« PreviousContinue »
Yet would the village praise my wond'rous power, There all around the gentlest breezes stray,
There gentle music melts on every spray ;
Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd, Have led their children through the mirthful maze; Extremes are only in the master's mind: And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore,
Stern o'er each bosom Reason holds her state, Has frisk'd beneath the burden of threescore.
With daring aims irregularly great;
I see the lords of human kind pass by;
By forms unfashion’d, fresh from Nature's hand, Honour, that praise which real merit gains,
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul, Or e'en imaginary worth obtains,
True to imagin'd right, above controul. Here passes current;
paid from hand to hand, Wbile e'en the peasant boasts these rights to scan, It shifts, in splendid traffic, round the land :
And learns to venerate himself as man. From courts, to camps, to cottages it strays,
Thine, Freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd here, And all are taught an avarice of praise ;
Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear.
But while this softer art their bliss supplies, That independence Britons prize too high,
Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie; For praise, too dearly lov'd or warmly sought, The self-dependant lordlings stand alone, Enfeebles all eternal strength of thought;
All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown: And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
Here, by the bonds of nature feebly held, Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
Minds combat minds, repelling and repellid: Hence Ostentation here, with tawdry art,
Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar, Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; Represt ambition Uruggles round her shore; Here Vanity assumes her pert grimace,
Till, over-wrought, the general system feels And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace; Its motions stop, or phrenzy fire the wheels.' Here beggar Pride defrauds her daily cheer,
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay, To boast one splendid banquet once a year ;
As duty, love, and honour fail to sway, The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws, Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law, Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause.
Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe. To men of other minds my fancy flies
Hence all obedience bows to these alone, Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies.
And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown; Methinks her patient sons before me stand,
Till time may come, when, stript of all her charms, Where the broad ocean leans against the land, The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms, And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,
Whe noble stems transmit the patriot's flame, Lift the tall rampier's artificial pride.
Where kings have toil'd, and poets wrote for Onward, methinks, and diligently slow,
fame, The firm, connected bulwark seems to grow ;
One sink of level avarice shall lie,
Yet think not, thus when Freedom's ills I state, While the pent ocean, rising o'er the pile,
I mean to flatter kings, or court the great; Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile; Ye powers of truth, that bid my soul aspire, The slow canal, the yellow-blossom'd vale,
Far from my bosom drive the low desire ! The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,
And thou, fair Freedom, taught alike to feel The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,
The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel ;
Thou transitory flower, alike undone
By proud contempt, or favour's fostering sån;'
Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure !
I only would repress them to secure;
For just experience tells, in every soil,
And all that Freedom's highest aims can reach, Are here display'd. Their much lov'd wealth im. Is but to lay proportion'd loads on each. parts
Hence, should one order disproportion'd grow, Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts :
Its double weight must ruin all below. But view them closer, craft and fraud appear;
Oh then, how blind to all that truth requires, Even liberty itself is barter'd here.
Who think it freedom when a part aspires ! At gold's superior charms all freedom flies ;
Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms, The needy sell it, and the rich man buys:
Except when fast approaching'danger warms: A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,
But when contending chiefs blockade the throne, Here wretches seek dishonourable graves,
Contracting regal power to stretch their own; And calmly bent, to servitude conform,
When I behold a factious band agree Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.
To call it freedom when themselves are free; Heavens! how unlike their Belgic sires of old ! Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw, Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold;
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law; War in each breast, and freedom on each brow; The wealth of climes, where savage nations roam, How much unlike the sons of Britain now;
Pillag'd from slaves to purchase slaves at home; Fird at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, Fear, pity, justice, indignation start, And flies where Britain courts the western spring; Tear off reserve, and bare my swelling heart; Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, Till, half a patriot, half a coward grown, And brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspes glide: I fly from petty tyrants to the throne.
Yes, Brother, curse with 'me that baleful hour sincerely believe what I have written; that I have When first ambition struck at regal power ;
taken all possible pains, in my country excursions, And thus, polluting honour in its source,
for these four or five years past, to be certain of what Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force. I allege, and that all my views and inquiries have led Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore, me to believe those miseries real, which I here at Her useful sons exchanged for useless ore?
tempt to display.--But this is not the place to enter Seen all her triumphs but destruction haste,
into an inquiry, whether the country be depopulating Like'flaring tapers, bright'ning as they waste?
or not: the discussion would take up much room, Seen opulence, her grandeur to maintain,
and I should prove myself, at best, an indifferent poLead stern depopulation in her train,
litician, to tire the reader with a long preface, when I And over fields where scatter'd hamlets rose
want his unfatigued attention to a long poem. In barren solitary pomp repose ?
