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Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear!
But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace,
Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress,
Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about,
Who writes a libel, or who copies out;
That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name,
Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame;
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
And show the sense of it without the love ;
Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injur'd, to defend;
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray:
Who reads, but with a lust to misapply,
Make satire a lampoon, and fiction lie.
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
Not lucre's madman, nor ambition's tool,
Not proud, nor servile; be one poet's praise,
That, if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways:
That flatt'ry, ev'n to kings, he held a shame,
And thought a lie in verse or prose
That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to truth, and moralit'd bis song :
That not for fame, but virtue's better end,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,
The damning critic, half approving wit,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit;
Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had,
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad;
The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed ;
The tale reviv'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown,
Th' imputed trash, and dullness not his own;
The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape,
The libel'd person, and the pictur'd shape;
Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread.
A friend in exile, or a father dead;
The whisper, that to greatness still too near,
Perhaps yet vibrates on his Sov'reign's ear-
Welcome for thee, fair virtue! all the past;
For thee, fair virtue! welcome even the last !
JAMES THOMSON. Born 1700; Died 1748.
He was the son of a minister of the Scotch Church, and was
educated at Edinburgh as a Divinity Student. Choosing, however, to pursue a literary life, he came to London, and in 1726 published Winter, the first part of his great poem The Seasons. This and the Castle of Indolence, are his chief works. His style bas none of the terseness and the grace of Pope: but his
place is important in literature, because it was he who brought back poetry from men and the capital to nature and her teachings.
THE HYMN OF THE SEASONS.
THESE, as they change, Almighty Father, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of Thee. Forth in the pleasing SPRING
Thy beauty walks, Thy tenderness and love.
Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm ;
Echo the mountains round, the forest smiles ;
And every sense,
heart is joy.
Then comes Thy glory in the Summer months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then Thy sun
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year;
And oft Thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks :
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves; in hollow-whispering gales
Thy bounty shines in AUTUMN unconfined,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter awful Thou ! with clouds and storms
Around Thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rolled,
Majestic-darkness ! on the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublime, Thou bidst the world adore,
And humblest nature with Thy northern blast.
Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine, Deep felt, in these appear! a simple train, Yet so delightful mixed, with such kind art, Such beauty and beneficence combined, Shade, unperceived, so softening into shade, And all so forming an harmonious whole, That, as they still succeed, they ravish still. But wandering oft, with brute unconscious gaze, Man marks not Thee, marks not the mighty hand, That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres ; Works in the secret deep; shoots, streaming, thence 'The fair profusion that o'erspreads the Spring; Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature; hurls the tempest forth; ;
And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.
Nature attend ! join every living soul,
Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,
In adoration join ; and, ardent, raise
One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales,
Breathe soft, whose spirit in your freshness breathes ;
Oh, talk of Him in solitary glooms,
Where, o'er the rock, the scarcely waving pine
Fills the brown shade with a religious awe.
ye, whose bolder note is heard afar, Who shake the astonished world, lift high to heaven The impetuous song, and say from whom you rage. His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills, And let me catch it as I muse along. Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound; Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze Along the vale ; and thou, majestic main, A secret world of wonders in thyself, Sound His stupendous praise, whose greater voice Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall. Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers, In mingled clouds, to Him, whose sun exalts, Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints. Ye forests, bend, ye harvests, wave to Him ; Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart, As home he goes beneath the joyous moon. Yo that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep Unconscious lies, effuse your
Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day, best image here below
Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide,
From world to world, the vital ocean round,
On nature write, with every beam, His praise.
The thunder rolls; be hushed the prostrate world,
While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills; ye mossy rocks,
Retain the sound; the broad responsive low,
Ye valleys, raise ; for the Great Shepherd reigns,
And His unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Ye woodlands all, awake! a boundless song
Burst from the groves! and when the restless day,
Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds, sweet Philomela, charm
The listening shades, and teach the night His praise.
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles,
At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,
Crown the great hymn! in swarming cities vast,
Assembled men to the deep organ join
The long-resounding voice, oft breaking clear,
At solemn pauses, through the swelling bass ;
And, as each mingling flame increases each,
In one united ardour raise to heaven.
Or if you rather choose the rural shade, ,
And find a fane in
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of Seasons, as they roll.