Et nunc omnis Ager, nunc omnis parturit Arbos,
Nunc frondent Silvae, nunc formosissimus Annus.

LONDON, Printed: And sold by A. MILLAR, at Buchanan's Head over-against St. Clement's Church in the Strand; and G. STRAHAN, at the Golden Ball in Cornhill. MDCCXXVIII.

[Price 1s. 6 d.]

To the Right Honourable the Countess of HERTFORD.


I HAVE always obser­ved that, in Addresses of this Nature, the general Taste of the World de­mands ingenious Turns of Wit, and [Page] disguised artful Periods, instead of an open Sincerity of Sentiment flow­ing in a plain Expression. From what secret Impatience of the justest Praise, when bestowed on Others, this often proceeds, rather than a pretended Delicacy, is beyond my Purpose here to enquire. But as no­thing is more foreign to the Dispo­sition of a Soul sincerely pleased with the Contemplation of what is beautiful, and excellent, than Wit and Turn; I have too much Respect for your Ladyship's Character, either to touch it in that gay, trifling Man­ner, or venture on a particular Detail [Page] of those truly amiable Qualities of which it is composed. A Mind ex­alted, pure, and elegant, a Heart overflowing with Humanity, and the whole Train of Virtues thence deri­ved, that give a pleasing Spirit to Conversation, an engaging Simplici­ty to the Manners, and form the Life to Harmony, are rather to be felt, and silently admired, than expressed. I have attempted, in the following Poem, to paint some of the most tender Beauties, and delicate Appear­ances of Nature; how much in vain, your Ladyship's Taste will, I am afraid, but too soon discover: Yet [Page] would it still be a much easier Task to find Expression for all that Va­riety of Colour, Form, and Fra­grance, which enrich the Season I describe, than to speak the many nameless Graces, and Native Riches of a Mind capable so much at once to relish Solitude, and adorn So­ciety. To whom then could these Sheets be more properly inscribed than to You, MADAM, whose In­fluence in the World can give them the Protection they want, while your fine Imagination, and intimate Acquaintance with Rural Nature, will recommend them with the greatest [Page] Advantage to your favourable No­tice? Happy! if I have hit any of those Images, and correspon­dent Sentiments, your calm Even­ing Walks, in the most delightful Retirement, have oft inspired. I could add too, that as this Poem grew up under your Encourage­ment, it has therefore a natural Claim to your Patronage. Should You read it with Approbation, it's Musick shall not droop; and should it have the good Fortune to de­serve your Smiles, it's Roses shall not wither. But, where the Sub­ject is so tempting, lest I begin [Page] my Poem before the Dedication is ended, I here break short, and beg Leave to subscribe my self, with the highest Respect,

Your most Obedient, Humble Servant, JAMES THOMSON.


THAT the following Poem appears at present in Publick, is not any way in Prejudice of the Proposals I lately Published for Printing the FOUR SEASONS, &c. by Subscription, but at the Solicitation of some of my Friends who had seen it in Manuscript, and the better to carry on a Work I stand engaged to finish. For Subscription is now at its last Gasp, and the World seems to have got the better of that many-headed Monster. However, those Gentlemen and Ladies who have been, or may hereafter be so good as to honour me with their Names, shall have the Book next Winter according to my Proposals: And if it should, in any Degree, be judged worthy their Encouragement, I have my best Reward.


COME, gentle SPRING, Aetherial Mildness, come,
And from the Bosom of yon dropping Cloud,
While Music wakes around, veil'd in a Shower
Of shadowing Roses, on our Plains descend.
OH HERTFORD, fitted, or to shine in Courts
With unaffected Grace, or walk the Plain,
With Innocence, and Meditation join'd
In soft Assemblage, listen to my Song,
[Page 2] Which thy own Season paints, when Nature all
Is blooming, and benevolent like Thee.
AND see where surly WINTER passes off,
Far to the North, and calls his ruffian Blasts;
His Blasts obey, and quit the howling Hill,
The shatter'd Forest, and the ravag'd Vale:
While softer Gales succeed, at whose kind Touch,
Dissolving Snows in sudden Torrents lost,
The Mountains lift their green Heads to the Sky.
As yet the trembling Year is unconfirm'd,
And Winter oft at Eve resumes the Breeze,
Chills the pale Morn, and bids his driving Sleets
Deform the Day delightless; so that scarce
The Bittern knows his Time, with Bill ingulpht
To shake the sounding Marsh; or from the Shore
The Plovers theirs, to scatter o'er the Heath,
And sing their wild Notes to the listening Waste.
At last from Aries rolls the bounteous Sun,
And the bright Bull receives Him. Then no more
Th' expansive Atmosphere is cramp'd with Cold,
But full of Life, and vivifying Soul,
Lifts the light Clouds sublime, and spreads them thin,
Fleecy, and white, o'er All-surrounding Heaven.
FORTH fly the tepid Aires; and unconfin'd,
Unbinding Earth, the moving Softness strays.
Joyous th' impatient Husbandman perceives
Relenting Nature, and his lusty Steers
Drives from their Stalls, to where the well-us'd Plow
Lies in the Furrow loosen'd from the Frost.
There, unrefusing to the harness'd yoke,
They lend their Shoulder, and begin their Toil,
Chear'd by the simple Song, and soaring Lark.
Mean-while incumbent o'er the shining Share
The Master leans, removes th' obstructing Clay,
Winds the whole Work, and side-long lays the Glebe.
[Page 4] WHITE thro' the neighbring Fields the Sower stalks,
With measur'd Step, and liberal throws the Grain
Into the faithful Bosom of the Earth.
The Harrow follows harsh, and shuts the Scene.
BE gracious, Heaven! for now laborious Man
Has done his Due. Ye fostering Breezes blow!
Ye softening Dews, ye tender Showers descend!
And temper all, thou influential Sun,
Into the perfect Year! Nor, Ye who live
In Luxury and Ease, in Pomp and Pride,
Think these lost Themes unworthy of your Ear.
'Twas such as these the Rural Maro sung
To the full Roman Court, in all it's height
Of Elegance and Taste. The sacred Plow
Employ'd the Kings and Fathers of Mankind,
In antient Times. And Some, with whom compar'd
You're but the Beings of a Summer's Day,
Have held the Scale of Justice, shook the Launce
[Page 5] Of mighty War, then With descending Hand,
Unus'd to little Delicacies, feiz'd
The Plow, and greatly independant liv'd.
YE generous Britons cultivate the Plow!
And o'er your Hills, and long with-drawing Vales,
Let Autumn spread his Treasures to the Sun,
Luxuriant, and unbounded. As the Sea,
Far thro' his azure, turbulent Extent,
Your Empire owns, and from a thousand Shores
Wafts all the Pomp of Life into your Ports,
So with superior Boon may your rich Soil,
Exuberant, Nature's better Blessings pour
O'er every Land; the naked Nations cloath.
