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Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green :
Only one master grasps the whole domain,
And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain;
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But choked with sedges works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall;
Aud, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away thy children leave the land.
Il 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 :
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroy'd, can never be supplied.
A time there was, ere England's griefs began, When every rood of ground maintain'd its man; For him light labour spread her wholesome store, Just gave what life required, but gave no more: His best companions innocence and health; And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
But times are alter'd: trade's unfeeling train Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain; Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose, Unwieldy wealth and cumberous pomp repose;
And every want to luxury allied, ..
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that ask'd but little room, (scene,
Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful
Lived in each look, and brighten'd all the green;
These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more..
Sweet AUBURN! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.
Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks and ruin'd grounds,
And, many a year elapsed, return to view
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew,
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
In all my wanderings round this world of care,
In all my griefs—and God has given my sbare-
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;
To husband out life's taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose:
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill,
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw :
And as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations pass'd,
Here to return--and die at home at last.
O bless'd retirement, friend to life's decline, Retreats from care, that never must be mine, How bless'd is he who crowns, in shades like these, A youth of labour with an age of ease; Who quits a world where strong temptations try, And since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly! For him no wretches, born to work and weep, Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep; No surly porter stands, in guilty state, To spurn imploring famine from the gate; But on he moves to meet his latter end, Angels around befriending virtue's friend; Sinks to the grave with unperceived decay, While resignation gently slopes the way; And, all his prospects brightening to the last, His Heaven commences ere the world be pass'd.
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close Up yonder hill the village murmur rose ; There, as I pass'd with careless steps and slow, The mingling notes came soften'd from below; The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung, The sober herd that low'd to meet their yonng; The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool, The playful childrenjustletloose from school; [wind, The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whispering And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind; These all in sweet confusion sought the shade, And filld each pause the nightingale had made. But now the sounds of population fail, No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
But all the blooming flush of life is fled:
All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring:
She, wretched matron, forced in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed and weep till morn;
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain.
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
And still where many a garden flower grows wild,
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher's modest inansion rose.
A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forly pounds a year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nore'er had changed, nor wish'd to change his place;
Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power,
By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize,
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train,
He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain;
The long remember'd beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd;
The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talk’d the night away;
Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields were
Pleased with his guests, the good man learn'd to
And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride, And e'en his failings lean’d to virtue's side; But in his duty prompt, at every call, He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt, for all: And, as a bird each fond endearment tries To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies, He try'd each art, reproved each dull delay, Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.