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Yet these each other's power so strong contest,
But let us try these truths with closer eyes,
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,
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows, And sensual bliss is all the nation knows.
In florid beauty groves and fields appear,
Yet still the loss of wealth is here supplied
in bloodless pomp array'd,
And wond'ring man could want the larger pile,
My soul, turn from them, turn we to survey Where rougher climes a nobler race display, Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansions
Yet still, ev'n here, content can spread a charm, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm. Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though
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 loathe 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, Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes; With patient angle trolls the finny deep, Or drives his venturous ploughshare 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,
Such are the charms to barren states assigned; 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 smould'ring fire, Unquench'd by want, unfann'd by 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 cow'ring on the nest; But all the gentler morals, such as play Through life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the way,
These, far dispers’d, on timorous pinions fly,
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, faltering 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 noontide 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 even imaginary 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,