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No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast, For, as refinement stops, from sire to son
And love's and friendship’s finely pointed dart Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though May sit like falcons cowering on the nest; small,
But all the gentler morals, such as play He sees his little lot the lot of all;
Through life's more cultured walks, and charm the Sees no contiguous palace rear its head
way, To shame the meanness of his humble shed;
These, far dispersed, on timorous pinions fly No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal To make him loathe his vegetable meal;
To sport and flutter in a kinder sky. But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign, Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil. I turn; and France displays her bright domain. Cheerful at morn, he wakes from short repose, Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease, Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes; Pleased with thyself, whom all the world can please, With patient angle trolls the finny deep, How often have I led thy sportive choir, Or drives his vent'rous ploughshare to the steep; With tuneless pipe, beside the murmuring Loire! Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way, Where shading elms along the margin grew, And drags the struggling savage into day. And freshen’d from the wave the zephyr flew; At night returning, every labour sped,
And haply, though my harsh touch falt’ring still, He sits him down the monarch of a shed; But mock'd all tune, and marrd the dancer's skill; Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys Yet would the village praise my wondrous power, His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze: And dance, forgetful of the noontide hour. While his loved partner, boastful of her hoard, Alike all ages. Dames of ancient days Displays her cleanly platter on the board: Have led their children through the mirthful maze, And haply too some pilgrim thither led, And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore, With many a tale repays the nightly bed. Has frisk'd beneath the burden of threescore.
Thus every good his native wilds impart, So blest a life these thoughtless realms display, Imprints the patriot passion on his heart; Thus idly busy rolls their world away: And e'en those ills that round his mansion rise Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear; Enhance the bliss his scanty funds supplies. For honour forms the social temper here. Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, Honour, that praise which real merit gains, And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms; Or e'en imaginary worth obtains, And as a child, when scaring sounds molest, Here passes current; paid from hand to hand, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, It shists in splendid traffic round the land; So the loud torrent and the whirlwind's roar, From courts to camps, to cottages it strays, But bind him to his native mountains more. And all are taught an avarice of praise ; Such are the charms to barren states assign'd; They please, are pleased, they give to get esteem,
, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem. Their wants but few, their wishes all confined. Yet let them only share the praises due,
But while this softer art their bliss supplies, If few their wants, their pleasures are but few; It gives their follies also room to rise ; For every want that stimulates the breast, For praise too dearly loved, or warmly sought, Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest; Enfeebles all internal strength of thought; Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies, And the weak soul, within itself unblest, That first excites desire, and then supplies; Leans for all pleasure on another's breast. Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy, Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art, To fill the languid pause with finer joy; Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; Unknown those powers that raise the soul to flame, Here vanity assumes her pert grimace, Catch every nerve, and vibrate through the frame. And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace; Their level life is but a smouldering fire, Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer, Unquench'd by want, unfann’d by strong desire; To boast one splendid banquet once a-year; Unfit for raptures, or, if raptures cheer
The mind still turns where shifting fashion draw. On some high festival of once a-year,
Nor weighis the solid worth of self-applause. In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire,
To men of other minds my fancy flies, Till buried in debauch, the bliss expire.
Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies. But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow; Methinks her patient sons before me stand, Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low; Where the broad ocean leans against the land
And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,
The self-dependent lordlings stand alone, Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride.
All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown;
, over-wrought, the general system feels
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay, The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,
As duty, love, and honour fail to sway, A new creation rescued from his reign.
Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law,
Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe. Thus, while around the wave-subjected soil Hence all obedience bows to thee alone, Impels the native to repeated toil,
And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown: Industrious habits in each bosom reign,
Till time may come, when, stript of all her charms, And industry begets a love of gain.
The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms, Hence all the good from opulence that springs, Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame, With all those ills superfluous treasure brings, Where kings have toil'd, and poets wrote for fame, Are here display'd. Their much loved wealth imparts One sink of level avarice shall lie, Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts : And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour'd die. But view them closer, craft and fraud appear, E'en liberty itself is barter'd here.
Yet think not, thus when freedom's ills I statc, At gold's superior charms all freedom flies,
I mean to flatter kings, or court the great : The needy sell it, and the rich man buys;
Ye powers of truth, that bid my soul aspire, A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,
Far from my bosom drive the low desire; Here wretches seek dishonourable graves,
And thou, fair Freedom, taught alike to feel And, calmly bent, to servitude conform,
The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel ; Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.
