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a temporary splendour, fuperior to the verdure of Spring, or the luxuriance of Suinmer. The infinitely various and ever-changing hues of the leaves at this season, melting into every soft gradation of tint and shade, have long engaged the imitation of the painter, and are equally happy ornaments in the description of the poet.
These unvarying symptoms of approaching Winter now warn several of the winged tribes to prepare
for their aerial voyage to those happy climates of perpetual summer, where no deficiency of food or shelter can ever distress them; and about the same time, other fowls of hardier conftitution, which are contented with escaping the iron winters of the arctic regions, arrive to supply the vacancy. Thus the striking scenes afforded by that wonderful part of the economy of Nature, the migration of birds, present themfelves at this season to the poet. The thickening fogs, the heavy rains, the swoln rivers, while
they deform this sinking period of the year, add new subjects to the pleasing variety which reigns throughout its whole course, and which justifies the Poet's character of it, as the season when the Muse « best exerts her voice.”
WINTER, directly opposite as it is in other respects to Summer, yet resembles it in this, that it is a Season in which Nature is employed rather in secretly preparing for the mighty changes which it successively brings to light, than in the actual exhibition of them. It is therefore a period equally barren of events; and has still less of animation than Summer, inasmuch as lethargic insensibility is a state more distant from vital energy than the languor of indolent repose. From the fall of the leaf, and withering of the herb, an unvarying death-like torpor oppresses almost the whole vegetable creation, and a considerable
part of the animal, during this entire portion of the year. The whole insect race,
which filled every part of the Summer landskip with life and motion, are now either buried in profound Neep, or actually no longer exist, except in the unformed rudiments of a future
progeny. Many of the birds and quadrupeds are retired to concealments, from which not even the calls of hunger can force them; and the rest, intent only on the preservation of a joyless being, have ceased to exert those powers of pleasing, which, at other seasons, so much contribute to their mutual happiness, as well as to the amusement of their human sovereign. Their social connexions, however, are improved by their wants. In order the better to procure their scanty subsistence, and resist the inclemencies of the sky, they are taught by instinct to assemble in Alocks; and this provision has the secondary effect of gratifying the spectator with something of novelty and action even in the dreariness of a wintry prospect.
But it is in the extraordinary changes and agitations which the elements, and the surrounding atmosphere undergo during this season, that the
poet of nature must principally look for relief from the gloomy uniformity reigning through other parts of the creation. Here scenes are presented to his view, which, were they less frequent, must strike with wonder and admiration the most incurious spectator. The effects of cold are more sudden, and in many instances more extraordinary and unexpected than those of heat. He who has beheld the vegetable productions of even a northern Summer, will not be greatly amazed at the richer and more luxuriant, but still resembling; growths of the tropics. But one who has always been accustomed to view water in a liquid and colourless state, cannot form the least conception of the same element as hardened into an extensive plain of solid chryftal, or covering the ground with a robe of the purest white. The highest possible de
of astonishment must therefore attend the first view of these phenomena; and as in our temperate climate but a small portion of the year
af fords these spectacles, we find that, even here, they have novelty enough to excite emotions of agreeable surprize. But it is not to novelty alone that they owe their charms. Their intrinfic beauty is, perhaps, individually superior to that of the gayest objects presented by the other feasons. Where is the elegance and brilliancy that can compare with that which decorates every tree or bush on the clear morning fucceeding a night of hoar frost ? or what is the lustre that would not appear dull and tarnished in competition with a field of snow just glazed over with frost? By the vivid description of such objects as these, contrasted with the savage sublimity of storms and tempests, our Poet has been able to produce a set of winter landskips, as engaging to the fancy as the apparently happier scenes of genial warmth and verdure.