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Arboribus; crescunt ipfæ, fætuque gravantur:
Lib. I. 251, &c.
The rains are lost, when Jove descends in showers Soft on the bofom of the parent earth : But springs the shining grain; their verdant robe The trees resume ; they grow, and pregnant bend Beneath their fertile load: hence kindly food T'he living tribes receives the cheerful town Beholds its joyous bands of flowering youth ; With new-born fongs the leafy groyes refound; The full-fed flocks amid the laughing meads Their weary bodies lay, while wide-diftent The plenteous udder teems with milky juice; And o’er the grass, as their young hearts beat high, Swelld by the pure and generous streams they drain, Frolic the wanton lambs with joints infirm.
The period of SUMMER is marked by fewer and less striking changes in the face of Nature. A soft and pleasing languor, interrupted only by the gradual progression of the vegetable and ani. mal tribes towards their state of maturity, forms the leading character of this Season. The active fermentation of the juices, which the first access of genial warmth had excited, now subfides; and the increasing beats rather inspire faintness and inaction than lively exertions. The insect race alone seem' animated with peculiar vigour under the more direct influence of the sun; and are therefore with equal truth and advantage introduced by the Poet to enliven the silent and drooping fcenes presented by the other forms of animal nature.
As this source, however, together with whatever else our summers afford, is insufficient to furnish novelty and business enough for this act of the drama of the year, the Poet judiciously opens a new field, profusely fertile in objects suited to the glowing colours of defcriph3
tive poetry. By an easy and natural transition, he quits the chastized summer of our temperate clime for those regions where a perpetual summer reigns, exalted by such superior degrees of solar heat as give an entirely new face to almost every part of nature. The terrific grandeur prevalent in some of these, the exquisite richness and beauty in others, and the novelty in all, afford such a happy variety for the poet's selection, that we need not wonder if fome of his noblest pieces are the product of this delightful excursion. He returns, however, with apparent satisfaction to take a last suryey of the softer summer of our island; and after closing the prospect of terrestrial beauties, artfully shifts the scene to celestial splendors, which, though perhaps not more striking in this season than in some of the others, are now alone agreeable objects of contemplation in a northern climate.
Autumn is too eventful a period in the his.
tory of the year within the temperate parts of the globe, to require foreign aid for rendering it more varied and interesting. The promise of the Spring is now fulfilled. The silent and gradual process of maturation is coinpleted; and Human Industry beholds with triumph the rich products of its toil. The vegetable tribes difclose their infinitely various forms of fruit; which term, while, with respect to common use it is confined to a few peculiar modes of fructification, in the more comprehensive language of the Naturalist includes every product of vegetation by which the rudiments of a future progeny are developed, and separated from the parent plant. These are in part collected and stored up by those animals for whose sustenance during the ensuing sleep of nature they are provided. The reft, furnished with various contrivances for difsemination, are scattered, by the friendly winds which now begin to blow, over the surface of that earth which they are to clothe and decorate,
The young of the animal race, which Spring and Summer had brought forth and cherished, having now acquired sufficient vigour, quit their concealments, and offer themselves to the
purfuit of the carnivorous among their fellow-animals, and of the great destroyer man. Thus the scenery is enlivened with the various sports of the hunter; which, however repugnant they may appear to that system of general benevolence and sympathy which philosophy would inculcate, have ever afforded a most agreeable exertion to the human powers, and have much to plead in their favour as a necessary part of the great plan of Nature. Indeed, she marks her intention with sufficient precision, by refusing to grant any longer those friendly shades which had
grown for the protection of the infant offspring. The grove
loses its honours; but before they are entirely tarnished, an adventitious beauty, arising from that gradual decay which loosens the withering leaf, gilds the autumnal landskip with