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together let us tread The morning dews, and gather in their prime Fresh blooming flowers, to grace thy braided hair.
DRAWN BY RICHARD WESTALL, R.A. ENGRAVED BY CHARLES ROLLS;
PUBLISHED BY JOHN SHARPE, LONDON
The subject proposed. Inscribed to the Countess of Hertford.
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 inani. mate 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, gentle Spring, ethereal Mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
While music wakes around, veil'd in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.
O Hertford, fitted or to shine in courts
With unaffected grace, or walk the plain
With innocence and meditation join'd
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 shatter'd 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.
As yet the trembling year is unconfirm’d,
And Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze,
Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets
Deform the day delightless : so that scarce
The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulf'd,
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.
At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun,
And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more
The' expansive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold;
But, full of life and vivifying soul,
Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them thin,
Fleecy and white, o'er all surrounding heaven.
Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfined, Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays. Joyous, the' impatient husbandman perceives Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers Drives from their stalls, to where the well used plough Lies in the furrow, loosen'd from the frost. There, unrefusing, to the harness'd yoke They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil, Cheer'd by the simple song and soaring lark. Meanwhile incumbent o’er the shining share The master leans, removes the obstructing clay, Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe.
While through the neighbouring fields the sower
With measured step; and liberal throws the grain
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;
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 employ'd
The kings and awful fathers of mankind :
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 bills, and long withdrawing vales,
Let Autumn spread his treasures to the sun,
Luxuriant and unbounded : as the sea,
Far through his azure turbulent domain,
Your empire owns, and from a thousand shores