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THOMSON-A. D. 1700-48.

EXTRACTS FROM THE SEASONS.

SHOWERS IN SPRING.

The North-east spends his

rage;

he now shut up Within his iron cave, th' effusive South Warms the wide air, and o'er the void of heav'n 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 doubled vapour sails Along the loaded sky, and, mingling deep, Sits on the horizon round, a settled gloom; Not such as wintry storms on mortals shed, Oppressing life, but lovely, gentle, kind, And full of ev'ry hope, of ev'ry 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 gen'ral 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 show'r is scarce to patter heard By such as wander through the forest walks, Beneath th' umbrageous multitude of leaves.

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 channel'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. If 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 heav'n, 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 desp’rate 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 shelt'ring 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 bim 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 temp'rate hours; but when the sun Shakes from his noondaythrone the scatt'ring clouds, Ev’n shooting listless languor through the deeps, Then seek the bank where flow'ring elders crowd,

ANGLING.

Now when the first foul torrent of the brooks,
Swell'd with the vernal rains, is ebb'd away,
And, whit’ning, 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 tap’ring with elastic spring,
Snatch'd from the hoary steed the floating line,
And all thy slender wat’ry stores prepare ;
When with his lively ray the potent sun

Where scatter'd wild the lily of the vale

Indulg'd in vain. Some to the holly hedge Its balmy essence breathes, where cowslips hang Nestling repair, and to the thicket some; The dewy head, where purple violets lurk,

Some to the rude protection of the thorn With all the lowly children of the shade ;

Commit their feeble offspring; the cleft tree
Or lie reclin'd beneath yon spreading ash

Offers its kind concealment to a few,
Hung o'er the steep; whence borne on liquid wing Their food its insects, and its moss their nests :
The sounding culver shoots ; or where the hawk Others apart, far in the grassy dale
High in the beetling cliff his eyry builds;

Or rough’ning waste their humble texture weave: There let the classic page thy fancy lead

But most in woodland solitudes delight, Through rural scenes, such as the Mantuan swain In unfrequented glooms or shaggy banks, Paints in the matchless harmony of song ;

Steep, and divided by a babbling brook, Or catch thyself the landscape, gliding swift Whose murmurs soothe them all the live-long day, Athwart imagination's vivid eye;

When by kind duty fixt. Among the roots Or by the vocal woods and waters lullid,

Of hazel pendent o'er the plaintive stream, And lost in lonely musing, in the dream

They frame the first foundation of their domes, Confus'd of careless solitude, where mix

Dry sprigs of trees, in artful fabric laid, Ten thousand wand'ring images of things,

And bound with clay together. Now 'tis nought Sooth ev'ry gust of passion into peace,

But restless hurry through the busy air, All but the swellings of the soften'd heart,

Beat by unnumber'd wings. The swallow sweeps That waken not disturb the tranquil mind.

The slimy pool, to build his hanging house

Intent; and often from the careless back
BIRDS IN SPRING.

Of herds and flocks a thousand tugging bills
When first the soul of love is sent abroad,

Pluck hair and wool; and oft, when unobserv’d, Warm through the vital air, and on the heart Steal from the barn a straw; till soft and warm, Harmonious seizes, the gay troops begin,

Clean and complete, their habitation grows. In gallant thought, to plume the painted wing, As thus the patient dam assiduous sits, And try again the long-forgottenst rain,

Not to be tempted from her tender task, At first faint warbled; but no sooner grows

Or by sharp hunger or by smooth delight, The soft infusion prevalent and wide,

Though the whole loosen'd spring around her blows; Than, all alive, at once their joy o'erflows

Her sympathizing lover takes his stand In music unconfin'd. Up springs the lark,

High on the opponent bank, and ceaseless sings Shrill-voic'd and loud, the messenger of morn ;

The tedious time away; or else supplies Ere yet the shadows fly, he mounted sings

Her place a moment, while she sudden flits 1 Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunts To pick the scanty meal. Th’appointed time Calls up the tuneful nations. Ev'ry copse

With pious toil fulfill'd, the callow young Deep-tangled, tree irregular, and bush

Warm’d and expanded into perfect life, Bending with dewy moisture, o'er the heads Their brittle bondage break and come to light, Of the coy quiristers that lodge within

A helpless family! demanding food Are prodigal of harmony. The thrush

With constant clamour: O what passions then, And wood-lark, o'er the kind contending throng What melting sentiments of kindly care, Superior heard, run through the sweetest length On the new parent seize! away they ily Of notes; when list’ning Philomela deigns

Affectionate, and, undesiring, bear To let them joy, and purposes, in thought

The most delicious morsel to their young, Elate, to make her night excel their day.

