The Seasons by Thomson



Letter C.


Come, gentle Spring, ethereal mildness, come,

And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,

While music wakes around, veil'd in a shower

Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.

Hail! Source of Being! Universal Soul

Of heaven and earth! Essential Presence, hail;

To Thee I bend the knee; to Thee my thought

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 ether, and imbibe the dew:

By Thee disposed into congenial 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.

As rising from the vegetable world

My theme ascends, 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, pour

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.


Letter F.


From bright'ning fields of ether fair disclosed,

Child of the Sun, refulgent Summer comes,

In pride of youth, and felt through nature's depth:

He comes attended by the sultry hours,

And ever-fanning breezes on his way;

While from his ardent look the turning Spring

Averts his blushing face, and earth and skies,

All-smiling, to his hot dominion leaves.

Cheer'd by the milder beam, the sprightly youth

Speeds to the well-known pool, whose crystal depth

A sandy bottom shows. Awhile he stands

Gazing the inverted landscape, half afraid

To meditate the blue profound below;

Then plunges headlong down the circling flood.

His ebon tresses, and his rosy cheek,

Instant emerge: and through the obedient wave,

At each short breathing by his lip repell'd,

With arms and legs according well, he makes,

As humour leads, an easy-winding path;

While from his polish'd sides a dewy light

Effuses on the pleased spectators round.

This is the purest exercise of health.

The kind refresher of the Summer heats:

Nor, when cold Winter keens the brightening flood,

Would I, weak-shivering, linger on the brink.

Thus life redoubles, and is oft preserved

By the bold swimmer, in the swift elapse

Of accident disastrous.


Letter C.


Crown'd with the sickle and the wheaten sheaf,

While Autumn nodding o'er the yellow plain

Comes jovial on, the Doric reed once more,

Well pleased, I tune. Whatever the wintry frost

Nitrous prepared, the various-blossom'd Spring

Put in white promised forth, and Summer suns

Concocted strong, rush boundless now to view,

Full, perfect all, and swell my glorious theme.

Hence from the busy, joy-resounding fields

In cheerful error let us tread the maze

Of Autumn, unconfined; and taste, revived,

The breath of orchard big with bending fruit.

Obedient to the breeze and beating ray,

From the deep-loaded bough a mellow shower

Incessant melts away. The juicy pear

Lies in a soft profusion scatter'd round.

A various sweetness swells the gentle race,

By Nature's all-refining hand prepared;

Of tempered sun, and water, earth, and air,

In ever-changing composition mix'd.

Such, falling frequent through the chiller night,

The fragrant stores, the wide projected heaps

Of apples, which the lusty-handed year,

Innumerous, o'er the blushing orchard shakes.


Letter S.


See, Winter comes to rule the varied year,

Sullen and sad, with all his rising train—

Vapours, and clouds, and storms. Be these my theme,

These—that exalt the soul to solemn thought

And heavenly musing. Welcome, kindred glooms;

Congenial horrors, hail: with frequent foot,

Pleased have I, in my cheerful morn of life,

When nursed by careless solitude I lived,

And sung of nature with unceasing joy;

Pleased have I wander'd through your rough domain,

Trod the pure virgin snows, myself as pure;

Heard the winds roar, and the big torrent burst,

Or seen the deep-fermenting tempest brew'd

In the grim evening sky.

Nature! great parent! whose unceasing hand

Rolls round the seasons of the changeful year,

How mighty, how majestic are thy works!

With what a pleasing dread they swell the soul,

That sees astonish'd, and astonish'd sings!

Ye, too, ye winds! that now begin to blow

With boisterous sweep, I raise my voice to you.

Where are your stores, ye powerful beings, say,

Where your aerial magazines reserved

To swell the brooding terrors of the storm?

In what far distant region of the sky,

Hush'd in deep silence, sleep ye when 'tis calm?

'Tis done; dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,

And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.

How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!

How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends

His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!

See here thy pictured life! Pass some few years

Thy flowering spring, thy summer's ardent strength,

And sober autumn fading into age,

The pale concluding winter comes at last

The shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled

Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes

Of happiness? those longings after fame?

Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?

Those gay-spent festive nights? those veering thoughts,

Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?

All now are vanish'd; virtue sole survives,

Immortal, never-failing friend of man—

His guide to happiness on high.


And pale concluding winter comes at last, and shuts the scene..