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Rural Poetry

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THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

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SPRING- MARCH.

The first of the Scasous. .

ARGUMENT.

THOMSON'S “SPRING.”

RELUCTANT RETREAT OF WINTER. — THE BITTERN ; PLOVERS,

And see where surly Winter passes off,

Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts : The subject proposed. Inscribed to the Countess of Hert- His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill, ford. The season is described as it affects the various

The shattered forest, and the ravaged vale ; parts of nature, ascending from the lower to the higher ; with digressions arising from the subject. Its influence While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch, on inanimate matter, on vegetables, on brute animals, Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost, and lastly on man ; concluding with a dissuasive from the wild and irregular passion of love, opposed to that The mountains lift their green heads to the sky. of a pure and happy kind.

As yet the trembling year is unconfirmed,

And Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze,
INVOCATION TO SPRING. — DEDICATION.

Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets Come, gentle Spring ! ethereal mildness ! come,

Deform the day delightless ; so that scarce And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,

The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulfed, While music wakes around, veiled in a shower

To shake the sounding marsh ; or from the shore Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.

The plovers when to scatter o'er the heath, O Hertford 1 ! fitted or to shine in courts

And sing their wild notes to the listening waste. With unaffected grace, or walk the plain

EFFECTS OF RETURNING WARMTH. — PLOUGHING ; Sowing. With innocence and meditation joined In soft assemblage, listen to my song,

At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun, Which thy own season paints, when Nature all And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.

The expansive atmosphere is cramped with cold ;

But, full of life and vivifying soul, 1 The Countess of Hertford, a patroness of poetry, had Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them thin, invited the poet to her residence, and during his visit he wrote “ Spring." He dedicated his “Summer” to her ; a

Fleecy, and white, o’er all-surrounding heaven. magnificent acknowledgment for her hospitality.

Forth fly the tepid airs ; and unconfined,

Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays. United light and shade! where the sight dwells
Joyous, the inpatient husbandman perceives With growing strength, and ever-new delight.
Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers

From the moist meadow to the withered hill,
Drives from their stalls, to where the well-used plough Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs,
Lies in the furrow, loosened from the frost.

And swells, and deepens, to the cherished eye.
There, unrefusing, to the harnessed yoke

The hawthorn whitens ; and the juicy groves
They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil, Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees,
Cheered by the simple song and soaring lark. Till the whole leafy forest stands displayed,
Meanwhile incumbent o'er the shining share In full luxuriance, to the sighing gales ;
The master leans, removes the obstructing clay, Where the deer rustle through the twining brake,
Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe. And the birds sing concealed. At once arrayed
While through the neighboring fields the sower In all the colors of the flushing year,
stalks

By Nature's swift and secret-working hand,
With measured step, and, liberal, throws the grain The garden glows, and fills the liberal air
Into the faithful bosom of the ground :

With lavish fragrance ; while the promised fruit
The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the scene. Lies yet a little embryo, unperceived,

Within its crimson folds.
IN VOCATION TO THE POWERS OF NATURE. - FARMING A SUB-
JECT WORTHY OF THE POET ; VIRGIL ; DIGNITY OF AGRI-

THE CITIZEN'S WALK INTO THE COUNTRY IN SPRING. - A
CULTURE. -- BRITONS SHOULD BLESS MANKIND BY PLOUGI-

WORLD OF BLOSSOMS.

ING THE LAND AS WELL AS THE SEA.

Now from the town
Buried in smoke, and sleep, and noisome damps,
Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields, [drops
Where freshness breathes, and dash the trembling
From the bent bush, as through the verdant maze
Of sweetbrier hedges I pursue my walk;
Or taste the sinell of dairy ; or ascend
Some eminence, Augusta,' in thy plains,
And see the country, far diffused around,
One boundless blush, one white-empurpled shower
Of mingled blossoms ; where the raptured eye
Hurries from joy to joy, and, hid beneath
The fair profusion, yellow Autumn spies.

Be gracious, Heaven ! for now laborious man
Has done his part. Ye fostering breezes, blow!
Ye softening dews, ye tender showers, descend !
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
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
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,
Disdaining little delicacies, seized
The plough, and greatly independent lived.

Ye generous Britons, venerate the plough !
And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
Let Autumn spread his treasures to the sun,
Luxuriant and unbounded.
Far through his azure, turbulent domain,
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 clothe,
And be the exhaustless granary of a world!

CUTTING NORTH-EASTERN WINDS. - MILDEW - FROST.

INSECT ARMIES. -- FAMINE.

