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Hard exercise and harder fare
Soon make my dame grow lank and spare:
Her body light, she tries her wings,
And scorns the ground, and upward springs;
While all the parish, as she flies,
Hear sounds harmonious from the skies.

Such is the poet fresh in pay (The third night's profits of his play); His morning-draughts till noon can swill, Among his brethren of the quill; With good roast beef his belly full, Grown lazy, foggy, fat, and dull, Deep sunk in plenty and delight, What poet e'er could take his flight? Or, stuff'd with phlegm up to the throat, What poet e'er could sing a note ? Nor Pegasus could bear the load Along the high celestial road;

The steed, oppress'd, would break his girth,
To raise the lumber from the Earth.
But view him in another scene,
When all his drink is Hippocrene,
His money spent, his patrons fail,
His credit out for cheese and ale;
His two-years' coat so smooth and bare,
Through every thread it lets in air;
With hungry meals his body pin'd,
His guts and belly full of wind;
And, like a jockey for a race,
His flesh brought down to flying case:
Now his exalted spirit lothes
Encumbrances of food and clothes;
And up he rises, like a vapor,
Supported high on wings of paper;
He singing flies, and flying sings,
While from below all Grub-street rings.

2 L



JAMES THOMSON, a distinguished British poet, stage of Drury-lane, his tragedy of " Sophonisba." born at Ednam, near Kelso, in Scotland, in 1700, It was succeeded by "Agamemnon;" "Edward was one of the nine children of the Rev. Mr. and Eleonora ;" and "Tancred and Sigismunda :” Thomson, minister of that place. James was sent but although these pieces were not without their to the school of Jedburgh, where he attracted the merits, the moral strain was too prevalent for the notice of a neighboring minister by his propensity public taste, and they have long ceased to occupy to poetry, who encouraged his early attempts, and the theatre. Through the recommendation of Dr. corrected his performances. On his removal from Rundle, he was, about 1729, selected as the travschool, he was sent to the university of Edinburgh, elling associate of the Hon. Mr. Talbot, eldest son where he chiefly attended to the cultivation of of the Chancellor, with whom he visited most of his poetical faculty; but the death of his father, the courts of the European continent. During this during his second session, having brought his mother tour, the idea of a poem on "Liberty" suggested to Edinburgh for the purpose of educating her itself, and after his return, he employed two years children, James complied with the advice of his in its completion. The place of secretary of the friends, and entered upon a course of divinity. briefs, which was nearly a sinecure, repaid him for Here, we are told, that the explanation of a psalm his attendance on Mr. Talbot. 'Liberty" at length having been required from him as a probationary appeared, and was dedicated to Frederic, Prince of exercise, he performed it in language so splendid, Wales, who, in opposition to the court, affected the that he was reproved by his professor for employing patronage of letters, as well as of liberal sentiments a diction which it was not likely that any one of his in politics. He granted Thomson a pension, to future audience could comprehend. This admo- remunerate him for the loss of his place by the nition completed the disgust which he felt for the death of Lord-Chancellor Talbot. In 1746, approfession chosen for him; and having connected peared his poem, called "The Castle of Indolence," himself with some young men in the university who which had been several years under his polishing were aspirants after literary eminence, he readily hand, and by many is considered as his principal listened to the advice of a lady, the friend of his performance. He was now in tolerably affluent mother, and determined to try his fortune in the circumstances, a place of Surveyor-general of the great metropolis, London. Leeward Islands, given him by Mr. Lyttleton,


In 1725 Thomson came by sea to the capital, bringing him in, after paying a deputy, about 3001. where he soon found out his college acquaintance, a year. He did not, however, long enjoy this state Mallet, to whom he showed his poem of "Winter," of comfort; for returning one evening from London then composed in detached passages of the descrip- to Kew-lane, he was attacked by a fever, which tive kind. Mallet advised him to form them into a proved fatal in August 1748, the 48th year of his connected piece, and immediately to print it. It age. He was interred without any memorial in was purchased for a small sum, and appeared in Richmond church; but a monument was erected to 1726, dedicated to Sir Spencer Compton. Its his memory, in Westminster Abbey, in 1762, with merits, however, were little understood by the pub-the profits arising from an edition of his works public; till Mr. Whateley, a person of acknowledged lished by Mr. Millar.

