CHAPTER V
THE SEASONS (continued)

IT was no mere accident which determined that the poetical work which we have just analysed should be produced by a native of North Britain. Edinburgh was at a very great distance from London in those days; and it had a literary society which was to a great extent independent of the contemporary fashions in the south, though the strictly national literature of Scotland no longer survived, and classical English poetry and prose were the accepted models. The literary society of Edinburgh was never of an exclusively urban character, and Scottish poetry had to a great extent retained that traditional feeling for external nature, which had appeared, for example, in Gavin Douglas, whose Prologues to the seventh and twelfth books of his translation of the Æneid had set an early example of the poetical treatment of the seasons. The youthful Thomson, full of the impressions made upon his susceptible nature by the scenery and surroundings of his home, found nothing in the literary fashions of Edinburgh to discourage him in his early attempts to describe the appearances of nature in his verse. Nor was he alone in attempting such themes. We have already seen that he acknowledged obligations to a poem on Winter by his friend Riccaltoun; and we find both Mallet and Armstrong employing their poetical powers in the same direction

-139-

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James Thomson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • PREFATORY NOTE v
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I- Early Career 1
  • Chapter II- Later Life 41
  • Chapter III- Thomson and the Poetry of Nature 84
  • Chapter IV- The Seasons 106
  • Chapter V- The Seasons (continued) 139
  • Chapter VI- Liberty and Minor Poems 172
  • Chapter VII- The Castle of Indolence 198
  • Chapter VIII- The Dramas 219
  • Chapter IX- Conclusion 234
  • Appendix- The REVISION OF THE SEASONS 243
  • Index 253
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