Thou transitory flower, alike undone
By proud contempt, or favour's fostering sun, Heavens! how unlike their Belgic sires of old! Still may thy blooms the changeful clinre endure, Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold; I only would repress them to secure : War in each breast, and freedom on each brow-For just experience tells, in every soil, How much unlike the sons of Britain now! That those that think must govern those that toil;
And all that freedom's highest aims can reach, Fired at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, Is but to lay proportion'd loads on each. And flies where Britain courts the western spring; Hence, should one order disproportion'd grow, Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride,
Its double weight must ruin all below. And brighter streams than famed Hydaspes glide; There all around the gentlest breezes stray, O then how blind to all that truth requires, There gentle music melts on every spray;
Who think it freedom when a part aspires ! Creation's mildest charms are there combined, Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms, Extremes are only in the master's mind! Except when fast approaching danger warms: Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state But when contending chiefs blockade the throne, With daring aims irregularly great ;
Contracting regal power to stretch their own; Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
When I behold a factious band agree I see the lords of human kind pass by ;
To call it freedom when themselves are free; Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band, Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw, By forms unfashion'd, fresh from nature's hand, Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law; Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
The wealth of climes, where savage nations roam, True to imagined right, above control,
Pillaged from slaves to purchase slaves at home While e'en the peasant boasts these rights to scan, Fear, pity, justice, indignation start, And learns to venerate himself as man.
Tear off reserve, and bare my swelling heart;
Till half a patriot, half a cowary grown,
Yes, brother, curse me with that baleful hou:, But foster'd e'en by freedom ills annoy ;
When first ambition struck at regal power ; That independence Britons prize too high, And thus polluting honour in its source, Keeps man from mall, and breaks the social tie; Gave wealth to sway the mind with double furce
Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore, Now Auburn, now, absolve impartial Fate,
The poet had not sung, nor Britain wept.
Unhonour'd genius, and her swift decay:
, O, patron of the poor! it can not be,
TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
kind, either to add to your reputation, or to establish
of your judgment, as few have a juster taste in The pensive exile, bending with his woe, poetry than you. Setting interest therefore aside, To stop too fearful, and too faint to go,
to which I never paid much attention, I must be Casts a long look where England's glories shine, indulged at present in following my affections. And bids luis bosom sympathize with mine, The only dedication I ever made was to my bro
ther, because I loved him better than most other Vain, very vain, my weary search to find
men. He is since dead. Permit me to inscribe That bliss which only centres in the mind:
this Poem to you. Why have I stray'd from pleasure and repose,
How far you may be pleased with the versifica. To seek a good each government bestows?
tion and mere mechanical parts of this attrmpt, I In every government, though terrors reign,
do not pretend to inquire; but I know you will obThough tyrant kings, or tyrant laws restrain,
ject (and indeed several of our best and wisest How small, of all that human hearts endure,
friends concur in the opinion) that the depopuThat part which laws or kings can cause or cure.
lation it deplores is no where to be seen, and the disStill to ourselves in every place consign’d,
orders it laments are only to be found in the poet's Our own felicity we make or find: With secret course, which no loud storms annoy, other answer than that I sincerely believe what I
own imagination. To this I can scarcely make any Glides the smooth current of domestic joy.
have written; that I have taken all possible pains, The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
in my country excursions, for these four or five Luke's iron crown, and Damien’s bed of steel,
years past, to be certain of what I alledge; and that To men remote from power but rarely known,
all my views and inquiries have led me to believe Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own.
those miseries real, which I here attempt to dis-
quiry, whether the country be depopulating or it; THE DESERTED VILLAGE; the discussion would take up much room, and I
should prove myself, at best, an indifferent politi-
In regretting the depopulation of the country, I
inveigh against the increase of our luxuries; and
here also I expect the shout of modern politicians AUTHOR OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE, BY MISS AIKIN,
against me. For twenty or thirty years past, i!
has been the fashion to consider luxury as one of In vain fair Auburn weeps her desert plains the greatest national advantages; and all the wisSbe moves our envy who so well complains: dom of antiquity in that particular, as erroneous. In vain hath proud oppression laid her low; Still
, however, I must remain a professed ancient Sbo wears a garland on her fudled brow. on that head, and continue to think those luxuries
AFTERWARDS MRS. BARBAULD.
prejudicial to states by which so many vices are in-No more thy glassy brook reflects the day, troduced, and so many kingdoms have been undone. But choked with sedges, works its weedy way: Indeed, so much has been poured out of late on the Along thy glades, a solitary guest, other side of the question, that, merely for the sake The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; of novelty and variety, one would sometimes wish Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies, to be in the right. I am, dear Sir, your sincere And tires their echoes with unvaried cries. friend, and ardent admirer,
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand
Ill fares the land, to hastening 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; Where health and plenty cheer'd the labouring When once destroy'd, can never be supplied.
swain, Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid, A time there was, ere England's griefs began, And parting summer's lingering blooms delay'd: When every rood of ground maintain’d its man; Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease, For him light labour spread her wholesome store, Seats of my youth, when every sport could please. Just gave what life required, but gave no more: How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green, His best companions, innocence and health, Where humble happiness endear'd each scene! And his best riches, ignorance of wealth. How often have I paused on every charm,
But times are alter'd; trade's unfeeling train The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain; The never failing brook, the busy mill, The decent church that topp'd the neighb'ring hill, Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose, The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade, Unwieldy wealth, and cumbrous pomp repose ; For talking age and whispering lovers made!
