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Yet still, e'en here, Content can spread a charm, Redress the clime, and all its
disarm. Though poor the peasant's hut, his feast thougla
small, He sees his little lot the lot of all; Sees no contiguous palace rear its head, To shame the reatness of his humble shed ; No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal, To make him loath his vegetable meal ; But calm and bred in ignorance and toil, Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil. Cheerful at morn he wakes from short repose, Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes ; With patient angle trolls the fiony deep, Or drives his vent'rous ploughshare to the steep i Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way, And drags the struggling savage into day, At night returning, every labour sped, He sits him down the monarch of a shed ; Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze ; While his lov'd partner, boastful of her hoard, Displays her cleanly platter on the board ; And haply too some 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 ; And ev’n those bills that round his mansion rise, Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies. Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, And dear that bill which lifts him to the storms i And as a babe, when scaring sounds molest, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, So the loud torrent, and the whirlwiod's roar, But bind him to his native mountains more.
Such are the charms to barren states assigo'd Their wants but few, their wishes all contin'da
Yet let them only share the praises due,
If few their wants, their pleasures are but few ;
For every want that stimulates the breast,
Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest.
Wbence from such lands each pleasing science flies,
That first excites desire, and then supplies ;
Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy,
To fill the languid pause with finer joy ;
Unknown those powers that raise the soul to flame,
Catch every nerve, and vibrate through the frame.
Their levellife is but a mould’ring fire,
Nor quench'd by want, nor fann'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,
Til, 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 sire to son
Unalter’d, unimprov'd their manners run;
And love's and friendship's finely pointed dart
Falls blunted from each indurated heart :
Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast
May sit, like falcons, cow'ring on the nest ;
But all the gentler morals, such as play
Through life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the
These far dispers’d, on timorous 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. Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease, Please with thyself, whom all the world can please, How often have I led thy sportive choir, With tuneless pipe beside the murmuring Loire ! Where shading elms along the margin grew, And freshen’d from the wave the zephyr flew :
And haply, though my harsh touch faltering still,
But mock'd all tune, and marr’d the dancer's skill ;
Yet would the village praise my wondrous power,
And dance, forgetful of the noon-tide hour.
Alike all ages. Dames of ancient days
Have led their children through the mirthful maze
And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore,
Has frisk'd beneath the burden of threescore.
So bright a life these thoughtless realms display:
Thus idly busy rolls their world away :
Their's are those hearts that mind to mind endear,
For honour forms the social temper here.
Honour, that praise which real merit gains,
Or e'en imaginary worth obtains,
Here passes current ; paid from hand to band,
It shifts in splendid traffic round the land :
From courts to camps, to cottages it strays,
And all are taught an avarice of praise ;
They please, are pleas'd ; they give, to get esteem
Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem.
But while this softer art their bliss supplies,
It gives their follies also room to rise ;
For praise too dearly lov’d or warmly sooght
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought :
And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
Hence Ostentation here, with tawdry art,
Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart 3
Here Vanity assumes her pert grimace,
And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace 3
Here beggar Pride defrauds her daily cheer,
To boast one splendid banquet once a year ;
The mind still turns where shifting fashion drawi,
Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause,
To men of other minds my fancy flies, Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies s Methinks her patient sons before me stand, Where the broad ocean leans against the land,
And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,
Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride :
Onward methinks, and diligently slow,
The firm connected bulwark seems to grow ;
Spreads its long arms amidst the watry roar,
Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore :
While the pent ocean, rising o'er the pile,
Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile ;
The slow canal, the yellow-blossom’d vale,
The willow tufted bank, the gliding sail,
The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,
A new creation rescu'd from his reign.
Thus, while around the wave subjected soil
Impels the native to repeated toil,
Industrious habits in each bosom reign,
And Industry begets a love of gain.
Hence all the good from opulence that springs,
With all those ills superfluous treasure brings,
· A're here display’d. Their much-lov'd wealth imparts
Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts ;
But, view them closer, craft and fraud appear,
E'en liberty itself is barter'd here :
At gold's superior charms all freedom flies,
The needy sell it, and the rich man buys ;
A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,
Here wretches seek dishonourable graves,
And calmly bent, to servitude conform,
Dull as their lakes that sleep beneath the storm.
Heavens ! how unlike their Belgic sires of old ! Rougb, poor, content, ungovernably bold ; War in each breast, and freedom on each brow; How much unlike the sons of Britain now !
Fir'd at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, And flies where Britain courts the western spring ; Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, And brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspes glide, There all around the gentlest breezes stray, There gentle music melts on every spray ;
Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd,
Extremes are only in the master's mind :
Stern o’er each bosom Reason holds her state,
With daring aims irregularly great:
Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of human kind pass by,
Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,
By forms unfashion’d fresh from Nature's hand ;
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
True to imagin'd right, above controul ;
While e'en the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
And learns to venerate himself as man.
Thine, Freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd here,
Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear;
Too blest, indeed, were such without alloy ;
But foster'd e'en by Freedom, ills annoy ;
That independence Britons prize too high,
Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie;
The self-dependent lordlings stand alone,
All kindred claims that soften life unknown :
Here by the bonds of nature feebly held,
Minds combat minds, repelling and repellid;
Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar,
Represt Ambition struggles round her shore ;
Whilst, over-wrought, the general system feels
Its motion stop, or frenzy fires the wheels.
Nor this the worst. As social bonds decay, As duty, love, and honour, fail to sway, Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law, Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe. Hence all obedience bows to these alone, And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown ; Till time may come, when stript of all her charms, The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms, Where noble stems transmit the patriot claim, And monarchs toil, and poets pant for fame, One sink of level avarice shall lie, And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour'd die.