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1 THESE, as they change, Almighty Father! these,
2 Are but the varied God. The rolling Year
3 Is full of Thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring
4 Thy Beauty walks, Thy Tenderness and Love.
5 Wide-flush the fields; the softening air is balm;
6 Echo the mountains round; the forests live;
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7 And every sense, and every heart is joy.
8 Then comes thy glory in the Summer-months,
9 With light, and heat, severe. Prone, then thy Sun
10 Shoots full perfection thro' the swelling year.
11 And oft thy voice in awful thunder speaks;
12 And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
13 By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gales.
14 A yellow-floating pomp, thy Bounty shines
15 In Autumn unconfin'd. Thrown from thy lap,
16 Profuse o'er nature, falls the lucid shower
17 Of beamy fruits; and, in a radiant stream,
18 Into the stores of steril Winter pours.
19 In Winter dreadful Thou! with clouds and storms
20 Around Thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest roll'd,
21 Horrible blackness! On the whirlwind's wing,
22 Riding sublime, Thou bid'st the world be low,
23 And humblest nature with thy northern blast.
24 Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine,
25 Deep-felt, in these appear! a simple train,
26 Yet so harmonious mix'd, so fitly join'd,
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27 One following one in such inchanting sort,
28 Shade, unperceiv'd, so softening into shade,
29 And all so forming such a perfect whole,
30 That as they still succeed, they ravish still.
31 But wondering oft, with brute unconscious gaze,
32 Man marks Thee not, marks not the mighty hand,
33 That, ever-busy, wheels the silent spheres;
34 Works in the secret deep; shoots, steaming, thence
35 The fair profusion that o'erspreads the Spring;
36 Flings from the sun direct the flaming Day;
37 Feeds every creature; hurls the Tempest forth;
38 And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,
39 With transport touches all the springs of life.
40 Nature, attend; join every living soul,
41 Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,
42 In adoration join; and, ardent, raise
43 An universal Hymn! to Him, ye gales,
44 Breathe soft; whose spirit teaches you to breathe.
45 Oh talk of Him in solitary glooms!
46 Where, o'er the rock, the scarcely-waving pine
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47 Fills the brown void with a religious awe.
48 And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar,
49 Who shake th' astonish'd world, lift high to heaven
50 Th' impetuous song, and say from whom you rage.
51 His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills;
52 And let me catch it as I muse along.
53 Ye headlong torrents, rapid, and profound;
54 Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze
55 Along the vale; and thou, majestic main,
56 A secret world of wonders in thyself,
57 Sound His tremendous praise; whose greater voice
58 Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall,
59 Roll up your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers,
60 In mingled clouds to Him; whose sun elates,
61 Whose hand perfumes you, and whose pencil paints
62 Ye forests, bend; ye harvests, wave to Him:
63 Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,
64 Homeward, rejoycing with the joyous moon.
65 Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep
66 Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,
67 Ye constellations, while your angles strike,
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68 Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
69 Great source of day! best image here below
70 Of thy creator, ever darting wide,
71 From world to world, the vital ocean round,
72 On nature write with every beam his praise.
73 The thunder rolls: be hush'd the prostrate world;
74 While cloud to cloud returns the dreadful hymn.
75 Bleat out afresh, ye hills; ye mossy rocks,
76 Retain the sound: the broad responsive low,
77 Ye vallies, raise; for the great Shepherd reigns;
78 And yet again the golden age returns.
79 Wildest of creatures, be not silent here;
80 But, hymning horrid, let the desart roar.
81 Ye woodlands all, awake: a general song
82 Burst from the groves; and when the restless day,
83 Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
84 Sweetest of birds! sweet Philomela, charm
85 The listening shades; and thro' the midnight hour;
86 Trilling, prolong the wildly-luscious note;
87 That night, as well as day, may vouch His praise.
88 Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles;
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89 At once the head, the heart, and mouth of all,
90 Crown the great Hymn! in swarming cities vast,
91 Concourse of men, to the deep organ join
92 The long-resounding voice, oft-breaking clear,
93 At solemn pauses, thro' the swelling base;
94 And, as each mingling frame encreases each,
95 In one united ardor rise to heaven.
96 Or if you rather chuse the rural shade,
97 To find a fane in every sacred grove;
98 There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's chaunt,
99 The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
100 Still sing the God of Seasons, as they roll.
101 For me, when I forget the darling theme,
102 Whether the Blossom blows, the Summer-Ray,
103 Russets the plain, delicious Autumn gleams;
104 Or Winter rises in the reddening east;
105 Be my tongue mute, may fancy paint no more,
106 And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat.
107 Should fate command me to the farthest verge
108 Of the green earth, to hostile barbarous climes,
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109 Rivers unknown to song; where first the sun
110 Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
111 Flames on th' Atlantic isles; 'tis nought to me;
112 Since God is ever present, ever felt,
113 In the void waste, as in the city full;
114 Rolls the same kindred Seasons round the world,
115 In all apparent, wise, and good in all;
116 Since He sustains, and animates the whole;
117 From seeming evil still educes good,
118 And better thence again, and better still,
119 In infinite progression. But I lose
120 Myself in Him, in light ineffable!
121 Come then, expressive Silence, muse his praise.
The END.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): A HYMN ON THE SEASONS.
Author: James Thomson
Themes: religion; nature
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. 43-49. [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.