Which equally distributed, again The blackbird whistles from the thorny brake; The search begins. Ev’n so a gentle pair, The mellow bulfinch answers from the grove; By fortune sunk, but form’d of gen'rous mould, Nor are the linnets, o'er the flow'ring furze

And charm'd with cares beyond the vulgar breast, Pour'd out profusely, silent. Join'd to these, In some lone cot, amid the distant woods Innum'rous songsters in the fresh'ning shade Sustain'd alone by providential Heav'n, Of new-sprung leaves their modulations mix Oft as they, weeping, eye their infant train, Mellifluous : the jay, the rook, the daw,

Check their own appetites, and give them all. And each harsh pipe, discordant heard alone,

Nor toil alone they scorn ; exalting love, Aid the full concert, while the stock-dove breathes By the great Father of the Spring inspir'd, A melancholy murmur through the whole.

Gives instant courage to the fearful race, 'Tis love creates their melody, and all

And to the simple art. With stealthy wing, This waste of music is the voice of love.

Should some rude foot their woody haunts molest,

Amid the neighb'ring bush they silent drop, Connubial leagues agreed, to the deep woods And whirring thence, as if alarm’d, deceive They haste away, all as their fancy leads,

Th’unfeeling school-boy. Hence around the head Pleasure, or food, or secret safety, prompts ; Of wand’ring swain the white-wing’d plover wheels That nature's great command may be obey'd : Her sounding flight, and then directly on, Nor all the sweet sensations they perceive

In long excursion, skims the level lawn

To tempt him from her nest. The wild-duck hence Unstain'd he holds, while many a league to see O'er the rough moss, and o'er the trackless waste He wings his course, and preys in distant isles. The heath-hen flutters: pious fraud! to lead

Should I my steps turn to the rural seat, The hot-pursuing spaniel far astray.

Whose lofty elms and venerable oaks Be not the Muse asham'd here to bemoan

Invite the rook, who high amid the boughs, Her brothers of the grove, by tyrant man

In early spring, his airy city builds, Inhuman caught, and in the narrow cage

And ceaseless caws amusive ; there, well-pleas'd, From liberty confin'd and boundless air.

I might the various polity survey Dull are the pretty slaves, their plumage dull, Of the mix'd household kind. The careful hen Ragged, and all its brightning lustre lost;

Calls all her chirping family around, Nor is that sprightly wildness in their notes Fed and defended by the fearless cock, Which, clear and vig'rous, warbles from the beech. Whose breast with ardour flames as on he walks But let not chief the nightingale lament

Graceful, and crows defiance. In the pond Her ruin'd care, too delicately fram'd,

The finely-chequer'd duck before her train To brook the harsh confinement of the cage. Rows garrulous. The stately-sailing swan Oft when returning with her loaded bill,

Gives out his snowy plumage to the gale, Th' astonish'd mother finds a vacant nest,

And arching proud his neck, with oary feet By the hard hand of unrelenting clowns

Bears forward fierce, and guards his osier-isle, Robb'd, to the ground the vain provision falls; Protective of his young. The turkey nigh, Her pinions ruffle, and low-drooping, scarce Loud threat'ning, reddens; while the peacui Can bear the mourner to the poplar shade,

His ev'ry-coloured glory to the sun, (spreads Where, all abandon’d to despair, she sings

And swims in radiant majesty aloug. Her sorrows through the night, and on the bough O'er the whole homely scene the cooing dove Sole sitting, still at ev'ry dying fall

Flies thick in am'rous chase, and wanton rolls Takes up again her lamentable strain

The glancing eye, and turns the changeful Deck. Of winding woe, till, wide around, the woods Sigh to her song, and with her wail resound.

MORNING. But now the feather'd youth their former bounds, The meek-ey'd morn appears, mother of dews. Ardent, disdain, and, weighing oft their wings, At first faint-gleaming in the dappled east, Demand the free possession of the sky.

