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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
April Rain
By James Thomson (1700–1748)
 
From the ‘Seasons’—Spring

COME, gentle Spring; ethereal mildness, come:
And from the bosom of your dropping cloud,
While music wakes around, veiled in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.
  O Hertford, fitted or to shine in courts        5
With unaffected grace, or walk the plain
With innocence and meditation joined
In soft assemblage, listen to my song,
Which thy own season paints; when Nature all
Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.        10
  And see where surly Winter passes off,
Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts:
His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill,
The shattered forest, and the ravished vale;
While softer gales succeed,—at whose kind touch,        15
Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost,
The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.
  As yet the trembling year is unconfirmed,
And Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze,
Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets        20
Deform the day delightless: so that scarce
The bittern knows his time with bill ingulphed
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 listening waste….        25
  The northeast spends his rage, he now shut up
Within his iron cave; the effusive south
Warms the wide air, and o’er the void of heaven
Breathes the big clouds with vernal showers distent.
At first a dusky wreath they seem to rise,        30
Scarce staining ether; but by fast degrees,
In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapor sails
Along the loaded sky, and mingling deep,
Sits on the horizon round a settled gloom:
Not such as wintry storms on mortals shed,        35
Oppressing life; but lovely, gentle, kind,
And full of every hope and every joy,
The wish of Nature. Gradual sinks the breeze
Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
Is heard to quiver through the closing woods,        40
Or rustling turn the many twinkling leaves
Of aspen tall. The uncurling floods, diffused
In glassy breadth, seem through delusive lapse
Forgetful of their course. ’Tis silence all,
And pleasing expectation. Herds and flocks        45
Drop the dry sprig, and mute-imploring, eye
The fallen verdure. Hushed in short suspense,
The plumy people streak their wings with oil,
To throw the lucid moisture trickling off;
And wait the approaching sign to strike, at once,        50
Into the general choir. Even mountains, vales,
And forests seem, impatient, to demand
The promised sweetness. Man superior walks
Amid the glad creation, musing praise,
And looking lively gratitude. At last        55
The clouds consign their treasures to the fields;
And softly shaking on the dimpled pool
Prelusive drops, let all their moisture flow
In large effusion o’er the freshened world.
 
 
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