taste, happening to cast an eye upon it, was struck Thomson in person was large and ungainly, with with its beauties, and gave it vogue. His dedicatee, a heavy, unanimated countenance, and having who had hitherto neglected him, made him a present nothing in his appearance in mixed society indiof twenty guineas, and he was introduced to Pope, cating the man of genius or refinement. He was, Bishop Rundle, and Lord-Chancellor Talbot. In however, easy and cheerful with select friends, by 1727, he published another of his seasons, "Sum-whom he was singularly beloved for the kindness mer," dedicated to Mr. Doddington, for it was still of his heart, and his freedom from all the malignant the custom for poets to pay this tribute to men in passions, which too often debase the literary charpower. In the same year he gave to the public his acter. His temper was much inclined to indolence, "Poem, sacred to the memory of Sir Isaac Newton," and he was fond of indulgence of every kind; in and his "Britannia." His "Spring," was published particular he was more attached to the pleasures of in 1728, addressed to the Countess of Hertford; sense, than the sentimental delicacy of his writings and the Seasons were completed by the addition of would induce a reader to suppose. For the moral "Autumn," dedicated to Mr. Onslow, in 1730, tendency of his works, no author has deserved more when they were published collectively. praise; and no one can rise from the perusal of his pages, without being sensible of a melioration of his principles or feelings.

As nothing was more tempting to the cupidity of an author than dramatic composition, Thomson resolved to become a competitor for that laurel also, and in 1728, he had the influence to bring upon the

The poetical merits of Thomson, undoubtedly stand most conspicuous in his Seasons, the first long


composition, perhaps, of which natural description tion to his fame has principally arisen from his was made the staple, and certainly the most fertile Castle of Indolence," an allegorical composition of grand and beautiful delineations, in great mea- in the manner and stanza of Spenser; and among the sure deduced from the author's own observation. imitators of this poet, Thomson may deserve the Its diction is somewhat cumbrous and labored, but preference, on account of the application of his fable, energetic and expressive. Its versification does not and the moral and descriptive beauties by which it denote a practised ear, but is seldom unpleasantly is filled up. This piece is entirely free from the harsh. Upon the whole, no poem has been more, stiffness of language perceptible in the author's and more deservedly, popular; and it has exerted blank verse, which is also the case with many of a powerful influence upon public taste, not only in his songs, and other rhymed poems. this country, but throughout Europe. Any addi


SPRING, 1728.

Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos,
Nunc frondent sylvæ, nunc formosissimus annus.


COME, gentle Spring, ethereal Mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
While music wakes around, veil'd in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.

O Hertford, fitted or to shine in courts
With unaffected grace, or walk the plain
With innocence and meditation join'd
In soft assemblage, listen to my song,
Which thy own Season paints; when Nature all
Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.

Th' expansive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold;
But, full of life and vivifying soul,

Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them

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 shatter'd forest, and the ravag'd vale;
While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch,
Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost,
The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.

As yet the trembling year is unconfirm'd,
And Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze,
Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets
Deform the day delightless: so that scarce
The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulf'd
To 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

Fleecy and white, o'er all-surrounding heaven.
Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfin'd,
Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays.
Joyous, th' impatient husbandman perceives
Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers
Drives from their stalls, to where the well-us'd

The subject proposed. Inscribed to the Countess
of Hertford. The season is described as it
affects the various parts of Nature, ascending Meanwhile incumbent o'er the shining share
from the lower to the higher; with digressions
arising from the subject. Its influence on in-
animate 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.

