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O Primavera, gioventù dell' anno,
Bella madre di fiori,

D'erbe novelle, e di novelli amori;
Tu torni ben, ma teco

Non tornano i sereni

E fortunati di delle mie gioie.

Thus admirably imitated by Drummond of Hawthornden:

Sweet Spring! thou com'st with all thy goodly train,
Thy head in flames, thy mantle bright with flowers,
The zephyrs curl the green locks of the plain,
The clouds for joy in pearls weep down the showers.
Sweet Spring! thou com'st-but ah! my pleasant hours,
And happy days, with thee come not again;
The sad memorials only of my pain,

Do with thee come, which turn my sweet to sours,
Thou art the same, which still thou wert before,
Delicious, lusty, amiable, fair;

But she, whose breath imbalmed thy wholesome air,
Is gone; nor gold, nor gems can her restore :
Neglected virtue, seasons go and come,
When thine forgot lie closed in a tomb!

Let then considerations of this kind inculcate some useful lesson, and they may, at times, be innocently, if not too frequently indulged. Let them teach the young and gay the necessity of making use, at the same time, of the spring of the year and the spring of life; of acquiring, while their minds may yet be impressed with new images, the love of innocent enjoyments, and a passion for useful and virtuous wisdom. In fine, let them remember, as a fine writer has expressed it, that a blighted spring makes a barren year, and that the vernal flowers, however beautiful and gay, are only introduced by Nature as preparatives for autumnal fruits.'


To persons advanced in life, true wisdom will not fail to administer the noblest motives for manly consolation and rejoicing hope. A good

man will reflect, that since it is impossible for his declining years to return to their first spring of health and vigour, it is yet in his power to soften the inconveniences he may feel, by the cultivation of such virtues, and the enjoyment of such pleasures, as have a natural tendency to produce an easy and contented mind. Taught to look into himself, he will wisely reflect on the vanity of setting his heart on external enjoyments. He will feel nothing of that unsocial disposition, which the gloom of austerity excites. On the contrary, a pensive tenderness, a serene but not unpleasing melancholy will be diffused over his soul, inspiring the sweet tranquillity of benevolence, yet awake, at the same time, to all the active energy of goodness. Hence the charms of a virtuous life, and of a devout intercourse with the God of Seasons, • the Great Arbiter of life and death.' For he knows, ' that his Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after his skin worms destroy his body, yet in his flesh shall he see God. Hence he looks forward, not merely with a serenity of soul, but with the aspirations of piety, and the triumph of anticipating faith he looks forward to that blissful period, when the vicissitude of seasons shall be no more; when the spirits of the just made perfect' shall enjoy the society of angels and archangels, resplendent in celestial beauty and happy in perpetual spring.




Lucidum coeli decus-
Siderum regina-

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The beauty of heaven, the glory of the stars."



· THERE are certain great and magnificent objects in the creation, the contemplation of which has a tendency to produce a kind of internal elevation and expansion; to raise the mind above its ordinary state; and to excite a degree of wonder and astonishment, which it cannot often express. The emotion is certainly delightful; but it is entirely of the serious kind; and it is attended most commonly, by a degree of solemnity and awe, very different from the sprightly sensations inspired by scenes, that glow, as it were, with excessive ra diance and overpowering beauty.


The scenes, indeed, which are most calculated to inspire sublimities of thought,' are not so much the smiling landscape, the variegated fields, and dazzling skies, as the venerable woods, the highimpending cliff, or the headlong torrent. Hence, too, nocturnal views are commonly the most sublime. The firmament, filled with stars, that are scattered through infinite space, with such magnificent profusion, impresses the imagination with ideas far more grand and awful, than when we view it enlightened by all the splendour of the Of this sentiment is our favourite poet of the Night:


And see, Day's amiable sister sends
Her invitation, in the softest rays

Of mitigated lustre; courts thy sight,
Which suffers from her tyrant brother's blaze.
Night grants thee the full freedom of the skies,
Nor rudely reprimands thy lifted eye-

Night opes the noblest scenes, and sheds an awe,
Which gives those venerable scenes full weight,
And deep reception in th' intendered heart.

The objects, moreover, which the eye contemplates by day, do not affect the pensive mind with a pleasure so serene, if I may so express myself, as the milder glories of a moonlight evening. We then behold a new picture of things, which is more delicately shaded, and disposed into softer lights, than that which the radiant ruler of the day had before displayed. Each tumultuous care and important agitation has vanished with the garish eye of day.' The discordant passions are soothed into serenity and peace, by the stillness of all around. In this happy moment we imbibe, as it were, the universal repose of Nature; for there is not an object but seems to be at rest; and the musing wanderer can scarce forbear to exclaim with Lorenzo,

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank'!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica; look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patterns of bright gold:
There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st,
But in his motion, like an angel, sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubim.
Such harmony is in immortal souls.

The greatest poets in every age have vied with each other in the description of a moonlight evening. But, among all the treasures of ancient and

• Merchant of Venice, Act v.

modern poetry, I know not one superior, for pleasing imagery, and variety of numbers, than that of Milton:

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Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale ;
She all night long her amorous deseant sung;
Silence was pleased: now glowed the firmament
With living sapphirs: Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the Moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.

I can recollect only one description that is worthy to be mentioned after this. It is of a fine moonlight night, by way of simile, in the eighth book of the Iliad. It is esteemed, indeed, a masterpiece of nocturnal painting. But Milton's description, it must be observed, leaves off where that of Homer begins:

As when the Moon, refulgent lamp of night

O'er heav'n's clear azure sheds her sacred light,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene,
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumbered gild the glowing pole;
O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed,
And tip with silver every mountain's head;
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise,
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies:
The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight,
Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light. POPE.

Nor have the Sacred Writers been unobservant of this bright sovereign of the shades". The patriarch Job observes, that he could behold the

'Nemorumque potens Diana,

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