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A PROSPECT OF SOCIETY.
REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, slow,*
* (An anecdote connected with this poem, exhibiting that absence of mind and facility of temper in its author, which occasionally led him to make admissions which he did not mean, and which were thence sometimes turned against himself, was told by Dr. Johnson. “I remember," said he, “ Chamier once asked him what he meant by slow, in the first line of the Traveller. Did he mean tardiness of locomotion? Gold-mith, who would say something without consideration, answered, 'Yes.' I was sitting by and said, “ No, sir, you did not mean tardiness of locomotion ; you mean that sluggishness of mind which comes upon a man in solitude' Ne, however, was a man who, whatever he wrote, did it better than any other man could do: he deserved a place in Westminster Abbey, and every year he lived would have deserved it better." See Boswell, vol. vii p. 85, ed. 1835.)
† (Carinthia was visited by Goldsmith in 1755. Being questioned as to the justice of the censure passed upon a people whom other travellers praised for being as good, if not better than their neighbors, he gave as a reason his being once, after a fatiguing day's walk, obliged to quit n house he had entered for shelter, and pas part or whole of the night in serking another. See Life, ch. x]
Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies,
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend, And round his dwelling guardian saints attend; Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire; Blest that abode, where want and pain repair, And every stranger finds a ready chair; Blest he those feasts with simple plenty crown'l, f Where all the ruddy family around Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail, Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale; Or press the lashful stranger to liis food, And learn the luxury of doing good
But me, not destin'd such delights to share, My prime of life in wandering spent and care; Impelld, with steps unceasing, to pursue Some fleetiug good, that mocks me with the views
* (« The farther I travel, I feel the pain of separation with stronger force; those ties that bind me to my native country and you, are still unbroken. By every remove I only drag a greater length of chain.”_Citizen of the World. See vol ii. p. 21.
† (“* Blest be those flasis where mirth and peace abound."- First edit.}
For all their luxury was donen coul."- GARTH.] $ " When will my wanderings he ai on pod? When will my restlegg
That, like the circle bounding earth and skies,
Ev'n now, where Alpine solitudes ascend, I sit me down a pensive hour to spend; And, plac'd on high above the storm's career, Look downward where an hundred realms appear; Lakes, forests, cities, plains, extending wide. I The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride.
When thus Creation's charms around combine, Amidst the store, should thankless pride repine ? Say, should the philosophic mind disdain That good which makes cach humbler bosom vain ?! Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can, These little things are great to little man ; And wiser le, whose sympathetic mind
disposition give me leave to enjoy the present hour? When at Lyons, I thought all happiness lay beyond the Alps; when in Italy, I found myself still in want of something, and expected to leave solitude behind me by going into Romelia ; and now you find me turning back, still expecting ease every where but where I am.”—The Bee, See vol. i. p. 28.]
* “Death, the only friend of the wretched, for a little while mocks the weary traveller with the view, and like his liorizon still flies before him."Vicar of Wakefield, ch. xxix] + [Init.—- My destin'd miles I shall have gone,
By Thames or Mease, by Pn or Rhone,
And found no foot of earth my own."- Prior.)
To spumn the spionu tamngs by heaven supply']." - First edit)
Esults in all the good of all mankind.
As some lone miser, visiting his store, Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er ; Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill, Yet still he sighs, for boards are wanting still : Thus to my breast altrrnate passions rise, Pleas'd with each good that IIeaven 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 lappiness consigud, Where my worn soul, cach wandering hope at rest, Jay gatlier bliss to see my fellows blest.
But, where to find that happiest spot below,t
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
Nature, a mother kind alike to all, Still grants her bliss at labor's earnest call; With food as well the peasant is supplied On Idra's cliffs as Arno's shelvy side; And though the rocky crested summits frown,t 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 bonor sinks where commerce long prevails. Hence every state to one lov'd blessing prone, Conforms and models life to that alone.
(" And yet, perhaps, if states with states we scan,
Or estimate their bliss on reason's plan,
And patriouc boasting reason's shame."--First edit )