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And ever fanning breezes on his way ;
While from his ardent look, the turning Spring
Averts her blushful face ; and earth and skies,
All smiling, to his hot dominion leaves.
Hence let me haste into the mid-wood shade,
Where scarce a sunbeam wanders thro' the gloom ;
And on the dark-green grass, beside the brink
Of haunted stream, that by the roots of oak
Rolls o'er the rocky channel, lie at large;
And sing the glories of the circling year.
When now no more th' alternate Twins are fir'd,
And Cancer reddens with the solar blaze,
Short is the doubtful empire of the night;
And soon observant of approaching day,
The meek-ey'd Morn appears, mother of dews,
At first faint-gleaming in the dappled east :
Till far o'er ether spreads the widening glow; .
And, from before the lustre of her face,
White break the clouds away. With quickened step,
Brown Night retires : young Day pours in apace,
And opens all the lawny prospect wide.
The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top
Swell on the sight, and brighten with the dawn.
Blue, thro' the dusk, the smoking currents shine ;
And from the bladed field the fearful hare
Limps, awkward : while along the forest-glade
The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze
At early passenger. Music awakes .
The native voice of undissembled joy;
And thick around the woodland hymns arise.
Rous'd by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves
His mossy cottage, where with Peace he dwells ;
And from the crowded fold, in order, drives
His flock, to taste the verdure of the morn.
Falsely luxurious, will not Man awake,
And, springing from the bed of sloth, enjoy
The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour,
To meditation due and sacred song ?
For is there aught in sleep can charm the wise ?
To lie in dead oblivion, losing half
The fleeting moments of too short a life;
Total extinction of th' enlightened soul!
Or else to feverish vanity alive,
Wilder'd, and tossing thro’ distemper'd dreams ?
Who would in such a gloomy state remain
Longer than nature craves, when every Muse
And every blooming pleasure wait without,
To bless the wildly devious morning walk ?
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 pleas'd, I tune. Whate'er the wint’ry frost
Nitreous prepared; the various blossom'd spring
Put in white promise forth ; and summer suns
Concocted strong; rush boundless now to view,
Full perfect all, and swell my glorious theme.
When the bright Virgin gives the beauteous days, And Libra weighs in equal scales the year ; From heaven's high cope the fierce effulgence shook Of parting summer, a serener blue, With golden light enliven’d, wide invests The happy world. Attemper'd suns arise, Sweet beam'd, and shedding oft through lucid clouds A pleasing calm ; while, broad and brown, below Extensive harvests hang the heavy head. Rich, silent, deep, they stand ; for not a gale
Rolls its light billows o'er the bending plain.
A calm of plenty! till the ruffled air
Falls from its poise, and gives the breeze to blow.
Rent is the fleecy mantle of the sky;
The clouds fly different; and the sudden sun
By fits effulgent gilds th' illumin'd field,
And black by fits the shadows sweep along.
A gaily-checker'd heart-expanding view,
Far as the circling eye can shoot around,
Unbounded tossing in a flood of corn.
Defeating oft the labours of the year, The sultry south collects a potent blast. At first the groves are scarcely seen to stir Their trembling tops ; and a still murmur runs Along the soft inclining fields of corn. But as the aërial tempest fuller swells, And in one mighty stream, invisible, Immense, the whole excited atmosphere, Impetuous rushes o'er the sounding world : Strain’d to the root, the stooping forest pours A rustling shower of yet untimely leaves. High-beat, the circling mountains eddy in, From the bare wild, the dissipated storm, And send it in a torrent down the vale. Expos’d, and naked, to its utmost rage, Thro' all the sea of harvest rolling round, The billowy plain floats wide ; nor can evade, Tho'pliant to the blast, its seizing force, Or whirl'd in air, or into vacant chaff Shook waste. And sometimes too a burst of rain, Swept from the black horizon, broad, descends In one continuous flood. Still over head The mingling tempest waves its gloom, and still The deluge deepens; till the fields around
Lie sunk, and flatted, in the sordid wave.
Sudden, the ditches swell, the meadows swim;
Red, from the hills, innumerable streams
Tumultuous roar, and high above its banks
The river lift, before whose rushing tide,
Herds, flocks, and harvests, cottages, and swains,
Roll mingled down ; all that the winds had spared
In one wild moment ruined; the big hopes,
And well-earned treasures of the painful year.
Fled to some eminence, the husbandman
Helpless beholds the miserable wreck
Driving along; his drowning ox at once
Descending, with his labours scatter'd round,
He sees; and instant o'er his shivering thought
Comes winter unprovided, and a train
Of claimant children dear. Ye masters, then,
Be mindful of the rough laborious hand,
That sinks you 'soft in elegance and ease;
Be mindful of those limbs, in russet clad,
Whose toil to yours is warmth, and graceful pride;
And, oh! be mindful of that sparing board,
Which covers yours with luxury profuse,
Makes your glass sparkle, and your sense rejoice!
Nor cruelly demand what the deep rains,
And all involving winds have swept away.
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 thought,
And heavenly musing. Welcome, kindred glooms,
Congenial horrors, hail! with frequent foot,
Pleas'd have I, in my cheerful morn of life,
When nursed by careless solitude I liv'd,
And sung of nature with unceasing joy,
Pleas'd 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.
* * * * * Through the hushed air the whitening shower de
scends, At first thin-wavering, till at last the flakes Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day With a continual flow. The cherished fields Put on their winter robe of purest white. 'Tis brightness all, save where the new snow melts Along the mazy current. Low the woods Bow their hoar head; and ere the languid sun, Faint from the west, emits his languid ray, Earth's universal face, deep hid and chill, Is one wide dazzling waste that buries wide The works of man. Drooping, the labourer-ox Stands covered o'er with snow, and then demands The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven, Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around The winnowing store, and claim the little boon Which Providence assigns them. One alone, The redbreast, sacred to the household gods, Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky, In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man His annual visit. Half-afraid, he first Against the window beats; then, brisk alights On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor, Eyes all the smiling family askance, And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is :