« AnteriorContinuar »
With patient angle trolls the finny deep;
Or drives his venturous ploughshare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, every labor sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed; 192
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 even 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.
Such are the charms to barren states assign'd —
Their wants but few, their wishes all confin'd :
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. 214
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 smoldering fire,
Unquench'd by want, unfann’d by strong desire;
Unfit for raptures, or, if raptures cheer
On some high festival of once a year,
In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire,
Till, buried in debauch, the bliss expire.
But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow—
Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low;
For, as refinement stops, from sire to son
Unalter'd, unimprov'd the manners run—
And love's and friendship's finely pointed dart
Fall blunted from each indurated heart.
Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast
May sit, like falcons cowering on the nest;
But all the gentler morals, such as play
Through life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the way— 236
These, far dispers'd, 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,
Pleas'd with thyself, whom all the world can please —
Where shading elms along the margin grew,
And, freshen'd from the wave, the zephyr flew
And haply, though my harsh touch, faltering still,
But mock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's skill—
Yet would the village praise my wondrous power,
And dance, forgetful of the noontide hour.
Alike all ages: dames of ancient days
Have led their children through the mirthful maze;
And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore,
Has frisk’d beneath the burden of three score.
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 honor forms the social temper here:
Honor, that praise which real merit gains,
Or even imaginary worth obtains,
Here passes current—paid from hand to hand,
It shifts, in splendid traffic, round the land;
From courts to camps, to cottages it strays,
And all are taught an avarice of praise —
They please, are pleas'd, they give to get esteem,
Till, seeming bless'd, they grow to what they seem. 266