The master leans, removes th' obstructing clay,
Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe.
White through the neighboring field the sower

Lies in the furrow, loosen'd from the frost.
There, unrefusing, to the harness'd yoke
They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil,
Cheer'd by the simple song and soaring lark.

With measur'd step; and liberal throws the grain
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!
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 refin'd.
In ancient times, the sacred plow employ'd
The kings, and awful fathers of mankind:
And some, with whom compar'd your insect-tribes
Are but the beings of a summer's day,
Have held the scale of empire, rul'd the storm
Of mighty war; then, with unwearied hand,
Disdaining little delicacies, seiz'd
The plow, and greatly independent liv'd.

Ye generous Britons, venerate the plow;
And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
Let Autumn spread his treasures to the Sun,
Luxuriant and unbounded: as the Sea,
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 th' exhaustless granary of a world!

Nor only through the lenient air this change, Delicious, breathes; the penetrative Sun, His force deep-darting to the dark retreat Of vegetation, sets the steaming power At large, to wander o'er the vernant Earth, In various hues; but chiefly thee, gay Green! Thou smiling Nature's universal robe! United light and shade! where the sight dwells With growing strength, and ever-new delight.

From the moist meadow to the wither'd hill, Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs, And swells, and deepens, to the cherish'd eye. The hawthorn whitens: and the juicy groves Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees, Till the whole leafy forest stands display'd, In full luxuriance, to the sighing gales; Where the deer rustle through the twining brake, And the birds sing conceal'd. At once array'd In all the colors of the flushing year,


By Nature's swift and secret-working hand,
The garden glows, and fills the liberal air
With lavish fragrance; while the promis'd fruit
Lies yet a little embryo, unperceiv'd
Within its crimson folds. Now from the town
Buried in smoke, and sleep, and noisome damps,
Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields,
Where freshness breathes, and dash the trembling
From the bent bush, as through the verdant maze
Of sweet-brier hedges I pursue my walk;
Or taste the smell of dairy; or ascend
Some eminence, Augusta, in thy plains,
And see the country, far diffus'd around,
One boundless blush, one white-empurpled shower
Of mingled blossoms; where the raptur'd eye
Hurries from joy to joy, and, hid beneath
The fair profusion, yellow Autumn spies.

If, brush'd 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

Joyless and dead, a wide-dejected waste.
For oft, engender'd by the hazy north,
Myriads on myriads, insect armies waft
Keen in the poison'd breeze; and wasteful eat
Through buds and bark, into the blacken'd core,
Their eager way. A feeble race! yet oft
The sacred sons of vengeance! on whose course
Corrosive famine waits, and kills the year.
To check this plague, the skilful farmer chaff,
And blazing straw, before his orchard burns;
Till, all involv'd in smoke, the latent foe
From every cranny suffocated falls:
Or scatters o'er the blooms the pungent dust
Of pepper, fatal to the frosty tribe:
Or, when th' envenom'd leaf begins to curl,
With sprinkled water drowns them in their nest,
Nor, while they pick them up with busy bill,
The little trooping birds unwisely scares.

Within his iron cave, th' 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 mingled deep
Sits on th' horizon round a settled gloom:
Not such as wintery-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 floods, diffus'd
In glassy breadth, seem through delusive lapse
Forgetful of their course. "Tis 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. Ev'n 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 th' umbrageous multitude of leaves.
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 fir'd anticipates their growth;
And, while the milky nutriment distils,
Beholds the kindling country color 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 beam.
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 th' interminable plain,
In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems.
Moist, bright, and green, the landscape laughs
⚫ round.

Be patient, swains; these cruel-seeming winds Blow not in vain. Far hence they keep repress'd Those deepening clouds on clouds, surcharg'd with rain,

That, o'er the vast Atlantic hither borne,
In endless train, would quench the summer-blaze,
And, cheerless, drown the crude unripen'd year.

The north-east spends his rage; he now shut up

Full swell the woods; their very 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,

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