Page images
PDF
EPUB

Processions form'd for piety and love,
A mistress or a saint in ev'ry grove.
By sports like these are all their cares beguild,
The sports of children fatisfy the child ;
Each nobler aim repreft by long controul, 155
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul ;
While low delights, succeeding fast behind,
In happier meanness occupy the mind :
As in those dooms, where Cæsars once bore sway,
Defac'd by time and tott'ring in decay,

160
There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed,
And, wond’ring man could want the larger pile,
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.

My soul turn from thein, turn we to survey 165 Where rougher climes a nobler race display, Where the bleak Swiss their stormy manfions tread, And force a churlish foil for scanty bread ; No product here the bairen hills afford, But man and steel, the foldier and his fword. 170 No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array, But winter ling'ring chills the lap of May; No zephyr fondly fues the mountains breast, But meteors glare, and stormy glooms inveit.

Yet still, ev'n here, content can spread a charm, 175 Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm. Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though small, He sees his little lot the lot of all Sees no contiguous palace rear its head To shame the meanness of his humble shed ;

180 No coftly lord the sumptuous banquet deal To make him loath his vegetable meal ;

;

But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
Each with contracting, fit's him to the soil.
Chearful at morn he wakes from short repose, 185
Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes ;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his vent'rous plough-fhare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks marks the way,
And drags the struggling favage into day. 190
At night returning, ev'ry labour fped,
He fits hiin down the monarch of a shed ;
Smiles by his chearful fire, and round surveys
His childrens looks that brighten at the blaze ;
While his lov'd partner, boastful of her hoard, 195
Displays her cleanly platter on the board :
And haply too fome pilgrim thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.

Thus every good his native wilds impart,
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart,

200 And ev’n those ills that round his mansion rise, Enhance the bliss his fcanty fund supplies. Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms ; And as a child, when scaring sounds molest, 205 Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar, But bind him to his native mountains more.

Such are the charms to barren states assign’d ; Their wants but few, their wishes all confin’d. 210 Yet let them only share the praises due, If few their wants, their pleasures are but few ; For every

want that stimulates the breaft, . Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies, 215
That first excites defire, and then supplies ;
Unknown to them, when fenfual pleasures cloy,
To fill the languid pause with finer joy ;
Unknown those pow'rs that raise the soul to flame,
Catch ev'ry nerve, and vibrate through the frame. 220
Their level life is but a mould'ring fire,
Unquench'd by want, unfann'd by strong desire ;
Unfit for raptures, or, if raptures cheer
On some high festival of once a year,
In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire,

225 Till buried in debauch, the bliss expire.

But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow :
Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low,
For, as refinement stops, from fire 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 fterner virtues o'er the mountains breast
May fit, like falcons cow'ring on the neft ;
But all the gentler morals, such as play

235 'Thro' life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the way, These far dispers'd, on tim'rous 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. 240 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 murniuring Loire ? Where fhading e!ms along the margin grew, 215 And freshen'd from the wave the zephyr flew ;

230

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

And haply, though my harsh touch falt’ring still,
But inock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's skill
Yet would the village praise my wondrous pow'r,
And dance, forgetful of the noon-tide hour. 250
Alike all ages. Dames of ancient days
Have led their children through the mirthful maze,
And the gay grandfire, skill'd in gestic lore,
Has frisk'd beneath the burthen of threescore.

So bleft a life these thoughtless realms display, 255
Thus idly busy rolls their world away :
Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,
For honour forms the social temper

here.
Honour, that praise which real merit gains,
Or ev'n imaginary worth obtains,

260
Here passes current; paid from hand to hand,
It shifts in fplendid traffic round the land :
From courts, to camps, to cottages it ftrays,
And all are taught an avarice of praise ;
They please, are pleas'd, they give to get efteem, 265
Till, seeming blett, they grow to what they seen.

But while this softer art their bliss supplies,
It gives their follies also room to rise ;
For praise too dearly lov'd, or warmly fought,
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought.

270
And the weak soul, within itself unbleft,
Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
Hence oftentation here, with tawdry art,
Pants for the vulgar praise, which fools impart;
Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,

275
And trims her robes of frize with copper lace ;
Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer,
To boast one splendid barquet once a year;

280

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws,
Nor weigh the solid worth of self-applause.

To men of other minds my fancy flies,
Einbofom'd in the deep where Holland lies.
Methinks her patient fons before me stand,
Where the broad ocean leans against the land,
And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,

285
Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride.
Onward methinks, and diligently flow
The firm connected bulwark seems to grow ;
Spreads its long arms amidst the wat’ry roar,
Scoops out an empire and ufurps the shore.

290
While the pent ocean rising o'er the pile,
Sees an amphibious world beneath him (mile ;
The slow canal, the yellow blossom’d vale,
The willow tufted bank, the gliding fail,
The crouded mart, the cultivated plain,

293 A new creation rescu'd from his reign.

Thus, while around the wave-subjected foil
Impels the native to repeated toil,
Industrious habits in each bofom reign,
And industry begets a love of gain.

-300
Hence all the good from opulence that springs,
With all those ills superfluous treasure brings,
Are here display’d. Their much-lov'd wealth imparts
Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts ;
But view them closer, craft and fraud appear,
Ev'n Liberty itself is barter'd here.
At Gold's superior charms all freedom flies,
The needy fell it, and the rich man buys ;
A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,
Here wretches seek dishonourable graves, 310

[ocr errors]

305

« PreviousContinue »