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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.
COME, gentie SPRING! etherial mildness, come,
O HARTFORD, fitted or to shine in courts
And see where surly Winter passes off,
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.
Ye softening dews, ye tender showers, descend !
Ye generous Britons, venerate the plough ;
Nor only thro' the lenient air this change,