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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.
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,
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.
His folded flock secure, the shepherd home
Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge,
Meantime, light-shadowing all, a sober calm .
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,