Poems in Northanger Abbey

The Seasons

by James Thompson
excerpt from Spring
 

But happy they--the happiest of their kind--
Whom gentler stars unite and, in one fate,
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend.
'Tis not the coarser tie of human laws,
Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind.
That binds their peace, but harmony itself,
Attuning all their passions unto love,
Where Friendship full-exerts her softest power,
Perfect esteem enlightened by desire
Ineffable and sympathy of soul,
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
With boundless confidence; for naught but love
Can answer love, and render bliss secure.
Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To bless himself, from sordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care
Well-merited consume his nights and days;
Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman love
Is wild, desire fierce as the suns they feel;
Let eastern tyrants from the light of heaven
Seclude their bosom slaves, meanly possessed
Of a mere lifeless, violated form;
While those whom love cements in holy faith
And equal transport free as nature live,
Disdaining fear. What is the world to them,
Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all.
Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish?

Something than beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the mind or mind-illumined face:
Truth, goodness, honour, harmony and love--
The richest bounty of indulgent heaven!
Meantime a smiling offspring rises round,
And mingles both their graces. By degrees
The human blossom blows; and every day,
Soft as it rolls along, shows some new charm--
The father's lustre and the mother's bloom.
Then infant reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an assiduous care:
Delightful task! to read the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot,
To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,
To breathe the enlivening spirit, and to fix
The generous purpose in the glowing breast.
Oh, speak the joy, ye whom the sudden tear
Surprises often while you look around,
And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss,
All various Nature pressing on the heart--
And elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
Ease and alternate labour, useful life,
Progressive virtue, and approving heaven!
These are the matchless joys of virtuous love,
And thus their moments fly. The seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,
Still find them happy. And consenting Spring
Sheds her own rosy garland on their heads,
Till evening comes at last, serene and mild;
When, after the long vernal day of life,
Enamoured more, as more remembrance swells
With many a proof of recollected love,
Together down they sink in social sleep;
Together freed, their gentle spirits fly
To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.