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And drags the struggling savage into day.
Have led their children through the mirthful maze;
Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.
Heavens ! how unlike their Belgic sires of old : Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold; War in each breast, and freedom on each brow; How much unlike the sons of Britain now ! Fir’d at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, And flies where Britain courts the western spring; Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, And brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspis glide. There all around the gentlest breezes stray, There gentle music melts on every spray; Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd, Extremes are only in the master's mind! Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state, With daring aims irregularly great: Pride in their port, defiance in their eye, I see the lords of human kind pass by ; Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band, By forms unfashion'd, fresh from nature's hand: Fierce in their native hardiness of soul, True to imagin'd right above controul, While even the peasant boasts these rights to scan, And learns to venerate himself as man. Thine, freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd here, Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear; Too blest indeed, were such without alloy; But foster'd even by freedom ills annoy; That independence Britons prize too high, Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie. The self-dependent lordling stands alone, All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown; Here by the bonds of nature feebly held, Minds combat minds, repelling and repell’d. Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar, Represt ambition struggles round her shore, Till over wrought, the general system feels Its motion stop, or frenzy fire the wheels. Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay, As duty, love, and honour fail to sway, Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law, Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe. Hence all obedience bows to these alone, And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown; Till time may come, when, stript of all her charms, The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms, Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame, Where kings have toil'd, and poets wrote for fame, One sink of level avarice shall lie, And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour’d die. Yet think not, thus when freedom’s ills I state, I mean to flatter kings, or court the great; Ye powers of truth, that bid my soul aspire, Far from my bosom drive the low desire; And thou, fair freedom, taught alike to feel The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel; Thou transitory flower, alike undone By proud contempt, or favour's fostering sun; Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure; I only would repress them to secure: For just experience tells, in every soil, That those who think must govern those that toil; And all that freedom's highest aims can reach, "but to lay proportion'd loads on each.
Hence, should one order disproportion'd grow, Its double weight must ruin all below. O then how blind to all that truth requires, Who think it freedom when a part aspires! Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms, Except when fast approaching danger warms: But when contending chiefs blockade the throne, Contracting regal power to stretch their own, When I behold a factious band agree To call it freedom when themselves are free; Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw, Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law; The wealth of climes, where savage nations ram, Pillag'd from slaves to purchase slaves at home, Fear, pity, justice, indignation start, Tear off reserve, and bare my swelling heart; Till half a patriot, half a coward grown, I fly from petty tyrants to the throne. Yes, brother, curse with me that baleful hour, When first ambition struck at regal power; And thus polluting honour in its source, Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force. Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore, Her useful sons exchang'd for useless ore ? Been all her triumphs but destruction haste, Like flaring tapers bright'ning as they waste; Seen opulence, her grandeur to maintain, Lead stern depopulation in her train, And over fields where scatter'd hamlets rose, In barren solitary pomp repose Have we not seen at pleasure's lordly call, The smiling long-frequented village fall? Beheld the duteous son, the sire decay’d, The modest matron, and the blushing maid. Forc'd from their homes, a melancholy train, To traverse climes beyond the western main; Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around, And Niagara stuns with thund'ring sound Even now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays Through tangled forests, and through dangerous ways; Where beasts with man divided empire claim, And the brown Indian marks with murd’rousain; There, while above the giddy tempest flies, And all around distressful yells arise, The pensive exile, bending with his woe, To stop too fearful, and too faint to go, Casts a long look where England's glories shire, And bids his bosom sympathize with mine. Vain, very vain, my weary search to find That bliss which only centres in the mind; Why have I stray'd, from pleasure and repose, To seek a good each government bestows? In every government, though terrors reign, Though tyrant kings, or tyrant laws restrain, How small of all that human hearts endure, That part which laws or kings can cause or cure! Still to ourselves in every place consign'd, Our own felicity we make or find. With secret course, which no loud storms annoy, Glides the smooth current of domestic joy. The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
uke’s iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel, 'o men remote from power but rarely known, eave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own.
THE DESERTED WILLAGE. 1769.
Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain, Where health and plenty cheer'd the labouring swaln, Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid, And parting summer's ling’ring blooms delay'd; Year 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! Iow often have I paus'd on every charm, The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm, 'he never-failing brook, the busy mill, The decent church that topt the neighb'ring hill, The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade, or talking age and whisp'ring lovers made 1 low often have I blest the coming day, When toil remitting lent its turn to play, und all the village train, from labour free, ad up their sports beneath the spreading tree, While many a pastime circled in the shade, The young contending as the old survey'd; \nd many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground, And sleights 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, ły holding out, to tire each other down; The swain mistrustless of his smutted face, While secret laughter titter'd round the place; The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love, The matron's glance thatwould those looks reprove— These were thy charms, sweet village 1 sports like these, With sweet succession, taught ev'n toil to please ; These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed, [fled. 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, chok'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 ruin all, And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall; And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, Far, far away thy children leave the land. Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay; .
