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But he has not trusted entirely to these resources for combating the natural fterility of Winter. Repeating the pleasing artifice of his Summer, he has called in foreign aid, and has heightened the scenery with grandeur and horror not our own. The familhed troops of wolves pouring from the Alps; the mountains of snow rolling down the precipices of the same regions ; the dreary plains over which the Laplander urges his rein deer; the wonders of the icy fea, and volcanoes “flaming thro' a waste of snow;" are objects judiciously selected from all that Nature presents most singular and striking in the various domains of boreal cold and wintry desolation.
Thus have we attempted to give a general view of those materials which conftitute the ground-work of a poem on the Seasons ; which are essential to its very nature ; and on the proper arrangement of which its regularity and connexion depend. The extent of knowledge, as
well as the powers of description, which Thomson has exhibited in this part of his work, is, on the whole, truly admirable ; and though, with the present advanced taste for accurate observation in natural history, some improvements might be suggested, yet he certainly remains unrivalled in the list of descriptive poets.
But the rural landskip is not solely made up of land, and water, and trees, and birds, and beasts ; man is a distinguished figure in it; his multiplied occupations and concerns introduce themselves into every part of it ; he intermixes even in the wildest and rudest scenes, and throws a life and interest upon every surrounding object. Manners and charakter therefore constitute a part even of a descriptive poem; and in a plan fo extensive as the history of the year, they must enter under various forms, and upon numerous occasions.
The most obvious and appropriated use of
human figures in pictures of the Seasons, is the introduction of them to assist in marking out the succession of annual changes by their various labours and amusements. In common with other animals, man is directed in the diversified employment of earning a toilsome subsistence by an attention to the vicissitudes of the seasons; and all his diversions in the simple state of rustic society are also regulated by the same circumItance. Thus a series of moving figures enlivens the landskip, and contributes to stamp on each scene its peculiar character. The shepherd, the husbandman, the hunter, appear in their turns; and may be considered as natural concomitants of that portion of the yearly round which prompts their several occupations.
But it is not only the bodily pursuits of man which are affected by these changes; the sensations and affections of his mind are almost equally under their influence : and the result of the
whole, as forming the enamoured votary of Nature to a peculiar cast of character and manners, is not less conspicuous. Thus the Poet of the Seasons is at liberty, without deviating from his plan, to descant on the varieties of moral conftitution, and the powers which ex. ternal causes are found to possess over the temper of the soul. He may draw pictures of the pastoral life in all its genuine simplicity; and assuming the tone of a moral instructor, may contrast the peace and felicity of innocent retirement, with the turbulent agitations of ambition and avarice.
The various incidents too, upon which the simple tale of rural events is founded, are very much modeled by the difference of seasons. The catastrophes of Winter differ from those of Summer; the sports of Spring from those of Autumn. Thus, little history pieces and ada ventures, whether pathetic or amusing, will
suggest themselves to the Poet; which, when properly adapted to the scenery and circumstances, may very happily coincide with the main design of the composition.
The bare enumeration of these several occasions of introducing draughts of human life and manners, will be sufficient to call to mind the admirable use which Thomson throughout his whole poem has made of them. He, in fact, never appears more truly inspired with his subject, than when giving birth to those sentiments of tenderness and beneficence, which seem to have occupied his whole heart. An universal benevolence, extending to every part of the aniinal creation, manifests itself in almost every scene he draws; and the rural character, as delineated in his feelings, contains all the softness, purity, and simplicity that are feigned of the golden age. Yet, excellent as the moral and sentimental part of his work must appear to