In regretting the depopulation of the country, I Have we not seen, at pleasure's lordly call,
inveigh against the increase of our luxuries; and here The smiling long.frequented village fall?
also I expect the shout of modern politicians against Beheld the duteous son, the sire decay'd,
me. For twenty or thirty years past, it has been the The modest matron and the blushing maid,
fashion to consider luxury as one of the greatest naForc'd from their homes, a melancholy train,
tional advantages; and all the wisdom of antiquity, To traverse climes beyond the western main;
in that particular, as erroneous. Still, however, I Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around, must remain a professed ancient on that head, and And Niagara stuns with thund'ring sound?
continue to think those luxuries prejudicial to states Even now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays by which so many vices are introduced, and so many Through tangled forests, and thro' dangerous ways, kingdoms have been undone. Indeed, so much has Where beasts with man divided empire claim, been poured out of late on the other side of the And the brown Indian marks with murd'rous aim; question, that, merely for the sake of novelty and There, while above the giddy tempest flies,
variety, one would sometimes wish to be in the And all around distressful yells arise,
right. The pensive exile, bending with his woe, To stop too fearful, and too faint to go,
Dear Sir, Casts a long look where England's glories shine,
Your sincere Friend and ardent Admirer, And bids his bosom sympathize with mine.
OLIVER GOLDSMITH. Vain, very vain, my weary search to find That bliss which only centres in the mind! Why have I stray'd from pleasure and repose,
Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain, To seek a good each government bestows ? In every government, though terrors reign,
Where health and plenty cheer'd the labouring swain; Though tyrant kings or tyrant laws restrain,
Where smiling Spring its earliest visit paid, How small, of all that human hearts endure,
And parting Summer's ling’ring blooms delay'd. That part which laws or kings can cause or cure !
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease, Still to ourselves in every place consign'd,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please ;
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear'd each scene!
How often have I paus’d on every charm, The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm, Luke's iron crown, and Damien’s bed of steel,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topt the neighbouring hill;
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
When toil, remitting, lent its turn to play,
And all the village train, from labour free,
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey'd;
And many a gambol frolic'd o'er the ground, I can have no expectations, in an address of this And sleights of art and feats of strength went round; kind, either to add to your reputation or to establish And still, as each repeated pleasure tir'd, my own. You can gain nothing from my admiration, Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspird. as I am ignorant of that art in which you are said to The dancing pair, that simply sought renown, excel; and I may lose much by the severity of your By holding out to tire each other down; judgment, as few have a juster taste in poetry than The swain, mistrustless of his smutted face, you. Setting interest therefore aside, to which I While secret laughter titter'd round the place; never paid much attention, I must be indulged at The bashful virgin's side-long looks of love, present in following my affections. The only dedi- The matron’s glance that would those looks reprove : cation I ever made was to my brother, because I These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like these, loved him better than most other men. He is since With sweet succession, taught ev'n toil to please; dead. Permit me to inscribe this poem to you.
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed; How far you may be pleased with the versification, These were thy charms-But all these charms are and mere mechanical parts of this attempt, I do not
fled. pretend to inquire; but I know you will object (and Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, indeed several of our best and wisest friends concur Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn : in the opinion) that the depopulation it deplores is Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, no where to be seen, and the disorders it laments are
And desolation saddens all thy green: only to be found in the poet's own imagination. To One only master grasps the whole domain, this I can scarce make any other answer, than that I And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain :
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close But chok'd with sedges works its weedy way: Up yonder hill the village murmur rose. Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
There, as I past with careless steps and slow, The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest :
The mingling notes came soften'd from below Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung; And tires their echoes with unvary'd cries.
The sober herd that low'd to meet their young ; Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool; And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall; The playful children just let loose from school; And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whisp'ring Far, far away thy children leave the land.
wind; Ill fares the land, to hastning ills a prey,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind; Where wealth accumulates, and men decay ;
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade, Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade,
And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made. A breath can make them, as a breath has made; But now the sounds of population fail; But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale, When once destroy'd can never be supply'd.
No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread, A time there was, ere England's griefs began,
For all the blooming flush of life is fled:
All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashing spring :
She, wretched matron, forc'd, in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread, His best companions, innocence and health ; And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn, But times are alter'd: trade's unfeeling train
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 smile,
And still where many a garden-flower grows wild; And every want to luxury ally'd,
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, And every pang that folly pays to pride.
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.
A man he was to all the country dear,
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had chang'd, nor wish'd to change, his
place: These, far departing, seek a kinder shore, And rural mirth and manners are no more.
Unpractis'd he to fawn, or seek for power,
By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour: Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prizeThy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's pow'r.
More skill'd to raise the wretched than to rise. Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
His house was known to all the vagrant train; Amidst thy tangling walks and ruin'd grounds,
He chid their wand'rings, but reliev'd their pain : And, many a year elaps'd, return to view
The long remember'd beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast:
The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud, Swells at my breast, and tarns the past to pain.
Claim'd kindred there, and had his claim allow'd; In all my wand'rings round this world of care,
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 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
Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn’d to glow, Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill;
And quite forgot their vices in their woe; Around my fire an evening group to draw,
Careless their merits or their faults to scan, And tell of all I felt, and all I saw;
His pity gave ere charity began. And as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride, Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
And ev'n his failings lean’d to Virtue's side; I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
But in his duty prompt, at every call, Here to return-and die at home at last.