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade; A breath can make them, as a breath has made; But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, When once destroy'd, can never be supply'd. A time there was, ere England's griefs began, When every rood of ground maintain’d its man; For him light labour spread her wholesome store, Just gave what life requir'd, but gave no more: His best companions, innocence and health, And his best riches, ignorance of wealth. But times are alter'd; trade's unfeeling train Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain; Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose, Unwieldy wealth and cumb’rous pomp repose; And every want to luxury ally'd, And every pang that folly pays to pride. Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom, Those calm desires that ask’d but little room, Those healthful sports that grac'd the peaceful scene, Liv’d in each look, and brighten’d all the green; These, far departing, seek a kinder shore, And rural mirth and manners are no more. Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour, Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power. Here, as I take my solitary rounds, Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruin’d grounds, And, many a year elaps'd, return to view Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew, Remembrance wakes with all her busy train, Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain. In all my wand'rings round this world of care, In all my griefs—and God has giv'n my share– I still had hopes my latest hours to crown, Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down; To husband out life's taper at the close, And keep the flame from wasting by repose: I still had hopes, for pride attends us still, Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill, Around my fire an evening group to draw, And tell of all I felt, and all I saw ; And, as an hare whom hounds and horns pursue, Pants to the place from whence at first he flew, I still had hopes, my long vexations past, Here to return—and die at home at last. O blest retirement, friend to life's decline, Retreats from care that never must be mine, How blest is he who crowns in shades like these, A youth of labour with an age of ease ; Who quits a world where strong temptations try, And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly! For him no wretches, born to work and weep, Explore the mine, or tempt the dang'rous deep; No surly porter stands in guilty state, To spurn imploring famine from the gate; But on he moves to meet his latter end, Angels around befriending virtue's friend; Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay, While resignation gently slopes the way; And, all his prospects bright'ning to the last, His heaven commences ere the world be past! Sweet was the sound, when, oft at ev'ning's close, Up yonder hill the village murmur rose:
There, as I past with careless steps and slow,
Comfort came down the trembling wretchtoms
And his last fault'ring accents whisper'd prie At church, with meek and unaffected gno, His looks adorn'd the venerable place; Truth from his lips prevail'd with doubleswij, And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd topm, The service past, around the pious man, With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran; Even children follow’d with endearing wie, And pluck'd his gown,to share the goodman'ss. His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest, Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares dism. To them his heart, his love, his griefs were go. But all his serious thoughts had restin heaves: As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the on Though round its breast the rolling cloudsario Eternal sunshine settles on its head, Beside yon straggling fence that skirtsteo With blossom'd 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 view, I knew him well, and every truantknew: Well had the boding tremblers learn'd wo The day's disasters in his morning face; Full well they laugh’d with counterfeited;" At all his jokes, for many a joke had he: Full well the busy whisper circling round Convey'd the dismal tidings when hero 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 kno" 'Twas certain he could write, and cypher.” Lands he could measure, terms and tides" And even the story ran that he could go In arguing too, the parson own'd his skill, o, For even though vanquish'd, he couldoo. While words of learned length, and ** sound, Amaz'd the gazing rustics rang'd around. And still they gaz'd, and still the wondo" That one small head could carry all he" But past is all his fame. The very Po Where many a time he triumph'd, is so Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high Where once the sign-post caught ther". Low lies that house where nut-brown.” spir'd, Where gray-beard mirth, and Where village statesmen talk'd with looks And news much older than their ale" Imagination fondly stoops to trace. The parlour splendours of that festivo ol. The white-wash’d wall, the nicely o do The varnish'a clock that click'd behin'" The chest contriv'd a double debto. A bed by night, a chest of drawer"; day; The pictures plac'd for ornament and jer The twelve good rules, the royal 5. do The hearth, except when winter chill'd t o with aspen boughs, and flowers and * g
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,
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 even the bare-worn common is deny'd. 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 woe. 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 deckt, 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 shiv'ring female lies. She once, perhaps, in village plenty blest, Has wept at tales of innocence distrest; Her modest looks the cottage might adorn, Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn; Now 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 shower, With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour, When idly first, ambitious of the town, She left her wheel and robes of country brown. Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train, Do thy fair tribes participate her pain? Even 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 with fainting steps they go, Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe. Far different there from all that charm'd 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'nousfields 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,