And be th' exhaustless Granary of the World.
NOR thro' the lenient Air alone, this Change
Delicious breathes; the penetrative Sun,
His Force deep-darting to the dark Retreat
Of Vegetation, sets the steaming Power
[Page 6] At large, to wander o'er the vernant Earth
In various Hues, but chiefly Thee, gay Green!
Thou smiling Nature's universal Robe!
United Light and Shade! where the Sight dwells
With growing Strength, and ever-new Delight!
FROM the moist Meadow to the brown-brow'd Hill,
Led by the Breeze, the vivid Verdure runs,
And swells, and deepens to the cherish'd Eye.
The Hawthorn whitens; and the juicy Groves
Put forth their Buds, unfolding by Degrees,
Till the whole leafy Forest stands display'd
In full Luxuriance, to the sighing Gales,
While the Deer rustle thro' the twining Brake,
And the Birds sing conceal'd. At once array'd
In all the Colours of the flushing Year,
By Nature's swift and secret-working Hand,
The Garden glows, and fills the liberal Air
With lavish Fragrance; while the promis'd Fruit
Lies yet a little Embrio, unperceiv'd,
[Page 7] Within it's Crimson Folds. Now from the Town
Buried in Smoak, and Sleep, and noisome Damps,
Oft let me wander o'er the dewy Fields,
Where Freshness breathes, and dash the lucid Drops
From the bent Bush, as thro' the fuming Maze
Of Sweet-Briar Hedges I pursue my Walk;
Or taste the Smell of Dairy; or ascend
Some Eminence, Augusta, in thy Plains,
And see the Country far-diffus'd around
One boundless Blush, one snow-empurpled Shower
Of mingled Blossoms, where the raptur'd Eye
Travels from Joy to Joy, and, hid beneath
The fair Profusion, yellow Autumn spies.
IF brush'd from Russian Wilds a cutting Gale
Rise not, and scatter from his foggy Wings
The bitter Mildew, or dry-blowing breathe
Untimely Frost; before whose baleful Blast,
The full-blown Spring thro' all her Foliage shrinks.
Into a smutty, wide-dejected Waste.
[Page 8] For oft engender'd by the hazy North,
Myriads on Myriads, Insect-Armies waft
Keen in the poison'd Breeze; and wasteful eat
Thro' Buds, and Bark, even to the Heart of Oak
Their eager Way. A feeble Race! scarce seen,
Save to the prying Eye; yet Famine waits
On their corrosive Course, and starves the Year.
Sometimes o'er Cities as they steer their Flight,
Where rising Vapour melts their Wings away,
Gaz'd by th' astonish'd Crowd, the horrid Shower
Descends. And hence the skillful Farmer Chaff
And blazing Straw before his Orchard burns,
Till all involv'd in Smoak the latent Foe
From every Cranny suffocated falls;
Or Onions steaming hot beneath his Trees
Exposes, fatal to the frosty Tribe:
Nor, from their friendly Task, the busy Bill
Of little trooping Birds instinctive scares.
THESE are not idle Philosophic Dreams;
Full Nature swarms with Life. Th' unfaithful Fen
[Page 9] In putrid Steams emits the living Cloud
Of Pestilence. Thro' subterranean Cells,
Where searching Sun-Beams never found a Way,
Earth animated heaves. The flowery Leaf
Wants not it's soft Inhabitants. The Stone,
Hard as it is, in every winding Pore
Holds Multitudes. But chief the Forest-Boughs,
Which dance unnumber'd to th' inspiring Breeze,
The downy Orchard, and the melting Pulp
Of mellow Fruit the nameless Nations feed
Of evanescent Insects. Where the Pool
Stands mantled o'er with Green, invisible,
Amid the floating Verdure Millions stray.
Each Liquid too, whether of acid Taste,
Milky, or strong, with various Forms abounds.
Nor is the lucid Stream, nor the pure Air,
Tho' one transparent Vacancy they seem,
Devoid of theirs. Even Animals subsist
On Animals, in infinite Descent;
And all so fine adjusted, that the Loss
[Page 10] Of the least Species would disturb the whole.
Stranger than this th' inspective Glass confirms,
And to the Curious gives th' amazing Scenes
Of lessning Life; by Wisdom kindly hid
From Eye, and Ear of Man: for if at once
The Worlds in Worlds enclos'd were push'd to Light,
Seen by his sharpen'd Eye, and by his Ear
Intensely bended Heard, from the choice Cate,
The freshest Viands, and the brightest Wines,
He'd turn abhorrent, and in Dead of Night,
When Silence sleeps o'er all, be stun'd with Noise.
THE North-East spends his Rage, and now shut up
Within his Iron Caves, th' effusive South
Warms the wide Air, and o'er the Void of Heaven
Breathes the big Clouds with vernal Showers distent.
At first a dusky Wreath they seem to rise,
Scarce staining Aether; but by fast Degrees,
In Heaps on Heaps, the doubling Vapour sails
Along the loaded Sky, and mingling thick
Sits on th' Horizon round a settled Gloom.
[Page 11] Not such as wintry Storms on Mortals shed
Oppressing Life, but lovely, gentle, kind,
And full of every Hope, and every Joy,
The Wish of Nature. Gradual sinks the Breeze
Into a perfect Calm; that not a Breath
Is heard to quiver thro' the closing Woods,
Or rustling turn the many-twinkling Leaves
Of Aspin tall. Th' uncurling Floods, diffus'd
In glassy Breadth, seem thro' 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,
And wait th' approaching Sign to strike at once
Into the general Choir. Ev'n Mountains, Vales,
And Forests seem expansive to demand
The promis'd Sweetness, Man superior walks
Amid the glad Creation, musing Praise,
And looking lively Gratitude. At last
[Page 12] The Clouds consign their Treasures to the Fields,
And, softly shking on the dimply Pool
Prelusive Drops, let all their Moisture flow
In large Effusion o'er the freshen'd World.
'Tis scarce to patter heard, the stealing Shower,
By such as wander thro' the Forest-Walks,
Beneath th' umbrageous Multitude of Leaves.
But who would hold the Shade, while Heaven descends
In universal Bounty, shedding Herbs,
And Fruits, and Flowers, on Nature's ample Lap?
Imagination fir'd prevents their Growth,
And while the verdant Nutriment distills,
Beholds the kindling Country colour round,
THUS all Day long the full-distended Clouds
Indulge their genial Stores, and well-showr'd Earth
Is deep enrich'd with vegetable Life;
Till, in the Western Sky, the downward Sun
Looks out illustrious from amid the Flush
Of broken Clouds, gay-shifting to his Beam.
[Page 13] The rapid Radiance instantaneous strikes
Th' illumin'd Mountain, thro' the Forest streams,
Shakes on the Floods, and in a yellow Mist,
Far-smoaking o'er th' interminable Plain,
In twinkling Myriads lights the dewy Gems.
