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Whilst the glad gates of sight are wide expanded
To let new glories in, the first fair fruits
Of the fast-coming harvest. Then, oh then !
Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears,
Shrunk to a thing of nought.-Oh! how he longs
To have his passport sign'd, and be dismiss'd !
'Tis done! and now he's happy!--The glad soul
Has not a wish uncrown'd.—Ev’n the lag flesh
Rests too in hope of meeting once again
Its better half, never to sunder more.
Nor shall it hope in vain :- The time draws on
When not a single spot of burial earth,
Whether on land, or in the spacious sea,
But must give back its long-committed dust
Inviolate:-and faithfully shall these
Make

up the full account; not the least atom
Embezzld, or mislaid, of the whole tale.
Each soul shall have a body ready furnish'd ;
And each shall have his own.-Hence, ye profane !
Ask not, how this can be ?-Sure the same pow'r
That rear'd the piece at first, and took it down,
Can re-assemble the loose scatter'd parts,
And put them as they were.—Almighty God
Has done much more; nor is his arm impair'd
Through length of days: And what he can, he will:
His faithfulness stands bound to see it done.
When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumb'ring dust
(Not unattentive to the call) shall wake:
And ev'ry joint possess its proper place,

With a new elegance of form, unknown
To its first state.- -Nor shall the conscious soul
Mistake its partner, but amidst the crowd
Singling its other half, into its arms
Shall rush with all th' impatience of a man
That's new come home, and, having long been absent,
With haste runs over ev'ry different room,
In pain to see the whole. Thrice happy meeting!
Nor time, nor death, shall ever part them more.
'Tis but a night, a long and moonless night;
We make the grave our bed, and then are gone.

Thus, at the shut of ev'n, the weary bird
Leaves the wide air, and in some lonely brake
Cow'rs down, and dozes till the dawn of day,
Then claps his well-fledg'd wings, and bears away,

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JAMES THOMSON.

BORN 1700.-DIED 1748.

It is singular that a subject of such beautiful unity, divisibility, and progressive interest as the description of the year should not have been appropriated by any poet before Thomson'. Mr. Twining, the translator of Aristotle's Poetics, attributes the absence of poetry devoted to pure rural and picturesque description among the ancients, to the absence or imperfection of the art of landscape painting. The Greeks, he observes, had no Thomsons because they had no Claudes. Undoubtedly they were not blind to the beauties of natural scenery; but their descriptions of rural objects are almost always what may

be called sensual descriptions, exhibiting circumstances of corporeal delight, such as breezes to fan the body, springs to cool the feet, grass to repose the limbs, or fruits to regale the taste and smell, rather than objects of contemplative pleasure to the eye and

1 Even Thomson's extension of his subject to the whole year seems to have been an after-thought, as he began with the last of the seasons. It is said that he conceived the first design of his subject from a poein on Winter, by a Mr. Rickleton. Vide the Censura Literaria, vol. ji. where there is an amusing extract from the first and second edition of Thomson's Winter. I have seen an English poem, intitled the Seasons, which was published earlier (I think) than those of Thomson ; but it is so insignificant that it

may

be doubted if Thomson ever heard of it.

imagination. From the time of Augustus, when, according to Pliny, landscape painting was first cultivated, picturesque images and descriptions of prospects seem to have become more common. But on the whole there is much more studied and detailed description in modern than in ancient poetry. There is besides in Thomson a pure theism, and a spirit of philanthropy, which, though not unknown to classic antiquity, was not familiar to its popular breast. The religion of the ancients was beautiful in fiction, but not in sentiment. It had revealed the most voluptuous and terrific agencies to poetry, but had not taught her to contemplate nature as one great image of Divine benignity, or her creatures as the objects of comprehensive human sympathy. Before popular poetry could assume this character, Christianity, philosophy, and freedom, must have civilized the human mind.

Habits of early admiration teach us all to look back upon this poet as the favourite companion of our solitary walks, and as the author who has first or chiefly reflected back to our minds a heightened and refined sensation of the delight which rural scenery affords us. The judgment of cooler years may somewhat abate our estimation of him, though it will still leave us the essential features of his poetical character to abide the test of reflection. The unvaried pomp of his diction suggests a most unfavourable comparison with the manly and idiomatic simplicity of Cowper; at the same time the pervading spirit and feeling of his poetry is in general more bland and delightful than that of his great rival in rural description. Thomson seems to contemplate the creation with an eye of unqualified pleasure and ecstasy, and to love its inhabitants with a lofty and hallowed feeling of religious happiness; Cowper has also his philanthropy, but it is dashed with religious terrors, and with themes of satire, regret, and reprehension. Cowper's image of nature is more curiously distinct and familiar. Thomson carries our associations

rough a wider circuit of speculation and sympathy. His touches canrot be more faithful than Cowper's, but they are more soft and select, and less disturbed by the intrusion of homely objects. Cowper was certainly much indebted to him, and though he elevates his style with more reserve and judgment than his predecessor, yet in his highest moments he seems to retain an imitative remembrance of him. It is almost stale to remark the beauties of a poem so universally felt; the truth and genial interest with which he carries us through the life of the year; the harmony of succession which he gives to the casual phenomena of nature; his pleasing transition from native to foreign scenery; and the soul of exalted and unfeigned benevolence which accompanies his prospects of the creation. It is but equal justice to say, that amidst the feeling and fancy of the Seasons, we meet with interruptions of declamation, heavy narrative, and unhappy digres,

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