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Best Famous James Thomson Poems

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Written by James Thomson |

A Poem Sacred to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton

 Shall the great soul of Newton quit this earth, 
To mingle with his stars; and every muse,
Astonish'd into silence, shun the weight
Of honours due to his illustrious name?
But what can man?--Even now the sons of light,
In strains high-warbled to seraphic lyre,
Hail his arrival on the coast of bliss.
Yet am not I deterr'd, though high the theme, And sung to harps of angels, for with you, Ethereal flames! ambitious, I aspire In Nature's general symphony to join.
And what new wonders can ye show your guest! Who, while on this dim spot, where mortals toil Clouded in dust, from motion's simple laws, Could trace the secret hand of Providence, Wide-working through this universal frame.
Have ye not listen'd while he bound the suns And planets to their spheres! th' unequal task Of humankind till then.
Oft had they roll'd O'er erring man the year, and oft disgrac'd The pride of schools, before their course was known Full in its causes and effects to him, All-piercing sage! who sat not down and dream'd Romantic schemes, defended by the din Of specious words, and tyranny of names; But, bidding his amazing mind attend, And with heroic patience years on years Deep-searching, saw at last the system dawn, And shine, of all his race, on him alone.
What were his raptures then! how pure! how strong! And what the triumphs of old Greece and Rome, By his diminish'd, but the pride of boys In some small fray victorious! when instead Of shatter'd parcels of this earth usurp'd By violence unmanly, and sore deeds Of cruelty and blood, Nature herself Stood all subdu'd by him, and open laid Her every latent glory to his view.
All intellectual eye, our solar-round First gazing through, he by the blended power Of gravitation and projection saw The whole in silent harmony revolve.
From unassisted vision hid, the moons To cheer remoter planets numerous pour'd, By him in all their mingled tracts were seen.
He also fix'd the wandering Queen of Night, Whether she wanes into a scanty orb, Or, waxing broad, with her pale shadowy light, In a soft deluge overflows the sky.
Her every motion clear-discerning, he Adjusted to the mutual main, and taught Why now the mighty mass of water swells Resistless, heaving on the broken rocks, And the full river turning; till again The tide revertive, unattracted, leaves A yellow waste of idle sands behind.
Then breaking hence, he took his ardent flight Through the blue infinite; and every star, Which the clear concave of a winter's night Pours on the eye, or astronomic tube, Far-stretching, snatches from the dark abyss, Or such as farther in successive skies To fancy shine alone, at his approach Blaz'd into suns, the living centre each Of an harmonious system: all combin'd, And rul'd unerring by that single power, Which draws the stone projected to the ground.
O unprofuse magnificence divine! O wisdom truly perfect! thus to call From a few causes such a scheme of things, Effects so various, beautiful, and great, An universe complete! and O belov'd Of Heaven! whose well-purg'd penetrative eye, The mystic veil transpiercing, inly scann'd The rising, moving, wide-establish'd frame.
He, first of men, with awful wing pursu'd The comet through the long elliptic curve, As round innumerous worlds he wound his way, Till, to the forehead of our evening sky Return'd, the blazing wonder glares anew, And o'er the trembling nations shakes dismay.
The heavens are all his own, from the wild rule Of whirling vortices and circling spheres To their first great simplicity restor'd.
The schools astonish'd stood; but found it vain To keep at odds with demonstration strong, And, unawaken'd, dream beneath the blaze Of truth.
At once their pleasing visions fled, With the gay shadows of the morning mix'd, When Newton rose, our philosophic sun! Th' aërial flow of sound was known to him, From whence it first in wavy circles breaks, Till the touch'd organ takes the message in.
Nor could the darting beam of speed immense Escape his swift pursuit and measuring eye.
Ev'n Light itself, which every thing displays, Shone undiscover'd, till his brighter mind Untwisted all the shining robe of day; And, from the whitening undistinguish'd blaze, Collecting every ray into his kind, To the charm'd eye educ'd the gorgeous train Of parent colours.
