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THE subject proposed. Inscribed to the countess of Hart.
ford. 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 inanimate matter. On vegetables. On brute animals. And last, on man. Concluding with a dissuasive from the wild and irregular passion of love, opposed to thato a pure and happy kind.
COME, gentle Spring, ethereal mildness, come,
O Hartford, fitted or to shine in courts,
And see where surly Winter passes off, Far to the north, and calls his rufflan blasts. His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill, The shatter'd forest, and the ravag'd 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 gale 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 list’ning waste.
At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun, And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more Th' 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 heav'n.
Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfin'd, Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays. Joyous, th' impatient husbandman perceives Relenting nature, and his lusty steers Drives from their stalls, to where the well us'd-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 thro' the neighb'ring fields the sower stalks,
Be gracious, Heav'n! for now laborious man