Moist, bright, and green, the Landskip laughs around.
Full swell the Woods; their every Musick wakes,
Mix'd in wild Consort with the warbling Brooks
Increas'd, th' unnumber'd Bleatings of the Hills,
The hollow Lows responsive from the Vales,
Whence blending all the sweeten'd Zephir springs.
Mean-time retracted from yon Eastern Cloud,
Bestriding Earth, the grand aetherial Bow
Shoots up immense! and every Hue unfolds,
In fair Proportion, running from the Red,
To where the Violet fades into the Sky.
Here, mighty Newton, the dissolving Clouds
Are, as they scatter round, thy numerous Prism,
Untwisting to the Philosophic Eye
The various Twine os Light, by Thee pursu'd
[Page 14] Thro' all the mingling Maze. Not so the Swain,
He wondering views the bright Enchantment bend,
Delightful, o'er the radiant Fields, and runs
To catch the falling Glory, but amaz'd
Beholds th' amusive Arch before him fly,
Then vanish quite away. Still Night succeeds,
A soften'd Shade; and saturated Earth
Awaits the Morning Beam, to give again,
Transmuted soon by Nature's Chymistry,
The blooming Blessings of the former Day.
THEN spring the living Herbs, profusely wild
O'er all the deep-green Earth, beyond the Power
Of Botanist▪ to number up their Tribes;
Whether he steals along the lonely Dale
In silent Search; or thro' the Forest, rank
With what the dull Incurious Weeds account,
Bursts his blind Way; or climbs the Mountain-Rock,
Fir'd by the nodding Verdure of its Brow.
With such a liberal Hand has Nature slung
[Page 15] Their Seeds abroad, blown them about in Winds,
Innumerous mix'd then with the nursing Mold,
The moistening Current, and prolific Rain.
BUT who their Virtues can declare? who pierce
With holy Eye into these secret Stores
Of Life, and Health, and Joy? The Food of Man
While yet he liv'd in Innocence, and told
A Length of golden Years, unflesh'd in Blood,
A Stranger to the Savage Arts of Life,
Death, Rapine, Carnage, Surfeit, and Disease,
The Lord, and not the Tyrant of the World.
THEN the glad Morning wak'd the gladden'd Race
Of uncorrupted Men, nor blush'd to see
The Sluggard sleep beneath her sacred Beam.
For their light Slumbers gently fum'd away,
And up they rose as vigorous as the Sun,
Or to the Culture of the willing Glebe,
Or to the chearful Tendance of the Flock.
[Page 16] Mean-time the Song went round; and Dance, and Sport,
Wisdom, and friendly Talk successive stole
Their Hours away. While in the rosy Vale
Love breath'd his Infant Sighs, from Anguish free,
Fragrant with Bliss, and only wept for Joy.
Nor yet injurious Act, nor surly Deed
Was known among these happy Sons of Heaven;
For Reason and Benevolence were Law.
Harmonious Nature too look'd smiling on.
Clean shone the Skies, cool'd with eternal Gales,
And balmy Spirit all. The youthful Sun
Shot his best Rays; and still the gracious Clouds
Drop'd Fatness down; as o'er the swelling Mead
The Herds and Flocks commixing play'd secure.
Which when, emergent from the gloomy Wood,
The glaring Lyon saw, his horrid Heart
Was meeken'd, and he join'd his sullen Joy.
For Musick held the whole in perfect Peace:
Soft sigh'd the Flute; the tender Voice was heard
Warbling the joyous Heart; the Woodlands round
[Page 17] Apply'd their Quire; and Winds and Waters flow'd
In Consonance.—Such were these Prime of Days.
THIS to the Poets gave the golden Age;
When, as they sung in Allegoric Phraze,
The Sailor-Pine had not the Nations yet
In Commerce mix'd; for every Country teem'd
With every Thing. Spontaneous Harvests wav'd
Still in a Sea of yellow Plenty round.
The Forest was the Vineyard, where untaught
To climb, unprun'd, and wild, the juicy Grape
Burst into Floods of Wine. The knotted Oak
Shook from his Boughs the long transparent Streams
Of Honey, creeping thro' the matted Grass.
Th' uncultivated Thorn a ruddy Shower
Of Fruitage shed, on such as sat below,
In blooming Ease, and from brown Labour free,
Save what the copious Gathering, grateful, gave.
The Rivers foam'd with Nectar; or diffuse,
Silent, and soft, the milky Maze devolv'd.
[Page 18] Nor had the spongy, full-expanded Fleece
Yet drunk the Tyrian Die. The stately Ram
Shone thro' the Mead, in native Purple clad,
Or milder Saffron; and the dancing L [...]mb
The vivid Crimson to the Sun disclos'd.
Nothing had Power to hurt; the savage Soul,
Yet untransfus'd [...] the Tyger's Heart,
Burn'd not his Bowels, nor his gamesome Paw
Drove on the fleecy Partners of his Play:
While from the flowery Brake the Serpent roll'd
His fairer Spires, and play'd his pointless Tongue.
BUT now what-e'er these gaudy Fables meant,
And the white Minutes that they shadow'd out,
Are found no more amid these Iron Times,
These Dregs of Life! in which the Human Mind
Has lost that Harmony ineffable,
Which forms the Soul of Happiness; and all
Is off the Poise within; the Passions all
Have burst their Bounds; and Reason half extinct,
[Page 19] Or impotent, or else approving, sees
The foul Disorder. Anger storms at large,
Without an equal Cause; and fell Revenge
Supports the falling Rage. Close Envy bites
With venom'd Tooth; while weak, unmanly Fear,
Full of frail Fancies, loosens every Power.
Even Love itself is Bitterness of Soul,
A pleasing Anguish pining at the Heart.
Hope sickens with Extravagance; and Grief,
Of Life impatient, into Madness swells,
Or in dead Silence wastes the weeping Hours.
These, and a thousand new Emotions more,
That from their Mixture spring, distract the Mind
With endless Tumult. Whence resulting rise
The selfish Thought, a listless Inconcern,
Cold, and averting from our Neighbour's Good;
Then dark Disgust, and Malice, winding Wiles,
Sneaking Deceit, and Coward Villany:
At last unruly Hatred, lewd Reproach,
Convulsive Wrath, and thoughtless Fury quick
[Page 20] To every evil Deed. Even Nature's self
Is deem'd vindictive, to have chang'd her Course.
HENOE in old Time, they say, a Deluge came;
When the dry-crumbling Orb of Earth, which arch'd
Th' imprison'd Deep around, impetuous rush'd,
With Ruin inconceivable, at once
Into the Gulph, and o'er the highest Hills
Wide-dash'd the Waves, in Undulation vast:
Till from the Centre to the streaming Clouds
A shoreless Ocean tumbled round the Globe.
