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SE A S O N S.
S P R I N G.
« Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos,
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 dissuasive from the wild and irregular passion of love,
opposed to that of a pure and happy kind. COM HOME, gentle Spring, ethereal Mildness, come,
And from the bofom of yon dropping cloud,
Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.
And fce where surly Winter passes off, Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts : His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill, The shatter'd foreit, and the ravag'd vale; While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch, 15 Dissolving snows in livid torrents. loft, 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 sleets Defoxm the day delightless: fo that scarce The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulpht To fhake the founding marsh ; or from the shore The plovers when to scatter o'er the heath, And fing their wild notes to the listening waste. 25
At laft from Aries rolls the bounteous sun, And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more Th’expansive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold; But, full of life and vivifying soul, Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them thin, Fleecy and white, o'er all-furrounding heaven.
Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfin'd, Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays. Joyous, th' impatient husbandman perceives Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers
35 Drives from their stalls, to where the well-us'd plough, Lies in the furrow, loosen'd from the frost. There, unrefusing, to the harness’d yoke They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil,
Cheard by the fimple song and soaring lark. 40
White through the neighbouring field the lower stalks,
Be gracious, Heaven ! for now laborious man
Ye generous Britons, venerate the plough; And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales, Let Autumn spread his treasures to the fun, Luxuriant and unbounded : as the sea,
Far through his azure turbulent domain,
75 And be th'exhaustless granary of a world!
Nor only through the lenient air this change,
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,
୨୦ Till the whole leafy forest stands display'd, In full luxuriance to the fighing gales; Where the deer rustle through the twining brake, And the birds sing conceal'd. At once array'd In all the colours of the Aushing year,
95 By Nature's swift 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,
Within its crimson folds. Now from the town
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 poison'd breeze'; and wasteful eat, Through buds and bark, into the blacken'd core, Their eager way.. A feeble race ! yet oft The sacred sons of vengeance; on whose course Corrosive famine waits, and kills the year. 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 :