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The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell,
His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well;
Remote from men, with God he passed his days,
Prayer all his business, all his pleasure, praise.
A life so sacred, such serene repose,
Seemed heaven itself, till one suggestion rose-

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That vice should triumph, virtue vice obey; This sprung some doubt of Providence's sway; His hopes no more a certain prospect boast, And all the tenor of his soul is lost.

So, when a smooth expanse receives imprest
Calm nature's image on its watery breast,
Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow,
And skies beneath with answering colours glow;

But, if a stone the gentle sea divide,
Swift ruffling circles curl on every side,
And glimmering fragments of a broken sun,
Banks, trees, and skies, in thick disorder run.
To clear this doubt, to know the world by sight,
To find if books, or swains, report it right-
For yet by swains alone the world he knew,
Whose feet came wandering o'er the nightly dew—
He quits his cell; the pilgrim staff he bore,
And fixed the scallop in his hat before;
Then, with the rising sun, a journey went,
Sedate to think, and watching each event.



THOMSON'S Castle of Indolence, the latest of his productions, seems to have been a labour of love with the poet. The sketch of himself is interesting, although he tells us, that all except the first line was written by a friend :—

A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard beseems,
Who, void of envy, guile, and lust of gain,
On virtue still, and nature's pleasing themes,
Poured forth his unpremeditated strain;
The world forsaking with a calm disdain,
Here laughed he careless in his easy seat,-

Here quaff'd, encircled with the joyous train,
Oft moralizing sage, his ditty sweet,—

He loathed much to write, he cared to repeat.

There is a great charm about this poem; its numbers seem to

lull one into a dreamy sense of pleasure; note this stanza :—

A pleasing land of drowsy herd it was,

Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;

And of

gay castles in the clouds that pass,
Forever flashing round a summer sky:
There eke the soft delights, that witchingly
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,

And the calm pleasures always hovered nigh;
But whate'er smacked of noyance or unrest,
Was far, far off expelled from that delicious nest.



Here is a beautiful passage:

I care not, Fortune, what you me deny ;

You cannot rob me of free Nature's grace,
You cannot shut the windows of the sky,

Through which Aurora shows her bright'ning face:
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace
The woods and lawns, by living stream, at eve:

Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace,
And I their toys to the great children leave;
Of fancy, reason, virtue, naught can me bereave.

We should scarcely have expected that this lover of luxurious ease, who used to linger a-bed, sometimes, till two of the afternoon, could have given us such a burst of inspiration on early rising as


Falsely luxurious! will not man, awake,
And springing from the bed of sloth, enjoy
The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour
To meditation due, and sacred song?

For is there aught in sleep can charm the wise?
To lie in dead oblivion, losing half

The fleeting moments of too short a life?
Total extinction of the enlightened soul;
Or else to feverish vanity alive,

Wilder'd and tossing through distempered dreams?
Who would in such a gloomy state remain
Longer than nature craves; when every muse,
And every blooming pleasure, wait without,
To bless the wildly-devious morning walk?

Like others of the illustrious brotherhood, our poet lived for the present, and seldom indulged any anxiety about the future; the consequence was, that his purse was not unfrequently exhausted. On a certain occasion he was surprised by an unexpected visit from Quin, the comedian, whom he had known only by reputation. Puzzled to think what could have induced such a visit, he pressed the question, when Quin replied, "Why, I will tell you. Soon after I had read your Seasons, I took it into my head, that as I had something to leave behind me when I died, I would make my will. Among the rest of my legatees, I set down the author of the Seasons for a hundred pounds: and this day, hearing that you were in this house, I thought I might as well have the pleasure of paying the money myself as order my executors to pay it, when perhaps you might have less need of it; and this, Mr. Thomson, is the object of my visit."

The "poet of the Seasons" did much to improve the poetic taste of his day. Campbell justly remarks: "Habits of early admiration teach us all to look back upon this poet as the favourite companion of our solitary walks, and as the author who has first, or chiefly, reflected back to our minds a heightened and refined sensation of the delight which rural scenery affords us." Thomson's sketches are Claude-like,-full of pastoral beauty and sunshine. Here is a beautiful burst of song, descriptive of summer dawn:


The meek-eyed Morn appears, mother of dews,
At first faint-gleaming in the dappled east:
Till far o'er ether spreads the widening glow;
And, from before the lustre of her face,

White break the clouds away.
With quicken'd step
Brown night retires. Young day pours in apace,
And opens all the lawny prospect wide.

The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top,
Swell on the sight, and brighten with the dawn.
Blue, through the dusk, the smoking currents shine;


And from the bladed field the fearful hare
Limps, awkward; while along the forest glade
The wild deer trip, and often turning, gaze
At early passenger. Music awakes
The native voice of undissembled joy;
And thick around the woodland hymns arise.
Roused by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves
His mossy cottage, where with peace he dwells;
And from the crowded fold, in order, drives
His flock, to taste the verdure of the morn.

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