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Eternal King! whose potent arm sustains

The keys of hell and death.-The Grave-dread thing! Men shiver when thou'rt naned. Nature, appall'd, Shakes off her wonted firmness.-Ah! how dark

Thy long-extended realms, and rueful wastes!

Where naught but silence reigns, and night, dark night,
Dark as was chaos, ere the infant sun

Was roll'd together, or had tried his beams
Athwart the gloom profound.—


Invidious Grave! how dost thou rend in sunder
Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one!
A tie more stubborn far than nature's band.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweetener of life! and solder of society!

I owe thee much. Thou hast deserved from me
Far, far beyond what I can ever pay.

Oft have I proved the labors of thy love,

And the warm efforts of thy gentle heart,

Anxious to please. Oh! when my friend and I
In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on
Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down
Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank,
Where the pure limpid stream has slid along

In grateful errors through the underwood,

Sweet murmuring, methought the shrill-tongued thrush Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird Mellow'd his pipe, and soften'd every note;

The eglantine smell'd sweeter, and the rose

Assumed a dye more deep; whilst every flower

Vied with its fellow-plant in luxury

Of dress! Oh! then the longest summer's day

Seem'd too, too much in haste: still, the full heart
Had not imparted half: 'twas happiness

Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed

Not to return, how painful the remembrance!


Thrice welcome Death!

That, after many a painful bleeding step,
Conducts us to our home, and lands us safe

On the long-wish'd-for shore. Prodigious change!
Our bane turn'd to a blessing! Death, disarm'd,
Loses his fellness quite; all thanks to Him
Who scourged the venom out. Sure the last end
Of the good man is peace! How calm his exit!
Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground,
Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.
Behold him! in the evening tide of life,
A life well spent, whose early care it was
His riper years should not upbraid his green:
By unperceived degrees he wears away;
Yet, like the sun, seems larger at his setting!

High in his faith and hopes, look how he reaclics
After the prize in view! and, like a bird
That's hamper'd, struggles hard to get away!
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 naught! 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. E'en 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
Embezzled 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 Power
That rear'd the piece at first, and took it down,
Can reassemble the loose scatter'd parts,
And put them as they were. Almighty God
Hath 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 slumbering dust,
Not unattentive to the call, shall wake;

And every joint possess its proper place,
With a new elegance of form unknown

To its first state. Nor shall the conscious sonl
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 every 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 even, the weary bird
Leaves the wide air, and in some lonely brake
Cowers down, and dozes till the dawn of day,
Then claps his well-fledged wings, and bears away.

JAMES THOMSON. 1700-1748,

JAMES THOMSON, the author of "The Seasons," was the son of a Scotch clergyman, and was born in the year 1700. After completing his academic education at the University of Edinburgh, he entered upon the study of divinity; but a paraphrase of one of the Psalms having been given, by the professor of divinity, to the class, Thomson's exercise was in so poetical and figurative a style as to astonish all who heard it. This incident made him resolve to quit divinity for poetry, and, after some time, he went to London, poor and friendless, to try his fortune, with the manuscript of "Winter" in his pocket. It was with difficulty he found a purchaser for it, and the price given was trifling. It was published in 1726, and after a period of neglect,1 was admired and applauded, and a number of editions speedily followed. His "Summer" appeared in 1727, "Spring" in 1728, and "Autumn" in 1730. After the publication of the Seasons, he travelled on the continent with the son of the Lord Chancellor Talbot, and on his return employed himself in the composition of his various tragedies, and his poem on "Liberty." These are by no means equal to his other performances, and are now but little read. In May, 1748, he finished his "Castle of Indolence," upon which he had been laboring for years. This is the noblest effort of his genius. "To it," says Campbell," he brought not only the full nature, but the perfect art of a poet. The materials of that exquisite poem are derived originally from Tasso; but he was more immediately indebted for them to the Faerie Queene." Indeed, of all the imitations of Spenser, it is the most spirited and beautiful, both for its moral, poetical, and descriptive power. He did not long survive its publication. A violent cold, through inattention, terminated in a fever, and carried him off on the 27th of August, 1748.

In nature and originality, Thomson is superior to all the descriptive poets except Cowper, and few poems in the English language have been more popular than the "Seasons." "It is almost stale to remark," observes Campbell, "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 succes sion which he gives to the casual phenomena of nature; his pleasing transi tion 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 digression." But though Thomson's merits as a descriptive poet are of the first order; though he looks with the eye which nature bestows only on a poet, and with a mind that at once comprehends the vast, and attends to the minute," yet his greatest charm, and that which makes him so popular with all classes, is, that he looks also with a heart that feels for all mankind. As has been well said, "his sympathies are universal." His touching allusions to the con

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1 "When Thomson published his "Winter," it lay a long time neglected, till Mr. Spense made honorable mention of it in his "Odyssey," which, becoming a popular book, made the poem universally known."-Warton.

