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WINTER.

BOOK IV.

General Features of Winter.

SEE, WINTER comes, to rule the varied year
Sullen and sad, with all his rising train;
Vapours, and Clouds, and Storms. Be these my theme;
These! that exalt the soul to solemn thought,
And heavenly musing. Welcome, kindred glooms! 5
Congenial horrors, hail! with frequent foot,
Pleas'd have I, in my cheerful morn of life,
When nurs’d by careless solitude I liv’d,
And sung of Nature with unceasing joy,
Pleas'd have I wander'd thro' your rough domain; 10
Trod the pure virgin-snows, myself as pure;
Heard the winds roar, and the big torrent burst;
Or seen the deep fermenting tempest brew'd,
In the grim evening sky. Thus pass'd the time,

Address to the Earl of Wilmington.

Till through the lucid' chambers of the south 15 Look'd out the joyous Spring, look'd out, and smil'd. • To thee, the patron of her first essay,

The Muse, O Wilmington! renews her song.
Since has she rounded the revolving year,
Skim'd the gay Spring; on eagle-pinions borne, 20
Attenipted through the Summer-blaze to rise;
Then swept o’er Autumn with the shadowy gale;
And now among the wintry clouds again,
Rollid in the doubling storm, she tries to soar;
To swell her note with all the rushing winds ; 25
To suit her sounding cadence to the floods ;
As is her theme, her numbers wildly great :
Thrice happy! could she fill thy judging ear
With bold description, and with manly thought.

Nor art thou skill'd in awful schemes alone, 30
And how to make a mighty people thrive ;
But equal goodness, sound integrity,
A firm unshaken uncorrupted soul
Amid a sliding age, and burning strong,
Not vainly blazing for thy country's weal, 35
A steady spirit regularly free;
These, each exalting each, the statesman light

The Approach of Winter.-Its Effects on Man and Animals.

Into the patriot; these, the public hope
And eye to thee converting, bid the Muse
Record what envy dares not flattery call.

40
Now when the cheerless empire of the sky
To Capricorn the Centaur Archer yields,
And fierce Aquarius stains th' inverted year;
Hung o'er the farthest verge of heaven, the sun
Scarce spreads through ether the dejected day. 45
Faint are his gleams, and ineffectual shoot
His struggling rays, in horizontal lines,
Through the thick air ; as cloth'd in cloudy storm,
Weak, wan, and broad, he skirts the southern sky;
And, soon-descending to the long dark night, 50
Wide-shading all, the prostrate world resigns.
Nor is the night unwish'd; while vital heat,
Light, life, and joy, the dubious day forsake.
Meantime, in sable cincture, shadows vast,
Deep-ting'd and damp, and congregated clouds, 55
And all the vapoury turbulence of heaven,
Involve the face of things. Thus Winter falls,
A heavy gloom oppressive o'er the world ;

Through Nature shedding influence malign,
And rouses up the seeds of dark disease.

60

The Effects of Winter on Man and Animals.

The soul of Man dies in him, loathing life, And black with more than melancholy views. The cattle droop; and o'er the furrowed land Fresh from the plough, the dun discolour'd flocks, Untended, spreading, crop the wholesome root. 65 Along the woods, along the moorish fens, Sighs the sad Genius of the coming storm; And up among the loose disjointed cliffs, And fractur'd mountains wild, the brawling brook And cave, presageful, send a hollow moan, 70 Resounding long in listening Fancy's ear.

Then comes the father of the tempest forth, Wrapt in black glooms. First joyless rains obscure, Drive through the mingling skies with vapour foul ; Dash on the mountain's brow, and shake the woods, 75 That grumbling wave below. The unsightly plain Lies a brown deluge; as the low-bent clouds Pour flood on flood, yet unexhausted still Combine, and deepening into night, shut up The day's fair face. The wanderers of heaven, 80 Each to his home, retire; save those that love To take their pastime in the troubled air; Or skimming flutter round the dimply pool.

Winter Floods.

The cattle from the untasted fields return,
And ask, with meaning low, their wonted stalls, 85
Or ruminate in the contiguous shade.
Thither the household feathery people crowd,
The crested cock, with all his female train,
Pensive, and dripping; while the cottage-hind
Hangs o'er th' enlivening blaze, and taleful there 90
Recounts his simple frolic: much he talks,
And much he laughs; nor recks the storm that blows
Without, and rattles on his humble roof.

Wide o'er the brim, with many a torrent swell’d,
And the mix'd ruin of its banks o'erspread,

95 At last the rous’d-up river pours along; Resistless, roaring, dreadful, down it comes, From the rude mountain, and the mossy wild, Tumbling through rocks abrupt, and sounding far; Then o'er the sanded valley floating spreads, 100 Calm, sluggish, silent; till again, constrain'd Between two meeting hills, it bursts away, Where rocks and woods o'erhang the turbid stream ; There gathering triple force, rapid, and deep, It boils, and wheels, and foams, and thunders through.

Nature! great parent! whose unceasing hand

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