The Seasons by Thomson
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
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
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
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.
From bright'ning fields of ether fair
Child of the Sun, refulgent Summer comes,
In pride of youth, and felt through nature's
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
Speeds to the well-known pool, whose crystal
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
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.
Crown'd with the sickle and the wheaten
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
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
The fragrant stores, the wide projected heaps
Of apples, which the lusty-handed year,
Innumerous, o'er the blushing orchard
See, Winter comes to rule the varied year,
Sullen and sad, with all his rising train—
Vapours, and clouds, and storms. Be these my
These—that exalt the soul to solemn
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
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
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
'Tis done; dread Winter spreads his latest
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd
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
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
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.