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Of joys perpetual in perpetual change!
Starting I woke, and found myself undone.
Sometimes, in our sleeping dreams, we imagine ourselves involved in inextricable woe, and enjoy, at waking, the ecstacy of a deliverance from it. "And such a deliverance (says Dr. Beattie) will every good man meet with at last, when he is taken away from the evils of life, and awakes in the regions of everlasting light and peace; looking back upon the world and its troubles, with a surprise and a satisfaction, similar in kind (though far higher in degree) to that which we now feel, when we escape from a terrifying dream, and open our eyes to the sweet serenity of a summer morning." Sometimes, in our dreams, we imagine scenes of pure and unutterable joy; and how much do we regret, at waking, that the heavenly vision is no more! But what must be the raptures of the good man, when he enters the regions of immortality, and beholds the radiant fields of permanent delight! The idea of such a happy death, such a sweet transition from the dreams of earth to the realities of heaven, is thus beautifully described by Dryden, in his poem entitled Eleonora.
She passed serenely with a single breath;
This moment perfect health, the next was death;
So little penance needs, when souls are almost pure.
Le doux Printemps revient, et ranime à la fois
Lo! where the rosy-bosomed Hours,
The untaught harmony of spring;
THE multiplicity of beautiful objects in the creation, and the variety and constant vicissitude of the seasons, are less to be wondered at by the Contemplative Philosopher, than the inattention and indifference with which they are too often beheld. A rural excursion is productive of very different reflections in ordinary minds from what wisdom would suggest with admiration, and devotion utter with reverence and awe. Man, as if endowed with no higher faculties than the beasts of the field, wanders often with brute unconscious gaze,' and discerns not the mighty Hand, that, ever busy,' upholds, informs, and actuates the whole.
What Tully has observed on a different occasion, may be applicable likewise to all contemplations on the beauties of Nature and the Seasons,
Omnia profectò, cum se à cœlestibus rebus referet ad humanas, excelsiùs magnificentiùsque et dicet et sentiet: The contemplation of celestial things will make a man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently, when he descends to human affairs.-They have a tendency to exalt the mind above the low and grovelling ideas that enslave the vulgar, the prepossessions of ignorance, and the terrors of superstition. By a kind of philosophical necessity, they superinduce a habit of serious and devotional reflection, and, by a happy consequence, a delight in the exercises of piety, benevolence, and virtue. They are productive, also, of the sweetest and most permanent satisfaction; so well is philosophy, in this respect, entitled to the noble eulogy of Milton:
How charming is divine philosophy!
Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose,
And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets,
With the poets in every age Spring has been one of the most favourite subjects. When they would describe the beauties of Paradise, and the felicities of the Golden Age, their Spring flourishes in perpetual verdure, and smiles with everlasting pleasure. Thus Milton adorns his Eden; Airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
And Ovid describes his Golden Age,
Ver erat æternum, placidique tepentibus auris
The flow'rs unsown, in fields and meadows reigned,
One of the most beautiful ornaments of poetry is the creation of imaginary beings, or the personification of inanimate objects. Such a favourite as the Spring could not, in course, be neglected or forgotten. It has been described as a youth of a most beautiful air and shape, but not yet arrived at that exact symmetry of parts, which maturer years might be supposed to give him. There is such a bloom, however, in his countenance, with such sweetness, complacency, and pleasure, that he appears created to inspire every bosom with delight. He is dressed in a flowing mantle of green silk, interwoven with flowers; a chaplet of roses on his head, and a jonquil in his hand. Primroses and violets spring up spontaneously at his feet, and all nature revives at his exhilarating aspect. Flora attends him on one hand, and Vertumnus, in a robe of changeable silk, on the other. Venus, with no other ornament than her own beauties, follows after. She is succeeded by the Graces with their arms entwined, and with loosened girdles, moving to the sound of soft music, and striking the ground alternately with their feet. The Months that properly belong to this season, appear likewise in his train, with suitable emblematic decorations.
Pleasure is represented as taking her flight in Winter to cities and towns, and revisiting the gladdened country in Spring. Mrs. Barbauld has beautifully described this, as well as the gradual progress of the season, from its earliest infant efforts, to the perfection of vernal beauty in the de lightful month of May.
When Winter's hand the rough'ning year deforms,
Cities and courts allure her sprightly train,
Now the glad earth her frozen zone unbinds,
Its name and hue the scentless plant retains,
What a wonderful revolution, indeed, in the universal aspect of Nature does the return of this lovely season exhibit! After having been long bound up with frost, or overspread with snow, the earth once more displays all the variety of plants and flowers, is arrayed with the most beautiful and enlivening verdure, variegated with a numberless variety of hues, and exhales odours so exquisitely pure and fragrant, that every sense of every creature is awake to inexpressible delight. Forth in the pleasing Spring His beauty walks, His tenderness and love. Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm; Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles; And every sense, and every heart is joy. THOMSON.
The blossoms of trees in Spring present to the eye the most agreeable spectacle; and while they