THE Seasons since, as hoar Tradition tells,
Have kept their constant Chace; the Winter keen
Pour'd out his Waste of Snows, and Summer shot
His pestilential Heats: great Spring before
Green'd all the Year; and Fruits and Blossoms blush'd
In social Sweetness on the self-same Bough.
Clear was the temperate Air; an even Calm
Perpetual reign'd, save what the Zephirs bland
[Page 21] Breath'd o'er the blue Expanse; for then nor Storms
Were taught to blow, nor Hurricanes to rage;
Sound slept the Waters: no sulphureous Glooms
Swell'd in the Sky, and sent the Lightning forth:
While sickly Damps, and cold Autumnal Fogs
Sat not pernicious on the Springs of Life.
But now from clear to cloudy, moist to dry,
And hot to cold, in restless Change revolv'd,
Our droopipg Days are dwindled down to nought,
The fleeting Shadow of a Winter's Sun.
AND yet the wholesome Herb neglected dies
In lone Obscurity, unpriz'd for Food,
Altho' the pure, exhilerating Soul
Of Nutriment, and Health, salubrious breathes,
By Heaven infus'd, along it's secret Tubes.
For, with hot Ravine fir'd, ensanguin'd Man
Is now become the Lyon of the Plain,
And worse. The Wolf, who from the nightly Fold
Fierce-drags the bleating Prey, ne'er drunk her Milk,
[Page 22] Nor Wore her warming Fleece: nor has the Steer,
At whose strong Chest the deadly Tyger hangs,
E'er plow'd for him. They too are temper'd high,
With Hunger stung, and wild Necessity,
Nor lodges Pity in their shaggy Breasts.
But Man, whom Nature form'd of milder Clay,
With every kind Emotion in his Heart,
And taught alone to weep; while from her Lap
She pours ten thousand Delicacies, Herbs,
And Fruits as numerous as the drops of Rain,
And Beams which gave them Birth: shall He, fair Form!
Who wears sweet Smiles, and looks erect on Heaven,
E'er stoop to mingle with the prowling Herd,
And dip his Tongue in Blood? The Beast of Prey,
'Tis true, deserves the Fate in which He deals;
Him from the Thicket let the hardy Youth
Provoke, and foaming thro' th' awakened Woods
With every Nerve pursue. But You, ye Flocks,
What have ye done? ye peaceful People, what,
To merit Death? You, who have given us Milk
[Page 23] In luscious Streams, and lent us your own Coat
Against the Winter's Cold; whose Usefulness
In living only lies. And the plain Ox,
That harmless, honest, guileless Animal,
In what has He offended? He, whose Toil,
Patient, and ever-ready, cloaths the Fields
With all the Pomp of Harvest; shall He bleed,
And wrestling groan beneath the cruel Hands
Even of the Clowns he feeds? And that perhaps
To swell the Riot of the gathering Feast,
Won by his Labour. Thus the feeling Heart
Would tenderly suggest. But 'tis enough,
In this late Age, adventurous to have touch'd
Light on the Numbers of the Samian Sage.
High Heaven beside forbids the daring Strain,
Whose wisest Will has fix'd us in a State,
Which must not yet to pure Perfection rise.
BUT yonder breathing Prospect bids the Muse
Throw all her Beauty forth, that Daubing all
[Page 24] Will be to what I gaze; for who can paint
Like Nature? Can Imagination boast
Amid his gay Creation Hues like Her's?
And can He mix them with that matchless Skill,
And lay them on so delicately sweet,
And lose them in each other, as appears
In every Bud that blows? If Fancy then
Unequal fails beneath the lovely Task;
Ah what shall Language do? Ah where find Words
Ting'd with so many Colours? And whose Power
To Life approaching, may perfume my Lays
With that fine Oil, these aromatic Gales,
Which inexhaustive flow continual round.
YET, tho' successless, will the Toil delight.
Come then ye Virgins, and ye Youths, whose Hearts
Have felt the Raptures of refining Love,
Oh come, and while the rosy-footed May
Steals blushing on, together let us walk
The Morning Dews, and gather in their Prime
[Page 25] Fresh-blooming Flavours, to deck the flowing Hair,
And for a Breast which can improve their Sweets.
SEE, where the winding Vale her lavish Stores,
Irriguous, spreads. See, how the Lilly drinks
The latent Rill, scarce oozing thro' the Grass
Of Growth luxuriant, or the humid Bank
Profusely climbs. Turgent, in every Pore
The Gummy Moisture shines, new Lustre lends,
And feeds the Spirit that diffusive round
Refreshes all the Dale. Long let us walk,
Where the Breeze blows from yon extended Field
Of blossom'd Beans; Arabia cannot boast
A fuller Gale of Joy than, liberal, thence
Breathes thro' the Sense, and takes the ravish'd Soul.
Nor is, the Meadow worthless of our Foot,
Full of fresh Verdure, and unnumber'd Flowers,
The Negligence of Nature, wide, and wild,
Where, undisguis'd by mimic Art, she shows
Unbounded Beauty to the boundless Eye.
[Page 26] 'Tis here that their delicious Task the Bees,
In swarming Millions, tend. Around, athwart,
This Way and that, the busy Nations fly,
Cling to the Bud, and, with inserted Tube,
It's Soul, it's Sweetness, and it's Manna suck.
The little Chymist thus, all-moving Heaven
Has taught. And oft, of bolder Wing, he dares
The Purple Heath, or where the Wild-Thyme grow [...]
And yellow loads him with the luscious Spoil.
AT length the finish'd Garden to the View
It's Vistas opens, and it's Alleys green.
Snatch'd thro' the verdant Maze, the hurried Eye
Distracted wanders; now the bowery Walk
Of Covert close, where scarce a Speck of Day
Falls on the lengthen'd Gloom, protracted darts;
Now meets the bending Sky, the River now
Dimpling along, the breezy-ruffled Lake,
The Forest running round, the rising Spire,
Th' aetherial Mountain, and the distant Main.
[Page 27] But why so far excursive? When at Hand,
Along the blushing Borders, dewy-bright,
And in yon mingled Wilderness of Flowers,
Fair-handed Spring unbosoms every Grace;
Throws out the Snow-Drop, and the Crocus first,
The Daisy, Primrose, Violet darkly blue,
Soft-bending Cowslips, and of nameless Dies
Anemonies, Auriculas, a Tribe
Peculiar powder'd with a shining Sand,
Renunculas, and Iris many-hued.
Then comes the Tulip-Race, where Beauty plays
Her gayest Freaks; from Family diffus'd
To Family, as flies the Father-Dust,
The varied Colours run; and while they break
On the charm'd Florist's Eye, he wondering stands,
And new-flush'd Glories all ecstatic marks.