First the flaming red Sprung vivid forth; the tawny orange next; And next delicious yellow; by whose side Fell the kind beams of all-refreshing green.
Then the pure blue, that swells autumnal skies Ethereal played; and then, of sadder hue, Emerg'd the deepen'd indigo, as when The heavy-skirted evening droops with frost; While the last gleamings of refracted light Died in the fainting violet away.
These, when the clouds distil the rosy shower, Shine out distinct adown the wat'ry bow; While o'er our heads the dewy vision bends Delightful, melting on the fields beneath.
Myriads of mingling dyes from these result, And myriads still remain--infinite source Of beauty, ever flushing, ever new.
Did ever poet image aught so fair, Dreaming in whisp'ring groves by the hoarse brook? Or prophet, to whose rapture heaven descends? Ev'n now the setting sun and shifting clouds, Seen, Greenwich, from thy lovely heights, declare How just, how beauteous the refractive law.
The noiseless tide of time, all bearing down To vast eternity's unbounded sea, Where the green islands of the happy shine, He stemm'd alone; and, to the source (involv'd Deep in primeval gloom) ascending, rais'd His lights at equal distances, to guide Historian wilder'd on his darksome way.
But who can number up his labours? who His high discoveries sing? When but a few Of the deep-studying race can stretch their minds To what he knew--in fancy's lighter thought How shall the muse then grasp the mighty theme? What wonder thence that his devotion swell'd Responsive to his knowledge? For could he, Whose piercing mental eye diffusive saw The finish'd university of things In all its order, magnitude, and parts, Forbear incessant to adore that Power Who fills, sustains, and actuates the whole? Say, ye who best can tell, ye happy few, Who saw him in the softest lights of life, All unwithheld, indulging to his friends The vast unborrow'd treasures of his mind, oh, speak the wondrous man! how mild, how calr How greatly humble, how divinely good, How firm establish'd on eternal truth; Fervent in doing well, with every nerve Still pressing on, forgetful of the past, And panting for perfection; far above Those little cares and visionary joys That so perplex the fond impassion'd heart Of ever-cheated, ever-trusting man.
This, Conduitt, from thy rural hours we hope; As through the pleasing shade where nature pours Her every sweet in studious ease you walk, The social passions smiling at thy heart That glows with all the recollected sage.
And you, ye hopeless gloomy-minded tribe, You who, unconscious of those nobler flights That reach impatient at immortal life, Against the prime endearing privilege Of being dare contend,--say, can a soul Of such extensive, deep, tremendous powers, Enlarging still, be but a finer breath Of spirits dancing through their tubes awhile, And then for ever lost in vacant air? But hark! methinks I hear a warning voice, Solemn as when some awful change is come, Sound through the world--" 'Tis done!--the measure's full; And I resign my charge.
"--Ye mouldering stones That build the towering pyramid, the proud Triumphal arch, the monument effac'd By ruthless ruin, and whate'er supports The worship'd name of hoar antiquity-- Down to the dust! What grandeur can ye boast While Newton lifts his column to the skies, Beyond the waste of time.
Let no weak drop Be shed for him.
The virgin in her bloom Cut off, the joyous youth, and darling child-- These are the tombs that claim the tender tear And elegiac song.
But Newton calls For other notes of gratulation high, That now he wanders through those endless worlds He here so well descried, and wondering talks, And hymns their Author with his glad compeers.
O Britain's boast! whether with angels thou Sittest in dread discourse, or fellow-blest, Who joy to see the honour of their kind; Or whether, mounted on cherubic wing, Thy swift career is with the whirling orbs, Comparing things with things, in rapture lost, And grateful adoration for that light So plenteous ray'd into thy mind below From Light Himself; oh, look with pity down On humankind, a frail erroneous race! Exalt the spirit of a downward world! O'er thy dejected country chief preside, And be her Genius call'd! her studies raise, Correct her manners, and inspire her youth; For, though deprav'd and sunk, she brought thee forth, And glories in thy name! she points thee out To all her sons, and bids them eye thy star: While, in expectance of the second life, When time shall be no more, thy sacred dust Sleeps with her kings, and dignifies the scene.