He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt, for all; O blest retirement; friend to life's decline,
And, as a-bird each fond endearment tries
Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid, And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!
And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd, For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
The rev'rend champion stood. At his controul, Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul; No surly porter stands in guilty state,
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise, To spurn imploring famine from the gate;
And his last fault'ring accents whisper'd praise. Bat on he moves to meet his latter end,
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, Angels around befriending virtue's friend;
His looks adorn'd the venerable place; Bends to the grave with unperceiv'd decay,
Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway, While resignation gently slopes the way;
And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to pray. And, all his prospects brightning to the last, The service past, around the pious man, His heaven commences ere the world be past ! With steady, zeal, each honest rustic ran;
Ev'n children follow'd, with endearing wile,
Beside yon straggling fence, that skirts the way
Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,
Vain, transitory splendours! could not all
Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen, who survey
As some fair female, unadorn'd and plain,
Where then, ah! where shall poverty reside,
Are these thy serious thoughts !-Ah! turn thine eyes Ev'n now, methinks, as pondering here I stand, Where the poor houseless shiv'ring female lies.
I see the rural virtues leave the land. She once, perhaps, in village-plenty blest,
Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail Has wept at tales of innocence distrest;
That, idly waiting, flaps with every gale, Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
Downward they move, a melancholy band, Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn. Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand. : Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled,
Contented toil, and hospitable care,
And kind connubial tenderness, are there;
And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou, sweet Poetry! thou loveliest maid,
Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train, Unfit, in these degen’rate times of shame, in
To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame:
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decry'd,! At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride! Ah, no. To distant climes, a dreary scene,
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe, Where half the convex world intrudes between,
That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so; Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go, Thou guide, by which the nobler arts excel, Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.
Thou nurse of every virtue! fare thee well. Far different there from all that charm'd before, Farewell] and, oh! where'er thy voice be try'd, The various terrors of that horrid shore;
On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side, Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray, Whether where equinoctial fervours glow, And fiercely shed intolerable day ;
Or winter wraps the polar world in snow, Those matted woods, where birds forget to sing, Still let thy voice, prevailing over time, But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling;
Redress the rigours of th' inclement clime; Those pois'nous fields with rank luxuriance crown'd, Aid slighted truth with thy persuasive strain; Where the dark scorpion gathers death around; Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain; Where at each step the stranger fears to wake Teach him, that states of native strength possest, The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;
Though very poor, may still be very blest;
While self-dependent power can time defy,
THE HAUNCH OF VENISON; Good Heav'n! what sorrows gloom'd that parting
A POETICAL EPISTLE That call'd them from their native walks away;
TO LORD CLARE. When the poor exiles, every pleasure past,
THANKS, my lord, for your ven’son; for finer or fatter Hung round the bowers, and fondly look'd their last, Ne'er rang'd in a forest, or smok'd on a platter. And took a long farewell, and wish'd in vain The haunch was a picture for painters to study, For seats like these beyond the Western Main; The white was so white, and the red was so ruddy; And, shudd'ring still to face the distant deep,
Though my stomach was sharp, I could scarce help Return'd and wept, and still return'd to weep.
regretting The good old sire, the first prepar'd to go
To spoil such a delicate picture by eating. To new-found worlds and wept for others' woe; I had thoughts, in my chamber to place it in view, But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
To be shewn to my friends as a piece of virtu : He only wish'd for worlds beyond the grave.
As in some Irish houses, where things are so so, His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
One gammon of bacon hangs up for a show; The fond companion of his helpless years,
But for eating a rasher of what they take pride in, Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
They'd as soon think of eating the pan it is fry'd in. And left a lover's for a father's arms.
But hold let me pause-don't I hear you pronounce With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes, This tale of the bacon a damnable bounce. And blest the cot where every pleasure rose;
Well, suppose it a bounce-sure a poet may try, And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear, By a bounce now and then, to get courage to fly. And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear; But, my lord, it's no bounce: I protest in my turn, Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief
It's a truth and your lordship may ask Mr. Burne.* In all the silent manliness of grief.
To go on with my tale-as I gaz'd on the haunch, O luxury I thou curs'd by Heav'n's decree,
I thought of a friend that was trusty and staunch; How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee! So I cut it, and sent it to Reynolds undrest, How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
To paint it, or eat it, just as he lik'd best. Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Of the neck and the breast I had next to dispose; Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
'Twas a neck and a breast that might rival Monro's; Boast of a florid vigour not their own.
But in parting with these I was puzzled again, At every draught more large and large they grow, With the how, and the who, and the where, and the A bloated mass of rank unwieldly woe;
when. Till sapp'd their strength, and every part unsound, There's Coley, and Williams, and Howard, and Hift, Down, down they sink, and spread a rnin round. I think they love venison-I know they love beef.
Ev'n now the devastation is begun,
* Lord Clare's nephew.