"Thomson was blessed with a strong and copious fancy: he hath enriched poetry with a variety of new and original images, which he painted from nature itself, and from his own actual observa. tions: his descriptions have therefore a distinctness and truth which are utterly wanting to those of poets who have only copied from cach other, and have never looked abroad on the objects the selves."-Warton's Pope, i. 42.

ditions of the poor and suffering; to the hapless state of bird and beast in winter; the description of the peasant perishing in the snow; the Siberian exile, or the Arab pilgrims, all are marked with that humanity and true feeling which show that the poet's virtues "formed the magic of his song.” The genuine impulses under which he wrote, he has expressed in one noble stanza in the "Castle of Indolence:"

I care not, Fortune, what you me deny ;
You cannot rob me of free Nature's grace,
You cannot shut the windows of the sky,

Through which Aurora shows her brightening face;
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace
The woods and lawns, by living stream, at eve:
Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace,
And I their toys to the great children leave;
Of fancy, reason, virtue, naught can me bereave.


When first the soul of love is sent abroad,
Warm through the vital air, and on the heart
Harmonious seizes, the gay troops begin
In gallant thought to plume the painted wing,
And try again the long-forgotten strain,
At first faint-warbled. But no sooner grows
The soft infusion prevalent and wide,
Than, all alive, at once their joy o'erflows
In music unconfined. Up-springs the lark,
Shrill-voiced and loud, the messenger of morn;
Ere yet the shadows fly, he mounted sings
Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunts
Calls up the tuneful nations. Every copse
Deep-tangled, tree irregular, and bush
Bending with dewy moisture, o'er the heads
Of the coy quiristers that lodge within,
Are prodigal of harmony. The thrush

And wood-lark, o'er the kind-contending throng
Superior heard, run through the sweetest length
Of notes; when listening Philomela deigns
To let them joy, and purposes, in thought
Elate, to make her night excel their day.
The black-bird whistles from the thorny brake;
The mellow bullfinch answers from the grove:
Nor are the linnets, o'er the flowering furze
Pour'd out profusely, silent. Join'd to these
Innumerous songsters, in the freshening shade
Of new-sprung leaves, their modulations mix
Mellifluous. The jay, the rook, the daw,
And each harsh pipe, discordant heard alone,
Aid the full concert: while the stock-dove breathes
A melancholy murmur through the whole.

'Tis love creates their melody, and all

This waste of music is the voice of love;

That e'en to birds, and beasts, the tender arts

Of pleasing teaches. Hence the glossy kind

Try every winning way inventive love
Can dictate, and in courtship to their mates
Pour forth their little souls.


Spring, 579.

Around th' adjoining brook, that purls along
The vocal grove, now fretting o'er a rock,
Now scarcely moving through a reedy pool,
Now starting to a sudden stream, and now
Gently diffused into a limpid plain;

A various group the herds and flocks compose;
Rural confusion! on the grassy bank

Some ruminating lie; while others stand
Half in the flood, and, often bending, sip

The circling surface. In the middle droops

The strong laborious ox, of honest front,

Which incomposed he shakes; and from his sides
The troublous insects lashes with his tail,
Returning still. Amid his subjects safe,
Slumbers the monarch-swain; his careless arm
Thrown round his head, on downy moss sustain'd;
Here laid his scrip, with wholesome viands fill'd;
There, listening every noise, his watchful dog.

Summer, 480.


'Tis listening fear and dumb amazement all;
When to the startled eye the sudden glance
Appears far south, eruptive through the cloud;
And following slower, in explosion vast,
The Thunder raises his tremendous voice.
At first, heard solemn o'er the verge of heaven,
The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes,
And rolls its awful burden on the wind,
The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more
The noise astounds: till over head a sheet
Of livid flame discloses wide; then shuts,
And opens wider; shuts and opens still
Expansive, wrapping aether in a blaze.
Follows the loosen'd aggravated roar,
Enlarging, deepening, mingling; peal on peal
Crush'd horrible, convulsing heaven and earth.

Summer, 1128.


Confess'd from yonder slow-extinguish'd clouds,
All ether softening, sober evening takes

Her wonted station in the middle air;
A thousand shadows at her beck. First this
She sends on earth; then that of deeper dye
Steals soft behind; and then a deeper still,
In circle following circle. gathers round,
To close the face of things. A fresher gale

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