« AnteriorContinuar »
And drags the struggling savage into day. Have led their children through the mirthful maze; At night returning, every labour sped,
And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore, He sits him down the monarch of a shed ;
Has frisk'd beneath the burden of threescore. Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
So blest a life these thoughtless realms display, His childrens' looks, that brighten at the blaze; Thus idly busy rolls their world away: While his lov'd partner, boastful of her board, Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear, Displays her cleanly platter on the board:
For honour forms the social temper here. And haply too some pilgrim, thither led,
Honour, that praise which real merit gains, With many a tale repays the nightly bed.
Or even imaginary worth obtains, Thus every good his native wilds impart, Here passes current; paid from hand to hand, Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
It shifts in splendid traffic round the land: And ev’n those ills, that round his mansion rise, From courts to camps, to cottages it strays, Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies.
And all are taught an avarice of praise ; Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, They please, are pleas'd, they give to get esteem, And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms; Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem. And as a child, when scaring sounds molest,
But while this softer art their bliss supplies, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, It gives their follies also room to rise : So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar, For praise too dearly lov’d, or warmly sought, But bind him to his native mountains more. Enfeebles all internal strength of thought;
Such are the charms to barren states assign'd; And the weak soul, within itself unblest, Their wants but few, their wishes all confin’d. Leans for all pleasure on another's breast. Yet let them only share the praises due,
Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art, If few their wants, their pleasures are but few; Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; For every want that stimulates the breast,
Here vanity assumes her pert grimace, Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest.
And trims her robe of frieze with copper lace; Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies, Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer, That first excites desire, and then supplies;
To boast one splendid banquet once a year; Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy, The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws, To fill the languid pause with finer joy;
Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause. Unknown those powers that raise the soul to flame, To men of other minds my fancy flies, Catch every nerve, and vibrate through the frame. Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies. Their level life is but a mouldering fire,
Methinks her patient sons before me stand, Unquench'd by want, unfann'd by strong desire ; Where the broad ocean leans against the land, Unfit for raptures, or, if raptures cheer
And, sedulous to stop the coming tide, On some high festival of once a year,
Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride. In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire,
Onward methinks, and diligently slow, Till, buried in debauch, the bliss expire.
The firm connected bulwark seems to grow; But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow; Spreads its long arms amidst the watery roar, Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low: Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore: Por, as refinement stops, from sire to son
While the pent ocean rising o'er the pile, Uoalter'd, unimprov'd the manners run;
Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile ; And love's and friendship’s finely pointed dart The slow canal, the yellow blossom’d vale, Falls blunted from each indurated heart.
The willow tufted bank, the gliding sail, Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast The crowded mart, the cultivated plain, May sit, like falcons cowering on the nest;
A new creation rescu'd from his reign. But all the gentler morals, such as play (way, Thus, while around the wave-subjected soil Through life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the Impels the native to repeated toil, These far dispers’d, on timorous pinions fly, Industrious habits in each bosom reign, To sport and flutter in a kinder sky.
And industry begets a love of gain. To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign, Hence all the good from opulence that springs, I turn; and France displays her bright domain. With all those ills superfluous treasure brings, Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease, Are here display'd. Their much-lov'd wealth imPleas’d with thyself, whom all the world can please, parts How often have I led thy sportive choir,
Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts; With tuneless pipe, beside the murmuring Loire, But view them closer, craft and fraud appear, Where shading elms along the margin grew, Even liberty itself is barter'd here. And freshen'd from the wave the zephyr flew ; At gold's superior charms all freedom flies, And haply, though my harsh touch fault'ring still, The needy sell it, and the rich man buys; But mock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's skill, A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves; Yet would the village praise my wondrous power,
Here wretches seek dishonourable graves, And dance forgetful of the noon-tide hour.
And calmly bent, to servitude conform, Alike all ages. Dames of ancient days
Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.
Heavens ! how unlike their Belgic sires of old !
Hence, should one order disproportion'd grow, Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold;
Its double weight must ruin all below, War in each breast, and freedom on each brow; O then how blind to all that truth requires, How much unlike the sons of Britain now!
