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TO

SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.

DEAR SIR,

I CAN have no expectations in an address of this kind,

either to add to your reputation, or to establish my own. You can gain nothing from my admiration, as I am ignorant of that art in which you are faid to excel; and I may lofe much by the severity of your judgment, as few have a jufter tafte in poetry than you. Setting intereft therefore afide, to which I never paid much attention, I must be indulged at prefent in following my affections. The only dedication I ever made was to my brother, because I loved him better than most other men. dead. Permit me to infcribe this poem to you. He is fince you may be pleased with the verfification and mere mechanical parts of this attempt, I don't pretend to inquire; but I know you will object (and indeed several of Our beft and wifeft friends concur in the opinion) that the depopulation it deplores is no where to be feen, and the diforders it laments are only to be found in the poet's n imagination. To this I can fcarce make a anfwer than that I fincerely believe what I have written; any other that I have taken all poffible pains, in my country excurfons, for thefe four or five years paft, to be certain of

How far

what I allege, and that all my views and inquiries have led me to believe those miseries real, which I here attempt to difplay. But this is not the place to enter into an inquiry, whether the country be depopulating, or not; the difcuffion would take up much room, and I should prove myself, at beft, an indifferent politician, to tire the reader with a long preface, when I want his unfatigued attention to a long poem.

In regretting the depopulation of the country, I inveigh against the increase of our luxuries; and here also I expect the fhout of modern politicians againft me. For twenty or thirty years paft, it has been the fashion to confider luxury as one of the greatest national advantages; and all the wisdom of antiquity in that particular, as erroneous. Still, however, I must remain a profeffed ancient on that head, and continue to think those luxuries prejudicial to flates, by which fo many vices are introduced, and fo many kingdoms have been undone. Indeed fo much has been poured out of late on the other fide of the queftion, that, merely for the fake of novelty and variety, one would sometimes wish to be in the right. I am,

DEAR SIR,

YOUR SINCERE FRIEND,

AND ARDENT ADMIRER,

OLIVER GOLDSMITH.

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THE

DESERTED VILLAGE.

SWEET AUBURN! loveliest village of the plain,

Where health and plenty chear'd the lab'ring fwain,
Where fmiling fpring its earliest vifit paid,
And parting fummer's ling'ring blooms delay'd.
Dear lovely bow'rs of innocence and ease,

Seats of my youth, when ev'ry 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 ev'ry charm,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the bufy mill;
The decent church that topt the neigh'bring hill,
The hawthorn bufh, with feats beneath the fhade,
For talking age and whifp'ring lovers made!
How often have I bleft the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
And all the village train, from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree;
While many a paftime circled in the fhade,
The young contending as the old furvey'd;
And many a gambol frolic'd o'er the ground,
And flights of art and feats of strength went round.
And still as each repeated pleasure tir'd,
Succeeding fports the mirthful band infpir'd;

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The dancing pair that fimply fought renown,
By holding out, to tire each other down;
The fwain miftruftlefs of his fmutted face,
While fecret laughter titter'd round the place;
The bafhful virgin's fide-long looks of love,
The matron's glance that would those looks reprove. 30
These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like these,
With sweet fucceffion, taught ev'n toil to please ;
Thefe round thy bow'rs their chearful influence shed,
These were thy charms-but all these charms are fled.
Sweet fmiling village, lovelieft of the lawn, 35
Thy fports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn ;
Amidft thy bow'rs the tyrant's hand is feen,
And defolation faddens all thy green:
One only mafter grafps the whole domain,
And half a tillage ftints thy finiling plain;
No more thy glaffy brook reflects the day,
But, choak'd with fedges, works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a folitary guest,

The hollow founding bittern guards its neft;
Amidft thy defart walks the lapwing flies,
And ties their echoes with unvary'd cries.
Sunk are thy bow'rs in fhapeless ruin all,
And the long grafs o'ertops the mould'ring wall,
And trembling, fhrinking from the fpoiler's hand,
Far, far away thy children leave the land.

Ill fares the land, to haft'ning 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 peafantry, their country's pride,
When once destroy'd, can never be fupply'd.

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