Imágenes de página
PDF

religious, though some of his poetical compositions might be supposed to have emanated from a mind iinpressed with a deep reverence for the Deity, as well as an ardent admiration of his works.

The moral character of his poetry is exalted and excellent; though the declaration of Lord Lyttleton, that his works contained

“No line which, dying, he could wish to blot,” would not, perhaps, have proceeded from the poet's own lips at that last solemn hour.

In his boyhood he used regularly to burn all his verses, as fast as he composed them-a conduct, which proved the strength of his judgment, and probably contributed to his succeeding eminence. It would be well for the world were it oftener imitated.

Thomson is superior in nature and originality to all the descriptive poets except Cowper. He looked upon nature with a view at once comprehensive and minute. Like a skilful limner of the human countenance, he seized upon some of the expressive features in each Season, and the portraiture of these communicated individuality and verisimili. tude to the whole picture. His subject had before been comparatively untouched, and his own delineation of it is rather sparing than full. He displays not only beauty and accuracy, but great sublimity in his description of the torrid and friyid zones; and his sketch of the traveller lost in the snows, is full of pathos. “ His diction," Dr. Johnson observes, " is in the highest degree florid and luxuriant, such as may be said to be to his images and thoughts both their lustre and their shade; such as invest them with splendour, through which perhaps they are not always easily discerned. It is too exuberant, and sometimes may be charged with filling the ear more than the mind."

The Castle of Indolence is the finest effort of his genius. In that poem he seems to have imbibed the very spirit of Spenser. His style preserves all its richness and copiousness, without the florid splendour, which marks it in The Seasons, and his versification combines a softness and melody of flow, with a harmony which holds the mind in enchantinent. His imagery is remarkable for its luxuriance and adaptation to his subject.

SHOWERS IN SPRING.
The north-east spends his rage; he now shut up
Within his jron cave, th' effusive south
Warms the wide air, and o'er the void of Heaven
Breathes the big clouds with vernal showers distento
At first a dusky wreath they seem to rise,

Scarce staining ether; but by swift degrees, In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour sails Along the loaded sky, and mingling deep, Sits on th' horizon round a settled gloom : Not such as wintry-storms on mortals shed, Oppressing life; but lovely, gentle, kind, And full of every hope and every joy, The wish of Nature. Gradual sinks the breeze Into a perfect calm; that not a breath Is heard to quiver through the closing woods, Or rustling turn the many-twinkling leaves Of aspin tall. Th’uncurling fluods, diffus'd 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. Hush'd in short suspense, The plumy people streak their wings with oil, To throw the lucid moisture trickling off: And wait th' approaching sign to strike, at once, Into the general choir. Even mountains, vales, And forests, seem impatient to demand The promis'd sweetness. Man superior walks Amid the glad creation, musing praise, And looking lively gratitude. 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 freshen'd world. The stealing shower is scarce to patter heard, By such as wander through the forest walks, Beneath the umbrageous multitude of leaves. But who car hold the shade, while Heaven descends In universal bounty, shedding herbs, And fruits, and flowers, on Nature's ample lap? Swift Fancy fir'd anticipates their growth; And, while the milky nutriment distils, Beholds the kindling country colour round.

Thus all day long the full-distended clouds Indulge their genial stores, and well-shower'd earth Is deep enrich'd 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 buam. The rapid radiance instantaneous strikes Th' illumin'd 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,
Mix'd in wild concert with the warbling brooks
Increas'd, the distant bleatings of the hills,
And hollow lows responsive from the vales,
Whence, blending all, the sweeten’d zephyr springs.
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.
Here, 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 disclos'd
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, amaz'd,
Beholds th' amusive arch before him fly,
Then vanish quite away.

SUMMER MORNING, 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 quicken'd step, Brown Night retires: young Day pours in a pace, 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, through 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. Roused 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.

