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Self-flattered, unexperienced, high in hope,
When young, with sanguine cheer and streamers gay,
We cut our cable, launch into the world,
And fondly dream each wind and star our friend,
All in some darling enterprise embarked.
But where is he can fathom its event ?
Amid a multitude of artless hands,
Ruin's sure perquisite, her lawful prize!
Some steer aright; but the black blast blows hard,
And puffs them wide of hope; with hearts of proof
Full against wind and tide, some win their way;
And when strong effort has deserved the port,
And tugged it into view, 't is won; 't is lost !
Though strong their oar, still stronger is their fate;
They strike, and while they triumph, they expire,
In stress of weather, most : some sink outright;
O'er them, and o’er their names, the billows close
To-morrow knows not they were ever born.
Others a short memorial leave behind,
Like a flag floating when the bark's engulfed,
It floats a moment and is seen no more.
One Cæsar lives; a thousand are forgot.
How few, beneath auspicious planets born,
Darlings of Providence, fond Fate's elect,
With swelling sails, make good the promised port,
With all their wishes freighted; yet even these,
Freighted with all their wishes, soon complain ;
Free from misfortune, not from nature free,
They still are men, and when is man secure?
As fatal time, as storm, the rush of years
Beats down their strength; their numberless escapes
In ruin end ; and, now, their proud success
But plants new terrors on the victor's brow;
What pain to quit the world just made their own!
Their nest so deeply drowned, and built so high!

Too low they build who build beneath the stars.” This is a fair specimen of Young's manner and his philosophy. I think we should not greet it as great poetry if it were published for the first time to-day. In strong contrast to Young is JAMES THOMSON. To

read his poetry after the Night Thoughts is like 1700–1748

coming from thickest gloom to genial sunshine. Thomson's Seasons, in four parts, treats of the Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. They are like a series of pictures of the year, each with the color and atmosphere of the sea

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son they describe. In Spring we see the tender green of budding plants and trees; in Summer, the brightness of blossoms; the Autumn is russet and purple, with ripened grain and fruits ; and the Winter is gray, cold, and comfortless, with mud, sleet, and bare boughs. No man could have written thus if he had not been an acute observer of Nature and in close sympathy with her.

He wrote his Winter when in college, and it aided him to gain the notice of a rich patron. In those days the patronage of a great man was as necessary to a poet as a good publisher is in these days. Thomson had the usual ups and downs of a man of talent who is poor: he went abroad as tutor to a rich man's sons; he acted as secretary to a

he wrote for the stage ; and at length got a pension from Frederic, Prince of Wales (the son of George II.), after which he lived in comparative ease.

He spent the last of his life in a pleasant home on the Thames, and died, when forty-eight, of a cold and fever brought on by a row on the river, taken when he was overheated. He was a popular man, beloved by his friends, among whom was Pope, who had given the Seasons encouraging praise, and had added to it a few lines when Thomson sent it to him for friendly criticism. In his retirement Thomson wrote The Castle of Indolence, a poem in Spenser's measure, which has some very fine bits of description, but is rather a close imitation of the older poet. His plays had some success, but have not added much of value to literature. Sophonisba, his chief tragedy, is remembered by a ridiculous incident on its first performance.

In one sentimental line the hero exclaims, –

“O Sophonisba ! Sophonisba, O!” As the actor uttered this on the first night, a mischievous person in the gallery groaned, “O Jemmy Thomson ! Jemmy Thomson, O!” which threw the audience into a fit of laughter, and spoiled the effect of the scene.

The Seasons is a book which, like Izaak Walton's Angler, I like to read out of doors under the trees; and I advise you to make it your companion some summer's day, and read to the acompaniment of birds and rippling water, as you recline under trees by the bank of a running stream.

