« ПретходнаНастави »
Hence every state, to one lov'd blessing prone,
Conforms and models life to that alone.
Each to the fav’rite happiness attends,
And spurns the plan that aims at other ends :
Till carried to excess in each domain,
This fav’rite good begets peculiar pain,
But let us try these truths with closer eyes,
And trace them through the prospect as it lies :
Here for a while my proper cares resign'd,
Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind ;
Like yon neglected shrub at random çast,
That shades the steep, and sighs at every blast,
Far to the right, where Apennine ascends,
Bright as the summer, Italy extends :
Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side,
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride;
While oft some temple's mould'ring tops between
With venerable grandeur mark the scene.
Could Nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
The sons of Italy were surely blest.
Whatever fruits in different climes were found,
That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground;
Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,
· Whose bright succession decks the varied year;
Whatever sweets salute the northern sky
With vernal lives, that blossom but to die;
These, here disporting, own the kindred soil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil ;
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,
And sensual bliss is all the nation knows.
In florid beauty groves and fields appear ;
Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.
Contrasted faults through all his manners reign :
Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain ;
Though grave, yet trilling; zealous, yet untrue ;
And e’en in penance planning sins anew.
All evils here contaminate the mind
That opulence departed leaves behind ;
For wealth was theirs, not far removed the date
When commerce proudly flourish'd through the state :
At her command the palace learnt to rise,
Again the long-fall’n column sought the skies,
The canvas glow'd, beyond e'en nature warm,
The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form,
Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
Commerce on other shores display'd her sail ;
While nought remain'd of all that riches gave,
But towns unmann'd, and lords without a slave :
And late the nation found with fruitless skill
Its former strength was but plethoric ill.
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 mind
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 where Cæsars 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, and owns 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, e'en here content can spread a charm, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm. Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts tho' small, He sees his little lot the lot of all; Sees no contiguous 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 his 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, 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 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;
Whence 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 level life is but a smouldering fire,
Unquench’d by want, unfann'd hy 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,
Till, 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 the manners run, And love's and friendship’s finely pointed dart Fall blunted from each indurated heart. Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast May sit, like falcons cowering on the nest; But all the gentler morals, such as play Thro’ life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the way, 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, 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 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 burthen of threescore.
So blest a life these thoughtless realms display;
Thus idly busy rolls their world away;
Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,
For honour forms the social temper here.
Honour, that praise which real merit gains,
Or e'en iinaginary worth obtains,
Here passes current : paid from hand to hand,
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 sought,
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;
Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,
And trims her robes of frieze 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.
To men of other minds my fancy flies,
Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies.
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 watery 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 rescued 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.
Lience all the good from opulence that springs,
With all those ills superfluous treasure brings,
Are 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 slumber in the storm.
Heavens ! how unlike their Belgic sires of old !
Rough, 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 lies 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 control,
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 claims that bind and sweeten life unknown. Here, by the bonds of nature feebly held, Minds combat minds, repelling and repell’d; Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar, Represt ambition struggles round her shore, Till, over-wrought, the general system feels, Its motions stop, or phrenzy fire the wheels.
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties 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 flame, Where kings have toild and poets wrote for fame, One sink of level avarice shall lie, And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour'd die.
Yet think not, thus when Freedom's ills I state, I mean to flatter kings, or court the great :