Слике страница
PDF
ePub

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,
Unwieldy 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 power. 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 wand'rings 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 bowers 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 an hare whom hounds and horns pursue,

Pants to the place from whence at first he flew,

I 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 blest is 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 dang'rous 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;
Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay,

While resignation gently slopes the way;

And, all his prospects bright'ning to the last,

His heaven commences ere the world be past.

Sweet was the sound, when oft at ev'ning's close,

Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;

[ocr errors]

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 whisp'ring wind,

And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;

These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,

And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,

No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,

No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread,

But all the blooming flush of life is fled:....

All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;

She, wretched matron, forc’d, in age, for bread,

To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn.;

She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain.

Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd,
And still where many a garden flower grows
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,

wild;

[merged small][ocr errors]

A man he was to all the country dear,

And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,

Nor e'er had chang'd, nor wish'd to change his place;

Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power,

By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize,

More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.

His house was known to all the vagrant train....
He chid their wand'rings, but reliev'd their pain.
The long-remember'd beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
The ruin'd spendthrift now no longer proud,

Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd;

« ПретходнаНастави »