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To them his heart, his love, his griefs were giv'n;
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heav'n :
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
Tho'round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way, .,
With blossom furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion skill'd to rule,
The village master taught his little school.
A man severe he was, and stern to yiew;
I knew him well, and every truant knew.
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laugh’d, with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper circling round
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd.
Yet he was kind ; or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.
The village all declar'd how much he knew :
'Twas certain he could write and cipher too ; '..
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage ;
And e'en the story ran that he could guage.
In arguing too the parson own'd his skill,
For e'en tho vanquish'd, he could argue still ;
While words of learned length, and thund'ring sound,
Amaz'd the gazing rustics rang'd around ;
And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew, in
That one small head could carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame: the very spot
Where many a time he triumph'd, is forgot:
The deserted Village, continued. Na R yonder thorn that lifts its head on high, in Where 'nce the sign-post caught the passing eye, Low lies ti hat house where nut-brown draughts inspir'd, Where gray. beard mirth and smiling toil retir'd. Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profouad, And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace
The parlour splendours of that festive place ;
The white-wash'd wall; the nicely sanded floor,
The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door ,
The chest contriv'd a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a chest of draw'rs by day;
The pictures plac'd for ornament and use,
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose ;
The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day,
With aspen boughs, and flow'rs, and fennel gay ;
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,
Rang'd o'er the chimney, glisten in a row.
Vain transitory splendour! could not all
Retrieve the tott'ring mansion from its fall ?
Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart
An hour's importance to the poor man's heart;
Thither no more the peasant shall repair
To sweet oblivion of his daily care ;
No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,
No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail ; ,
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his pond'rous strength, and lean to hear ;
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round.
Yes ! let the rich deride, the proud disdain, These simple pleasures of the lowly train ; To me more dear, congenial to my heart, One native charm, than all the gloss of art. Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play, The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sways Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, Unenvied, unmolested, unconfin'd: But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade, With all the freaks of wanton wealth array'd, In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain, The toiling pleasure sickens into pain; And e'en while fashion's brightest arts decoy, The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy?
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay, 'Tis yours to judge how wide the limits stand, Between a splendid and a happy land. Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore, And shouting folly hails them from her shore ;
Hoards, e'en beyond the miser's wish, abound,
And rich men flock from all the world around :
Yet count our gains : this wealth is but a name
That leaves our useful product still the same.
Not so the loss : the man of wealth and pride
Takes up a space that many poor supplied ;
Space for his lake, bis park’s extended bounds,
Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds ;
The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth
Has robb’d the neighb'ring fields of half their growth;
His seat, where solitary sports are seen,
Indigoant spurns the cottage from the green.
Around the world each needful product flies,
For all the laxuries the world supplies :
While thus the land adorn'd for pleasure all,
In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.
As some fair female, unadorn'd and plain,
Secure to please while youth confirms the reign,
Slights ev'ry borrow'd charm that dress supplies,
Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes;
But when those charms are past, (for charms are frail,
When time advances, and when lovers fail,
She then shipes forth, solicitous to bless,
In all the glaring impotence of dress :
Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd,
In nature's simplest charms at first array'd; .
But, verging to decline, its splendours rise,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise ;
While, scourg'd by famine from the smiling land,
The mournful peasant leads his humble band ;
And while he sinks, without one arm to save,
The country blooms-a garden and a grave!.
Where then, ah where, shall poverty reside,
To 'scape the pressure of contiguous pride ?
If, to some common's fenceless limits stray'd,
He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,
Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,
And e'en the bare-worn common is denied.
If to the city sped-what waits him there?
To see profusion that he must not share;
To see ten thousand baneful arts combin'd
To pamper luxury, and thin mankind; .
To see each joy the sons of pleasure know,
Extorted from his fellow creature's wo.
Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade,
There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;
Here, while the proud their long-drawn pomps display,
There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.
The dome where pleasure holds her midnight reign,
Here, richly deck'd admits the gorgeous train ;
Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square, .
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.
Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy!
Sure these denote one universal joy!
Are these thy serious thoughts? Ah, turn thine eyes
Where the poor houseless, shiy'ring female lies.
She, once, perhaps, in village plenty blest,
Has » ept at tales of innocence distrest;
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,"
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn :
Nowy lost to all ; her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer's door she lays her head ;
And pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the show'r
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,
When idly first, ambitious of the town, i
She left ber wheel, and robes of country brown.
Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train,
Do thy fair tribes participate her pain ?
E’en now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
Ah no! to distant climes, a dreary scene,
Where half the convex world intrudes between,
Through torrid tracts rith fainting steps they go,
Where wild Altama murmurs to their wo.
Far diff'rent there from all that charm'] before,
The various terrors of that horrid shore;
Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray,
And fiercely shed intolerable day;
Those matted woods where birds forget to sing,
But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling ;
Those pois’nous fields with rank luxuriance crown'd,
Where the dark scorpion gathers death around;
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake ;
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey;
And savage men, more murd'rous still than they :
While oft in wbirls the mad tornado flies, *
Mingling the ravag'd landscape with the skies.
Alas! what sorrows gloom'd that parting day, That call’d them from their native walks away When the poor exiles, ev'ry pleasure past, Hung round the bow'rs, and fondly look'd their fast, And took a long farewell, and wish’d in vain For seats like these beyond the western main ; And shudd'ring still to face the distant deep, Return'd and wept, and still return'd to weep! The good old sire the first prepar'd to go To new-found worlds, and wept for others' woi? But for himself, in conscious virtue brave, · He only wish'd for worlds beyond the grave.. His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears, The fond companion of his hapless years, Silent went next, neglectful of her charms, And left a lover's for a father's arms. With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes, And bless'd the cot where ev'ry pleasure rose; And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear, And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear; Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief, In all the silent inanliness of grief. O luxury! thou curst by Heav'n's decree, How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee! How do thy potions, with insidious joy, Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy! Kingdoms, by thee to sickly greatness crown, Boast of a florid vigour not their own. At every draught more large and large they grow, A bloated mass of rank unwieldy wo; Till sapp'd their strength, and ev'ry part unsound, Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round.
E’en now the devastation is begun, And half the bus’ness of destruction done ; E'en now, methinks, as pondering here I stand, I see the rural virtues leave the land. Down where yon anch'ring vessel spreads the gail, That idly waiting flaps with ev'ry gale, Downward they move, a melancholy band, Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand. Contented toil, and hospitable care, And kind connubial tenderness, are there; And piety with wishes plac'd above, And steady loyalty, and faithful love.