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DESCRIPTIVE AND MORAL.
WRITTEN AT THE APPROACH OF SPRING.
STERN Winter hence with all his train removes ; And cheerful skies and limpid streams are seen; Thick-sprouting foliage decorates the groves; Reviving herbage robes the fields in green.
Yet lovelier scenes shall crown th' advancing year, When blooming Spring's full bounty is display'd: The smile of beauty ev'ry vale shall wear;
The voice of song enliven ev'ry shade.
O fancy, paint not coming days too fair!
Oft for the prospects sprightly MAY should yield, Rain-pouring clouds have darken'd all the air, Or snows untimely whiten'd o'er the field:
But should kind spring her wonted bounty show'r
I shun the scenes where madd'ning passion raves, Where pride and folly high dominion hold, And unrelenting avarice drives her slaves
O'er prostrate virtue, in pursuit of gold:
The grassy lane, the wood-surrounded field,
The clay-built cot, to me more pleasure yield
And yet ev'n here, amid these secret shades,
And death's dread dart is ever in my sight.
While genial suns to genial show'rs succeed,
(The air all mildness, and the earth all bloom) While herds and flocks range sportive o'er the mead,
Crop the sweet herb, and snuff the rich perfume;
O why alone to hapless man deny'd
To taste the bliss inferior beings boast? O why this fate, that fear and pain divide
His few short hours on earth's delightful coast?
Ah cease—no more of Providence complain!
"Tis sense of guilt that wakes the mind to woe, Gives force to fear, adds energy to pain,
And palls each joy by Heav'n indulg’d below :
Why else the smiling infant-train so blest,
Ere dear-bought knowledge ends the peace within, Or wild desire inflames the youthful breast, Or ill propension ripens into sin?
As to the bleating tenants of the field,
Such joys were mine when from the peopled streets, Where on THAMESIS' banks I liv'd immur'd, The new-blown fields that breath'd a thousand sweets,
TO SURRY'S wood-crown'd hills my steps allur❜d.
O happy hours, beyond recov'ry fled!
And veil the light of life's meridian ray?
Is there no pow'r this darkness to remove?
Where fear, and pain, and death, shall be no more?
Yes, those there are who know a SAVIOUR'S love
These grateful share the gift of nature's hand,
And in the varied scenes that round them shine, (The fair, the rich, the awful, and the grand) Admire th' amazing workmanship divine.
Blows not a flow'ret in th' enamel'd vale,
Shines not a pebble where the riv❜let strays, Sports not an insect on the spicy gale,
But claims their wonder and excites their praise.
For them ev'n vernal nature looks more gay,
For them more lively hues the fields adorn; To them more fair the fairest smile of day,
To them more sweet the sweetest breath of morn.
They feel the bliss that hope and faith supply;
They pass serene th' appointed hours that bring The day that wafts them to the realms on high, The day that centers in eternal Spring.
WRITTEN IN THE HOT SUMMER, 1757.
THREE hours from noon the passing shadow shows,
Now still and vacant is the dusty street,
And still and vacant where yon fields extend, Save where those swains, opprest with toil and heat, The grassy harvest of the mead attend.
Lost is the lively aspect of the ground,
Low are the springs, the reedy ditches dry; No verdant spot in all the vale is found,
Save what yon stream's unfailing stores supply.
Where are the flow'rs that made the garden gay? Where is their beauty, where their fragrance fled? Their stems relax, fast fall their leaves away,
They fade and mingle with their dusty bed.