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growths of the tropics. But one, who has always been accustomed to view water in a liquid and com lourless state, cannot form the least conception of the fame element as hardened into an extenfive plain of solid crystal, or covering the ground with a robe of the purest white. The highest possible degree of astonishment must therefore attend the first view of these phenomena ; and as in our temperate climate but a small portion of the year affords these spec. tacles, we find that, even here, they have novelty enough to excite emotions of agreeable surprise. But it is not to novelty alone that they owe their charms. Their intrinsic beauty is, perhaps, individually superior to that of the gayeft objects presented by the other seasons. Where is the elegance and brilliancy that can compare with that which decorates every tree or bush on the clear morning succeeding a night of hoar frost ? or what is the lustre that would not appear dull and tarnished in competition with a field of snow just glazed over with froft? By the vivid description of such objects as these, contrasted with the favage sublimity of storms and tempests, our poet has been able to produce a set of winter landscapes, as engaging to the farrcy as the apparently happier scenes of genial warmth and verdure.

But he has not trusted entirely to these resources for combating the natural fterility of Winter. Repeating the pleasing artifice of his Summer, he has called in foreign aid, and has heightened the scenery with grandeur and horror not our own.

The famished troops of wolves pouring from the Alps ; the mountains of snow rolling down the precipices of the fame regions; the dreary plains over which the Laplander

urges his rein-deer ; the wonders of the icy sea, and volcanoes “ Aaming thro’ a waste of snow;" are objects judiciously selected from all that Nature presents moft fingular and striking in the various domains of boreal cold and wintry desolation.

Thus have we attempted to give a general view of those materials which constitute the ground-work of a poem on the Seasons; which are essential to its very nature;

the

proper arrangement of which its regularity and connexion depend. The extent of knowledge, as well as the powers of description, which THOMSON has exhibited in this part of his work, is, on the whole, truly admirable; and though, with the present advanced taste for accurate observation in Natural History, some improvements might be suggested, yet he certainly remains unrivalled in the list of descriptive poets.

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But the rural landscape is not solely made up of land, and water, and trees, and birds, and beasts; man is a distinguished fire in it; his multiplied occupations and concerns introduce themselves into every part of it; he intermixes even in the wildest and rudest scenes, and throws a life and interest upon every surrounding object. Manners and character therefore constitute a part even of a descriptive poem; and in a plan fo extenfive as the history of the year, they must enter under various forms, and upon numerous occasions.

The most obvious and appropriated use of human figures in pictures of the Seasons, is the introduction of them to assist in marking out the succession of annual changes by their various labours and amusements. In common with other animals, man is directed in the diversified employment of earning a toilfome fubfiftence by an attention to the vicissitudes of the seasons; and all his diversions in the simple state of rustic society are also regulated by the fame circumstance. Thus a series of moving figures enlivens the land{cape, and contributes to stamp on each scene its peculiar character. The shepherd, the husbandman, the hunter, appear in their turns; and may be considered as natural concomitants of that portion of the yearly round which prompts their several occupations.

But it is not only the bodily pursuits of man which are affected by these changes; the sensations and af fections of his mind are almost equally under their influence: and the result of the whole, as forming the enamoured votary of Nature to a peculiar cast of character and manners, is not less conspicuous. Thus the Poet of the SEASONS is at liberty, without deviating from his plan, to descant on the varieties of moral constitution, and the powers which external causes are found to possess over the temper of the soul. He may draw pictures of the pastoral life in all its genuine fimplicity; and, assuming the tone of a moral instructor, may contrast the peace and felicity of innocent retirement with the turbulent agitations of ambition and avarice.

The various incidents too, upon which the simple tale of rural events is founded, are very

much modeled by the difference of seasons. The catastrophes of Winter differ from those of Summer; the sports of Spring from those of Autumn. Thus, little hiftory pieces and adventures, whether pathetic or amufing, will suggest themselves to the Poet; which, when properly adapted to the scenery and circumstances, may very happily coincide with the main design of the composition.

The bare enumeration of these several occafions of introducing draughts of human life and manners, will be sufficient to call to mind the admirable use which Thomson throughout his whole poem has made of them. He, in fact, never appears more truly inspired with his subject, than when giving birth to those sentiments of tenderness and beneficence, which seem to have occupied his whole heart. An universal benevolence, extending to every part of the animal creation, manifests itself in almost every scene he draws; and the rural character, as delineated in his feelings, contains all the softness, purity, and fimplicity that are feigned of the golden age. Yet, excellent as the moral and sentimental part of his work must appear to every congenial mind, it is, perhaps, that in which he may the most easily be rivalled. A refined and feeling heart may derive from its own proper sources a store of corresponding sentiment, which will naturally clothe itself in the form of expression best suited to the occasion. Nor does the invention of those simple incidents which are most adapted to excite the sympathetic emotions, require any great stretch of fancy. The nearer they approach to common life, the more certainly will they produce their effect. Wonder and surprise are af.

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