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SPRIN G. 1728.
"Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos, "Nunc frondent fylvæ, nunc formofiffimus annus."
The fubject propofed. Infcribed to the Countefs of Hertford. The Seafon is described as it affects the various parts of Nature, ascending from the lower to the higher; with digreffions arifing from the fubject. Its influence on inanimate matter, on vegetables, on brute animals, and, laft, on man; concluding with a diffuafive from the wild and irregular paffion of love, opposed to that of a pure and happy kind.
COME, gentle Spring, ethereal Mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
While mufic wakes around, veil'd in a shower
Of shadowing rofes, on our plains defcend.
O Hertford, fitted or to fhine in courts
With unaffected grace, or walk the plain
With innocence and meditation join'd
In foft affemblage, liften to my fong,
Which thy own Season paints; when Nature all
Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.
And fee where furly Winter paffes off,
Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts :
His blafts obey, and quit the howling hill,
The fhatter'd foreft, and the ravag'd vale;
While fofter gales fucceed, at whofe kind touch,
Diffolving fnows in livid torrents loft,
The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.
As yet the trembling year is unconfirm❜d,
And Winter oft at eve refumes the breeze,
Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving fleets
Deform the day delightless: fo that scarce
The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulpht
To shake the founding marfh; or from the shore
The plovers when to scatter o'er the heath,
And fing their wild notes to the liftening wafte.
At laft from Aries rolls the bounteous fun,
And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more
Th' expanfive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold;
But, full of life and vivifying soul,
Lifts the light clouds fublime, and spreads them thin, Fleecy and white, o'er all-furrounding heaven.
Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfin❜d, Unbinding earth, the moving foftnefs ftrays. Joyous, th' impatient husbandman perceives Relenting Nature, and his lufty fteers
Drives from their ftalls, to where the well-us'd plough, Lies in the furrow, loosen'd from the froft.
There, unrefufing, to the harness'd yoke
They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil,
Chear'd by the fimple song and foaring lark.
Meanwhile incumbent o'er the fhining share
The master leans, removes th' obstructing clay,
Winds the whole work, and fidelong lays the glebe.
White through the neighbouring field the fower stalks,
With measur'd step; and liberal throws the grain
Into the faithful bofom of the ground:
The harrow follows harfh, and fhuts the scene.
Be gracious, Heaven! for now laborious man
Has done his part. Ye foftering breezes, blow!
Ye foftening dews, ye tender fhowers, descend!
And temper all, thou world-reviving fun,
Into the perfect year! Nor ye who live
In luxury and ease, in pomp and pride,
Think these loft themes unworthy of your ear:
Such themes as these the rural Maro fung
To wide-imperial Rome, in the full height
Of elegance and taste, by Greece refin'd.
In ancient times, the facred plough employ'd
The kings, and awful fathers of mankind :
And fome, with whom compar'd your infect-tribes 60
Are but the beings of a fummer's day,
Have held the scale of empire, rul'd the storm
Of mighty war; then, with unwearied hand,
Difdaining little delicacies, feiz'd
The plough, and greatly independent liv'd.
Ye generous Britons, venerate the plough;
And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
Let Autumn fpread his treasures to the fun,
Luxuriant and unbounded: as the fea,
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 fuperior boon may your rich foil,
Exuberant, Nature's better bleffings 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 fmiling Nature's univerfal robe!
United light and shade! where the fight dwells
With growing strength, and ever-new delight.
From the moift meadow to the wither'd hill,
Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs,
And fwells, 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 fighing gales;
Where the deer ruftle through the twining brake,
And the birds fing conceal'd. At once array'd
In all the colours of the flushing year,
By Nature's fwift 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.
Buried in smoke, and fleep, and noisome damps,
Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields,
Where freshness breathes, and dafh the trembling drops
From the bent bush, as through the verdant maze
Of fweet-briar hedges I purfue my walk;
Or taste the smell of dairy; or afcend
Some eminence, Augufta, 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 profufion, yellow Autumn spies.
If, brush'd from Ruffian wilds, a cutting gale
Rife not, and scatter from his humid wings
The clammy mildew; or, dry-blowing, breathe 115
Untimely froft; before whofe baleful blast
The full-blown Spring through all her foliage shrinks,
Joylefs and dead, a wide-dejected waste.
For oft, engender'd by the hazy north,
Myriads on myriads, infect armies waft
Keen in the poifon'd breeze; and wasteful eat,
Through buds and bark, into the blacken'd core,
Their eager way. A feeble race! yet oft
The facred fons of vengeance; on whose course
Corrofive famine waits, and kills the year.
To check this plague the skilful farmer chaff,
And blazing ftraw, before his orchard burns;
Till, all involv'd in smoke, the latent foe
From every cranny fuffocated falls :