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From Spring

Inscribed on the Seasons Fountain
at Stowe Landscape Gardens



James Thomson wrote the following passage about the grounds of Hagley Hall, seat of Lord Lyttleton near Kidderminster in the West Midlands. The passage consists of lines 908-31 of the poem, and the actual quotation on the Seasons Fountain is taken from lines 914-22.

Courting the muse, through Hagley Park you stray;
Thy British Tempe! There along the dale,
With woods o'erhung, and shagged with mossy rocks
Whence on each hand the gushing waters play,
And down the rough cascade white-dashing fall,
Or gleam in lengthened vista through the trees,
You silent steal; or sit beneath the shade
Of solemn oaks, that tuft the swelling mounts
Thrown graceful round by Nature's careless hand.
And pensive listen to the various voice
Of ruling peace: the herds, the flocks, the birds,
The hollow-whispering breeze, the plaint of rills,
That, purling down amid the twisted roots
Which creep around, their dewy murmurs shake
On the soothed ear. From these abstracted oft,
You wander through the philosophic world;
Where in bright train continual wonders rise,
Or to the curious or the pious eye.
And oft, conducted by historic truth,
You tread the long extent of backward time:
Planning, with warm benevolence of mind,
And honest zeal unwarped by party-rage,
Britannia's weal; how from the venal gulf
To raise her virtue, and her arts revive.



John D. Tatter, Birmingham-Southern College, jtatter@bsc.edu