Nor Hyacinths are wanting, nor Junquils
Of potent Fragrance, nor Narcissus white,
Nor deep Carnations, nor enamel'd Pinks,
And showr'd from every Bush the Damask-Rose.
[Page 28] Infinite Numbers, Delicacies, Smells,
With Hues on Hues Expression cannot paint,
The Breath of Nature, and her endless Bloom.
HAIL, Mighty Being! Universal Soul
Of Heaven and Earth! Essential Presence, hail!
To Thee I bend the Knee, to Thee my Thoughts
Continual climb, who, with a Master-Hand,
Hast the great Whole into Perfection touch'd.
By Thee the various vegetative Tribes,
Wrapt in a filmy Net, and clad with Leaves,
Draw the live Aether, and imbibe the Dew.
By Thee dispos'd into cogenial Soils
Stands each attractive Plant, and sucks, and swells
The juicy Tide, a twining Mass of Tubes.
At Thy Command, the vernal Sun awakes
The torpid Sap, detruded to the Root
By Wintry Winds, that now, in fluent Dance
And lively Fermentation, mounting, spreads
All this innumerous-colour'd Scene of things.
ASCENDING from the vegetable World
To higher Life, with equal Wing ascend,
My panting Muse; and hark, how loud the Woods
Invite you forth in all your gayest Trim.
Lend me your Song, ye Nightingales! oh pout
The mazy-running Soul of Melody
Into my varied Verse! while I deduce,
From the first Note the hollow Cuckoo sings,
The Symphony of Spring, and touch a Theme
Unknown to Fame, the Passion of the Groves.
JUST as the Spirit of Love is sent abroad,
Warm thro' the vital Air, and on their Hearts
Harmonious seizes, the gay Troops begin
In gallant Thought to plume their painted Wings;
And try again the long-forgotten Strain,
At first faint-warbled. But no sooner grows
The soft Infusion prevalent, and wide,
Than all alive at once their Joy o'erflows
In Music unconfin'd. Up-springs the Lark,
[Page 30] Shrill-voiced, and loud, the Messenger of Morn;
Ere yet the Shadows fly, He mounted sings
Amid the dawning Clouds, and from their Haunts
Calls up the tuneful Nations. Every Copse
Thick-wove, and Tree irregular, and Bush,
Bending with dewy Moisture o'er the Heads
Of the coy Quiristers that lodge within,
Are prodigal of Harmony. The Thrush,
And Wood-Lark, o'er the kind-contending Throng
Superior heard, run thro' the sweetest Length
Of Notes, when listening Philomela deigns
To let them joy, and purposes, in Thought
Elate, to make her Night excel their Day.
The Black-bird whistles from the thorny Brake;
The mellow Bull-finch answers from the Grove:
Nor are the Linnets, o'er the flowering Furze,
Pour'd out profusely, silent. Join'd to These,
Thousands beside, thick as the covering Leaves
They warble under, or the nitid Hues
Which speck them o'er, their Modulations mix
[Page 31] Mellifluous. The Jay, the Rook, the Daw,
And all these jangling Pipes, when heard alone,
Here aid the Consort: while the Wood-Dove breathes
A melancholy Murmur thro' the whole.
'Tis Love creates their Gaiety, and all
This Waste of Music is the Voice of Love;
Which even to Birds, and Beasts, the tender Arts
Of Pleasing teaches. Hence the glossy Kind
Try every winning Way inventive Love
Can dictate, and in fluttering Courtship pour
Their little Souls before Her. Wide around,
Respectful, first in airy Rings they rove,
Endeavouring by a thousand Tricks to catch
The cunning, conscious, half-averted Glance
Of their regardless Charmer. Should she seem
Softening the least Approvance to bestow,
Their Colours burnish, and by Hope inspir'd
They brisk advance; then on a sudden struck
Retire disorder'd; then again approach,
[Page 32] And throwing out the last Efforts of Love,
In fond Rotation spread the spotted Wing,
And shiver every Feather with Desire.
CONNUBIAL Leagues agreed, to the deep Woods
They haste away, each as their Fancy leads,
Pleasure, or Food, or latent Safety prompts;
That Nature's great Command may be obey'd,
Nor all these sweet Sensations they perceive
Indulg'd in vain. Some to the Holly-Hedge
Nestling repair, and to the Thicket some;
Some to the rude Protection of the Thorn
Resolve to trust their Young. The clefted Tree
Offers it's kind Concealment to a Few,
Their Food it's Insects, and it's Moss their Nests.
Others apart far in the grassy Dale
Their humble Texture weave. But most delight
In unfrequented Glooms, or shaggy Banks,
Steep, and divided by a babbling Brook,
Whose Murmurs sooth them all the live-long Day,
[Page 33] When for a Season fix'd. Among the Roots
Of Hazel, pendant o'er the plaintive Stream,
They frame the first Foundation of their Domes,
Dry Sprigs of Trees, in artful Manner laid,
And bound with Clay together. Now 'tis nought
But Hurry Hurry thro' the busy Air,
Beat by unnumber'd Wings. The Swallow sweeps
The slimy Pool, to build his hanging House
Ingeniously intent. Oft from the Back
Of Herds and Flocks a thousand tugging Bills
Pluck Hair, and Wool, and oft when unobserv'd
Steal from the Barn the Straw; till soft, and warm,
Clean, and compleat, their Habitation grows.
MEAN-TIME the patient Dam assiduous sits,
Not to be tempted from her tender Task,
Or by sharp Hunger, or by smooth Delight,
Tho' the whole loosen'd Spring around her blows,
Her sympathizing Lover takes his Stand
High on th' opponent Bank, and ceaseless sings
[Page 34] The tedious Time away; or else supplies
Her Place a Moment, while she sudden flits
To pick the scanty Meal. Th' appointed Time
With pious Toil fulfill'd, the callow Young
Warm'd, and expanded into perfect Life,
Their brittle Bondage break, and come to Light,
A helpless Family, demanding Food
With constant Clamour. Oh what Passions then,
What melting Sentiments of kindly Care
Seize the new Parents' Hearts! Away they fly
Affectionate, and undesiring bear
The most delicious Morsel to their Young,
Which equally distributed, again
The Search begins. So pitiful, and poor,
A gentle Pair on Providential Heaven
Cast, as they weeping eye their clamant Train,
Check their own Appetites, and give them all.
NOR is the Courage of the fearful Kind,
Nor is their Cunning less, should some rude Foot
[Page 35] Their Woody Haunts molest; stealthy aside
Into the Centre of a neighbring Bush
They drop, and whirring thence alarm'd, deceive
The rambling School-Boy. Hence around the Head
Of Traveller, the white-wing'd Plover wheels
Her sounding Flight, and then directly on
In long Excursion skims the level Lawn,
To tempt you from her Nest. The Wild-Duck hence
O'er the rough Moss, and o'er the trackless Waste
The Heath-Hen flutters, as if hurt, to lead
The hot, pursuing Spaniel far astray.
