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By sports like these are all their cares beguiled;
My soul turn from them, turn we to survey
Yet still, e'en here, content can spread a charm, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though
Thus every good his native wilds impart, Imprints the patriot passion on his heart; And e'en those hills that round his mansion rise, Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies. Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms; And, as a child, when scaring sounds molest, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, So the loud torrent and the whirlwind's roar, But bind him to his native mountains more.
Such are the charms to barren states assign'd; Their wants but few, their wishes all confined. Yet let them only share the praises due, If few their wants, their pleasures are but few; For every want that stimulates the breast, Becomes a source of pleasure, when redress'd. Whence, from such lands each pleasing science flies, That first excites desire, and then supplies: Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy, To fill the languid pause with finer joy; Unknown those powers, that raise the soul to flame, Catch every nerve, and vibrate through the frame. Their level life is but a smouldering fire, Unquench'd by want, unfann'd by strong desire;
Unfit for raptures; or, if raptures cheer,
But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow:
way, These, far dispersed, on timorous pinions fly, To sport and flutter in a kinder sky.
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign, I turn; and France displays her bright domain. Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease, Pleased with thyself, whom all the world can please; How often have I led thy sportive choir, With tuneless pipe, beside the murmuring Loire? Where shading elms along the margin grew, And, freshen'd from the wave, the zephyr flew;
And haply, though my harsh touch, faultering still,
But mock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's skill;
Yet would the village praise my wond'rous power,
And dance, forgetful of the noon-tide hour.
Alike all ages. Dames of ancient days
Have led their children through the mirthful maze,
And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestick lore,
Has frisk'd, beneath the burden of threescore.
So bless'd a life these thoughtless realms display;
Thus idly busy rolls their world away:
Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,
For honour forms the social temper here.
Honour, that praise which real merit gains,
Or e'en imaginary worth obtains,
Here passes current; paid from hand to hand,
It shifts in splendid traffick round the land:
From courts, to camps, to cottages it strays,
And all are taught an avarice of praise;
They please, are pleased, they give, to get esteem,
Till, seeming bless'd, they grow to what they seem.
But while this softer art their bliss supplies,