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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 na
tional 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 prejudicial to states by which so many vices are introduced, and so many kingdoms have been undone. Indeed so much has been poured out of late on the other side of the ques
tion, that, merely for the sake of novelty and variety,
one would sometimes wish to be in the right.
I am, Dear Sir,
Your sincere Friend,
And ardent Admirer,
THE DESERTED VILLAGE.
SWEET AUBURN! loveliest village of the plain, Where health and plenty cheer'd the lab'ring swain,
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's ling'ring blooms delay'd:
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear'd each scene!
How often have I paus'd on every charm,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
The never failing brook, the busy mill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whisp'ring lovers made!
How often have I bless'd the coming day,
When toil remitting, lent its turn to play,
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter'd round the place;
The matron's glance that would those looks reproye.
These were thy charms, sweet village ! sports like these,
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please; These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charms...But all these charms arefied.
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, 'Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn; Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, And desolation saddens all thy green:
One only master grasps the whole domain,
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o’ertops the mould'ring wall, And trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away thy children leave the land.
Il fares the land, to hast’ning ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
A breath can make them, as a breath has made: