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TUESDAY, JULY 8, 1712.
Frigora mitescunt zephyris; ter proterit æstas
HOR. Od. vii. 1. 4. ver. 9.
· But yields to autumn's fruitful rain,
SIR W. TEMPLE.
MR. SPECTATOR, • There is hardly any thing gives me a more sensible delight, than the enjoyment of a cool still evening after the uneasiness of a hot sultry day. Such a one I passed not long ago, which made me rejoice, when the hour was come for the sun to set, that I might enjoy the freshness of the evening in my garden, which then affords me the pleasantest hours I pass
in the whole four-and-twenty. I immediately rose from my couch, and went down into it. You descend at first by twelve stone steps into a large square divided into four grass-plots, in each of which is a statue of white marble. This is separated from a large parterre by a low wall; and from thence, through a pair of iron gates, you are led into a long broad walk of the finest turf, set on each side with tall yews, and on either hand bordered by a canal, which on the right divides the walk from a wilderness parted into variety of alleys and arbours, and on the left form a kind of amphitheatre, which is the receptacle of a great number of oranges and myrtles. The moon shone bright, and seemed then most agreeably to supply the place of the sun, obliging me with as much light as was necessary to discover a thousand pleasing objects, and at the same time divested of all power of heat. The reflexion of it in the water, the fanning of the wind rustling on the leaves, the singing of the thrush and nightingale, and the coolness of the walks, all conspired to make me lay aside all displeasing thoughts, and brought me into such a tranquillity of mind, as is, I believe, the next happiness to that of hereafter. In this sweet retirement I naturally fell into the repetition of some lines out of a poem of Milton's, which he entitles Il Penseroso, the ideas of which were exquisitely suited to my present wanderings of thought:
Sweet bird! that shun'st the noise of folly,
“ Then let some strange mysterious dream
• I reflected then upon the sweet vicissitudes of night and day, on the charming disposition of the seasons, and their return again in a perpetual circle : and oh! said I, that I could from these my declining years return again to my first spring of youth and vigour; but that, alas! is impossible: all that remains within my power, is to soften the inconveniences I feel, with an easy contented mind, and the enjoyment of such delights as this solitude affords me. In this thought I sat me down on a bank of flowers, and dropt into a slumber, which, whether it were the effect of fumes and vapours, or my present thoughts, I know not; but methought the genius of the garden stood before me, and introduced into the walk where I lay, this drama, and different scenes of the revolution of the year, which, whilst I then saw, even in niy dream, I resolved to write down, and send to the Spectator.
• The first person whom I saw advancing towards me, was a youth of a most beautiful air and shape, though he seemed not yet arrived at that exact proportion and symmetry of parts which a little more time would have given him; but, however, there was such a bloom in his countenance, such satisfaction and joy, that I thought it the most desirable form that I had ever seen. He was clothed in a flowing mantle of green silk, interwoven with flowers: he had a chaplet of roses on his head, and a narcissus in his hand; primroses and violets sprang up under his feet, and all nature was cheered at his approach. Flora was on one hand, and Vertumnus on the other, in a robe of changeable silk. After this I was surprised to see the moon-bcams reflected with a sudden glare from armour, and to see a man completely armed, advancing with his sword drawn. I was soon informed by the genius it was Mars, who had long usurped a place among the attendants of the Spring. He made way for a softer appearance. It was Venus, without any ornament but her own beauties, 'not :so much as her own cestus, with which she had encompassed a globe, which she held in her right hand, and in her left she had a sceptre of gold. After her followed the Graces, with their arms entwined within one another : their girdles were loosed, and they moved to the sound of soft music, striking the ground alternately with their feet. Then came up the three months which belong to this season. As March advanced towards me, there was methought in his look a louring roughness, which ill befitted a month which was ranked in so soft a season; but as he came forwards, his features became insensibly more mild and gentle; he smoothed his brow, and looked with so sweet a countenance, that I could not but lament his departure, though he made way for April. He appeared in the greatest gaiety imaginable, and had a thousand pleasures to attend him: his look was frequently clouded, but immediately returned to its first composure, and remained fixed in a smile. Then came May, attended by Cupid, with his bow strung, and in a posture to let fly an arrow: as he passed by, methought I heard a confused noise of soft complaints, gentle ecstasies, and tender sighs of lovers ; vows of constancy, and as many complainings of perfidiousness; all which the winds wafted away as soon as they had reached my hearing. After these I saw a man advance in the full prime and vigour of his age: his complexion was sanguine and ruddy, his hair black, and fell down in beautiful ringlets beneath his shoulders ; a mantle of bair-coloured silk chung loosely upon him: he advanced with a hasty step after the Spring, and sought out the shade and cool fountains which played in the garden. He was particularly well pleased when a troop of Zephyrs fanned him with their wings. He had two companions who walked on each side, that made him appear the most agreeable; the one was Aurora with fingers of roses, and her feet dewy, attired in grey; the other was Vesper, in a robe of azure beset with drops of gold, whose breath he caught whilst it passed over a bundle of honey-suckles and tuberoses which he held in his hand. Pan and Ceres followed them with four reapers, who danced a morrice' to the sound of oaten pipes and cymbals. Then came the attendant months. June retained still some small likeness of the Spring; but the other two seemed to step with a less vigorous tread, especially August, who seemed almost to faint, whilst, for half the steps he took, the dog-star levelled his rays full at his head. They passed on, and made way for a person that seemed to bend a little under the weight of years ; his beard and hair, which were full grown, were composed of an equal number of black and grey; he wore a robe which he had girt round him, of a yellowish cast, not unlike the colour of fallen leaves, which he walked upon. I thought be hardly made amends for expelling the foregoing scene by the large quantity of fruits which he bore in his hands. Plenty walked by his side with an healthy fresh countenance, pouring out from an horn all the various products of the year. Poniona follows ed with a glass of cyder in her hand, with Bacchus in a chariot drawn by tigers, accompanied by a whole troop of satyrs, fauns, and sylvans. September, who