BE not the Muse asham'd, here to bemoan
Her Brothers of the Grove, by Tyrant Man
Inhuman caught, and in the narrow Cage
From Liberty confin'd, and boundless Air.
Dull are the pretty Slaves, their Plumage dull,
Ragged, and all it's brightning Lustre lost;
Nor is that luscious Wildness in their Notes
That warbles from the Beech. Oh then desist,
[Page 36] Ye Friends of Harmony! this barbarous Art
Forbear, if Innocence and Music can
Win on your Hearts, or Piety perswade.
BUT let not chief the Nightingale lament
Her ruin'd Care, too delicately fram'd
To brook the harsh Confinement of the Cage.
Oft when returning with her loaded Bill,
Th' astonish'd Mother finds a vacant Nest,
By the hard Hands of unrelenting Clowns
Rob'd, to the Ground the vain Provision falls;
Her Pinions ruffle, and low-drooping scarce
Can bear the Mourner to the Poplar Shade,
Where all-abandon'd to Despair she sings
Her Sorrows thro' the Night; and, on the Bough
Sad-sitting, still at every dying Fall
Takes up again her lamentable Strain
Of winding Woe, till wide around the Woods
Sigh at her Song, and with her Wail resound.
AND now the feather'd Youth their former Bounds
Ardent disdain, and weighing oft their Wings,
Demand the free Poss [...]ssion of the Sky.
But this glad Office more, and then dissolves
Parental Love at once; for needless grown,
Unlavish Wisdom never works in vain.
'Tis on some Evening, sunny, grateful, mild,
When nought but Balm is breathing thro' the Woods,
With yellow Lustre bright, that the new Tribes
Visit the spacious Heavens, and look abroad
On Nature's Common, far as they can see,
Or wing, their Range, and Pasture. O'er the Boughs
Dancing about, still at the giddy Verge
Their Resolution fails; their Pinions still,
In loose Libration stretch'd, the void Abrupt
Trembling refuse: till down before them fly
The Parent-Guides, and chide, exhort, command,
Or push them off. The surging Air receives
The plumy Burden; and their self-taught Wings
Winnow the waving Element. On Ground
[Page 38] Alighted bolder, up again they lead
Farther and farther on the lengthning Flight;
Till vanish'd every Fear, and every Power
Rouz'd into Life, and Action, in the Void
Th' exoner'd Parents see their soaring Race,
And once rejoicing, never know them more.
HIGH from the Summit of a craggy Cliff,
Hung o'er the green Sea grudging at it's Base,
The Royal Eagle draws his Young, resolv'd
To try them at the Sun. Strong-pounc'd, and bright
As burnish'd Day, they up the blue Sky wind,
Leaving dull Sight below, and with fixt Gaze
Drink in their native Noon: The Father-King
Claps his glad Pinions, and approves the Birth.
AND should I wander to the Rural Seat,
Whose aged Oaks, and venerable Gloom
Invite the noisy Rook, with Pleasure there,
I might the various Polity survey
[Page 39] Of the mixt Houshold Kind. The careful Hen
Calls all her chirping Family around,
Fed, and defended by the fearless Cock,
Whose Breast with Ardour flames, as on he walks
Graceful, and crows Defiance. In the Pond,
The finely-checker'd Duck, before her Train,
Rows garrulous. The stately-sailing Swan
Gives out his snowy Plumage to the Gale,
And, arching proud his Neck, with oary Feet
Bears onward fierce, and beats you from the Bank,
Protective of his Young. The Turkey nigh,
Loud-threatning, reddens; while the Peacock spreads
His every-colour'd Glory to the Sun,
And swims in floating Majesty along.
O'er the whole homely Scene, the cooing Dove
Flies thick in amorous Chace, and wanton rolls
The glancing Eye, and turns the changeful Neck.
WHILE thus the gentle Tenants of the Shade
Indulge their purer Loves, the rougher World
[Page 40] Of Brutes below rush furious into Flame,
And fierce Desire. Thro' all his lusty Veins
The Bull, deep-scorcht, receives the raging Fire.
Of Pasture sick, and negligent of Food,
Scarce-seen, he wades among the yellow Broom,
While o'er his brawny Back the rambling Sprays
Luxuriant shoot; or thro' the mazy Wood
Dejected wanders, nor th' inticing Bud
Crops, tho' it presses on his careless Sense:
For, wrapt in mad Imagination, he
Roars for the Fight, and idly butting feigns
A Rival gor'd in every knotty Trunk.
Such should he meet, the bellowing War begins;
Their Eyes flash Fury; to the hollow'd Earth,
Whence the Sand flies, they mutter bloody Deeds,
And groaning vast th' impetuous Battel mix:
While the fair Heifer, redolent, in View
Stands kindling up their Rage. The trembling Steed,
With this hot Impulse seiz'd in every Nerve,
Nor hears the Rein, nor heeds the sounding Whip;
[Page 41] Blows are not felt; but tossing high his Head,
And by the well-known Joy to distant Plains
Attracted strong, all wild, he bursts away;
O'er Rocks, and Woods, and craggy Mountains flies,
And neighing on th' aerial Summit takes
Th' informing Gale; then steep-descending stems
The headlong Torrents foaming down the Hills,
Even where the Madness of the straiten'd Stream
Turns in black Eddies round: Such is the Force
With which his frantic Heart, and Sinews swell.
NOR, undelighted by the boundless Spring,
Are the broad Monsters of the Deep: thro' all
Their oozy Caves, and gelid Kingdoms rous'd,
They flounce, and tumble in unwieldy Joy.
Dire were the Strain, and dissonant, to sing
The cruel Raptures of the Savage Kind;
How the red Lioness, her Whelps forgot
Amid the thoughtless Fury of her Heart,
The lank rapacious Wolf, th' unshapely Bear,
[Page 42] The spotted Tyger, fellest of the Fell,
And all the Terrors of the Lybian Swain,
By this new Flame their Native Wrath sublim'd,
Roam the resounding Waste in fiercer Bands,
And growl their horrid Loves. But this the Theme
I sing, transported to the British Fair,
Forbids, and leads me to the Mountain-brow,
Where sits the Shepherd on the grassy Turf,
Inhaling, healthful, the descending Sun.
Around Him feeds his many-bleating Flock,
Of various Cadence; and his sportive Lambs,
This way and that convolv'd in friskful Glee,
Their little Frolicks play. And now the Race
Invites them forth; when swift, the Signal given,
They start away, and sweep the circly Mound
That runs around the Hill; the Rampart once
Of Iron War, in antient barbarous Times,
When disunited Britain ever bled,
Lost in eternal Broil; ere yet she grew
To this deep-laid, indissoluble State,
[Page 43] Where Wealth and Commerce lift their golden Head,
And o'er our Labours Liberty and Law
Illustrious watch, the Wonder of a World!
