"BUT now what-e'er these gaudy Fables meant, / And the white Minutes that they shadow'd out, / Are found no more amid these Iron Times, / These Dregs of Life! in which the Human Mind / Has lost that Harmony ineffable, / Which forms the Soul of Happiness; and all / Is off the Poise within; the Passions all / Have burst their Bounds; and Reason half extinct, / Or impotent, or else approving, sees / The foul Disorder."
— Thomson, James (1700-1748)
And the white Minutes that they shadow'd out,
Are found no more amid these Iron Times,
These Dregs of Life! in which the Human Mind
Has lost that Harmony ineffable,
Which forms the Soul of Happiness; and all
Is off the Poise within; the Passions all
Have burst their Bounds; and Reason half extinct,
Or impotent, or else approving, sees
The foul Disorder. Anger storms at large,
Without an equal Cause; and fell Revenge
Supports the falling Rage. Close Envy bites
With venom'd Tooth; while weak, unmanly Fear,
Full of frail Fancies, loosens every Power.
Even Love itself is Bitterness of Soul,
A pleasing Anguish pining at the Heart.
Hope sickens with Extravagance; and Grief,
Of Life impatient, into Madness swells,
Or in dead Silence wastes the weeping Hours.
These, and a thousand new Emotions more,
That from their Mixture spring, distract the Mind
With endless Tumult. Whence resulting rise
The selfish Thought, a listless Inconcern,
Cold, and averting from our Neighbour's Good;
Then dark Disgust, and Malice, winding Wiles,
Sneaking Deceit, and Coward Villany:
At last unruly Hatred, lewd Reproach,
Convulsive Wrath, and thoughtless Fury quick
To every evil Deed. Even Nature's self
Is deem'd vindictive, to have chang'd her Course.
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>