us we know that this dark state,
1201 In wayward passions lost, and vain pursuits,
1202 This infancy of being, cannot prove
1203 The final issue of the works of God;
1204 By Love and Wisdom inexpressive form'd,
1205 And ever rising with the rising mind.
The END.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): [The Seasons:] SUMMER.
Author: James Thomson
Themes: rural life; weather; nature; landscapes
Genres: blank verse

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Source edition

The four seasons, and other poems. By James Thomson London: printed for J. Millan, near Scotland-Yard, White-Hall; and A. Millar, in the Strand, M.DCC.XXXV., 1735, pp. 3-64. [2];77,[3];64;72;79,[1]p.,plates; 8⁰. (ESTC T83; Foxon T242; OTA K019862.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Secondary literature

  • Anderson, David R. Emotive Theodicy in The Seasons. Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 12 (1983): 59-76. Print.
  • Cohen, Ralph. The Art of Discrimination: Thomson's The Seasons and the Language of Criticism. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964. Print.
  • Inglesfield, Robert. Shaftesbury's Influence on Thomson's Seasons. British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 9 (1986): 141-56. Print.
  • McKillop, A. D. The Background of Thomson's Seasons. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1942. Print.
  • Terry, Richard. 'Through Nature shedding influence malign': Thomson's The Seasons as a Theodicy. Durham University Journal87 (1995): 257-68. Print.