WHAT is this mighty Breath, ye Curious, say,
Which, in a Language rather felt than heard,
Instructs the Fowls of Heaven; and thro' their Breasts
These Arts of Love diffuses?—What? but GOD!
Inspiring GOD! who boundless Spirit all,
And unremitting Energy, pervades,
Subsists, adjusts, and agitates the Whole.
He ceaseless works alone, and yet alone
Seems not to work, so exquisitely fram'd
Is this complex, amazing Scene of Things.
But tho' conceal'd, to every purer Eye
Th' informing Author in his Works appears;
His Grandeur in the Heavens: the Sun, and Moon,
Whether that fires the Day, or falling this
Pours out a lucid Softness o'er the Night,
Are but a Beam from Him. The glittering Stars,
[Page 44] By the deep Ear of Meditation heard,
Still in their Midnight Watches sing of Him.
He nods a Calm. The Tempest blows His Wrath,
Roots up the Forest, and o'erturns the Main.
The Thunder is His Voice; and the red Flash
His speedy Sword of Justice. At His Touch
The Mountains flame. He takes the solid Earth,
And rocks the Nations. Nor in these alone,
In every common Instance GOD is seen;
And to the Man, who casts his mental Eye
Abroad, unnotic'd Wonders rise. But chief
In Thee, Boon Spring, and in thy softer Scenes,
The Smiling GOD appears; while Water, Earth,
And Air attest his Bounty, which instils
Into the Brutes this temporary Thought,
And annual melts their undesigning Hearts
Profusely thus in Tenderness, and Joy.
STILL let my Song a nobler. Note assume,
And sing th' infusive Force of Spring on Man;
[Page 45] When Heaven and Earth, as if contending, vie
To raise his Being, and serene his Soul.
Can he forbear to smile with Nature? Can
The stormy Passions in his Bosom rowl,
While every Gale is Peace, and every Grove
Is Melody? Hence, from the bounteous Walks
Of flowing Spring, ye fordid Sons of Earth,
Hard, and unfeeling of Another's Woe,
Or only lavish to Yourselves,—away.
But come, ye generous Breasts, in whose wide Thought,
Of all his Works, Creative Bounty, most,
Divinely burns; and on your open Front,
And liberal Eye, sits, from his dark Retreat
Inviting modest Want. Nor only fair,
And easy of Approach; your active Search
Leaves no cold wintry Corner unexplor'd,
Like silent-working Heaven, surprizing oft
The lonely Heart with unexpected Good.
For you the roving Spirit of the Wind
Blows Spring abroad, for you the teeming Clouds
[Page 46] Descend in buxom Plenty o'er the World,
And the Sun spreads his genial Blaze for you,
Ye flower of Human Race! In these green Days,
Sad-pining Sickness lifts her languid Head;
Life flows afresh; and young-ey'd Health exalts
The whole Creation round. Contentment walks
The Sunny Glade, and feels an inward Bliss
Spring o'er his Mind, beyond the Pride of Kings
E'er to bestow. Serenity apace
Induces Thought, and Contemplation still.
By small Degrees the Love of Nature works,
And warms the Bosom; till at last arriv'd
To Rapture, and enthusiastic Heat,
We feel the present Deity, and taste
The Joy of GOD, to see a happy World.
'Tis Harmony, that World-embracing Power,
By which all Beings are adjusted, each
To all around, impelling and impell'd
In endless Circulation, that inspires
[Page 47] This universal Smile. Thus the glad Skies,
The wide-rejoycing Earth, the Woods, the Streams,
With every Life they hold, down to the Flower
That paints the lowly Vale, or Insect-Wing
Wav'd o'er the Shepherd's Slumber, touch the Mind
To Nature tun'd, with a light-flying Hand,
Invisible, quick-urging, thro' the Nerves,
The glittering Spirits, in a Flood of Day.
HENCE from the Virgin's Cheek, a fresher Bloom
Shoots, less and less, the live Carnation round;
Her Lips blush deeper Sweets; she breathes of Youth;
The shining Moisture swells into her Eyes,
In brighter Flow; her wishing Bosom heaves
With Palpitations wild; kind Tumults seize
Her Veins, and all her yielding Soul is Love.
From the keen Gaze her Lover turns away,
Full of the dear ecstatic Power, and sick
With sighing Languishment. Ah then, ye Fair!
Be greatly cautious of your sliding Hearts;
[Page 48] Dare not th' infectious Sigh, the pleading Eye
In meek Submission drest, deject, and low,
But full of tempting Guile. Let not the Tongue,
Prompt to deceive, with Adulation smooth,
Gain on your purpos'd Wills. Nor in the Bower,
Where Woodbines flaunt, and Roses shed a Couch,
While Evening draws her crimson'd Curtains round,
Trust your soft Minutes with betraying Man.
AND let th' aspiring Youth beware of Love,
And shun th' enchanting Glance, for 'tis too late
When on his Heart the Torrent Softness pours.
Then Interest sinks to Dirt, and distant Fame
Dissolves in Air away. While the fond Soul
Is wrapt in Dreams of Ecstacy, and Bliss;
Still paints th' illusive Form, the kindling Grace,
Th' alluring Smile, the full aethereal Eye
Effusing Heaven; and listens ardent still
To the small Voice, where Harmony and Wit,
A modest, melting, mingled Sweetness, flow.
[Page 49] No sooner is the fair Idea form'd,
And Contemplation fixes on the Theme,
Than from his own Creation wild He flies,
Sick of a Shadow. Absence comes apace,
And shoots his every Pang into his Breast.
'Tis nought but Gloom around. The darken'd Sun
Loses his Light. The rosy-bosom'd Spring
To weeping Fancy pines; and yon bright Arch
Of Heaven low-bends into a dusky Vault.
All Nature fades extinct; and She alone
Heard, felt, and seen, possesses every Thought,
Fills every Sense, and pants in every Vein.
Books are but formal Dulness, tedious Friends,
And sad amid the Social Band he sits,
Lonely, and inattentive. From the Tongue
Th' unfinish'd Period falls: white, born away
On swelling Thought, his wafted Spirit flies
To the dear Bosom of his absent Fair;
And leaves the Semblance of a Lover, fix'd
In melancholy Site, with Head declin'd,
[Page 50] And Love-dejected Eyes. Sudden he starts,
Shook from his tender Trance, and restless runs
To glimmering Shades, and sympathetic Glooms,
Where the dun Umbrage o'er the falling Stream
Romantic hangs; there thro' the pensive Dusk
Strays, in Heart-thrilling Meditation lost,
Indulging all to Love: or on the Bank
Thrown, amid drooping Lillies, swells the Breeze
With Sighs unceasing, and the Brook with Tears.
