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mate friends, by whom he was much beloved for the kindness of his heart. His Seasons abounds in sensibility and beauty of natural description. His diction, although occasionally cumbrous and labored, is always energetic and expressive. His Castle of Indolence is the most spirited and beautiful of all the imitations of Spenser, both for moral, poetical, and descriptive power. His tragedies possess little dramatic interest.
This edition of The Seasons, with an accurate index, and prefatory argument to each of the books, will, it is believed, commend itself to the general reader and to those particularly engaged in literary instruction.
Concord, N. H. Jan. 1840.
The subject proposed. Inscribed to the Countess of Hertford
The Season is described as it affects the various parts of Nature, ascending from the lower to the higher ; with digressions arising from the subject. Its influence on inanimate Matter, on Vegetables, on brute animals, and, last, on Man ; concluding with a dissuasive from the wild and irregular passion of Love, opposed to that of a pure and happy kind.
COME, gentle SPRING, ethereal Mildness, come,
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 shattered forest, and the ravaged vale ; While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch, 15 Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost, The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.
As yet the trembling year is unconfirmed, And Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze, Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets 20 Deform the day delightless : so that scarce The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulfed, Io shake the sounding marsh; or from the shore The plovers when 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 cramped 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. 31
Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfined, Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays. Joyous, th’impatient husbandman perceives Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers
35 Drives from their stalls, to where the well-used plough Lies in the furrow, loosened from the frost. There unrefusing, to the harnessed yoke, They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil, Cheered by the simple song and soaring lark. 40 Meanwhile incumbent o'er the shining share The master leans, removes th’ obstructing clay, Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe.
While thro’ the neighboring fields the sower stalks, With measured step; and liberal throws the grain 45 Into the faithful bosom of the ground: The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the scene.
Be gracious, Heaven! for now laborious man Has done his part. Ye fostering breezes, blow; Ye softening dews, ye tender showers, descend ! 50 And temper all, thou world-reviving 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 : Such themes as these the rural Maro sung (a) 55 To wide-imperial Rome, in the full height Of elegance and taste, by Greece refined. In ancient times, the sacred plough employed The kings and awful fathers of mankind : And some, with whom compared your insect tribes 60 Are but the beings of a summer's day, Have held the scale of empire, ruled the storm Of mighty war; then, with unwearied hand,