Blue through the dusk the smoking currents shine, This one glad office more, and then dissolves

And from the bladed field the fearful hare Parental love at once, now needless grown.

Limps aukward ; while along the forest glade Unlavish wisdom never works in vain.

The wild deer trip, and often turning, gaze 'Tis on some ev'ning, sunny, grateful, mild,

At early passenger. Music awakes When nought but balm is breathing thro' the woods, The native voice of undissembled joy, With yellow lustre bright, that the new tribes And thick around the woodland hymns arise. Visit the spacious heav'ns, and look abroad Rous'd by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves On nature's common, far as they can see,

His mossy cottage, where with peace he dwells, Or wing their range and pasture. O’er the boughs And from the crowded fold in order drives Dancing about, still at the giddy verge

His flock to taste the verdure of the morn.
Their resolution fails; their pinions still
In loose libration stretch'd, to trust the void

SHEEP-SHEARING.
Trembling refuse, till down before them fly

Rushing thence in one diffusive band, The parent guides, and chide, exhort, command, They drive the troubled flocks, by many a dog Or push them off. The surging air receives Compellid, to where the mazy-running brook Its plumy burden, and their self-taught wings Forms a deep pool ; this bank abrupt and high, Winnow the waving element. On ground

And that fair spreading in a pebbled shore. Alighted, bolder up again they lead,

Urg'd to the giddy brink, much is the toil, Farther and farther on, the length’ning flight, The clamour much of men, and boys, and dogs, Till vanish'd ev'ry fear, and ev'ry pow'r

Ere the soft fearful people to the flood Rous'd into life and action, light in air

Commit their woolly sides; and oft the swain, Th'acquitted parents see their soaring race, On some, impatient, seizing, hurls them in: And, once rejoicing, never know them more. Embolden'd then, nor hesitating more, High from the summit of a craggy cliff,

Fast, fast they plunge amid the flashing ware, Hung o'er the deep, such as amazing frowns And, panting, labour to the farthest shore. On utmost Kilda's shore, whose lonely race

Repeated this, till deep the well-wash'd fleece Resign the setting sun to Indian worlds,

Has drunk the flood, and from his lively haunt The royal eagle draws his vig’rous young,

The trout is banish'd by the sordid stream, Strong pounc'd, and ardent with paternal fire: Heavy, and dripping, to the breezy brow Now fit to raise a kingdom of their own,

Slow move the harmless race, where, as they spread He drives them from his fort, the tow’ring seat Their swelling treasures to the sunny ray, For of his empire, which in peace

Inly disturb'd, and wond'ring what this wild

ages

Outrageous tumult means, their loud complaints Unnumber'd fruits, of kcen delicious taste
The country fill, and, toss'd from rock to rock And vital spirit, drink amid the cliffs,
Incessant bleatings run around the bills.

And burning sands that bank the shrubby vales,
At last, of snowy white, the gather'd flocks Redoubled day, yet in their rugged coats
Are in the wattled pen innum'rous press'd,

A friendly juice to cool its

rage

contain. Head above head; and rang'd in lusty rows

Bear me, Pomona ! to thy citron groves, The shepherds sit, and whet the sounding shears.

To where the lemon and the piercing lime, The housewife waits to roll her fleecy stores,

With the deep orange glowing through the green, With all her gay-dress'd maids attending round. Their lighter glories blend. Lay me reclin'd One, chief, in gracions dignity enthron’d,

Beneath the spreading tamarind, that shakes, Shines o'er the rest the past'ral queen, and rays Fann'd by the breeze, its fever-cooling fruit. Her smiles, sweet beaming, on her shepherd-king ; Deep in the night the massy locust sheds, While the glad circle round them yield their souls Quench my hot limbs, or lead me thro' the maze, To festive mirth, and wit that knows no gall.

Embow'ring endless, of the Indian fig; Meantime their joyous task goes on apace;

Or thrown at gayer ease on some fair brow, Some mingling stir the melted tar, and some

Let me behold, by breezy murmurs cool'd, Deep on the new-shorn vagrant's heaving side

Broad o'er my head the verdant cedar wave, To stamp his master's cipher ready stand;

And high palmetos lift their graceful shade; Others th' unwilling wether drag along;

Or stretch'd amid these orchards of the sun, And, glorying in his might, the sturdy boy

Give me to drain the cocoa's milky bowl, Holds by the twisted horns th' indignant ram. And from the palm to draw its fresh’ning wine; Behold where bound, and of its robe bereft

More bounteous far than all the frantic juice By needy man, that all-depending lord,

Which Bacchus pours. Nor on its slender twigs, How meek, how patient, the mild creature lies! Low-bending, be the full pomegranate scorn'd; What softness in its melancholy face,

Nor, creeping through the woods, the gelid race What dumb-complaining innocence appears!

