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Blest that abode, where want and pain repair,
But me, not destin'd such delights to share,
Ev'n now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
When thus Creation's charms around combine, Amidst the store, should thankless pride repine ? Say, should the philosophic mind disdain That good which makes each humbler bosom vain ? Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can, These little things are great to little man ; And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind Exults in all the good of all mankind. Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendor crown'd;Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round;
Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale ;
As some lone miser, visiting his storo, Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er; Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill, Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still : Thus to my breast alternate passions rise, Pleas'd with each good that heaven to man supplies : Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall, To see the hoard of human bliss so small; And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find Some spot to real happiness consign'd, Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest, May gather bliss to see my fellows blest.
But where to find that happiest spot below,
Nature, a Mother kind alike to all, Still grants her bliss at labor's earnest call; With food as well the peasant is supply'd On Idra's cliffs as Arno's shelvy side ; And though the rocky crested summits frown, These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down. From art more various are the blessings sent; Wealth, commerce, honor, liberty, content. Yet these each other's power so strong contest, That either seems destructive of the rest. Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails; And honor sinks where commerce long prevails. Hence every state to one lov'd blessing prone, Conforms and models life to that alone. Each to the fav'rite happiness attends, And
spurns the plan that aims at other ends ; 'Till carried to excess in each domain, This fav'rite good begets peculiar pain.
But let us try these truths with closer eyes,
Far to the right where Apennine ascends, Bright as the summer, Italy extends ; Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side, Woods over woods in gay theatric pride; While oft some temple's mould'ring tops between. With venerable grandeur mark the scene.
Could nature's bounty satisfy the breast, The sons of Italy were surely blest.
Whatever fruits in different climes are found,
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows, And sensual bliss is all the nation knows. 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 commerce proudly flourish'd through the state; At her command the palace learnt to rise, Again the long fall’n columni sought the skies ; The canvass 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 gave, 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
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 contigious palace rear its head To shame the meanness of his humble shed ;