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For the first time, a poet of considerable eminence appeared, to whom external nature was all sufficient and who succeeded in conducting a long poem to its close by a single appeal to landscape and to the emotions it directly evokes. Coleridge, somewhat severely, described The Seasons as the work of a good rather than of a great poet and it is an indisputable fact that, at its very best, descriptive poetry fails to awaken the highest powers of the imagination. A great part of Thomson's poem is nothing more nor less than a skillfully varied catalogue of natural phenomena. The famous description of twilight in the fading many-colored woods of autumn may be taken as an example of the highest art to which purely descriptive poetry has ever attained. It is obvious even here that the effect of these rich and sonorous lines, in spite of the splendid effort of the artist, is monotonous and leads up to no final crisis of passion or rapture. Yet Thomson succeeds, as few other poets of his class have succeeded, in producing nobly-massed effects and comprehensive beauties such as were utterly unknown to his predecessors.
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