« AnteriorContinuar »
Still to ourselves in every place consign’d,
• In the ‘ Respublica Hungarica,' there is an account of a desperate rebellion in the year 1514, headed by two brothers, George ano Luke Zeck. When it was qnelled, George, not Luke, was punished by his head being encircled with a red hot iron crown. Mr. Boswell pointed out
(FIRST PRINTED IN 1769.)
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
DEAR SIR, I can have no expectations in an address of this kind, either to add to your reputation, or to establish my own. You can gain nothing from my ad. miration, as I am ignorant of that art in which you are said to excel; and I may lose much by the se. verity of your judgment, as few have a juster taste in poetry than you. Setting interest therefore aside, to which I never paid much attention, I must be indulg d at present in following my affections. The only declaration I ever made was to my bro. ther, because I loved him better than most other men. He is since dead. Permit me to inscribe this poem to you.
How far you may be pleased with the versifica. tion and mere mechanical parts of this attempt, I do not pretend to inquire: but I know you will object (and indeed several of our best and wisest friends concur in the opinion) that the depopulation it deplores is no where to be seen, and the disorders it laments are only to be found in the poet's own imagination. To this I can scarce rake any other answer, than that I sincerely believe what VOL. XXX.
I have written ; that I have taken all possible pains in my country excursions, for these four or five years past, to be certain of what I allege; and that all my views and inquiries have led me to believe those miseries real, which I here attempt to display. But this is not the place to enter into an inquiry, whether the country be depopulating or not; the discussion wo ake up much room; and I should prove myself, at best, an indifferent politician, to tire the reader with a long preface, when I want his unfatigued attention to a long poem.
In regretting the depopulation of the country, I inveigh against the increase of our luxuries; and here also I expect the shout of modern politicians against me. For twenty or thirty years past, it has been the fashion to consider luxury as one of the greatest national advantages; and all the wisdom of antiquity, in that particular, as erroneous. Still, however, I must remain a professed ancient on that head, and continue to think those luxuries prejudi. cial to states by which so many vices are introduced, and so many kingdoms have been undone. ludeed so much has been poured out of late on the other side of the question, that, merely for the sake of novelty and variety, one would sometimes wish to be in the right.
and ardent ad.nirer, OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
SWEET Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain,
The dancing pair that simply sought renown,
these, With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please ; These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,
[Aed. These were thy charms—but all these charms are
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, Thy sports are fled, and all thy charins withdrawn; Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, And desolation saddens all thy green: One only master grasps the whole domain, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain ; No more thy glassy brook reflects the day, But chok'd with sedges works its weedy way ; Along thy glades, a solitary guest, The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies, And tires their echoes with unvaried cries. Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all, And the long grass o’ertops the mouldering wall; And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, Far, far away thy children leave the land.
Ill fares the land, to bastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay; Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade ; A breath can make them, as a breath has made : But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, When once destroy'd, can never be supplied.