James Thomson

(11 September 1700 – 27 August 1748 / Ednam in Roxburghshire, Scotland)

A Summer Noon


'Tis raging noon; and, vertical, the sun
Darts on the head direct his forceful rays.
O'er heaven and earth, far as the ranging eye
Can sweep, a dazzling deluge reigns; and all
From pole to pole is undistinguish'd blaze.
In vain the sight, dejected, to the ground
Stoops for relief; thence hot ascending steams
And keen reflection pain. Deep to the root
Of vegetation parch'd, the cleaving fields
And slippery lawn an arid hue disclose,
Blast fancy's bloom, and wither even the soul.
Echo no more returns the cheerful sound
Of sharpening scythe: the mower sinking, heaps
O'er him the humid hay, with flowers perfumed;
And scarce a chirping grasshopper is heard
Through the dumb mead. Distressful nature pants.
The very streams look languid from afar:
Or, through th' unshelter'd glad, impatient, seem
To hurl into the covert of the grove.
All-conquering heat, oh, intermit thy wrath,
And on my throbbing temples potent thus
Beam not so fierce! incessant still you flow,
And still another fervent flood succeeds,
Pour'd on the head profuse. In vain I sigh,
And restless turn, and look around for night;
Night is far off, and hotter hours approach.
Thrice happy he! who on the sunless side
Of a romantic mountain, forest-crown'd,
Beneath the whole collected shade reclines:
Or in the gelid caverns, woodbine-wrought,
And fresh bedew'd with ever sprouting streams,
Sits coolly calm; while all the world without,
Unsatisfied and sick, tosses in noon.
Emblem instructive of the virtuous ma,
Who keeps his temper'd mind serene and pure
And every passion aptly harmonised,
Amid a jarring world with vice inflamed.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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