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But when those charms are past, for charms are
When time advances, and when lovers fail, ffrail,
She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,
In all the glaring impotence of dress :
Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd,
In Nature's simplest charms at first array'd ;
But, verging to decline, its splendours rise,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise ;
While, scourged by Famine, from the smiling land
The mournful peasant leads his humble band;
And while he sinks, without one arm to save,
The country blooms-a garden and a grave!
Where, then, ah! where shall Poverty reside,
To 'scape the pressure of contiguous Pride?
If to some common's fenceless limits stray'd,
He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,
Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,
And e'en the bare-worn common is denied.
If to the city sped—What waits him there?
To see profusion that he must not share;
To see ten thousand baneful arts combined
To pamper luxury and thin mankind;
To see each joy the sons of Pleasure know,
Extorted from his fellow-creature's wo.
Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade,
There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;
Here, while the proud their long-drawn pomp display,
There the black gibbet glooms beside the way;
The dome where Pleasure holds her midnight reign,
Here, richly deck'd, admits the gorgeous train;
Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square,
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.
Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy!
Sure these denote one universal joy! . [eyes
Are these thy serious thoughts? Ah, turn thine
Where the poor houseless, shivering female lies :
She once, perhaps, in village plenty blessd, .
Has wept at tales of innocence distress'd; ..
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn:
Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer's door she lays her head,
And, pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel and robes of country brown.
Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train,
Do thy fair tribes participate her pain ?
E'en now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
Ah, no. To distant climes, a dreary scene, Where half the convex world intrudes between, Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go, Where wild Altama murmurs to their wo. Far diff'rent there from all that charm'd before, The various terrors of that horrid shore; Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray, And fiercely shed intolerable day; Those matted woods where birds forget to sing, But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling ; Those pois'nous fields with rank luxuriance crown'd, Where the dark scorpion gathers death around : Where at each step the stranger fears to wake The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake; Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey, And savage men more murd'rous still than they ; While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies, Mingling the ravaged landscape with the skies. Far diff'rent these from ev'ry former scene, The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green, The breezy covert of the warbling grove, That only shelter'd thefts of harmless love. [day,
Good Heav'n! what sorrows gloom'd that parting That call'd them from their native walks away; When the poor exiles, ev'ry pleasure past, Hung round the bow'rs, and fondly look'd their last, And took a long farewell, and wish'd in vain For seats like these beyond the western main;
And shudd'ring still to face the distant deep,
Return’d and wept, and still return'd to weep.
The good old sire the first prepared to go
To new-found worlds, and wept for others' wo;
But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
He only wish'd for worlds beyond the grave.
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his helpless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And left a lover's for a father's arms.
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And bless'd the cot where ev'ry pleasure rose;
And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
While her fond husband strove to lend relief,
In all the silent manliness of grief.
Oh, Luxury! thou cursed by Heaven's decree,
How ill exchanged are things like these for thee!
How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Kingdoms by thee to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigour not their own :
At ev'ry draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy wo;
Till, sapp'd their strength, and ev'ry part unsound,
Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round.
E'en now the devastation is begun, And half the bus'ness of destruction done ; E'en now, methinks, as pond'ring here I stand, I see the rural virtues leave the land. Down where yon anch'ring vessel spreads the sail, That, idly waiting, flaps with ev'ry gale, Downward they move, a melancholy band, Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand. Contented Toil, and hospitable Care, And kind connubial Tenderness are there ; And Piety, with wishes placed above, And steady Loyalty, and faithful Love.
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid, Still first to fly where sensual joys invade !
Unfit, in these degen’rate times of shame,
To catch the heart, or strike for honest Fame.
Dear, charming nymph, neglected and decried,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride;
Thou source of all my bliss and all my wo,
That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so;
Thou guide, by which the nobler arts excel,
Thou nurse of ev'ry virtue, fare thee well;
Farewell! and, oh! where'er thy voice be tried,
On Torno's cliffs or Pambamarca's side,
Whether where equinoctial fervours glow,
Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
Redress the rigours of th' inclement clime ;
Aid slighted Truth with thy persuasive strain,
Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain;
Teach him that states, of native strength possess'd,
Though very poor, may still be very bless'd;
That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away;
While self-dependant pow'r can Time defy,
As rocks resist the billows and the sky.
SAMUEL JOHNSON. 1709–1784.
ON THE DEATH OF MR. ROBERT LEVET.
CONDEMN'D to Hope's delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blasts or slow decline,
Our social comforts drop away.
Well tried through many a varying year,
See Levet to the grave descend,
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of ev'ry friendless name the friend.
Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise, and coarsely kind; Nor, letter'd Arrogance, deny
Thy praise to merit unrefined.
When fainting Nature call'd for aid,
And hov'ring Death prepared the blow, His vig'rous remedy display'd,
The pow'r of art without the show.
In Misery's darkest cavern known,
His useful care was ever nigh, Where hopeless Anguish pour'd his groan,
And lonely Want retired to die.
No summons mock'd by chill delay,
No petty gain disdain’d by pride, The modest wants of ev'ry day
The toil of ev'ry day supplied.
His virtues walk'd their narrow round,
Nor made a pause, nor left a void; And sure th' Eternal Master found
The single talent well employ'd.
The busy day, the peaceful night,
Unfelt, uncounted, glided by ; His frame was firm, his powers were bright,
Though now his eightieth year was nigh.
Then with no fiery throbbing pain,
No cold gradations of decay, Death broke at once the vital chain,
And freed his soul the nearest way.