Thus in soft Anguish he consumes the Day;
Nor quits his deep Retirement, till the Moon
Peeps thro' the Chambers of the fleecy East,
Enlighten'd by Degrees, and in her Train
Leads on the gentle Hours; then forth He walks,
Beneath the trembling Languish of her Beams,
With soften'd Soul, and wooes the Bird of Eve
To mingle Woes with his: or while the World,
And all the Sons of Care lie hush'd in Sleep,
Associates with the Mid-night Shadows drear,
And, sighing to the lonely Taper, pours
[Page 51] His sweetly-tortur'd Heart into the Page
Meant for the moving Messenger of Love.
But ah how faint, how meaningless, and poor
To what his Passion swells! which bursts the Bounds
Of every Eloquence, and asks for Looks,
Where Fondness flows on Fondness, Love on Love;
Entwisting Beams with Her's, and speaking more
Than ever charm'd, ecstatic Poet sigh'd
To listening Beauty, bright with conscious Smiles,
And graceful Vanity. But if on Bed
Delirious flung, Sleep from his Pillow flies.
All Night he tosses, nor the balmy Power
In any Posture finds; 'till the grey Morn
Lifts her pale Lustre on the paler Wretch,
Exanimate by Love: and then perhaps
Exhausted Nature sinks a-while to Rest,
Still interrupted by disorder'd Dreams,
That o'er the sick Imagination rise,
And in black Colours paint the mimic Scene.
Oft with the Charmer of his Soul he talks;
[Page 52] Sometimes in Growds distrest; or if retir'd
To secret-winding,, Flower-inwoven Bowers,
Far from the dull Impertinence of Man,
Just as He kneeling all his former Cares
Begins to lose in vast oblivious Love,
Snatch'd from her yielded Hand, he knows not how,
Thro' Forests huge, and long untravel'd Heaths
With Desolation brown, he wanders waste,
In Night and Tempest wrapt; or shrinks aghast,
Back, from the bending Precipice; or wades
The turbid Stream below, and strives to reach
The farther Shore, where succourless, and sad,
His Dearer Life extends her beckoning Arms,
But strives in vain, born by th' outragious Flood
To Distance down, he rides the ridgy Wave,
Or whelm'd beneath the boiling Eddy sinks.
Then a weak, wailing, lamentable Cry
Is heard, and all in Tears he wakes, again
To tread the Circle of revolving Woe.
These are the charming Agonies of Love,
[Page 53] Whose Misery delights. But thro' the Heart
Should Jealousy it's Venom once diffuse,
'Tis then delightful Misery no more,
But Agony unmixt, incessant Rage,
Corroding every Thought, and blasting all
The Paradise of Love. Ye Fairy Prospects then,
Ye Beds of Roses, and ye Bowers of Joy,
Farewell! Ye Gleamings of departing Peace,
Shine out your last! The yellow-tinging Plague
Internal Vision taints, and in a Night
Of livid Gloom Imagination wraps.
Ay then, instead of Love-enliven'd Cheeks,
Of Sunny Features, and of ardent Eyes
With flowing Rapture bright, dark Looks succeed,
Suffus'd, and glaring with untender Fire,
A clouded Aspect, and a burning Cheek,
Where the whole poison'd Soul, malignant, fits,
And frightens Love away. Ten thousand Fears,
Invented wild, ten thousand frantic Views
Of horrid Rivals, hanging on the Charms
[Page 54] For which he melts in Fondness, eat him up
With fervent Anguish, and consuming Pine.
In vain Reproaches lend their idle Aid,
Deceitful Pride, and Resolution frail,
Giving a Moment's Ease. Reflection pours,
Afresh, her Beauties on his busy Thought,
Her first Endearments, twining round the Soul,
With all the Witchcraft of ensnaring Love.
Strait the fierce Storm involves his Mind anew,
Flames thro' the Nerves, and boils along the Veins;
While anxious Doubt distracts the tortur'd Heart;
For even the sad Assurance of his Fears
Were Heaven to what he feels. Thus the warm Youth,
Whom Love deludes into his thorny Wilds,
Thro' flowery-tempting Paths, or leads a Life
Of feavor'd Rapture, or of cruel Care;
His brightest Aims extinguish'd all, and all
His lively Moments running down to Waste.
BUT happy They! the Happiest of their Kind!
Whom gentler Stars unite, and in one Fate
Their Hearts, their Fortunes, and their Beings blend.
'Tis not the courser Tie of human Laws,
Unnatural oft, and foreign to the Mind,
Which binds their Peace, but Harmony itself,
Attuning all their Passions into Love;
Where Friendship full-exerts his softest Power,
Perfect Esteem enliven'd by Desire
Ineffable, and Sympathy of Soul,
Thought meeting Thought, and Will preventing Will,
With boundless Confidence; for nought but Love
Can answer Love, and render Bliss secure.
Let Him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To bless himself, from sordid Parents buys
The loathing Virgin, in eternal Care,
Well-merited, consume his Nights and Days.
Let barbarous Nations, whose inhuman Love
Is wild Desire fierce as the Suns they feel,
Let Eastern Tyrants from the Light of Heaven
[Page 56] Seclude their Bosom-slaves, meanly possest
Of a meer, lifeless, violated Form:
While those whom Love cements, in holy Faith,
And equal Transport, free as Nature, live,
Disdaining Fear; for what's the World to them,
It's Pomp, it's Pleasure, and it's Nonsense all!
Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High Fancy forms, and lavish Hearts can wish,
Something than Beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the Mind, or Mind-illumin'd Face,
Truth, Goodness, Honour, Harmony and Love,
The richest Bounty of indulgent Heaven.
Mean-time a smiling Offspring rises round,
And mingles both their Graces. By degrees,
The human Blossom blows; and every Day,
Soft as it rolls along, shows some new Charm,
The Father's Lustre, and the Mother's Bloom.
Then infant Reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind Hand of an assiduous Care:
Delightful Task! to rear the tender Thought,
[Page 57] To teach the young Idea how to shoot,
To pour the fresh Instruction o'er the Mind,
To breathe th' inspiring Spirit, and to plant
The generous Purpose in the glowing Breast.
Oh speak the Joy! You, whom the sudden Tear
Surprizes often, while you look around,
And nothing strikes your Eye but Sights of Bliss,
All various Nature pressing on the Heart,
Obedient Fortune, and approving Heaven.
These are the Blessings of diviner Love;
And thus their Moments fly; the Seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring World they roll,
Still find Them happy; and consenting SPRING
Sheds her own rosy Garland on their Head:
Till Evening comes at last, cool, gentle, calm;
When after the long vernal Day of Life,
Enamour'd more, as Soul approaches Soul,
Together, down They sink in social Sleep.


PAGE 13, line 12, for retracted read refracted; p. 18, l. 12, for these read those; p. 25, l. 21, for Fla­vours read Flowers.

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