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A PROSPECT OF SOCIETY.*
REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend, And round his dwelling guardian saints attend ;
* In this poem several alterations were made, and some new verses added, as it passed through different editions.-We have printed from the last edition published in the life-time of the author,
Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire
But me, not destin'd such delights to share,
E’en now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
Let-school-taught pride dissemble all it can,
crown'd; Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion
round; Ye lakes whose vessels catch the busy gale; Ye bending swains, that dress the flowery vale; For me your tributary stores combine; Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine.
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 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, Wheremywornsoul, each wand'ring hopeatrest, May gather bliss to see my fellows blest.
But where to find that happiest spot below, Who can direct when all pretend to know? The shudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own; Extols the treasures of his stormy seas, And his long nights of revelry and ease :
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Andhonour sinks wherecommercelongprevails.
But let us try these truths with closer eyes, And trace them through the prospect as it lies Here for awhile, my proper cares resign’d, Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind; Like yon neglected shrub, at random cast, That shades the steep, and sighs at every blast
Far to the right, where Appenine ascends, Bright as the summer, Italy extends ; Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side, Woods over woods in gay theatric pride; Whileoft sometemple'smould'ringtops between With memorable 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, That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground; Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear, Whose bright succession decks the varied year; Whatever sweets salute the northern sky With vernal lives, that blossom but to die : These here disporting own the kindred soil, Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil ; While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand, To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.
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,