First Day of Summer 2008 II
Confess'd from yonder slow-extinguish'd Clouds,
All ether softening, sober Evening takes
Her wonted Station in the middle Air;
A thousand Shadows at her Beck. First This
She sends on Earth; then That of deeper Dye
Steals soft behind; and then a Deeper still,
In Circle following Circle, gathers round,
To close the Face of Things. A fresher Gale
Begins to wave the Wood, and stir the Stream,
Sweeping with shadowy Gust the Fields of Corn;
While the Quail clamours for his running Mate.
Wide o'er the thistly Lawn, as swells the Breeze,
A whitening Shower of vegetable Down
Amusive floats. The kind impartial Care
Of Nature nought disdains: thoughtful to feed
Her lowest Sons, and clothe the coming Year,
From Field to Field the feather'd Seed she wings.
His folded Flock secure, the Shepherd home
Hies, merry-hearted; and by turns relieves
The ruddy milk-maid of her brimming Pail;
The Beauty whom perhaps his witless Heart,
Unknowing what the Joy-mixt Anguish means,
Sincerely loves, by that best Language shown
Of cordial Glances, and obliging Deeds.
Onward they pass, o'er many a panting Height
And Valley sunk, and unfrequented; where
At Fall of Eve the Fairy People throng,
In various Game, and Revelry to pass
The Summer-Night, as Village-Stories tell.
But far about they wander from the Grave
Of him, whom his ungentle Fortune urg'd
Against his own sad Breast to lift the hand
Of impious Violence. The lonely Tower
Is also shunn'd; whose mournful Chambers hold,
So night-struck Fancy dreams, the yelling Ghost.
James Thomson (1700-1748)
The Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse (1926), ed. David Nichols Smith, # 161a.
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Fri. 06/20/08 06:00:00 PM
Categorized as Literary.