The Hymn to the Seasons gives a summing up of the longer poem, and we will read the opening lines from this :

“These as they change, Almighty Father, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of Thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring,
Thy beauty walks, Thy tenderness and love
Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm;
Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles,
And every sense and every heart is joy.
Then comes Thy glory in the Summer months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then Thy sun
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year;
And oft thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks ;
And oft at morn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves, in hollow whispering gales.
Thy bounty shines in Autumn unconfined,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter awful Thou ! with clouds and storms
Around Thee thrown, tempest o’er tempest rolled,
Majestic darkness ! On the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublime, Thou bid’st the world adore,
And humblest nature with Thy northern blast.
Mysterious round, what skill, what force divine,
Deep felt, in these appear! a simple train,
Yet so delightful mixed, with such kind art,
Such beauty and beneficence combined;
Shade unperceived so softening into shade,
And all so forming an harmonious whole,
That, as they still succeed, they ravish still.
But wandering oft with brute unconscious gaze,
Man marks Thee not; marks not the mighty hand,
That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres,
Works in the secret deep, shoots steaming thence
The fair profusion that o'erspreads the Spring;
Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature ; hurls the tempest forth;
And as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.

WILLIAM SHENSTONE lived the sort of life that the poet

Cowley longed for, while he aspired to the life 1714-1763

that Cowley despised. You remember that Cowley, who was a courtier, was always picturing the delights of a little estate in the country which he could adorn as he chose, and where he might spend his days in peaceful quiet. Shenstone had just such a little estate inherited from his father, and spent all his time and fortune embellishing it in the most fanciful style of landscape gardening, till he made it a wonder of walks, mazes, arbors, gardens, and running waters. But although he amused himself with these occupations, he was ambitious for political honors, and a little soured and disappointed that he could never attain to them.

He wrote his poetry chiefly, it seems, for his amusement, and not in the hope of any special reward. In his childhood he had been sent to a village school (called in England a dame school), and his most noted poern, The Schoolmistress, written in Spenserian stanza, pictures the dame and her school. Here are a few verses from his description of the schoolmistress :

“ Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow,
Emblem right meet of decency does yield;
Her apron dyed in grain as blue, I trow,
As in the harebell that adorns the field;
And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield
Tway birchen sprays, with anxious fear entwined,
With dark distrust, and sad repentance filled,

And steadfast hate, and sharp affection joined,
And fury uncontrolled, and chastisement unkind.

“A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown;
A russet kirtle fenced the nipping air.
’T was simple russet, but it was her own;
'T was her own country bred the flock so fair;
'T was her own labor did the fleece prepare ;
And sooth to say, her pupils ranged around,
Through pious awe, did term it passing rare;

For they in gaping wonderment abound,
And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight on ground.

“ One ancient hen she took delight to feed,
The plodding pattern of the busy dame,
Which ever and anon, impelled by need,
Into her school, begirt with chickens, came,
Such favor did her past deportment claim ;

And if neglect had lavished on the ground
Fragment of bread, she would collect the same;

For well she knew, and quaintly could expound,
What sin it were to waste the smallest crumb she found.

Right well she knew each temper to descry,
To thwart the proud and the submiss to raise;
Some with vile copper-prize exalt on high,
And some entice with pittance small of praise ;
And other some with baleful sprig she 'rays.
Even absent she the reins of power doth hold,
While with quaint arts the giddy crowd she sways,

Forewarned, if little bird their pranks behold,
'T will whisper in her ear, and all the scene unfold.”

This picture of the old dame is very real ; but better than The Schoolmistress I like a pastoral by Shenstone, which, although written in a jingling, rather commonplace measure, has a taste of the old ballad in it, and recalls the fresh days of poetry. This pastoral is in four parts, — Absence, Hope, Solicitude, Disappointment, — and is addressed to

Phyllis by the Shepherd Corydon. These are a few stanzas from Part II. :

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“I have found out a gift for my fair,

I have found where the wood-pigeons breed;
But let me that plunder forbear,

She will say 't was a barbarous deed.

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