Page images



LE R.*

REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, flow,

Or by the lazy Scheld, or wand'ring Po;
Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor,
Against the houseless ftranger shuts the door ;.
Or where Campania's plain for faken lies,
A weary wafte expanding to the skies;
Where'er I roam, whatever realms to fee,
My heart untravell'd fondly turns to thee:
Still to my brother turns, with ceafeless pain,
And drags at each remove a length'ning chain..
Eternal bleffings crown my earliest friend,
And round his dwelling guardian faints attend ;-
Bleft be that fpot, where chearful guests retire
To paufe from toil and trim their ev'ning fire;
Bleft that abode, where want and pain repair,
And ev'ry ftranger finds a ready chair:
Bleft be those feafts with fimple plenty crown'd,
Where all the ruddy family around
Laugh at the jefts or pranks that never fail,
Or figh with pity at fome mournful tale,
Or prefs the bathful ftranger to his food,
And learn the luxury of doing good.





* In this poem several alterations were made, and fome new verfes added, as it paffed through different editions.-We have printed from the ninth, which was the last edition published in the lifetime of the author.

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

But me, not deftin'd fuch delights to share,

My prime of life in wand'ring spent and care:

Impell'd, with fteps unceasing, to pursue


Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view;
That, like the circle bounding earth and skies;
Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies;
My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
And find no spot of all the world my own.
Ev'n now, where Alpine folitudes afcend,
I fit me down a penfive hour to spend;
And, plac'd on high above the ftorm's career,
Look downward where an hundred realms appear;
Lakes, forefts, cities, plains extending wide,
The pomp of kings, the fhepherd's humbler pride.
When thus Creation's charms around combine,
Amidft the ftore, fhould thankless pride repine?
Say, fhould the philofophic mind difdain



That good, which makes each humbler bofom vain? 40

Let fchool-taught pride diffemble all it can,

Thefe little things are great to little man;

And wifer he, whofe fympathetic mind
Exults in all the good of all mankind.

Ye glitt'ring towns, with wealth and fplendor crown'd, 45

Ye fields, where fummer fpreads profufion round,

Ye lakes, whofe veffels catch the bufy gale,

Ye bending fwains, that dress the flow'ry vale,
For me your tributary ftores combine;
Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine.
As fome lone mifer vifiting his ftore,
Bends at his treafure, counts, recounts it o'er ;
Hoards after hoards his rifing raptures fill,
Yet ftill he fighs, for hoards are wanting fill:


Thus to my breaft alternate paffions rife,
Pleas'd with each good that heav'n to man fupplies:
Yet oft a figh prevails, and forrows fall,

To fee the hoard of human bliss so fmall;
And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find
Some spot to real happiness confign'd,


Where my worn foul, each wand'ring hope at reft,
May gather blifs to fee my fellows bleft.

But where to find that happieft fpot below,
Who can direct, when all pretend to know?
The fhudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own,
Extols the treasures of his ftormy feas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease;
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boafts of his golden fands and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or ftems the tepid wave,
And thanks his Gods for all the good they gave.
Such is the patriot's boaft, where'er we roam,
His first, beft country ever is, at home.
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And eftimate the bleffings which they share,
Tho' patriots flatter, ftill fhall wifdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind.
As different good, by art or nature given,
To different nations makes their bleffings even.
Nature, a mother kind alike to all,

Still grants her blifs at labour's earnest call;
With food as well the peafant is fupply'd
On Idra's cliffs as Arno's fhelvy fide;
And though the rocky crefted fummits frown,
Thefe rocks, by cuftom, turn to beds of down.







From art more various are the bleffings fent t;
Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content.
Yet these each other's pow'r fo strong conteft,
That either feems deftructive of the rest.
Where wealth and freedom reign contentment fails,
And honour finks where commerce long prevails.
Hence ev'ry state to one lov'd bleffing prone,
Conforms and models life to that alone.
Each to the fav'rite happiness attends,
And fpurns the plan that aims at other ends
Till, carried to excefs in each domain,
This fav'rite good begets peculiar pain.


But let us try thefe truths with closer eyes,
And trace them through the profpect as it lies:
Here for a while my proper cares refign'd,
Here let me fit in forrow for mankind,
Like yon neglected fhrub at random caft,
That shades the steep, and fighs at every blast.
Far to the right where Appennine afcends,
Bright as the fummer, Italy extends;
Its uplands floping deck the mountain's fide,
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride;
While oft fome temple's mould'ring tops between,
With venerable grandeur mark the scene.

Could nature's bounty fatisfy the breast,
The fons of Italy were surely bleft.
Whatever fruits in different climes were found,
That proudly rife, or humbly court the ground;
Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,
Whofe bright fucceffion decks the varied year;
Whatever sweets falute the northern sky
With vernal lives that bloffom but to die;




[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

Thefe here difporting own the kindred foil,
Nor afk luxuriance from the planter's toil;
While fea-born gales their gelid wings expand
To winnow fragrance round the fmiling land.

But fmall the blifs that fenfe alone beftows,
And fenfual blifs is all the nation knows.
In florid beauty groves and fields appear,
Man feems the only growth that dwindles here.
Contrafted faults through all his manners reign,
Though poor, luxurious, though fubmiffive, vain,
Though grave, yet trifling, zealous, yet untrue,
And ev'n in penance planning fins anew.
And 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 rife,
Again the long-fal'n column fought the fkies;
The canvafs glow'd beyond e'en Nature warm,
The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form.
Till, more unfteady than the fouthern gale,
Conimerce on other fhores difplay'd her fail;
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 fkill
Its former ftrength was but plethoric ill.


Yet, ftill the lofs of wealth is here fupply'd
By arts, the fplendid wrecks of former pride;
From these the feeble heart and long-fall'n mind
An eafy compenfation feem to find.


be feen, in bloodless pomp array'd, The pafte-board triumph and the cavalcade ;







« PreviousContinue »