« AnteriorContinuar »
Whatever fruits in different climes are found,
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,
Yet, still the loss of wealth is here supplied By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride; From these the feeble heart and long-fall'n mini
An easy compensation seem to find.
Here may be seen in bloodless pomp array'd,
The paste-board triumph and the cavalcade;
Processions form'd for piety and love,
A mistress or a saint in every grove.
By sports like these are all their cares beguil'd,
The sports of children satisfy the child;
Each nobler aim, represt by long control,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;
While low delights succeeding fast behind,
In happier meanness occupy the mind:
As in those domes, were Csesars once bore sway,
Defac'd by time and tott'ring in decay,
There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed;
And wondering man could want the larger pile,
Exults, andownr his cottage with a smile.
My soul turn from them, turn we to survey Where rougher climes a nobler race display, Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread, And force a churlish soil for scanty bread; No product here the barren hills afford, But man and steel, the soldier and his sword. No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array, But winter lingering chills the lap of May; No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast, But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.
Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm. Though poor the peasant's hut, his feast tho' small, He sees his little lot the lot of all; Sees no contigious palace rear its head To shame the meanness 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 finny deep,
Or drives the vent'rous plough-share to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, eveiy labor 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;
With his lov'd partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays heif cleanly platter on the board:
And haply too some pilgrim thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightl; »bed.
Thus every good his native wilds impart, Imprints the patriot passion 6n his heart; And e'en those ills, that round his mansion rise, Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies. Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms; And as a child, when scaring sounds molest, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar, But bind him to his native mountains more. Such are the charms to barren states assign'd; Their wants but few, their wishes all confin'd. 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,
Vol. If. G
Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies,
But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow:
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign, I turn; and France displays her bright domain. Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease, Pleas'd 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 falt'ring still, But mock'd all tunc, and marr'd the dancer's skill;
Yet would the village praise my wonderous power,
So blest a life these thoughtless realms display,
But while this softer art their bliss supplies, It gives their follies also room to rise; For praise too dearly lov'd, or warmly sought,' Enfeebles all internal strength of thought. And the weak soul, within itself unblest, Leans for all the pleasure on another's breast. Hence, ostentation here, with tawdry art, Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; Here vanity assumes her pert grimace, And trims her robes of frize with copper lace Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer, To boast one splendid banquet once a year; The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws, Nor weighs the solid worth of self applause.