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The Seasons by James Thomson

The Seasons

by James Thomson (Author)

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A scholarly edition of a work by James Thomson. The edition presents an authoritative text, together with an introduction, commentary notes, and scholarly apparatus.
Title:The Seasons
Authors:James Thomson (Author)
Info:London : [s.n.], [s.d.].
Collections:Library at 2 Palace Green

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The Seasons by James Thomson


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According to the Patrick Murdoch’s Life of the Author that preceded my edition of James Thomson’s The Seasons, autumn was Thomson’s favorite time of the year. We share that in common. I enjoyed reading his four poems that touched on physical, mental and spiritual moments throughout the year. The edition I read was in a beautiful binding and it used the 1746 edition of the text, the last one revised by the author before his death.

Thomson’s word choices and phrasing can slow down the modern reader, and some contemporary reviewers felt he needed to say things more simply. But, there are joyful moments throughout each section. I delighted in his description of the joy post-harvest in autumn (lines 1213-1223) and the pleasures of reading in winter (431-439). In spring, true love blossoms (1113-1125) and in summer, sleep is something that shouldn’t be overdone as there is so much life to live (67-80). ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
From the soft wing of vernal breezes shed,
Anemonies; auriculas, enrich'd
With shining meal o'er all their velvet leaves;
And full ranunculus, of glowing red.
Then comes the tulip race, where Beauty plays
Her idle freaks; from family diffus'd
To family, as flies the father-dust
The varied colours run. . .

To give society its highest taste;
Well-order'd home man's best delight to make;
And, by submissive wisdom, modest skill,
With every gentle care-eluding art,
To raise the virtues, animate the bliss,
And sweeten all the toils of human life:
This be the female dignity and praise.

The western sun withdraws the shorten'd day;
And humid Evening, gliding o'er the sky,
In her chill progress, to the ground condens'd
The vapours throws. Where creeping waters ooze,
Where marshes stagnate, and where rivers wind,
Cluster the rolling fogs, and swim along
The dusky-mantled lawn. Meanwhile the Moon,
Full-orb'd, and breaking through the scatter'd clouds,
Shows her broad visage in the crimson'd east.
Turn'd to the Sun direct, her spotted disk—
Where mountains rise, umbrageous dales descend,
And caverns deep, as optic tube descries,
A smaller earth—gives us his blaze again,
Void of its flame, and sheds a softer day.

Is not wild Shakspeare thine and Nature's boast?
Is not each great, each amiable Muse
Of classic ages in thy Milton met?
A genius universal as his theme;
Astonishing as Chaos, as the bloom
Of blowing Eden fair, as Heaven sublime.
Nor shall my verse that elder bard forget,
The gentle Spenser, Fancy's pleasing son. . .

and so on. such are the vicissitudes of early georgian verse. despite the lapses from descriptive euphoria, though they must have been necessary for the age, in which he praises not Britain's natural offers but its people and mores, falling for that ludicrous notion of "what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd", and even sneaking in some disgusting Scotch mush about characters "Celadon and Amelia" — despite all that, i think SPRING, specifically, is a masterpiece. and all four poems have some of the very best blank verse i've read. it must be the English Eclogues and Georgics to Milton's Aeneid (and i always did prefer vergil's two former...) ( )
  julianblower | Jul 23, 2020 |
  JamesBoswell | Sep 30, 2009 |
Has two engravings for autumn and winter and an inscription `Hannah Hauxford her book May ye 11th 1769'. Front cover more or less detached.
  jon1lambert | Oct 26, 2008 |
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A scholarly edition of a work by James Thomson. The edition presents an authoritative text, together with an introduction, commentary notes, and scholarly apparatus.

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