Written by James Thomson |

Rule Britannia

 When Britain first, at Heaven's command,
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sung this strain:
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never will be slaves.
" The nations, not so blest as thee, Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall: While thou shalt flourish great and free, The dread and envy of them all.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves; Britons never will be slaves.
" Still more majestic shalt thou rise, More dreadful, from each foreign stroke: As the loud blast that tears the skies, Serves but to root thy native oak.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves; Britons never will be slaves.
" Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame: All their attempts to bend thee down, Will but arouse thy generous flame; But work their woe, and thy renown.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves; Britons never will be slaves.
" To thee belongs the rural reign; Thy cities shall with commerce shine: All thine shall be the subject main, And every shore it circles thine.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves; Britons never will be slaves.
" The Muses, still with freedom found, Shall to thy happy coast repair: Blest isle! with matchless beauty crown'd, And manly hearts to guard the fair.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves; Britons never will be slaves.
"

Written by James Thomson |

Hymn on Solitude

 Hail, mildly pleasing solitude,
Companion of the wise and good;
But, from whose holy, piercing eye,
The herd of fools, and villains fly.
Oh! how I love with thee to walk, And listen to thy whisper'd talk, Which innocence, and truth imparts, And melts the most obdurate hearts.
A thousand shapes you wear with ease, And still in every shape you please.
Now wrapt in some mysterious dream, A lone philosopher you seem; Now quick from hill to vale you fly, And now you sweep the vaulted sky; A shepherd next, you haunt the plain, And warble forth your oaten strain; A lover now, with all the grace Of that sweet passion in your face: Then, calm'd to friendship, you assume The gentle-looking Hertford's bloom, As, with her Musidora, she, (Her Musidora fond of thee) Amid the long withdrawing vale, Awakes the rival'd nightingale.
Thine is the balmy breath of morn, Just as the dew-bent rose is born; And while meridian fervours beat, Thine is the woodland dumb retreat; But chief, when evening scenes decay, And the faint landskip swims away, Thine is the doubtful soft decline, And that best hour of musing thine.
Descending angels bless thy train, The virtues of the sage, and swain; Plain Innocence in white array'd, Before thee lifts her fearless head: Religion's beams around thee shine, And cheer thy glooms with light divine: About thee sports sweet Liberty; And rapt Urania sings to thee.
Oh, let me pierce thy secret cell! And in thy deep recesses dwell! Perhaps from Norwood's oak-clad hill, When meditation has her fill, I just may cast my careless eyes Where London's spiry turrets rise, Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain, Then shield me in the woods again.

Written by James Thomson |

In the Train

 AS we rush, as we rush in the Train, 
 The trees and the houses go wheeling back, 
But the starry heavens above the plain 
 Come flying on our track.
All the beautiful stars of the sky, The silver doves of the forest of Night, Over the dull earth swarm and fly, Companions of our flight.
We will rush ever on without fear; Let the goal be far, the flight be fleet! For we carry the Heavens with us, dear, While the Earth slips from our feet!

Written by James Thomson |

The Vine

 THE wine of Love is music, 
 And the feast of Love is song: 
And when Love sits down to the banquet, 
 Love sits long: 

Sits long and arises drunken, 
 But not with the feast and the wine; 
He reeleth with his own heart, 
 That great, rich Vine.

Written by James Thomson |

Farewell to Ravelrig

 Sweet Ravelrig, I ne'er could part 
From thee, but wi' a dowie heart.
When I think on the happy days I spent in youth about your braes, When innocence my steps did guide, Where murmuring streams did sweetly glide Beside the braes well stored wi' trees, And sweetest flow'rs that fend the bees: And there the tuneful tribe doth sing, While lightly flitting on the wing; And conscious peace was ever found Within your mansion to abound.
Sweet be thy former owner's rest, And peace to him that's now possess't Of all thy beauties great and small, Lang may he live to bruik them all!

Written by James Thomson |

Gifts

 GIVE a man a horse he can ride, 
 Give a man a boat he can sail; 
And his rank and wealth, his strength and health, 
 On sea nor shore shall fail.
Give a man a pipe he can smoke, Give a man a book he can read: And his home is bright with a calm delight, Though the room be poor indeed.
Give a man a girl he can love, As I, O my love, love thee; And his heart is great with the pulse of Fate, At home, on land, on sea.

Written by James Thomson |

Sunday up the River

 MY love o'er the water bends dreaming; 
 It glideth and glideth away: 
She sees there her own beauty, gleaming 
 Through shadow and ripple and spray.
O tell her, thou murmuring river, As past her your light wavelets roll, How steadfast that image for ever Shines pure in pure depths of my soul.

Written by James Thomson |

Fareweel ye bughts

 1.
Fareweel, ye bughts, an' all your ewes, An' fields whare bIoomin' heather grows; Nae mair the sportin' lambs I'll see Since my true love's forsaken me.
CHORUS.
Nae mair I'll hear wi' pleasure sing The cheerfu' lav'rock in the Spring, But sad in grief now I maun mourn, Far, far frae her, o'er Logan-burn.
2.
Alas! nae mair we'll meetings keep At bughts, whan herds ca' in their sheep; Nae mair amang the threshes green We'll row, where we hae aften been.
CHORUS 3.
Nae mair for me , ye vi'lets blaw, Or lilies whiter than the snaw; Nae mair your pleasures I can bear, While I am absent frae my dear.
CHORUS 4.
I ken the cause of my hard fate; In courtin' her I was too blate; I never kiss'd my lass at a' But when we met an' gaed awa'.
CHORUS 5.
Oh could my tears again bring back The days now past, I'd no' be slack For ev'ry kiss she got before I wad gie to her now a score.
CHORUS 6.
O fortune I wad you favour me In some snug corner her to see.
My heart I wad to her reveal, An' in her arms my pardon seal.
CHORUS