Of berries. Oft in humble station dwells
Fear not, ye gentle tribes ! 'tis not the knife Unboastful worth, above fastidious pomp.
Of horrid slaughter that is o'er you way'd;

Witness, thou best anâna! thou, the pride
No, 'tis the tender swain's well-guided shears, Of vegetable life, beyond whate'er
Who having now, to pay his annual care,

The poets imag'd in the golden age :
Borrow'd your fleece, to you a cumbrous load, Quick let me strip thee of thy tufty coat,
Will send you bounding to your hills again. Spread thy ambrosial stores, and feast with Jove !

From these the prospect varies. Plains immense DESCRIPTION OF THE TROPICS.

Lie stretch'd below, interminable meads, Now while I taste the sweetness of the shade,

And vast savannahs, where the wand'ring eye, Where nature lies around deep lull'd in noon,

Unfix'd, is in a verdant ocean lost. Now come, bold fancy! spread a daring flight, Another Flora there, of bolder hues, And view the wonders of the torrid zone;

And richer sweets, beyond our gardens' pride, Climes unrelenting! with whose rage compar’d,

Plays o'er the fields, and show'rs with sudden hand Yon blaze is feeble, and yon skies are cool.

Exuberant spring: for oft these vallies shift See how at once the bright effulgent sun,

Their green

embroider'd robe to fiery brown, Rising direct, swift chases from the sky

And swift to green again, as scorching suns, The short liv'd twilight, and with ardent blaze Or streaming dews and torrent rains, prevail. Looks gaily fierce through all the dazzling air: Along these lonely regions, where retir'd He mounts his throne; but kind before him sends, From little scenes of art great nature dwells Issuing from out the portals of the morn,

In awful solitude, and nought is seen The gen’ral breeze, to mitigate his fire,

But the wild herds that own no master's stall, And breathe refreshment on a fainting world. Prodigious rivers roll their fatt’ning seas, Great are the scenes, with dreadful beauty crown'd On whose luxuriant herbage, half conceal'd, And barb'rous wealth, that see each circling year Like a fall'n cedar, far diffus'd his train, Returning suns and double seasons pass ;

Cas'd in green scales the crocodile extends. Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines, The flood disparts; behold! in plaited mail That on the high equator ridgy rise ;

Behemoth rears his head. Glanc'd from his side Majestic woods, of ev'ry vig'rous green,

The darted steel in idle shivers flies ; Stage above stage, high waving o'er the hills; He fearless walks the plain, or seeks the hills, Or to the far horizon wide diffus'd,

Where as he crops his varied fare, the herds, A boundless, deep, immensity of shade.

In wid'ning circle round, forget their food, Here lofty trees, to ancient song unknown,

And at the harmless stranger wond'ring gaze. The noble sons of potent heat, and floods

Peaceful beneath primeval trees, that cast Prone-rushing from the clouds, rear high to Heav'n Their ample shade o'er Niger's yellow stream, Their thorny stems, and broad around them throw And where the Ganges rolls his sacred wave, Meridian gloom: here, in eternal prime,

Or mid the central depth of black’ning woods,

DESCRIPTION OF A DRINKING SCENE.

With trembling hand he threw. “Bathe on, my fair! Gives all his swift aerial soul to flight.
Yet unbeheld save by the sacred eye

Against the breeze he darts, that way the more Of faithful love. I go to guard thy haunt,

To leave the less'ning murd'rous cry behind : To keep from thy recess each vagrant fool,

Deception short! though fleeter than the winds And each licentious eye.” With wild surprise, Blown o'er the keeu-air'd mountains by the north, As if to marble struck, devoid of sense,

He bursts the thickets, glances through the glades, A stupid moment motionless she stood :

And plunges deep into the wildest wood;
So stands the statue that enchants the world; If slow, yet sure, adhesive to the track
So bending tries to veil the matchless boast, Hot-steaming, up behind him come again
The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.