SUMMER EVENING.
Confess'n from yonder slow extinguish'd clouds,
All ether softening, sober evening takes
Her wonted station in the middle air;
A thousand shadows at her beck. First this
She sends on earth ; then that of deeper dye,
Steals soft behind ; and then a deeper still,
Iu circle following circle, gathers round,
To close the face of things. A fresher gale
Begins to wave the wood, and stir the stream,
Sweeping with shadowy gust the fields of corn;
While the quail clamours for his running mate.
Wide o'er the thistly lawn, as swells the breeze,
A whitening shower of vegetable down
Amusive floats. The kind impartial care
Of nature nought disdains : thoughtful to feed
Her lowest sons, and clothe the coming year,
From field to field the feather'd seeds she wings.

His folded flock secure, the shepherd home
Hies, merry-hearted; and by turns relieves
The ruddy milk-maid of her brimming pail:
The beauiy whoin perhaps his witless heart,
Unknowing what the joy-mixt anguish means,
Sincerely loves, by that best language shown
Of cordial glances, and obliging deeds.
Onward they pass, o'er many a panting height,
And valley sunk and unfrequented; where
At fall of eve the fairy people throng,
In various game and revelry, to pass
The summer night, as village stories tell.
But far about they wander from the grave
Of him, whom his ungentle fortune urg'd
Against his own sad breast to lift the hand
of impious violence. The lonely lower
Is also shinn'd; whose mournful chambers hold,
So night-struck fancy dreams, the yelling ghost.

Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge,
The glow worm lights his gein; and, through the dark,
A moving radiance twinkles. Evening yields
The world to night; nut in her winter-robe
Of massy siygian woof, but luose array'd
In mantle dun. A faint erroneous ray,
Glanc'd from th’ imperfect surfaces of things,
Flings half an image on the straining eye;
While wavering woods, and villages, and streams,
And rocks, and mountain-tops, that lung retain'd
Th’ascending gleam, are all one swimming scene,
Uncertain if beheld.

AUTUMN.
But see the fading many-colourd woods,
Shade deepening over shade, the country round
Imbrown; a crowded umbrage, dusk and dun,
Of every hue, from wan declining green
To sooty black. These now the lonesome Muse,
Low whispering, lead into thrir leaf-strown walks,
And give the season in its latest view.

Meantime, light-shadowing all, a sober calm .
Fleeces unbounded ether; whose least wave
Stands tremulous, uncertain where to turn
The gentle current: while illumin'd wide,
The dewy-skirted clouds imbibe the sun,
And through their lucid veil his soften’d force
Shed o'er the peaceful world. Then is the time,
For those whoin wisdom and whom nature charm,
To steal themselves from the degenerate crowd,
And soar above this little scene of things;
To tread low-thoughted vice beneath their feet;
To soothe the throbbing passions into peace;
And woo lone Quiet in her silent walks.

Thus solitary, and in pensive guise, Oft let me wander d'er the russet mead, And through the sadden'd grove, where scarce is heard One dying strain, to cheer the woodman's toil. Haply some widow'd songster pours his plaint, Far, in faint warblings, through the tawny copse: While congregated thrushes, linnets, larks, And each wild throat, whose artless strains so late Swell'd all the music of the swarming shades, Robb’d of their tuneful souls, now shivering sit On the dead tree, a dull despondent flock;" With not a brightness waving o'er their plumes, And nought save chattering discord in their note. O let not, aim'd from sume inhuman eye, The gun the music of the coming year Destroy; and harmless, unsuspecting harm, Lay the weak tribes, a miserable prey, In mingled murder, fluttering on the ground.

The pale descending year, yet pleasing still,
A gentler mood inspires ; for now the leaf
Incessant rustles from the mournful grove;
Oft startling such as, studious, walk below,
And slowly circles through the waving air.
But should a quicker breeze amid the boughs
Sob, o'er the sky the leafy deluge streains ;

« AnteriorContinuar »