Who think it freedom when a part aspires! Fir'd at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms, And flies where Britain courts the western spring; Except when fast approaching danger warms: Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, But when contending chiefs blockade the throne, And brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspis glide. Contracting regal power to stretch their own, There all around the gentlest breezes stray,
When I behold a factious band agree There gentle music melts on every spray;
To call it freedom when themselves are free; Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd, Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw, Extremes are only in the master's mind!
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law; Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state, The wealth of climes, where savage nations ran, With daring aims irregularly great:
Pillag'd from slaves to purchase slaves at home, Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
Fear, pity, justice, indignation start, I see the lords of human kind pass by ;
Tear off reserve, and bare my swelling heart; Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,
Till half a patriot, half a coward grown, By forms unfashion'd, fresh from nature's hand: I fly from petty tyrants to the throne. Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
Yes, brother, curse with me that baleful hour, True to imagin'd right above controul,
When first ambition struck at regal power ; While even the peasant boasts these rights to scan, And thus polluting honour in its source, And learns to venerate himself as man.
Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force. Thine, freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd here, Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled share, Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear; Her useful sons exchang'd for useless ore? Too blest indeed, were such without alloy;
Seen all her triumphs but destruction haste, But foster'd even by freedom ills annoy ;
Like flaring tapers brightning as they waste; That independence Britons prize too high,
Seen opulence, her grandeur to maintain,
And over fields where scatter'd hamlets rose,
Have we not seen at pleasure's lordly call, Minds combat minds, repelling and repellid. The smiling long-frequented village fall? Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar,
Beheld the duteous son, the sire decay'd, Represt ambition struggles round her shore, The modest matron, and the blushing maid, Till over wrought, the general system feels
Forc'd from their homes, a melancholy train, Its motion stop, or frenzy fire the wheels.
To traverse climes beyond the western main; Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay, Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around, As duty, love, and honour fail to sway,
And Niagara stuns with thund'ring sound? Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law, Even now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe. Through tangled forests, and through dangerous Hence all obedience bows to these alone,
ways; And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown;
Where beasts with man divided empire claim, Till time may come, when, stript of all her charms, And the brown Indian marks with murd'rous aim; The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms,
There, while above the giddy tempest flies, Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame, And all around distressful yells arise, Where kings have toil'd, and poets wrote for fame, The pensive exile, bending with his woe, One sink of level avarice shall lie,
To stop too fearful, and too faint to go, And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour'd die. Casts a long look where England's glories shine,
Yet think not, thus when freedom's ills I state, And bids his bosom sympathize with mine. I mean to flatter kings, or court the great;
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find Ye powers of truth, that bid my soul aspire,
That bliss which only centres in the mind; Far from my bosom drive the low desire ;
Why have I stray'd, from pleasure and repose, And thou, fair freedom, taught alike to feel
To seek a good each government bestows : The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel :
In every government, though terrors reign, Thou transitory flower, alike undone
Though tyrant kings, or tyrant laws restrain, By proud contempt, or favour's fostering sun: How small of all that human hearts endure, Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure; That part which laws or kings can cause or cure! I only would repress them to secure:
Still to ourselves in every place consign'd, For just experience tells, in every soil,
Our own felicity we make or find. That those who think must govern those that toil; With secret course, which po loud storms annoy, And all that freedom's highest aims can reach, Glides the smooth current of domestic joy. Is but to lay proportion'd loads on each.
The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel, Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
When once destroy'd, can never be supply'd.
