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While words of learned length, and thund'ring found,
Amaz'd the gazing ruftics rang'd around,
And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
But paft 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 fign-post caught the palling eye,'
Low lies that house where nut-brown draughtsinspir'd,
Where grey-beard mirth, and smiling toil retir'd,
Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound;
And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace
The parlour splendors of that festive place;
The white-wash'd wall, the nicely sanded floor,
The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the doors
The chest contriv'd a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a cheft of drawers by day;
The pictures plac'd for ornament and use,
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose ;
The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day,
With aspin boughs, and flowers and fennel gay,
While broken tea cups, wisely kept for thew,
Rang'd o'er the chimney, glitten'd in a row.
Vain tranfitory splendors! could not all
Reprieve the tott'ring manfion from it's fall!
Obscure it finks, 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 wood-man's ballad shall prevail ;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his pond'rous 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 cup to país 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,
Unenvy'd, anmolefted, unconfin'd.
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth array’d,
In these, ere triflers half their with obtain,
The toiling pleasure fickens into pain;
And, even while fashion's brightest arts decoy,
The heart distrusting alks, if this be joy?
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey The rich man's joys encrease, the poor's decay, ''Tis yours to judge, how wide the limits stand Between a splendid and an happy land.
Proud swells the side with loads of freighted ore,
And fouting Folly hails them from her shore;
Hoards, even beyond the miser's wilh 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 fame.
Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride,
Takes up a space that many poor fupply'd ;
Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds,
Space for his horses, equipage and hounds;
The robe that wraps his limbs in filken sloth,
Has robb’d the neighbouringfields of half their growth,
His seat, where folitary sports are seen,
Indignant spurns the cottage from the green;
Around the world each needful product flies,
For all the luxuries the world supplies.
While thus the land adorn’d for pleasure, all
In barren splendor feebly waits the fall.
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 part, 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 splendors rise,
Its vistas ftrike, its palaces surprise ;
While, scourg'd by famine from the smiling land,
The mournful peasant leads his humble band;
And while he finks, without one arm to fave,
The country blooms--a garden and a grave.
Where then, ah! where shall poverty reside,
To 'scape the pressure of contiguous pride?
If to some common's fenceless limits stray'd,
He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,
Those fenceless fields the fons of wealth divide,
And even the bare-worn common is deny'd.
If to the city sped-What waits him there? To see profufion that he must not share; To see ten thousand baneful arts combin'd To pamper luxury, and thin mankind; To see each joy the fons of pleasure know, Extorted from his fellow-creature's wo. Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade, There the pale artist plies the fickly trade; Here, while the proud their long drawn pomps difplay, There the black gibbet glooms beside the way. The dome where Pleasure holds her midnight reign, Here, richly deckt, admits the gorgeous train ; Tumultuous grandeur crouds the blazing square, The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare. Sure scenes like these no troubles ere annoy! Sure these denote one universal joy!
Are these thy serious thoughts-- Ah, turn thine eyes
Where the poor houfeless Thiv'ring female lies.
She once, perhaps, in village plenty bleft,
Has wept at tales of innocence diftrest;
Her modeft 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,
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, fweet AUBURN, thine, the loveliest train, Do thy fair tribes participate her pain ? Even now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led, At proud mens doors they ask a little bread!
Ah, no. To diftant climes, a dreary scene, Where half the convex world intrudes between, Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go, Where wild Altama murmurs to their wo. Far different there from all that charm'd before, The various terrors of that horrid shore; Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray, And fiercely shed intolerable day; Those matted woods where birds forget to fing, But filent bats in drowsy clusters cling; Those pois'nous fields with rank luxuriance crown'd, Where the dark scorpion gathers death around; F 4