"The generous Ashley thine, the friend of man; / Who scan'd his nature with a brother's eye, / His weakness prompt to shade, to raise his aim, / To touch the finer movements of the mind, / And with the moral beauty charm the heart."
— Thomson, James (1700-1748)
In sages too, far as the sacred light Of science spreads, and wakes the muses' song.
Thine is a Bacon; form'd of happy mold,
When Nature smil'd, deep, comprehensive, clear,
Exact, and elegant: in one rich soul,
Plato, the Stagyrite, and Tully join'd.
The generous Ashley thine, the friend of man;
Who scan'd his nature with a brother's eye,
His weakness prompt to shade, to raise his aim,
To touch the finer movements of the mind,
And with the moral beauty charm the heart.
What need I name thy Boyle, whose pious search
Still sought the great Creator in his works,
By sure experience led? And why thy Locke,
Who made the whole internal world his own?
Let comprehensive Newton speak thy fame,
In all philosophy. For solemn song,
Is not wild Shakespear nature's boast, and thine?
And every greatly amiable muse
Of elder ages in thy Milton met?
His was the treasure of two thousand years,
Seldome indulg'd to man; a god-like mind,
Unlimited, and various, as his Theme;
Astonishing as Chaos, as the bloom
Of blowing Eden fair, soft as the talk
Of our Grand Parents, and as Heaven sublime!
(pp. 90-2 in original; compare pp. 79-80 in Sambrook)
Poem first published as Summer. A Poem. By James Thomson. (London: Printed for J. Millan, 1727). Second edition in 1728.
Text revised between 1727 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>