And every want to luxury allied, How often have I blest the coming day,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom, When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
Those calm desires that asked but little room, And all the village train from labour free, Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree;
Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful
scene, While many a pastime circled in the shade,
Lived in each look, and brighten'd all the green; The young contending as the old survey'd;
These, far daparting, seek a kinder shore, And many a gambol frolick’d o'er the ground,
And rural mirth and manners are no more. And sleights of art and feats of strength went round;
Sweet AUBURN! parent of the blissful hour, And still as each repeated pleasure tired, Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power. Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired; Here, as I take my solitary rounds, The dancing pair that simply sought renown, Amiilst thy tangling walks, and ruin'd grounds, By holding out to tire each other down;
And, many a year elapsed, return to view The swain mistrustless of his smutted face, Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew, While secret laughter titter'd round the place; Remembrance wakes with all her busy train, The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love, Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain. The matron's glance that would those looks reprove. These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like
In all my wanderings round this world of care, these,
In all my griefs--and God has given my share
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown, With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please ;
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me dowa; These round thy bowers their cheerful influence
To husband out life's taper at the close, shed,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose. These were thy charms—but all these charms are
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still, tled.
Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill, Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, Around my fire an evening group to draw, Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn; And tell of all I felt, and all I saw; Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursua. And desolation saddens all thy green:
Pants to the place from whence at first he flew, One only master grasps the whole domain, I still had hopes, my long vexations past, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain ; Here to return—and die at home at last.
O blest retirement, friend to life's decline, The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud, Retreats from care, that never must be mine, Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'ds How blest is he who crowns, in shades like these, The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay, A youth of labour with an age of ease ;
Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away ; Who quits a world where strong temptations try, Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done, And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly? Shoulder'd his crutch and show'd how fields were For him no wretches, born to work and weep, Explore the mine, or tempt the dang'rous deep; Pleased with his guests, the good man learn'd to Nor surly porter stands in guilty state,
Careless their merits, or their faults to scan,
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride, And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
And e'en his failings lean'd to virtue's side; His heaven commences ere the world be past.
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt for all; Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close, And, as a bird each fond endearment tries, Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;
To tempt its new ed offspring to the skies, There as I pass'd with careless steps and slow, He tried each art, reproved each dull delay, The mingling notes came soften'd from below; Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way. The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung;
Beside the bed where parting life was laid, The sober herd that low'd to meet their young;
And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd, The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool;
The reverend champion stood. At his control, The playful children just let loose from school;
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul; The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whispering
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise, wind,
And his last falt'ring accents whisper'd praise And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind; These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, And tillid each pause the nightingale had made.
His looks adorn'd the venerable place; But now the sounds of population fail,
Truth from his lips prevaild with double sway, No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale, And fools, who came to scoff, remain’d to pray. No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread, The service past, around the pious man, But all the bloomy flush of life is fied :
With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran; All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
E'en children follow'd with endearing wile, That feebly bends beside the plashy pring;
And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's She, wretched matron, forced in age, for bread,
smile. To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
His ready smile a parent's warmth express’d, To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distress'd; To seek her nightly shed and weep till morn; To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given, She only left of all the harmless train,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven. The sad historian of the pensive plai .
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm, Near yonder copse, where once the arden smil'd, Though round its breast the rolling clouds arə And still where many a garden flower grows wild; There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
spread, The village preacher's niodest mansion rose. A man he was to all the country dear,
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way, And passing rich with forty pounds a-year ; With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay, Remote from towns he ran his godly race, There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule, Nor e'er had chang’d, nor wish'dt change his place; The village master taught his little school: Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power,
A man severe he was, and stern to view, By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour; I knew him well, and every truant knew; Far other aims his heart had learn’d to prize, Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
The day's disasters in his morning face; His nouse was known to all the vagrant train, Fuil well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain; At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; 'The long remember'd beggar was his guest, Full well the busy whisper circling round, Whose beard descending swept his aged breast; Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd.