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From courts, to camps, to cottages it strays, Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
But while this softer art their bliss supplies, Thine, Freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd It gives their follies also room to rise;
here, For praise too dearly lov'd, or warmly sought, Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear; Enfeebles all internal strength of thought; Too blest indeed were such without alloy; And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
But foster'd e'en by freedom, ills annoy; Leans for all pleasure ou another's breast. That independence Britons prize too bigh, Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art, Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie; Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; The self-dependent lordlings stand alone, Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,
All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown; And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace; Here, by the bonds of nature feebly held, Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer, Minds combat minds, repelling and repellid; To boast one splendid banquet once a year: Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar, The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws, Represt ambition struggles round her shore; Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause. Till over-wrought, the general system feels
To men of other minds my fancy fies, Its motions stop, or phrenzy fire the wheels. Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies.
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay. Methinks her patient sons before me stand, As duty, love, and honour, fail to sway, Where the broad ocean leans against the land, Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law, And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,
Still gather strength, and foree unwilling awe. Lift the tal) rampire's artificial pride.
Hence all obedience bows to these alone, Onward, metbinks, and diligently slow, And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown; The firm connected bulwark seems to grow ; Till time may come, when, stript of all her Spreads its long arms amidst the watry roar,
charms, Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore : The land of scholars, and the narse of arms, While the pent ocean, rising o'er the pile, Where noble stems transmit the patriot fame, Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile: Where kings have loil'd, and poets wrote, for The slow canal, the yellow-blossom'd vale, One sink of level avarice shall lie, fame, The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,
And scholars, soldiers, kings, unbonour'd die. The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,
Yet think not, thus when freedom's ills l state, A new creation rescu'd from his reign.
I mean to flatter kings, or court the great : Thus, while around the wave-subjected soil Ye pow'rs of truth, that bid my soul aspire, Impels the native to repeated toil,
Par from my bosom drive the low desire ! Industrious habits in each bosom reigo,
And thou, fair Freedom, taught alike to feel And industry begets a love of gain.
The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel; Hence all the good from opulence that springs, Thou transitory flow'r, alike undone With all those ills superfluous treasare brings, By proud contempt, or favour's fostring sun; Are here display'd. Their much-lov'd wealth Still may thy blooins the changeful clime endure! imparts
I only would repress them to secure; Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts; For just experience tells, in ev'ry soil, But view them closer, craft and fraud appear, That those who think must govern those thattoil; E'en liberty itself is barter'd here.
And all that freedom's highest aims can reach At gold's superior charms all freedom flies, Is but to lay proportion'd loads on each. The needy sell it, and the rich man buys; Hence, should one order disproportion's grow, A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,
Its double weight must ruin all below. Here wretches seek dishonourable graves,
Oh then how blind to all that truth requires, And, calmly bent, to servitude conform, Who think it freedom when a part aspires ! Dull as their lakes that slamber in the storm. Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms,
Heav'ns! how unlike their Belgic sires of old ! Except when fast approaching danger warms : Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold; But when contending chiefs blockade the throne, War in each breast, and freedom on each brow; Contracting regal pow'r to stretch their own; How much unlike the sons of Britain now! When I behold a factious band agree
Fir'd at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, To call it freedom when themselves are free; And Aies where Britain courts the western spring; Each wanton judge new penal statutes drar, Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, Laws grind the poor, and rich meu rule the law; Avd brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspis glide; The wealth of climes, where savage nations There all around the gentlest breezes stray,
roam, There gentle music melts on every spray; Pillag'd from slaves to purchase slaves at home; Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd, Fear, pity, justice, indignation, start, Extremes are only in the master's mind; Tear off reserve, and bare my swelling heart; Stern o’er each bosom reason holds her state, Till balf a patriot, half a coward growu, With daring aims irregularly great:
I fly from petty tyrants to the throne. Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
Yes, brother, corse with me that balcfal hour, I see the lords of haman kind pass by;
When first ambition struck at regal pow'r; Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band, And thus, polluting honour in its source, By forms unfashion'd, fresh from Nature's hand, Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force,
Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore, you will object (and indeed several of our best
make any other answer, than that I sincerely beAnd over fields where scatter'd hamlets rose, lieve what I have written; that I have taken all Iu barren solitary pomp repose?
possible pains in my country excursions, for these
unfatigued attention to a long poem.
past it has been the fashion to consider luxury The pensive exile, bending with his woe, as one of the greatest national advantages; and To stop too fearful, and too faint to go,
all the wisdom of antiquity, in that particular, Casts a long look where England's glories shine, as erroneous. Still, however, I must remain a And bids his bosom sympathize with mine. professed ancient on that head, and continue to
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find think those luxuries prejudicial to states, by
I am, dear sir,
your sincere friend,
and ardent admirer,
Sweet Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain,
swain, Where smiling Spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting Summer's ling'ring blooins delay'd : THE DESERTED VILLAGE. Dear lovely bow'rs of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when ev'ry sport could FIRST PRINTED IN 1769.
