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SPRIN G.

"Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos, "Nunc frondent fylvæ, nunc formofiffimus annus.'

VIRG.

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COME

OME, gentle Spring, ethereal Mildness, come,
And from the bofom of yon dropping cloud,
While mufic wakes around, veil'd in a shower
Of shadowing rofes, on our plains defcend.

O Hertford, fitted or to shine in courts
With unaffected grace, or walk the plain
With innocence and meditation join'd
In foft affemblage, liften to my fong,
Which thy own Season paints; when Nature all
Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.

And fee where furly Winter paffes off,
Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts:
His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill,
The fhatter'd foreft, and the ravag'd vale;
While fofter gales fucceed, at whofe kind touch,
Diffolving fnows in livid torrents loft,
The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.
As yet the trembling year is unconfirm'd,
And Winter oft at eve refumes the breeze,
Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving fleets
Deform the day delightless: so that scarce
The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulpht

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To shake the founding marsh; or from the shore
The plovers when to scatter o'er the heath,
And fing their wild notes to the liftening waste.
At laft from Aries rolls the bounteous fun,
And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more
Th' expanfive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold;
But, full of life and vivifying foul,

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Lifts the light clouds fublime, and spreads them thin, 30
Fleecy and white, o'er all-furrounding heaven.
Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfin'd,
Unbinding earth, the moving foftness strays.
Joyous, th' impatient husbandman perceives
Relenting Nature, and his lufty fteers
Drives from their stalls, to where the well-us'd plough,
Lies in the furrow, loofen'd from the froft.
There, unrefufing, to the harness'd yoke
They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil,
Chear'd by the fimple fong and foaring lark.
Meanwhile incumbent o'er the shining share
The mafter leans, removes th' obftructing clay,
Winds the whole work, and fidelong lays the glebe.

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White through the neighbouring field the fower stalks, With meafur'd ftep; and liberal throws the grain 45 Into the faithful bofom of the ground: The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the fcene.

Be gracious, Heaven! for now laborious man
Has done his part. Ye foftering breezes, blow!
Ye foftening dews, ye tender fhowers, defcend!
And temper all, thou world-reviving fun,
Into the perfect year! Nor ye who live

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In luxury and ease, in pomp and pride,
Think these loft themes unworthy of your ear:
Such themes as these the rural Maro fung
To wide-imperial Rome, in the full height
Of elegance and taste, by Greece refin'd,
In ancient times, the facred plough employ'd
The kings, and aweful fathers of mankind :
And fome, with whom compar'd your infect-tribes 60
Are but the beings of a fummer's day,

Have held the scale of empire, rul'd the storm
Of mighty war; then, with unwearied hand,
Difdaining little delicacies, feiz'd
The plough, and greatly independent liv'd.

Ye generous Britons, venerate the plough;
And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
Let Autumn fpread his treasures to the fun,
Luxuriant and unbounded: as the fea,
Far through his azure turbulent domain,
Your empire owns, and from a thousand fhores
Wafts all the pomp of life into your ports;
So with fuperior boon may your rich foil,
Exuberant, Nature's better bleffings pour
O'er every land, the naked nations clothe,
And be th' exhaustlefs granary of a world !

Nor only through the lenient air this change,
Delicious, breathes; the penetrative fun
His force deep-darting to the dark retreat
Of vegetation, fets the fteaming Power
At large, to wander o'er the vernant earth,
In various hues; but chiefly thee, gay Green!
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Thou smiling Nature's univerfal robe! United light and shade! where the fight dwells • With growing ftrength, and ever-new delight. From the moift meadow to the wither'd hill, Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs, And swells, and deepens, to the cherish'd eye. The hawthorn whitens; and the juicy groves Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees, Till the whole leafy forest stands display'd, In full luxuriance to the fighing gales; Where the deer ruftle through the twining brake, And the birds fing conceal'd. At once array'd In all the colours of the flushing year, By Nature's swift and fecret-working hand, The garden glows, and fills the liberal air With lavish fragrance; while the promis'd fruit Lies yet a little embryo, unperceiv'd, Within its crimfon folds. Now from the town Buried in smoke, and fleep, and noisome damps, Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields, Where freshness breathes, and dash the trembling drops From the bent bush, as through the verdant maze Of sweet-briar hedges I purfue my walk; Or taste the smell of dairy; or afcend Some eminence, Augufta, in thy plains, And fee the country, far diffus'd around, One boundless blush, one white-empurpled shower Of mingled bloffoms; where the raptur'd eye Hurries from joy to joy, and, hid beneath The fair profufion, yellow Autumn spies.

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If, brush'd from Ruffian wilds, a cutting gale Rise not, and scatter from his humid wings The clammy mildew; or, dry-blowing, breathe 115 Untimely froft; before whose baleful blast

The full-blown Spring through all her foliage shrinks,
Joylefs and dead, a wide-dejected waste.
For oft, engender'd by the hazy north,
Myriads on myriads, infect armies waft
Keen in the poison'd breeze; and wasteful eat,
Through buds and bark, into the blacken'd core,
Their eager way. A feeble race! yet oft
The facred fons of vengeance; on whofe course
Corrofive famine waits, and kills the year.
To check this plague the skilful farmer chaff,
And blazing ftraw, before his orchard burns;
Till, all involv'd in smoke, the latent foe
From every cranny fuffocated falls :
Or scatters o'er the blooms the pungeant dust
Of pepper, fatal to the frofty tribe :

Or, when th' envenom'd leaf begins to curl,
With fprinkled water drowns them in their neft;
Nor, while they pick them up with busy bill,
The little trooping birds unwisely scares.

Be patient, fwains; these cruel-seeming winds
Blow not in vain. Far hence they keep reprefs'd
Those deepening clouds on clouds, furcharg'd with rain,
That, o'er the vaft Atlantic hither borne,

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In endless train, would quench the summer-blaze, 140
And, chearless, drown the crude unripened year.
The norh-east spends his rage; he now shut up

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