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SPRING

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

SPRING.

COME, gentie SPRING! etherial mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
While music wakes around, veiled in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.

O HARTFORD, fitted or to shine in courts
With unaffected grace, or walk the plain,
With innocence and meditation joined
In soft assemblage, listen to my song,
Which thy own Season paints ; when Nature all
Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.

And see where surly Winter passes off,
Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts :
His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill,
The shattered forest, and the ravaged vale ;
While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch,
Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost,
The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.

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Signs of approaching Spring.

As yet the trembling year is unconfirmed, And Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze, Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets 20 Deform the day delightless ; so that scarce The bittern knows his time, with bill engulpht To shake the sounding marsh ; or, from the shore, The plovers when to scatter o'er the heath, And sing their wild notes to the listening waste. 25

At last from Aries rolls the bounteous Sun, And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more Th' expansive atmosphere is cramped with cold; But, full of life and vivifying soul, Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them thin, 30 Fleecy and white, o'er all-surrounding heaven.

Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfined, Cnbinding 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-used plough Lies in the furrow, loosened from the frost. There, unrefusing, to the harnessed yoke They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil, Cheered by the simple song and soaring lark.

40 Mean while incumbent o'er the shining share The master leans, removes th' obstructing clay, Winds the whole work, and side-long lays the glebe.

White thro' the neighbouring fields the sower stalks, With measured 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!

Success to the Plough implored.

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Ye softening dews, ye tender showers, descend !
And temper all, thou world-reviving sun,
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
To wide-imperial Rome, in the full height
Of elegance and taste, by Greece refined.
In ancient times, the sacred plough employed
The kings, and awful fathers of mankind :
And some, with whom compared, your insect-tribes
Are but the beings of a summer's day,
Have held the scale of empire, ruled the storm
Of mighty war ; then, with unwearied hand,
Disdaining little delicacies, seized
The plough, and greatly independent lived.

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 thro' his azure turbulent domain,
Your empire owns, and from a thousand shores
Wafts all the pomp of life into your ports ;
So with superior boon may your rich soil,
Exuberant, Nature's better blessings pour
O'er every land, the naked nations clothe,
And be th' exhaustless granary of a world !

Nor only thro' the lenient air this change,
Delicious, breathes ; the penetrative sun,
His force deep-darting to the dark retreat
Of vegetation, sets the steaming Power
At large, to wander o'er the verdant earth,

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