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Exerpt from To Autumn

by James Thomson, The Seasons

BUT see the fading many-colour’d Woods,

Shade deepening over Shade, the Country round

Imbrown; a crouded Umbrage, dusk , and dun,

Of every Hue, from wan declining Green

Too sooty Dark. These now the lonesome Muse,

Low—whispering, lead into their leaf-strown Walks,

And give the Season in its latest View.

MEAN-TIME, light-shadowing all, a sober Calm

Fleeces unbounded Ether; whose least Wave

Stands tremulous, uncertain where to turn

The gentle Current; while, illumin’d wide,

The dewy-skirted Clouds imbibe the Sun,

And thro’ their lucid Veil his soften’d Force

Shed o’er the peaceful World. Then is the Time,

For those whom Wisdom and whom Nature charm,

To steal themselves from the degenerate Croud,

And soar above this little Scene of Things;

To tread low-thoughted Vice beneath their Feet;

To soothe the throbbing Passions into Peace;

And wooe lone Quiet in her silent Walks.

THUS solitary, and in pensive Guise

Oft let me wander o’er the russet Mead,

And thro’ the sadden’d Grove, where scarce is heard

One dying strain, to cheer the Woodman’s Toil.

Haply some widow’d Songster pours his Plaint,

Far, in faint Warblings, thro’ the tawny Copse.

While congregated Thrushes, Linnets, Larks,

And each wild Throat, whose artless Strains so late

Swell’d all the Music of the swarming Shades,

Robb’d of their tuneful Souls, now shivering sit

On the dead Tree, a dull despondent flock!

With not a Brightness waving o’er their Plumes,

And nought save chattering Discord in their Note.

Oh let not, aim’d from some inhuman Eye,

The Gun the Music of the coming Year

Destroy; and harmless, unsuspecting Harm,

Lay the weak Tribes, a miserable Prey,

In mingled Murder, fluttering on the Ground!

THE pale descending Year, yet pleasing still,

A gentler Mood inspires; for now the Leaf

Incessant rustles from the mournful Grove,

Oft startling such as studious, walk below,

And slowly circles thro’ the waving Air.

But should a quicker Breeze amid the Boughs

Sob, O’er the Sky the leafy Deluge streams;

Till choak’d, and matted with the dreary Shower,

The Forest-Walks, at every rising Gale,

Roll wide the wither’d Waste, and whistle bleak.

Fled is the blasted Verdure of the fields;

And, shrunk into their Beds, the flowery Race

Their sunny Robes resign. Even what remain’d

Of bolder fruits falls from the naked Tree;

And Woods, Fields, Garden, Orchards, all around

The desolated Prospect thrills the Soul.

HE comes! he comes! in every Breeze the POWER


His near Approach the sudden-starting Tear,

The soften’d Feature, and the beating Heart,

Pierc’d deep with many a virtuous Pang, declare.

O’er all the Soul his sacred Influence breathes;

Inflames Imagination; thro’ the Breast

Infuses every Tenderness; and far

Beyond dim Earth exalts the swelling Thought.

Ten thousand thousand fleet Ideas, such

As never mingled with the vulgar Dream,

Croud fast into the Mind’s creative Eye.

As fast the correspondent Passions rise,

As varied, and as high: Devotion rais’d

To Rapture, and divine Astonishment;

The love of Nature unconfin’d and, chief,

Of Human Race; the large ambitious Wish,

To make them blest; the Sigh for suffering Worth,

Lost in Obscurity; the noble Scorn,

Of Tyrant Pride; the fearless great Resolve;

The wonder which the dying Patriot draws,

Inspiring Glory thro’ remotest Time;

Th’awaken’d Throb for Virtue, and for Fame;

The Sympathies of Love and Friendship dear;

With all the social Offspring of the Heart.

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