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Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
But me, not destin'd such delights to share, My prime of life in wand'ring spent and care ; Impelld with steps unceasing to pursue Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view ; That, like the circle bounding earth and skies, Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies; My fortune leads to traverse realms alone, And find no spot of all the world my own.
E'en now, where Alpine solitudes ascend, I sit me down a pensive hour to spend ;, And plac'd on high, above the storm's career, Look downward where an hundred realms appear;. Lakes, forests, cities, plains extending wide, The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride.
When thus creation's charms around combine, Amidst the store, should thankless pride repine ? Say, should the philosophic mind disdain That good which makes each humbler bosom vain? Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can, These little things are great to little man;
And wiser he, whose sympathetic' mind
As some lone miser, visiting his store,
But where to find that happiest spot below,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
Nature, a mother kind alike to all,
But let us try these truths with closer eyes,
Far to the right, where Appennine ascends,
Could Nature's bounty satisfy the breast, The sons of Italy were surely bless'd. Whatever fruits in different climes are 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 trifling; 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 remov'd the date, When commerce proudly flourish'd through the At her command the palace learn'd to rise, [state, Again the long-fall’n column sought the skies; The canvass 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 pasteboard 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 beguild, The sports of children satisfy the child : Each nobler aim, repress'd 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 tottering 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 mansions 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 feast though He sees his little lot the lot of all; (small,