1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

Anonymous, "On the Anniversary of Thomson's Birth-day, celebrated at Cape-Hall, Edinburgh" Scots Magazine 52 (October 1790) 504.



Let ev'ry swain his rural cot
With Autumn's fairest gifts adorn,
And welcome in with past'ral note
The RURAL POET'S natal morn.

No sullen mists on this blest day
Veil with chill wing the fruitful ground;
But, Phoebus, shed thy brighest ray
On every smiling landscape round.

Nor you, ye village-maids, forget
With the gay dance new charms to blend,
And pay with grateful smiles the debt
Soft beauty owes her constant friend.

Ye circling Seasons, changeful pow'rs,
You, as ye roll, his praise renew:
As Tweed reflects the pendent flow'rs,
With native tints he pictures you.

Whether, the blossom'd vale along,
Young zephyr, sporting, scents the air;
Or loud winds down the Shepherd's song,
And leave the prostrate Forest bare—

And as he view'd the cultur'd land,
Bright fields where health and labour smile,
He bade the peasant's mind expand,
And know, 'tis Freedom crowns his toil.

Nor with less skill th' emotion'd heart
He, thro' the lofty Scene, exprest:
When he wou'd paint the social part,
He look'd within his own kind breast.

Tho' now thy tuneful pipe, sweet bard!
In silence deep is doom'd to dwell,
(For who, that e'er thy strain hath heard,
It's slumb'ring note wou'd dare to swell)?

Yet, from yon realms of endless day,
Thy spirit pleas'd may look on Earth,
Oft as thy well-remember'd lay
Some latent virtue calls to birth.

But which, of all the radiant throng,
Thy lib'ral bosom most approv'd—
O ye mute tribes, were your's the song,
You'd boast, transcendent Pity mov'd!

While Time this hallow'd Day returns,
That still to Britons must be dear;
And zeal to blazon merit burns,
Which all who feel like men revere;

So oft let art and nature come,
In union fond the task embrace,
With floral wreaths to deck his tomb,
Who lent their fairest forms new grace!

So oft, on many a Scotian plain,
Carol, ye youths, his kindred name;
Each hill and dale repeat the strain,
That sounds the RURAL POET'S fame!