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In florid beauty groves and fields appear,
Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.
Contrasted faults through all his manners reign;
Though poor, luxurious ; though submissive, vain;
Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue;
And even in penance planning sins anew.
All evils here contaminate the mind,
That opulence departed leaves behind ;
For wealth was theirs, not far remov'd the date,
When commerceproudlyflourish’dthrough the state;
At her command the palace learnt to rise,
Again the long-fall’n column sought the skies;
The canvas glow'd beyond e'en Nature warm,
The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form.
Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
Commerce on other shores display'd her sail ;
While nought remain’d of all that riches
But towns unmann'd, and lords without a slave:
And late the nation found with fruitless skill
Its former strength was but plethoric ill.
Yet, still the loss of wealth is here supplied
By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride;
From these the feeble heart and long-fall’n mind
An easy compensation seem to find.
be seen, in bloodless pomp array'd,
The paste-board triumph and the cavalcade;
Processions form’d for piety and love,
A mistress or a saint in every grove.
By sports like these are all their cares beguild,
The sports of children satisfy the child;
Each nobler aim, represt by long controul,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;
While low delights succeeding fast behind.
In happier meanness occupy the mind :
As in those domes, where Cæsars once bore sway,
Defac'd by time and tott'ring in decay,
There in the ruin heedless of the dead,
The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed:
And, wondering man could want the larger pile,
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.
My soul turn from them, turn we to survey Where rougher climes a nobler race display, Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread, And force a churlish soil for scanty bread; No product here the barren hills afford, But man and steel, the soldier and his sword. No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array, But winter lingering chills the lap of May; No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast, But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.
Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm. Though poor the peasant's hut, his feast tho' small, , He sees his little lot the lot of all; Sees no contiguous palace rear its head To shame the meanness of his humble shed;
No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal
To make him loath his vegetable meal ;
But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil.
Cheerful at morn, he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as he
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his vent'rous plough-share to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And dra gs the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, every labour sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed;
Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze,
While his lov'd partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays her cleanly platter on the board :
And haply too some pilgrim, thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.
Thus every good his native wilds impart,
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
And e'en those ills, 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.
Published Nor! 2541806, by T'. Cadell & W. Davies, Strand.