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JAMES THOMSON (1)
Scottish poet
(1700 - 1748)
  Displaying page 1 of 9    Next Page >> 

A boding silence reigns,
  Dread through the dun expanse; save the dull sound
    That from the mountain, previous to the storm,
      Rolls o'er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood,
        And shakes the forest-leaf without a breath.
          Prone, to the lowest vale, the aerial tribes
            Descend; the tempest-loving raven scarce
              Dares wing the dubious dusk. In rueful gaze,
                The cattle stand, and on the scowling heavens
                  Cast a deploring eye; by man forsook
                    Who to the crowded cottage hies him fast,
                      Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.
      - [Storms]

Absence, with all its pains,
  Is by this charming moment wip'd away.
      - [Meeting]

Ah! whither now are fled
  Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes
    Of happiness? those longings after fame?
      Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
        Those gay-spent, festive nights? those veering thoughts,
          Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?
            All now are vanished! Virtue sole survives,
              Immortal never-failing friend of man,
                His guide to happiness on high.
      - [Virtue]

All nature feels the renovating force
  Of winter, only to the thoughtless eye
    In ruin seen. The frost-contracted glebe
      Draws in abundant vegetable soul,
        And gathers vigor for the coming year.
          A stronger glow sits on the lively cheek
            Of ruddy fire; and luculent along
              The purer rivers flow: their sullen deeps,
                Transparent, open to the shepherd's gaze
                  And murmur hoarser at the fixing frost.
      - [Winter]

Along the woods, along the moorish fens,
  Sighs the sad genius of the coming storm;
    And up among the loose disjointed cliffs,
      And fractured mountains wild, the brawling brook
        And cave, presageful, send a hollow moan,
          Resounding long in listening fancy's ear.
      - [Tempests]

Amid the roses fierce Repentance rears
  Her snaky crest.
      - [Proverbs]

And let th' aspiring Youth beware of Love,
  Of the smooth glance beware; for 'tis too late;
    When on his heart the torrent softness pours,
      Then Wisdom prostrate lies, and fading Fame
        Dissolves in air away.
      - [Love]

And poor misfortune feels the lash of vice.
      - [Vice]

And see the country, far diffused around,
  One boundless blush, one white impurpled shower
    Of mingled blossom's! where the captured eye
      Hurries from joy to joy.
      - [Country]

And sometimes too a burst of rain,
  Swept from the black horizon, broad, descends
    In one continuous flood. Still over head
      The mingling tempest weaves its gloom, and still
        The deluge deepens; till the fields around
          Lie sunk, and flatted, in the sordid wave.
            Sudden the ditches swell; the meadows swim.
              Red, from the hills, innumerable streams
                Tumultuous roar; and high above its banks
                  The river lift; before whose rushing tide,
                    Herds, flocks, and harvests, cottages, and swains,
                      Roll mingled down; all that the winds had spar'd
                        In one wild moment ruined; the big hopes
                          And well-earned treasures of the painful year.
      - [Tempests]

At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun,
  And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more
    Th' expansive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold;
      But, full of life and vivifying soul,
        Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them thin,
          Fleecy and white, o'er all surrounding heaven.
      - [Spring]

Believe the muse, the wintry blast of death
  Kills not the buds of virtue; no, they spread.
    Beneath the heavenly beams of brighter suns,
      Thro' endless ages, into higher powers.
      - [Virtue]

Child of sun, refulgent summer, comes.
      - [Summer]

Come then, expressive Silence.
      - [Silence]

Custom, 'tis true, a venerable tyrant
  O'er servile man extends her blind dominion.
      - [Custom]

Defeating oft the labors of the year,
  The sultry South collects a potent blast.
    At first the groves are scarcely seen to stir
      Their trembling tops, and a still murmur runs
        Along the soft-inclining fields of corn;
          But as the aerial tempest fuller swells,
            And in one mighty stream, invisible,
              Immense, the whole excited atmosphere
                Impetuous rushes o'er the sounding world.
      - [Storms]

Dependants, friends, relations, love himself, ravaged by woe, forget the tender tie.
      - [Woe]

Ev'n not all these, in one rich lot combined,
  Can make the happy man, without the mind,
    Where judgment sits clear-sighted, and surveys
      The chain of reason with unerring gaze.
      - [Judgment]

Father of Light and Life! Thou Good Supreme!
  O teach me what is good! teach me Thyself!
    Save me from folly, vanity and vice,
      From every low pursuit: and feed my soul
        With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
          Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss.
      - [Prayer]

First of human blessings! and supreme.
      - [Peace]

For of old time, since first the rushing flood,
  Urg'd by Almighty Pow'r, this favour'd isle
    Turn'd flashing from the continent aside,
      Indented shore to shore responsive still,
        Its guardian she.
      - [England]

For, firm within, and while at heart untouch'd,
  Ne'er yet by force was freedom overcome.
    But soon as independence stoops the head,
      To vice-enslaved, and vice-created wants,
        Then to some foul corrupting-hand, whose waste
          Their craving lusts with fatal bounty feeds,
            They fall a willing, undefended prize;
              From man to man th' infectious softness runs,
                Till the whole state unnerved in slavery sinks.
      - [Corruption]

From cloud to cloud the rending lightnings rage;
  Till, in the furious elemental war
    Dissolv'd, the whole precipitated mass
      Unbroken floods and solid torrents pour.
      - [Tempests]

Gradual sinks the breeze
  Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
    I heard to quiver thro' the closing woods,
      Or rustling turn the many twinkling leaves,
        Of aspen tall. The uncurling floods diffus'd
          In glassy breadth, seen through delusive lapse
            Forgetful of their course.
              'Tis silence all,
                And pleasing expectation.
      - [Calumny]

Health is the vital principle of bliss,
  And exercise of health.
      - [Bliss]


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