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While words of learned length, and thund'ring sound,
But past is all his fame. The very spot Where many a time he triumph’d, is forgot. Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspir’d, Where grey-beard mirth, and smiling toil retird, Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound, And news much older than their ale went round. Imagination fondly stoops to trace The parlour splendours of that festive place; The white-wash'd wall, the nicely sanded floor, The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door ; (2) The chest contriv'd a double debt to pay, A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; The pictures plac'd for ornament and use, The twelve good rules,(3) the royal game of goose; The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day, With aspen boughs, and flowers and fennel gay,
(1) (Goldsmith is here supposed have drawn the portrait of his own early instructor, Thomas Byrne. -See Life, ch. i.)
(2) [“ Goldsmith's chaste pathos makes him an insinuating moralist, and throws a charm of Claude-like softness over his descriptions of homely objects, that would seem only fit to be the subjects of Dutch painting. But his quiet enthusiasm leads the affections to humble things without a vulgar association ; and he inspires us with a fondness to trace the simplest recollections of Auburn, till we count the furniture of its ale-house, and listen to the 'varnished clock that clicked behind the door.' "-CAMPBELL, vol. vi. p. 263.]
(3) (Crabbe, who had his eye frequently fixed on Goldsmith, of whom he is indeed in many passages an
sometimes avowed imitator, has likewise introduced “ The Twelve Good Rules” as part of the ornamental
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,
Vain transitory splendours ! could not all Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall ? Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart An hour's importance to the poor man's heart ; Thither no more the peasant shall repair, To sweet oblivion of his daily care ; No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale, No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail ; No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear ; The host himself no longer shall be found Careful to see the mantling bliss go round; Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest, Shall kiss the
it to the rest.
Yes ! let the rich deride, the proud disdain, These simple blessings of the lowly train, To me more dear, congenial to my heart, One native charm, than all the gloss of art : Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play, The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway ; Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, Unenvied, unmolested, unconfin'd.
furniture of the industrious swain's cot in the introduction to the Parish Register :
“ There is King Charles, and all his Golden Rules,
Who proved misfortune's was the best of schools;
(1) [The ale-house has been rebuilt by the poet's relative, Mr. Hogan, and supplied with the sign of the “ Three Jolly Pigeons," with new copies of the “ Twelve Golden Rules” and the “ Royal Game of Goose,” not omitting the “broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show.”— See Life, ch. xix, )
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay, 'Tis your's to judge, how wide the limits stand Between a splendid and a happy land. (1) Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore, And shouting folly hails them from her shore ; Hoards e’en beyond the miser's wish abound, And rich men flock from all the world around. Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name, That leaves our useful products still the same. Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride Takes up a space that many poor supplied ; Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds, Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds: The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth, Has robb’d the neighbouring fields of half their growth ; His seat, where solitary sports are seen, Indignant spurns the cottage from the green ; Around the world each needful product flies, For all the luxuries the world supplies.
(1) ["Happy, very happy, might they have been, had they known when to bound their riches and their glory : bad they known that extending empire is often diminishing power; that countries are ever strongest which are internally powerful ; that colonies, by draining away the brave and enterprizing, leave the country in the hands of the timid and the avaricious; that too much commerce may injure a nation as well as too little; and that there is a wide difference between a conquering and a flourishing empire.”Citizen of the World, No. xxv. See vol. ii. p. 98.]
While thus the land, adorn’d for pleasure all,
As some fair female, unadorn'd and plain, Secure to please while youth confirms her reign, Slights every borrow'd charm that dress supplies, Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes ; But when those charms are past, for charms are frail, When time advances, and when lovers fail, She then shines forth, solicitous to bless, In all the glaring impotence of dress. Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd ; 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,
If to the city sped—What waits him there?
Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade,
! Sure these denote one universal joy ! Are these thy serious thoughts ? Ah ! turn thine eyes Where the poor houseless shivering 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, (1) 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,
(1) [" These poor shivering females have once seen happier days, and beeu flattered into beauty. They have been prostituted to the gay luxurious villain, and are now turned out to meet the severity of winter. Perhaps, now lying at the doors of their betrayers, they sue to wretches whose hearts are insensible, or debauchees who may curse, but will not relieve them.”Citizen of the World, No. cxviii. See vol. ii. p. 155.]