« AnteriorContinuar »
In boundless oceans never to be passid
By navigators uninformed as they,
Or plough'd perhaps by British bark again.
But far beyond the rest, and with most cause
Thee, gentle * savage! whom no love of thee
Or thine, but curiosity perhaps,
Or else vain-glory, prompted us to draw
Forth from thy native bow'rs, to show thee here
With what superior skill we can abuse
The gifts of providence, and squander life.
The dream is past. And thou haft found again
Thy cocoas and bananas, palms and yams,
And homestall thatch'd with leaves. But halt thou found
Their former charms ? And having seen our ftare,
Our palaces, our ladies, and our pomp
Of equipage, our gardens, and our sports,
And heard our music; are thy simple friends,
Thy simple fare, and all thy plain delights
As dear to thee as once? And have thy joys
Lost nothing by comparison with ours ?
Rude as thou art (for we return'd thee rude
And ignorant, except of outward show)
I cannot think thee yet so dull of heart
And spiritless, as never to regret
Sweets tasted here, and left as foon as known.
Methinks I see thee ftraying on the beach,
And asking of the surge that bathes thy foot
If ever it has wash'd our distant fhore.
I see thee weep, and thine are honest tears,
A patriot's for his country. Thou art sad
At thought of her forlorn and abject ftate,
From which no power of thine can raise her up.
Thus fancy paints thee, and though apt to err,
Perhaps errs little, when the paints thee thus.
She tells me too that duly ev'ry morn
Thou climb'st the mountain top, with eager eye
Exploring far and wide the wat’ry waste
For fight of ship from England. Ev'ry speck
Seen in the dim horizon, turns thee pale
With conflict of contending hopes and fears.
But comes at last the dull and dusky eve,
And sends thee to thy cabbin, well-prepar'd
To dream all night of what the day denied.
Alas! expect it not. We found no bait
To tempt us in thy country. Doing good,
Disinterested good, is not our trade.
We travel far 'tis true, but not for nought ;
And must be brib’d to compass earth again
By other hopes and richer fruits than yours.
But though true worth and virtue, in the mild And genial soil of cultivated life Thrive most, and may perhaps thrive only there, Yet not in cities oft. In proud and gay And gain-devoted cities; thither flow, As to a common and most noisome fewer, The dregs and fæculence of ev'ry land. In cities foul example on most minds Begets its likeness. Rank abundance breeds In gross and pamper'd cities Noth and lust,
And wantonness and gluttonous excess.
In cities, vice is hidden with most ease,
Or seen with least reproach ; and virtue taught
By frequent lapse, can hope no triumph there
Beyond th’atchievement of successful Aight.
I do confess them nurs'ries of the arts,
In which they flourish most. Where in the beams
Of warm encouragement, and in the eye
Of public note they reach their perfect size.
Such London is, by taste and wealth proclaim'd
The fairest capital of all the world,
By riot and incontinence the worst,
There, touch'd by Reynolds, a dull blank becomes
A lucid mirror, in which nature sees
All her reflected features. Bacon there
Gives more than female beauty to a stone,
And Chatham's eloquence to marble lips,
Nor does the chiflel occupy alone
The pow'rs of sculpture, but the style as much;
Each province of her art her equal care,
With nice incision of her guided steel
She ploughs a brazen field, and clothes a foil
So sterile with what charms soe'er she will,
The richest scen’ry and the loveliest forms,
Where finds philosophy her eagle eye
With which she gazes at yon burning disk
Undazzled, and detects and counts his spots?
In London. Where her implements exact
With which the calculates computes and scans
All distance, motion, magnitude, and now
Measures an atom, and now girds a world?
In London. Where has commerce such a mart,
So rich, so throng'd, so drain'd, and so supplied
As London, opulent, enlarged, and still
Increasing London ? Babylon of old
Not more the glory of the earth, than she
A more accomplish'd world's chief glory now,
She has her praise. Now mark a spot or two That so much beauty would do well to purge;