A time there was, ere England's griefs began, THE DESERTED VILLAGE. 1769. When every rood of ground maintain'd its man;
For him light labour spread her wholesome store, Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,
what life requir'd, but gave no more: Where health and plenty cheer'd the labouring His best companions, innocence and health, swain,
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth. Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
But times are alter'd; trade's unfeeling train And parting summer's ling’ring blooms delay'd; Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain; Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose, seats of my youth, when every sport could please; Unwieldy wealth and cumb'rous pomp repose ; low often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
And every want to luxury ally'd, Where humble happiness endear'd each scene! And every pang that folly pays to pride. low often have I paus'd on every charm,
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom, The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
Those calm desires that ask'd but little room, The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
Those healthful sports that grac'd the peaceful scene, Che decent church that topt the neighb'ring hill, Livd in each look, and brighten'd all the green ; Che hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade, These, far departing, seek a kinder shore, 'or talking age and whisp’ring lovers made ! And rural mirth and manners are no more. low often have I blest the coming day,
Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour, When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power. And all the village train, from labour free,
Here, as I take my solitary rounds, ed up their sports beneath the spreading tree, Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruin'd grounds, While many a pastime circled in the shade,
And, many a year elaps’d, return to view Che young contending as the old survey'd; Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew, Ind many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground, Remembrance wakes with all her busy train, Ind sleights of art and feats of strength went round; Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain. And still as each repeated pleasure tir'd,
In all my wand'rings round this world of care, jucceeding sports the mirthful band inspir’d. In all my griefs—and God has giv'n my shareChe dancing pair that simply sought renown, I still had hopes my latest hours to crown, By holding out, to tire each other down;
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down; The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
To husband out life's taper at the close,' While secret laughter titter'd round the place; And keep the flame from wasting by repose: The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still, The matron'sglance thatwould those looks reprove- Amidst the swains to show my book-learn’d skill, These were thy charms, sweet village ! sports like Around my fire an evening group to draw, these,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw; With sweet succession, taught ev'n toil to please ; And, as an hare whom hounds and horns pursue, These round thy bowers their cheerful influence
Pants to the place from whence at first he flew, shed,
(Aed. I still had hopes, my long vexations past, These were thy charms—But all these charms are
Here to return-and die at home at last. Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
O blest retirement, friend to life's decline, * Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn; Retreats from care that never must be mine, Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, How blest is he who crowns in shades like these, And desolation saddens all thy green:
A youth of labour with an age of ease; One only master grasps the whole domain,
Who quits a world where strong temptations try, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain ;
And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly! No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
For him no wretches, born to work and weep, But, chok'd with sedges, works its weedy way; Explore the mine, or tempt the dang’rous deep; Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
No surly porter stands in guilty state, The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; To spurn imploring famine from the gate; Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
But on he moves to meet his latter end, * And tires their echoes with unvary'd cries.
Angels around befriending virtue's friend; Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay, And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall; While resignation gently slopes the way; And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
And, all his prospects bright’ning to the last, Far, far away thy children leave the land.
His heaven commences ere the world be past ! 111 fares the land, to hast’ning ills a prey,
Sweet was the sound, when, oft at ev’ning's close, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay; Up yonder hill the village murmur rose:
There, as I past with careless steps and slow, Comfort came down the trembling wretch to rex The mingling notes came soften'd from below; And his last fault'ring accents whisper'd prais. The swain responsive as the milkmaid sung,
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, The sober herd that low'd to meet their young,
His looks adorn'd the venerable place; The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway, The playful children just let loose from school, And fools, wbo came to scoff, remain'd to pray. The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whisp'ring
The service past, around the pious man, wind,
With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran; And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
Even children follow'd with endearing wile, These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smie. And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.
His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest, But now the sounds of population fail,
Their welfare pleas'd bim, and their cares distres: No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
To them his heart, bis love, his griefs were given, No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread, But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven: But all the bloomy flush of life is fled.
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm. That feebly bends beside the plashy spring; Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread. She, wretched matron, forc'd, in age, for bread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head. To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread, Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way, To pick her wint'ry faggot from the thorn,
With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay, To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn; There, in his noisy mansion skill'd to rule, She only left of all the harmless train,
The village master taught his little school. The sad historian of the pensive plain.
A man severe he was, and stern to view, Nearyonder copse, where once the garden smild, I knew him well, and every truant knew; And still where many a garden flower grows wild; Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The day's disasters in his morving face; The village preacher's modest mansion rose. Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee A man he was, to all the country dear,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had be; And passing rich with forty pounds a-year; Full well the busy whisper circling round, Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd; Nore'er had chang'd nor wish'd to change his place; Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught, Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power,
The love he bore to learning was in fault; By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour; The village all declar'd how much he knew; Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize, 'Twas certain he could write, and cypher too, More bent to raise the wretched than to rise. Lands he could measure, terms and tides preseçe, His house was known to all the vagrant train, And even the story ran that he could guage: He chid their wand'rings, but reliev'd their pain; In arguing too, the parson own'd his skill, The long-remember'd beggar was his guest, For even though vanquish’d, he could argue sti: Whose beard descending swept his aged breast; While words of learned length, and thund'ring The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud,
sound, Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd; Amaz'd the gazing rustics rang'd around, The broken soldier, kindly bid to stay,
And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew, Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away ;
That one small head could carry all he knew. Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done, But past is all his fame. The very spot Shoulder'd his crutch , and show'd how fields were Where many a time he triumph’d, is forgot.
