« VorigeDoorgaan »
Still on thy solemn steps attend :
Warm Charity, the general friend.
With Justice, to herself severe,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.
Oh, gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread Goddess, lay thy chast’ning hand ! Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,
Not circled with the vengeful band (As by the impious thou art seen) With thundering voice, and threatening mien,
With screaming Horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty :
Thy form benign, oh Goddess ! wear,
Thy milder influence impart, Thy philosophic train be there
To soften, not to wound my heart. The generous spark extinct revive, Teach me to love, and to forgive,
Exact my own defects to scan, What others are to feel, and know myself a man.
Lo! where the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
Fair Venus' train, appear,
Disclose the long-expected flowers,
And wake the purple year!
The Attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,
The untaught harmony of Spring :
While, whispering pleasure as they fly,
Cool Zephyrs through the clear blue sky
Their gather'd fragrance fling.
Wher'er the oak's thick branches stretch
A broader browner shade,
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
O’er-canopies the glade.
Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think
(It ease reclin'd in rustic state) How vain the ardour of the Crowd, How low, how little are the Proud,
How indigent the Great !
Still is the toiling hand of Care ;
The panting herds repose :
Yet hark, how through the peopled air
The busy murmur glows !
The insect youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honied spring,
And float amid the liquid noon :
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some shew their gaily-gilded trim
Quick-glancing to the sun.
To Contemplation's sober eye
Such is the race of Man :
And they that creep, and they that fly,
Shall end where they began.
Alike the Busy and the Gay
But flutter through Life's little day,
In Fortune's varying colours dress'd : Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance, Or chill’d by Age, their airy dance
They leave, in dust to rest.
Methinks I hear, in accents low,
The sportive kind reply:
Poor Moralist! and what art thou ?
A solitary fly !
Thy joys no glitt'ring female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,
No painted plumage to display:
On hasty wings thy youth is flown ;
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone
We frolic while 'tis May.
Sweet Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer'd the labouring swain,
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's lingering blooms delay'd :
Dear lovely bow'rs of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every 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 every charm,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topt the neighbouring hill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whispering lovers made !
How often have I bless'd 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 pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey'd ;
And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground,
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round.
And still, as each repeated pleasure tir'd,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspir'd ;
The dancing pair that simply sought renown,
By holding out to tire each other down ;
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter'd round the place ;
The bashful virgin's side-long looks of love,
The matron's glance that would those looks reprove :
These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like thiese,
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to ple se;
These round thy bow'rs their cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charms—but all these charms are fed.
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fed, and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amidst thy bow'rs the tyrant's hand is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green :
One only master grasps the whole domain,
And balf a tillage stints thy smiling plain ;
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But chok'd with sedges works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.
Sunk are thy bow'rs in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall;
And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away thy children leave the land.
Ill fares the land, to hastening 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 peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroy'd, can never be supply'd.
A time there was, ere England's griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintain'd its man;
For him light labour spread her wholesome store,
Just gave what life requir'd, but gave no more :
His best companions, innocence and health ;
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
But times are alter'd ; trade's unfeeling train
Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain;
Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose,
Unwieldly wealth and cumbrous pomp repose ;
And every want to luxury allied,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that ask'd but little room,
Those healthful sports that grac'd the peaceful scene,
Liv'd in each look, and brighten'd all the green ;
These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more.
Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's pow'r.
Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks and ruin'd grounds,
And, many a year elaps'd, return to view
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew,
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
In all my wanderings round this world of care,
In all my griefs--and God has giv'n my share-
I still had hopes my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bow'rs to lay me down;
To husband out life's taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose :
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill,
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw ;
And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
1 still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return-and die at home at last.
O blest retirement, friend to life's decline,
Retreats from care, that never must be mine ;
How happy he who crowns, in shades like these,
A youth of labour with an age of ease;
Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!
For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
No surly porter stands, in guilty state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate ;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend :
Bends to the grave with unperceiv'd decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way;
And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
His Heav'n commences ere the world be past !
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose ;
There, as I pass'd with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came soften'd from below;
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
The sober herd that low'd to meet their young;
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school ;
The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whispering wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;