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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, vain ; Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue ; And even in penance planning sins anew. All evils here contaminate the mind, That opulence departed leaves behind ; For wealth was theirs, not far remov'd the date, When commerce proudly flourish'd through the state; At her command the palace learnt to rise, Again the long fall’n column sought the skies ; The canvass glow'd beyond e'en Nature Warm; The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form. Till, more unsteady than the southern gale, Commerce on other shores display'd her sail; While nought remain’d of all that riches gave, But towns unmann'd, and lords without a slave. And late the nation found with fruitless skill Its former strength was but plethoric ill.
Yet, still the loss of wealth is here supplied By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride ;
From these the feeble heart and long-fall’n mind
My soul turn from them, turn we to survey Where rougher climes a nobler race display, Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread, And force a churlish soil for scanty bread; No product here the barren hills afford, But man and steel, the soldier and his sword. No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array, But winter lingering chills the lap of May; No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast, But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.
Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm. Though poor the peasant's hut, his feast tho' small, He sees his little lot the lot of all ; Sees no contigious palace rear its head To shame the meanness of his humble shed ;
of all is head shed
No costly ford the sumptuous banquet deal
Thus every good his native wilds impart,
Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies,
To fill the languid pause with finer joy ;
But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow: Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low, For, as refinement stops, from sire to son Unalter'd, unimprov'd the manners run; And love's and friendship’s finely pointed dart Fall blunted from each indurated heart. Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast May sit, like falcons cowering on the nest; But all the gentler morals, such as play Thro’ life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the waya; These, far dispers’d, on timorous pinions fly, To sport and flutter in a kinder sky. ..
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign, I turn; and FRANCE displays her bright domain. Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease, Pleas'd with thyself, whom all the world can please, How often have I led thy sportive choir, With tuneless pipe, beside the murmuring Loire ? Where shading elms along the margin grew, And freshen’d from the wave the zephyr flew; And haply, though my harsh touch falt’ring still, But mock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's skill;
Yet would the village praise my wonderous power,
So blest a life these thoughtless realms display, Thus idly busy rolls their world away ; Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear, For honor forms the social temper here. Honor, that praise which real merit gains," Or even imaginary worth obtains, Here passes current, paid from hand to hand, It shifts its splendid traffic round the land : From courts, to camps, to cottages it strays, And all are taught an avarice of praise ; They please, are pleas'd, they give to get esteem, Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem.
But while this softer art their bliss supplies, It gives their follies also room to rise ; For praise too dearly lov’d, or warmly sought,' Enfeebles all internal strength of thought. And the weak soul, within itself unblest, Leans for all the pleasure on another's breast. Hence, ostentation here, with tawdry art, Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; Here vanity assumes her pert grimace, And trims her robes of frize with copper lace Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer, To boast one splendid banquet once a year; The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws, . Nor weighs the solid worth of self applause.