(glow, Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn'd to Where once the sign-post caught the passing er And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts si Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
spir'd, His pity gave ere charity began. Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
Where gray-beard mirth, and smiling toil retir'd;
Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profourch And even his failings lean'd to virtue's side;
And news much older than their ale went found. But in his duty prompt at every call,
Imagination fondly stoops to trace He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt for all.
The parlour splendours of that festive place; And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,
The white-wash'd wall, the nicely sanded floor, To tempt its new-fledg'd offspring to the skies, The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door; He try'd each art, reprov'd each dull delay, The chest contriv'd a double debt to pay, Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way.
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
The pictures plac'd for ornament and use, And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd,
The twelve good rules, the royal game of gosti The rev'rend champion stood. At his controul The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;.
With aspen boughs, and flowers and fennel Foro
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,' In nature's simplest charms at first array'd,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;
The mournful peasant leads his humble band; An hour's importance to the poor man's heart. And while he sinks, without one arm to save, Thither no more the peasant shall repair,
The country blooms—a garden, and a grave. To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
Where then, ah! where shall poverty reside, No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale, To 'scape the pressure of contiguous pride? No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail ; If to some common's fenceless limits stray'd, No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade, Relax his pond'rous strength, and lean to hear; Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide, The host himself no longer shall be found
And even the bare-worn common is deny'd. Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
If to the city sped—What waits him there? Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest,
To see profusion that he must not share; Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.
To see ten thousand baneful arts combin'd Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain, To pamper luxury, and thin mankind; These simple blessings of the lowly train,
To see each joy the sons of pleasure know, To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
Extorted from his fellow-creature's woe. One native charm, than all the gloss of art.
Here while the courtier glitters in brocade, Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play, There the pale artist plies the sickly trade; The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway: Here while the proud their long-drawn pomps disLightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind,
play, Unenvy'd, unmolested, unconfin’d.
There the black gibbet glooms beside the way. But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade, The dome where pleasure holds her midnight reign, With all the freaks of wanton wealth array'd, Here, richly deckt, admits the gorgeous train; In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,
Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square, The toiling pleasure sickens into pain;
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare. And, even while fashion's brightest arts decoy, Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy! The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy?
Sure these denote one universal joy! Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey Are these thy serious thoughts-Ah, turn thine eyes, The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay, Where the poor houseless shiv'ring female lies. 'Tis yours to judge, how wide the limits stand She once, perhaps, in village plenty blest, Between a splendid and an happy land.
Has wept at tales of innocence distrest; Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore,
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn, And shouting folly hails them from her shore; Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn; Hoards, even beyond the miser's wish, abound, Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled; And rich men flock from all the world around. Near her betrayer's door she lays her head, Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name, And, pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the That leaves our useful product still the same.
shower, Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride, With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour, Takes up a space that many poor supply'd ;
When idly first, ambitious of the town, Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds, She left her wheel and robes of country brown. Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds;
Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train, The rote that wraps his limbs in silken sloth, Do thy fair tribes participate her pain? Has robb’d the neighbouring fields of half their Even now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led, growth;
At proud men's doors they ask a little bread! His seat, where solitary sports are seen,
Ah, no. To distant climes a dreary scene, Indignant spurns the cottage from the green ; Where half the convex world intrudes between, Around the world each needful product flies, Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go, For all the luxuries the world supplies.
Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe. While thus the land adorn’d for pleasure all, Far different there from all that charm'd before, In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.
The various terrors of that horrid shore; As some fair female unadorn'd and plain, Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray, Secure to please while youth confirms her reign, And fiercely shed intolerable day; Slights every borrow'd charm that dress supplies, Those matted woods where birds forget to sing, Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes; But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling; But when those charms are past, for charms are frail, Those pois'nous fields with rank luxuriance crown'd, When time advances, and when lovers fail,
Where the dark scorpion gathers death around; She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake In all the glaring impotence of dress :
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake ; Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd,
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,