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,
(shade, admiration, as I am ignorant of that art in which the hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the you are said to excel; and I may lose much by Por talking age and whisp'ring lovers made ! the severity of your judgment, as few have a How often have I bless'd the coming day, juster taste in poetry than you. Setting inter. When toil remitting lent its turn to play, est therefore aside, to which I never paid much and all the village train, from labour free, attention, I must be indulged at present in fol- Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree : lowing my affections. The only dedication I While many a pastime circled in the shade, ever made was to my brother, because I loved The young contending as the old survey'd; him better than most other men. He is since And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground, dead. Permit me to inscribe this poem to you. And slights of art ard feats of strength went How far you may be pleased with the versifi
round; cation and mere mechanical parts of this at- And still, as each repeated pleasure tird, tempt, I do not pretend to inquire : but I kuow Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspir'd
The dancing pair that simply sought renown, To husband out life's taper at the close,
(like these, And, as a hare, whom hounds and bors pursue, These were thy charms, sweet village! sports Pants to the place from whence at first she fier, With sweet succession, taught een toil to please; I still had hopes, my long vexations past, These round thy bow'rs their cheerful influence Here to return-and die at home at last. shed,
O blest retirement, friend to life's decline, These were thy charms—but all these charms are Retreats from care, that never must be mine, fled.
How blest is he who crowns, in shades like these, Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, A youth of labour with an age of ease; Thy sports are Aed, and all thy charms with Who quits a world where strong temptations try, drawn;
And, since'tis hard to combat, learns to fly! Amidst thy bow'rs the tyrant's hand is seen, For him no wretches, born to work and weep, And desolation sadilens all thy green :
Explore the mine, or tempt the dang’rous deep i One oply master grasps the whole domain, No surly porter stands, in guilty state, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain : To spurn imploring fanine from the gate; No more thy glassy bruok reflects the day, But on be mores to meet his latter end, But chok'd with sedges works its weary way; Angels around befriending virtue's friend ; Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay, The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; While resignation gently slopes the way; Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing fies, And, all his prospects brightning to the last, And tires their echoes with unrary'd cries. His bear'n commences ere the world be past. Sunk are thy bow'rs in shapeless ruin all,
Sweet was the sound, when oft at er'ning's And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall;
close, And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's Up yonder bill the village murmur rose; hand,
There, as ) pass'd with careless steps and slow, Far, far away thy children leave the land. The mingling notes came soften'd from below;
III fares the land, to bast'ning ills a prey, The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay ; The sober berd that low'd to meet their young; Princes and lords niay flourish, or may fade; The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool, A breath can make them, as a breath has made: The playful children just let loose from school; Put a bold peasantry, their country's pride, The watch dog's voice that bay'd the whisp'ring When once destroyed, can never be supply'd.
wind, A time there was, ere England's griefs began, And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant miod; When ev'ry rood of ground maintain'd its man; These all in sweet confusion sought the shade, For him light labour spread her wholesome store, And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made. Just gave what life requir'd, but gave no more: But now the sounds of population fail, His best companions, innocence and health; No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale, And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread, But times are alter'd; trade's unfeeling train But all the blooming flush of life is filed : Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain; All but yon widow'd, solitary thing, Along the lawn, where scatter'd bamlets rose, That feebly bends beside the plashy spring; Unwieldy wealth and cumb'rous pomp repose; She, wretched matron, forc'd in age, for bread, And ev'ry want to luxury ally'd,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread, And ev'ry pang that folly pays to pride.
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn, Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom, To seek ber nightly shed, and weep till morn: Those calm desires that ask'd but little room, She only left of all the harmless train, Those healthful sports that grac'd the peaceful The sad historian of the pensive plain. scene,
Near yonder copse, where once the garden Liv'd in each look, and brighten'd all the green;
smil'd, These, far departing, seek a kinder shore, And still where many a garden flow'r grows wild, And rural mirth and manners are no more. There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour, The village preacher's modest mansion rose. Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's pow'r. A man he was to all the country dear, Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year ; Amidst thy tangling walks and ruin'd grounds, Remote from towns he ran bis godly race, And, many a year elaps'd, return to view Nor e'er had chang'd, nor wish'd to change, his Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for pow'r, (place; grew,
By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour; Remembrance wakes with all her busy train, Far other aims bis heart had learn'd to prize, Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain. More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
lo all my wand'rings round this world of care, His house was known to all the vagrant train, In all my griefs and God has giv'n my share-He chid their wand'rings, but reliev'd their pain; I still bad hopes my latest hours to crown, The long-reinember'd beggar was his guest, Amidst these humble bow'rs to lay me down; Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
Theruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud, But past is all his fame. The very spot, Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd; Where many a time he triumph'd, is forgot. The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away; Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done, Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields
[glow, where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retird, Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn'd to Where village statesmen talk'd with looks proAnd quite forgot their vices in their woe;
found, Careless their merits or their faults to scan, And news much older than their ale went round; His pity gave ere charity began.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride, The parlour splendours of that festire place; And ev'n his failings lean'd to virtue's side ; The white-wash'd wall, the vicely sanded floor, But in his duty prompt, at ev'ry call,
The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door; He watch'd and wept, he pray'd and felt, for a!!: The chest contriv'd a double debt to pay, And, as a bird each fond endearment tries A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; To tempt its new-fledg'd offspring to the skies, The pictures plac'd for ornament and use, He try'd each art, reprov'd each dull delay, The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose; Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way. The hearth, except when winter chilld the day,
Beside the bed where parting life was laid, With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel,gay; And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismay'd, While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show, The rev'rend champion stood. At his control, Rang'd o'er the chimney, glisten’d in a row, Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul; Vain transitory splendours ! could not all Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise, Reprieve the tott'ring mansion from its fall! And his last fault'ring accents whisper'd praise, Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, An hour's importance to the poor man's heart; His looks adorn'd the venerable place;
Thither no more the peasant shall repair Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway, To sweet oblivion of his daily care; And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to pray. No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale, The service past, aronnd the pious man,
No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail; With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran: No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, Ern children follow'd, with endearing wile, Relax his pond'rous strength, and lean to hear; And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's The host himself no longer shall be found smile ;
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round; His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest, Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest, Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares dis- Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest. trest:
Yes ! let the rich deride, the proud disdain, To them his heart, his love, his griefs, were giv'n, These simple blessings of the lowly train; But all his serious thoughts bad rest in Heav'n. To me more dear, congenial to my heart, As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form, One native charm, than all the gloss of art; Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the Spontaneous joys, 'where nature has its play, storm,
[spread, The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway; Tho'round its breast the rolling clouds are Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Unenvy'd, unmolested, unconfin'd. Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade, With blossom'd furze, unprofitably gay,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth array'd, There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule, In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain, The village master taught his little school : The toiling pleasure sickens into pain; A man severe he was, and stern to view,
And, e'en while fashion's brightest arts decey, I knew him well, and every truant kbew; The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy? Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen, who survey The day's disasters in bis morning face ; The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay, Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee 'Tis yours to judge how wide the limits stand At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; Between a splendid and a happy land. Full well the busy whisper, circling round, Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore, Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd; And shouting Folly hails them from her shore; Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught,
Hoards e'en beyond the miser's wish abound, The love he bore to learning was in fault;
And rich men flock from all the world around. The village all declar'd how much he knew; Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name 'Twas certain he could write and cypher too; That leaves our useful product still the same. Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage, Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride And ev'n the story ran that he could gauge. Takes up a space that many poor supply'd; Jo arguing, too, the parson own'd his skill, Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds, For ev'n though vanquish'd he could argue still ; Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds; Wbile words of learned length, and thund'ring The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth sound,
Has robb'd the neighb'ring fields of half their Amaz'd the gazing rustics rang'd around;
growth; And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew His seat, where solitary sports are seen, That one small head should carry all he knew. Indignant spurns the cottage from the green;
Around the world each needful product flies: Those matted woods where birds forget to sing,
But silent bats in drowsy elusters cling;
Far diff'rent these from ev'ry former scene, Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd,
The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green, In nature's simplest charms at first array'd; The breezy covert of the warbling grove, But verging to decline, its splendours rise, That only shelter'd thefts of harmless love. Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise ;
Good Heav'n! what sorrows gloom'd that partWhile, scourg'd by famine, from the smiling land
If to the city sped-What waits him there? To new-found worlds, and wept for others' woe;
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a There the black gibbet glooms beside the way;
tear, The dome where pleasure holds her midnight and clasp'd them close, in sorrow doably dear; reign,
Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief Here, richly deck'd, admits the gorgeous train; In all the silent manliness of grief. Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square, O Luxury! thou cars’d by heav'r's decree, The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare. How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee! Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er armoy!. How do thy potions, with insidious joy, Sure these denote one universal joy! [eyes Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy! Are these thy serious thoughts? -ah, turn thine Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown, Where the poor bouseless shiviring female lies : Boast of a florid vigour not their owa : She, once perhaps, in village plenty blest, At ev'ry draught more large and large they grow, Has wept at tales of innocence distrest;
A bloated mass of rank unwieldly woe; Her modest looks the cottage might adorn, Till sapp'd their strength, and ev'ry part us Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn;
sound, Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue, fled, Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round. Near her betrayer's door she lays her bead, E'en now the devastation is begun, And, pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the And balf the bus'ness of destruction dome; sbow'r,
E'en now, methinks, as pond'ring bere I stand, With heavy heart deplores that luck less hour, I see the rural virtues teave the land. (sail, When idly first, ambitious of the town,
Down where yon anch’ring vessel spreads the She left her wheel and robes of country brown. That idly waiting taps with ev'ry gale,
Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest Downward they move, a melanchoły band,
Ah, no. To distant climes, a dreary scene, And piety with wishes placed above,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride ;