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AFTERWARDS MRS. BARBAULD.
IN vain fair Auburn weeps her desert plains;
She moves our envy who so well complains:
In vain hath proud oppression laid her low,
She wears a garland on her faded brow.
Now, Auburn, now, absolve impartial Fate,
Which if it makes thee wretched, makes thee great.
So unobserv'd, some humble plant may bloom,
Till crush'd, it fills the air with sweet perfume.
So had thy swains in ease and plenty slept,
The poet had not sung, nor Britain wept.
Nor let Britannia mourn her drooping bay,
Unhonour'd Genius, and her swift decay:
O, patron of the poor, it cannot be,
While one-one poet yet remains like thee.
Nor can the Muse desert our favour'd Isle,
Till thou desert the Muse, and scorn her smile.
SWEET AUBURN! loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer'd the labouring swain,
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's ling’ring blooms delay'd.
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
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 decent church that topt the neighb’ring hill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whisp’ring lovers made!
How often have I blest the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
And all the village train, from labour free,
their sports beneath the spreading tree, While many a pastime circled in the shade, The young contending as the old survey'd;
And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground,
And slights of art and feats of strength went round;
And still as each repeated pleasure tir’d,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspir’d;
The dancing pair that simply sought renown,
By holding out, to tire each other down;
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titt'red round the place;
The bashful virgin's side-long looks of love,
The matron's glance that would those looks reprove.
These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like
With sweet succession, taught e’en toil to please;
These round thy bowerstheir cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charms but all these charms are
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn; Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, And desolation saddens all thy green: One only master grasps the whole domain, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain; No more thy glassy brook reflects the day, But choak'd with sedges, works its weedy way; Along thy glades, a solitary guest, The hollow sounding bittern guards its nest; Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies, And tires their echoes with unvary'd cries. Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless rain all, And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall.