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But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
A time there was, ere England's griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintain’d its man;
But times are alter'd: Trade's unfeeling train
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,
To husband out life's taper at the close,
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;
For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dang'rous deep;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend;
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;
There, as I pass'd with careless steps and slow,
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.
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,
She, wretched matron, forc’d, in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
She only left of all the harmless train,
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd,
A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
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;
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train....
Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd;