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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

V. Thomson and Natural Description in Poetry


(1) Separate Poems

Winter. A Poem. 1726. 2nd, 3rd and 4th edns. 1726.

Summer. A Poem. 1727. 2nd edn. 1728; 3rd edn., with additions, 1730.

A Poem sacred to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton. 1727. 3rd edn. 1727.

Spring. A Poem. 1728. 2nd edn. 1729.

Britannia. A poem written in the year 1729. 2nd and 3rd edns. 1730.

A Poem to the Memory of Mr. Congreve. 1729.

Winter, a Hymn on the Seasons, a Poem to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton, and Britannia. 1730.

The Seasons, a Hymn, a Poem sacred to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton, and Britannia. 1730. (Containing Autumn, of which a 2nd edn. appeared in the same year.) Five parts, paged separately. 2nd edn. 1730; 3rd edn. 1734; 4th edn. 1735. A copy in the British Museum (The Four Seasons and other Poems, 1735) is made up in four parts from these later edns. Edns. of the Seasons alone bear dates 1744, 1746, 1752, 1758, 1766, 1768, 1774 (with life of Thomson by Murdoch, P.), 1787 (with Murdoch’s life), 1788, 1792 (with essay by Aikin, J.), 1793 (with life and critical essay by Heron, R.), 1793 (with index, glossary and notes by Stockdale, P., another edn. 1794), 1794, 1799 (with Murdoch’s life and Aikin’s essay), 1802 (with illustrative remarks by Evans, J.), etc. An edn. with notes, etc., by Wright, G., is undated (probably 1770). Illustrated edns. 1792, 1797, 1805, etc. Dublin, 1758, 1761, 1793 (with Johnson’s life). Glasgow, 1769. Paris, 1780. Hamburg, 1791 (ed. Timaeus, J. J. C., with Aikin’s essay). Parma, 1794.

Antient and Modern Italy compared, being the First part of Liberty, a Poem. 1735.

Greece (Liberty, part II). 1735.

Rome (Liberty, part III). 1735.

Britain (Liberty, part IV). 1736.

The Prospect (Liberty, part V). 1736.

Liberty, a Poem. 1736. (Five parts, made up of copies of the above sections of the poem.) An edn. was published at Glasgow, 1776.

A Poem to the Memory of the Rt. Hon. the Lord Talbot, late Chancellor of Great Britain. 1737.

The Castle of Indolence: an allegorical Poem written in imitation of Spenser. 1748. 2nd edn. 1748.

(2) Pamphlet

Areopagitica [by John Milton]. With a Preface by another hand. 1738.

(3) Plays

The Tragedy of Sophonisba. 1730.

Agamemnon, a Tragedy. 1738.

Alfred, a Masque. 1740. Another edn. 1751.

Edward and Eleonora, a Tragedy. As it was to have been acted at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden. 1739. Another edn. 1739. Altered and adapted to the Stage by Hull, T. 1775.

Tancred and Sigismunda, a Tragedy in verse. 1745. Other ends. 1752, 1766, etc.

Coriolanus, a Tragedy, 1749.

Alfred the Great, a Drama for Music. Formerly composed by command of His Late Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and performed at Cliefdon (sic), on the Birthday of her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta. The musical Part of this performance being then too short for an Evening’s Entertainment of itself, the Drama is new written, greatly improved from Mallet [D.]’s Play; and the Music (excepting two or three things, which being particularly Favourites at Cliefdon, are retained by Desire) new-Composed by Arne, T.A. 1753.

(4) Collected and Modern Editions

Works, vol. II (containing Liberty and Sophonisba, vol. I being the collected ed. of the Seasons, as above, 1730 etc.). 1736.

—— 2 vols. 1738. The British Museum copy is of vol. I alone, containing Thomson’s MS. corrections with those attributed to Pope.

—— 2 vols. 1744.

—— 3 vols. 1749.

The Works of James Thomson. In Four Volumes Complete. With his last Corrections, Additions, and Improvements. Vols. II, III, IV. 1750. Vol. I. 1752. Other edns.: 2 vols. (with Murdoch’s life), 1762; 2 vols. 1763; 1 vol. (with Murdoch’s life), 1768; 4 vols. (with Collins’ ode), 1773; 3 vols. 1788; 2 vols. 1788; Edinburgh, 4 vols. 1772.

Poetical Works, collected in British Poets, vols. XXXVIII, XXXIX, 1773; Works of English Poets, ed. Johnson, S., vols. XLVIII, XLIX, 1779; vols. LIV, LV, 1790; Anderson, Complete edn. of Poets of Great Britain, vol. IX, 1793; Chalmers, English Poets, vol. XII, 1810. Also in several other collections.

Poetical Works, ed. Nicolas, Sir Harris. (Aldine edn.) 2 vols. 1830. Also 1862, 1866.

The Seasons and the Castle of Indolence, ed. Cunningham, A. 1841.

The Seasons, ed. Thomson, A. T. (with notes philosophical, classical, etc.). 1847.

Poetical Works, ed. Gilfillan, G. (with life, etc.). Edinburgh, 1853.

—— ed. Clarke, C. Cowden. Edinburgh, 1868.

—— ed. Rossetti, W. M. 1873, etc.

The Seasons and the Castle of Indolence, ed. Robertson, J. L. Oxford, 1891.

Poetical Works, ed. Tovey, D. C. (Aldine edn.) 2 vols. 1897.

Thomson’s Seasons, ed. Zippel, O. Berlin, 1908. Containing the original text with all the various readings of the later edns., historically arranged.

(5) Translations and Adaptations

Bonducci, Andrea. Le lodi d’Isacco Neuton (with other translations). Naples, 1760.

Brock, B. H. Herrn B. H. Brockes … aus dem Englischen übersetzte Jahres-Zeiten des Herrn Thomson zum Anhange des irdischen Vergnügens in Gott. (With English text.) Hamburg, 1745.

Brownell, R. C. Tempora Thomsoni in Latino versu reddita. 1795 (?)

Brugière de Barante. Tancrède et Sigismunde. (Translated in Chefs d’œuvre des Théâtres étrangers, vol. X.)

Castelfranco, A. La libertà … Parte iii. Rome. Libera versione poetica. Trieste, 1867.

Châtillon Bontems, Marie-Jeanne de. Les Saisons. (Prose translation.) Paris, 1759. London, 1779.

Daucha, F. Thomsonowy Počasy. V Prasze, 1852.

Foersom, P. Foraaret. Copenhagen, 1807.

—— Vinteren. Copenhagen, 1812.

Harries. Die Jahres-Zeiten. (In iambics.) Altona, 1796.

Mathias, T. J. Il Castello dell’ Ozio. Naples, 1826.

Mountfort, D. Palemon and Lavinia. Enlarged from a story in Thomson’s Seasons. 1783.

Palthen, J. F. von. Die Jahres-Zeiten. (In prose.) Rostock, 1756.

Petrides, P. Romaic version of part of Summer in II[char] 1817.

Poulm, J. Les Saisons (with English text). Paris, 1802.

Pyra, J. E., and Lange. Thirsis und Damons Freundschaftliche Lieder, ed. Bodmer, J. J. 2nd edn. 1749. Containing translations (Lavinia, Damon, Celadon und Amalia) of three episodes from The Seasons.

Rosenzweig, C. F. von. Die Jahres-Zeiten. (In hexameters.) Hamburg, 1825.

Saint Lambert, C.-F., marquis de. Les Saisons, Poème. 1785. [An adaptation.]

Saurin, B.-J. Blanche et Guiscard, Tragédie. 1763. [Adapted from Tancred and Sigismunda.] New edn. 1772.

Schizzati, F. Le Stagioni. Parma, 1818.

Schlegel, J. H. Eduard und Eleonora: Tankred und Sigismunda. In Trauerspiele. 1764.

Anonymous. La Estate. Modena, 1817.

—— La Primavera. Bologna, 1820.

—— Die Jaargeeijden naar Thomson. Amsterdam, 1803. Adapted for music by Haydn.


Edge-Hill; or, the Rural Prospect delineated and moralized. A poem, in four books, 1767.

Labour and Genius. 1768.

Poems, moral and descriptive.… To which is added, some account of the life and writings of Mr. Jago. 1784.

Poetical Works, collected in Anderson, Poets of Great Britain, vol. XI, 1793; Chalmers, English Poets, vol. XVII, 1810. Also in other collections.


Blenheim. 1728.

An Epistle to Mr. Pope from a young gentleman at Rome. 1730.

The Progress of Love, in four eclogues. 1732.

Advice to a Lady. 1733.

Letters from a Persian in England, to his Friend at Ispahan. 2 vols. 1735. 2nd, 3rd and 4th edns. 1735; 5th edn. 1744.

Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul in a Letter to Gilbert West. 1747. 9th edn. 1799. Frequently rptd. and transl. into French.

To the Memory of a Lady, a Monody. 1747 [1748].

A Modest Apology for my own Conduct. 1748.

Dialogues of the Dead. 1760.

An additional Dialogue of the Dead, between Pericles and Aristides, being a sequel to the Dialogue between Pericles and Cosmo. 1760.

Four new Dialogues of the Dead. 1765.

The history of the life of Henry II and of the age in which he lived. 3 vols. 1767.

Works … now first collected together: with some other pieces never before printed. 1 vol. 1774. 2nd edn. 1775; 3rd edn. (3 vols.) 1776.

A Gentleman’s Tour through Monmouthshire, etc. 1781.

Poetical Works, collected in Anderson, Poets of Great Britain, vol. X, 1793; Chalmers, English Poets, vol. XIV (with Johnson’s life), 1810; and in other collections.


As to the spelling of the name, see text, p. 308, note 2.

The Two Springs. A Fable. 1725.

Occasional Poems, Translations, Fables, Tales. 1727.

The Chace, a Poem. 1735. 2nd and 3rd edns. 1735; 4th edn. 1757; 5th edn. 1767; 6th edn. 1773; modern illustrated edn. 1896.

Hobbinol, or the Rural Games. 1740. 2nd and 3rd edns. 1740; 4th edn. 1757; 5th edn. 1758; 6th edn. 1773.

Field Sports. 1742.

The Chase, a Poem: to which is added Hobbinol, or the Rural Games. Birmingham, 1767.

The Wicker Chair, a Burlesque Poem. First ptd. in Waldron’s Collection of Miscellaneous Poetry. 1802.

Poetical Works, 2 vols. Glasgow, 1766. See also Anderson, Poets of Great Britain, vol. VIII, 1793; Chalmers, English Poets, vol. XI (with Johnson’s life), 1810; and other collections.


Aikin, J. An Essay on the plan and character of Thomson’s Seasons. 1778.

B., T. A Criticism by T. B. on the New Sophonisba, a tragedy. 1730.

Bayne, W. James Thomson. (Famous Scots Series.) Edinburgh, 1898.

Beljame, A. Le Public et les Hommes de Lettres en Angleterre au dix-huitième Siècle. Paris, 1881.

Buchan, David Steuart [Erskine], 11th earl of. Essays on the lives and writings of Fletcher of Saltoun and the poet Thomson, with some pieces of Thomson’s never before published. 1792.

Courthope, W. J. A History of English Poetry. Vol. V. 1905. [Chaps. X, XII.]

Cunningham, P. (ed.). Unpublished Letters from Thomson to Mallet. (Philobiblon Soc. Biog. and Hist. Miscellanies, vol. IV.)

Gjerset, Knut. Der Einfluss von James Thomsons Jahreszeiten auf die deutsche Literatur des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts, etc. Heidelberg, 1898.

Gosse, Edmund. A History of Eighteenth Century Literature. 1889.

Ibershoff, C. H. A German Translation of Passages in Thomson’s Seasons. (Mod. Lang. Notes, XXVI, pp. 107–109. April, 1911.)

Johnson, Samuel. Lives of the English Poets. 1779–81.

Macaulay, G. C. Thomson. (English Men of Letters.) 1908.

More, Jacob. Strictures, Critical and Sentimental, on Thomson’s Seasons. 1777.

Morel, Léon. James Thomson, sa vie et ses œuvres. Paris, 1895.

Musidorus: a Poem sacred to the memory of Mr. James Thomson. [1748.]

Phillimore, Sir R. J. Memoirs and Correspondence of George, Lord Lyttelton. 1845.

Schmeding, G. A. Jacob Thomson, ein vergessener Dichter des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts. Braunschweig, 1889.

Shairp, J. C. On Poetic Interpretation of Nature. Edinburgh, 1877.

See, also, bibliography to Chap. VII, post.