As the sea,

If, brushed from Russian wilds, a cutting gale
Rise not, and scatter from his humid wings
The clammy mildew ; or, dry-blowing, breathe
Untimely frost ; before whose baleful blast
The full-blown Spring through all her foliage shrinks,
Joyless and dead, a wide-dejected waste.
For oft, engendered by the hazy north,
Myriads on myriads, insect armies warp
Keen in the poisoned breeze ; and wasteful eat,
Through buds and bark, into the blackened core,
Their eager way. A feeble race ! yet oft
The sacred sons of vengeance, on whose course
Corrosive Famine waits, and kills the year.

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Nor, while they pick them up with busy bill, The little trooping birds unwisely scares.

But who can hold the shade, while Heaven descends
In universal bounty, shedding herbs
And fruits and flowers on Nature's ample lap!
Swift Fancy fired anticipates their growth ;
And, while the milky nutriment distils,
Beholds the kindling country color round.

USE OF NORTH-EASTERLY WINDS.

Be patient, swains; these cruel-seeming winds Blow not in vain. Far hence they keep repressed Those deepening clouds on clouds, surcharged with That, o'er the vast Atlantic hither borne, (rain, In endless train, would quench the summer-blaze, And, cheerless, drown the crude, unripened year.

CLEARING UP OF THE APRIL SHOWER. - THE SUN ; RAIN

DROPS ; BIRDS ; BROOKS ; LOWING OF CATTLE ; ZEPHYR.

THE SOUTH WIND ; IT BRINGS GRATEFUL MOISTCRE.

The north-east spends his rage ; he now shut up Within his iron cave, the 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 ether ; but by swift degrees, In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapor sails Along the loaded sky, and mingling deep Sits on the horizon round a settled gloom ; Not such as wintry storms on mortals shed, Oppressiog life ; but lovely, gentle, kind, And full of every hope and every joy, The wish of Nature.

Thus all day long the full-distended clouds Indulge their genial stores, and well-showered earth Is deep enriched with vegetable life ; Till, in the western sky, the downward sun Looks out, effulgent, from amid the flush Of broken clouds, gay-shifting to his beam. The rapid radiance instantaneous strikes The illumined mountain, through the forest streams, Shakes on the floods, and in a yellow mist, Far smoking o'er the interminable plain, In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems. Moist, bright, and green, the landscape laughs around; Full swell the woods ; their every music wakes, Mixed in wild concert with the warbling brooks Increased, the distant bleatings of the hills, And hollow lows responsive from the vales, Whence blend all the sweetened zephyr springs.

THE CALY BEFORE A SHOWER. --GLAD EXPECTATION OF ALL

NATURE.

THE RAINBOW.NEWTON'S PRISM. --THE COUNTRY BOY.

NIGHT.

Gradual sinks the breeze Into a perfect calm ; that not a breath Is heard to quiver through the closing woods, Or rustling turn the nany-twinkling leaves Of aspen tall. The uncurling floods, diffused In glassy breadth, seem through delusive lapse Forgetful of their course. "T is silence all And pleasing expectation. Herds and flocks Drop the dry sprig, and, mute-imploring, eye The falling verdure. Hushed in short suspenso, The plumy people streak their wings with oil, To throw the lucid moisture trickling off, And wait the approacking sign to strike, at once, Into the general choir. Een mountains, vales, And forests seem, impatient, to demand The promised sweetness. Man superior walks Amid the glad creation, musing praise, And looking lively gratitude.

Meantime, refracted from yon eastern cloud, Bestriding earth, the grand ethereal bow Shoots up immense ; and every hue unfolds In fair proportion, running from the red To where the violet fades into the sky. Hero, awful Newton! the dissolving clouds Form, fronting on the sun, thy showery prism ; And to the sage-instructed eye unfold The various twine of light, by thee disclosed From the white-mingling maze. Not so the boy ; He wondering views the bright enchantment bend, Delightful, o'er the radiant fields, and runs To catch the falling glory ; but amazed Beholds the amusive arch before him fly, Then vanish quite away. Still night succeeds, A softened shade, and saturated earth Awaits the morning beam, to give to light, Raised through ten thousand different plastic tubes, The balmy treasures of the former day.

THE FERTILIZING APRIL SHOWER.

BOTANIZING. - PROFUSE VARIETY OF THE VEGETABLE WORLD.

- DIFFUSION OF SEEDS.

At last The clouds consign their treasures to the fields ; And, softly shaking on the dimpled pool Prelusive drops, let all their moisture flow, In large effusion, o'er the freshened world. The stealing shower is scarce to patter heard By such as wander through the forest walks, Beneath the umbrageous multitude of leaves.

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 through the forest, rank With what the dull incurious weeds account, Bursts his blind way ; or climbs the mountain rock, Fired by the nodding verdure of its brow. With such a liberal hand has Nature flung Their seeds abroad, blown them about in winds,

1 At the present day, it is almost unnecessary to state that the poet was mistaken, and that modern naturalists have satisfactorily disproved the power of any, even aquatic birds, to oil their plumage; their dressing and pruning consists simply in arranging their disordered feathers.

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