"Then infant Reason grows apace, and calls / For the kind Hand of an assiduous Care: / Delightful Task! to rear the tender Thought, / To teach the young Idea how to shoot, / To pour the fresh Instruction o'er the Mind, / To breathe th' inspiring Spirit, and to plant / The generous Purpose in the glowing Breast."
— Thomson, James (1700-1748)
Whom gentler Stars unite, and in one Fate
Their Hearts, their Fortunes, and their Beings blend.
'Tis not the courser Tie of human Laws,
Unnatural oft, and foreign to the Mind,
Which binds their Peace, but Harmony itself,
Attuning all their Passions into Love;
Where Friendship full-exerts his softest Power,
Perfect Esteem enliven'd by Desire
Ineffable, and Sympathy of Soul,
Thought meeting Thought, and Will preventing Will,
With boundless Confidence; for nought but Love
Can answer Love, and render Bliss secure.
Let Him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To bless himself, from sordid Parents buys
The loathing Virgin, in eternal Care,
Well-merited, consume his Nights and Days.
Let barbarous Nations, whose inhuman Love
Is wild Desire fierce as the Suns they feel,
Let Eastern Tyrants from the Light of Heaven
Seclude their Bosom-slaves, meanly possest
Of a meer, lifeless, violated Form:
While those whom Love cements, in holy Faith,
And equal Transport, free as Nature, live,
Disdaining Fear; for what's the World to them,
It's Pomp, it's Pleasure, and it's Nonsense all!
Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High Fancy forms, and lavish Hearts can wish,
Something than Beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the Mind, or Mind-illumin'd Face,
Truth, Goodness, Honour, Harmony and Love,
The richest Bounty of indulgent Heaven.
Mean-time a smiling Offspring rises round,
And mingles both their Graces. By degrees,
The human Blossom blows; and every Day,
Soft as it rolls along, shows some new Charm,
The Father's Lustre, and the Mother's Bloom.
Then infant Reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind Hand of an assiduous Care:
Delightful Task! to rear the tender Thought,
To teach the young Idea how to shoot,
To pour the fresh Instruction o'er the Mind,
To breathe th' inspiring Spirit, and to plant
The generous Purpose in the glowing Breast.
Oh speak the Joy! You, whom the sudden Tear
Surprizes often, while you look around,
And nothing strikes your Eye but Sights of Bliss,
All various Nature pressing on the Heart,
Obedient Fortune, and approving Heaven.
These are the Blessings of diviner Love;
And thus their Moments fly; the Seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring World they roll,
Still find Them happy; and consenting SPRING
Sheds her own rosy Garland on their Head:
Till Evening comes at last, cool, gentle, calm;
When after the long vernal Day of Life,
Enamour'd more, as Soul approaches Soul,
Together, down They sink in social Sleep.
Poem first published Spring. A Poem. By Mr. Thomson (London: Printed and sold by A. Millar, at Buchanan's Head over-against St. Clement's Church in the Strand; and G. Strahan, at the Golden Ball in Cornhill, 1728). <Link to ECCO>
Text revised and expanded between 1728 and 1746. Searching text from The Poetical Works (1830), checked against earlier editions. Also reading James Sambrook's edition of The Seasons and The Castle of Indolence (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), which reproduces the 1746 edition of Thomson's poem.
Collected in The Seasons, A Hymn, A Poem to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton, and Britannia, a Poem. By Mr. Thomson (1730). <Link to ECCO>