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! THE SE A S O N S.

S P R I N G.

1728.

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

VIRG.
THE ARGUMENT.
The subject proposed. Inscribed to the Countess of

Hertford.' The Season is described as it affects the various parts of Nature, ascending from the lower to the higher ; with digressions arising from the subject. Its influence on inanimate matter, on vegetables, on brute animals, and, last, on man ; concluding with a diffuafive from the wild and irregular passion 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 music wakes around, veil'd in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.
Hertford, fitted or to shine in courts

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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

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Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.

And fee where furly Winter passes off, Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts : His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill, The shatter'd fore't, and the rarag'd vale; While softer gales fucceed, at whose kind touch, 13 Diffclving fnows 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 fleets Deform the day delightless: so that scarce The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulpht To shake the sounding marsh; or from the fhore The plovers when to fcatter o'er the heath, And fing their wild notes to the liftening waste. 25

At tást from Aries rolls the bounteous fun, And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more TH'expansive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold; But, full of life and vivifying foul, 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 foftness ftrays. Joyous, th' impatient husbandman perceives Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers

35 Drives from their falls, to where the well-us'd plough, --Lies in the furrow, loofen'd from the frost.

There, unrefusing, to the harness’d yoke
They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil,

Chear'd

Cheard by the simple fong and foaring lark. 40
Meanwhile incumbent o’er the shining share
The master leans, removes th' obstructing clay,
Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe.

White through the neighbouring field the fowerfalks,
With measur'd step; and liberal throws the grain 45
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 foftening dews, ye tender showers, descend ! 50 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 lost themes unworthy of your ear : Such themes as these the rural Maro sung

55 To wide-imperial Rome, in the full height Of elegance and taste, by Greece refin'd. In ancient tinies, the facred plough employ'd The kings, and awful fathers of mankind : And some, with whom compar'd your infect-tribes 60 Are but the beings of a summer's day, Have held the scale of empire, ruld the storm Of mighty war; then, with unwearied hand, Difdaining little delicacies, seiz'd The plough, and greatly independent liv’d. 65

Ye generous Britons, venerate the plough; And o’er your hills, and long withdrawing vales, Let Autumn spread his treasures to the sun, Luxuriant and unbounded : as the sea,

Far

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Far through his azure turbulent domain,

70 Your empire owns, and from a thousand shores Wafts all the pomp of life into your ports ; So with superior boon may your rich foil, Exuberant, Nature's better blessings pour O’er every land, the naked nations clothe,

75 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

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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 fight dwells
With growing strength, and ever-new delight. 85

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 fing conceald. At once array'd
In all the colours of the flushing year,

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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,

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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 drops From the bent bush, as through the verdant maze Of sweet-briar hedges I pursue my walk;

105 Or taste the smell of dairy; or ascend 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 profusion, yellow Autumn fpies.

If, brush'd from Russian wilds, a cutting gale Rise not, and scatter from his humid wings The clammy mildew; or, dry-blowing, breathe 115 Untimely froft; before whose baleful blast The full-blown Spring through all her foliage shrinks, Joyless and dead, a wide-dejected waste. For oft, engender'd by the hazy north, Myriads on myriads, insect armies waft Keen in the poisou'd breeze; and wasteful eat, Through buds and bark, into the blacken'd core, Their eager way. A feeble race !

yet The sacred sons of vengeance; on whose course Corrosive famine waits, and kills the year. 125 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 fuffocated falls :

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