1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

Academicus, "Panegyrick on Thomson" Massachusetts Magazine or Monthly Museum 1 (February 1789) 118.



Come, youthful muse, who, erst in cloister drear,
Didst chime, adventurous, thy poetick bells,
In jingling lays no longer vainly strive,
With brother bards, the laurel meed to gain.
Thine be the task, in rhyme unfetter'd verse,
To hail the master of the rural song,
And sing the beauties of a Thomson's page.

To thee with reverence bends the raptur'd muse,
Thee to extol loud chaunts her aukward strain,
The strain tho' dissonant, sublime the theme
And copious, if she sing a Thomson's praise.

Nature, indulgent to a thoughtless world,
Had long display'd the wonders of her hand;
While busy man, in low pursuits involv'd,
Or else reclining on the silken couch
Of luxury, foe to nature's simple charms,
With eye averted scarcely deign to view
The scenes enchanting, which her pencil form'd.
The indignant goddess call'd her favourite son,
To him her pencil, and her landscape gave,
And bade him paint anew the sylvan scene.
The bard obey'd; with softened tints retouch'd
Great Nature's work, and, when the goddess view'd,
She deeply blush'd, and own'd herself outdone.

The grateful seasons, in their annual round,
With ardour emulous gifts conferr'd on thee.
First, blooming Spring crop'd from the verdant mead
A chaplet gay, thy temples to entwine,
And ardent Summer, at meridian hour,
When Phebus rag'd, and Zephyr ceas'd to breathe,
Yielded the oak umbrageous where reclin'd
You held high converse with the sylvan gods.
Mild Autumn, sedulous, rang'd Pomona's grove,
And pluck'd the ripest fruits to deck her board.
Winter came last, high pil'd the blazing hearth,
Restrain'd is winds, and gave the studious hour.

At early dawn, the evanescent forms
Of pensive Dryads breathe in fancy's ear
This plausive strain, in memory of their bard,
"While artful anglers lure the finny prey,
While fervent youths bathe in the lucid stream,
While jocund shepherds whet their sounding shears,
Around the shepherd's cot while Boreas howls,
And brumal snow oppress the leafless bough,
So long shall Thomson's wood notes charm the ear,
So long his moral page improve the heart."