Th’inhuman rout, and from the shady depth
Recovering, swift she flew to find those robes Expel him, circling through his ev'ry shift.
Which blissful Eden knew not; and, array'd He sweeps the forest oft, and sobbing sees
In careless haste, th' alarming paper snatch'd: The glades mild op'ning to the golden day;
But when her Damon's well known hand she saw, Where in kind contest with his butting friends
Her terrors vanish'd, and a softer train

He wont to struggle, or his loves enjoy. Of mix'd emotions, hard to be describ’d,

Oft in the full-descending flood he tries Her sudden bosom seiz'd: shame void of guilt, To lose the scent, and lave his burning sides; The charming blush of innocence, esteem

Oft seeks the herd: the watch ful herd alarm'd, And admiration of her lover's flame,

With selfish care avoid a brother's woe. By modesty exalted; even a sense

What shall he do ? His once-so-vivid nerves, Of self-approving beauty stole across

So full of buoyant spirit, now no more Her busy thought. At length a tender calm Inspire the course, but fainting breathless toil, Hush'd by degrees the tumult of her soul,

Sick, seizes on his heart: he stands at bay, And on the spreading beech, that o'er the stream And puts his last weak refuge in despair. Incumbent hung, she with the sylvan pen

The big round tears run down his dappled face; Of rural lovers this confession carv'd,

He groans in anguish, while the growling pack, Which soon her Damon kiss'd with weeping joy : Blood-bappy, hang at his fair jutting chest, “ Dear youth! sole judge of what these verses mean, And mark his beauteous chequer'd sides with gore. By fortune too much favour'd, but by love, Alas! not favour'd less, be still, as now, Discreet: the time may come you need not fly.” But first the fuel'd chimney blazes wide;

The tankards foam; and the strong table groans

Beneath the smoking sirloin, stretch'd immense Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare !

From side to side, in which with desp’rate knife Scar'd from the corn, and now to some lone seat They deep incision make, and talk the while Retir'd: the rushy fen; the ragged furze

Of England's glory, ne'er to be defac'd
Stretch'd o'er the stony heath; the stubble chapp'd; While hence they borrow vigour; or amaio
The thistly lawn; the thick entangl'd broom; Into the pasty plung'd, at intervals,
Of the same friendly hue the wither'd fern; If stomach keen can intervals allow,
The fallow ground laid open to the sun

Relating all the glories of the chase.
Concoctive; and the nodding sandy bank,

Then sated hunger bids his brother thirst Hung o'er the mazes of the mountain brook. Produce the mighty bowl; the mighty bowl, Vain is her best precaution, though she sits Swell’d high with fiery juice, steams lib'ral round Conceal’d with folded ears; unsleeping eyes,

A potent gale, delicious as the breath By nature rais'd to take th' horizon in;

Of Maia to the love-sick shepherdess, And head couch'd close betwixt her hairy feet, On violets diffus'd, while soft she hears In act to spring away. The scented dew

Her panting shepherd stealing to her arms. Betrays her early labyrinth ; and deep,

Nor wanting is the brown October, drawn In scatter'd sullen op'nings, far behind,

Mature and perfect from his dark retreat
With ev'ry breeze she hears the coming storm: Of thirty years: and now his honest front
But nearer, and more frequent, as it loads

Flames in the light refulgent, not afraid
The sighing gale, she springs amaz’d, and all Ev’n with the vineyard's best produce to vie.
The savage soul of game is up at once :

To cheat the thirsty moments, whist awhile
The pack full op'ning, various; the shrill horn Walks his dull round beneath a cloud of smoke,
Resounded from the hills; the neighing steed, Wreath'd fragrant from the pipe ; or the quick dice,
Wild for the chase; and the loud hunter's shout; In thunder leaping from the box, awake
O'er a weak, harmless, flying creature, all

The sounding gammon ; while romp-loving miss Mix'd in mad tumult and discordant joy!

Is haul'd about in gallantry robust.
The stag, too, singled from the herd, where long At last these puling idlenesses laid
He rang'd the branching monarch of the shades, Aside, frequent and full the dry divan
Before the tempest drives. At first in speed Close in firm circle, and set ardent in
He sprightly puts his faith; and rous'd by fear, For serious drinking. Nor evasion sly,

HARE AND STAG HUNTING.

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