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A PROSPECT OF SOCIETY.*
REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Or by the lazy Scheld, or wandering Po;
Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor
Against the houseless stranger shuts the door;
Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies,
• Several alterations were made in this Poem, and some new verses added to it, as it passed through different edi. tions..... We have followed the last edition published in the lifetime of the author.
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend, And round his dwelling guardian saints attend; Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire; Blest that abode, where want and pain repair, And every stranger finds a ready chair;
Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crown'd,
Where all the ruddy family around
Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
But me....not destin'd such delights to share,
My prime of life in wandering spent and care;
Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies....
Ev'n 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,
When thus Creation's charms around combine,
As some lone miser visiting his store,
Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er;
Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill,
Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still:
Thus to my breast alternate passions rise,
And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find
But where to find that happiest spot below,
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own;
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease:
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave, And thanks his gods for all the good they gave. Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam;
His first, best country, ever is....at home.
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare, And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find An equal portion dealt to all mankind:
As different good, by art or nature given,
To different nations makes their blessings even.
Nature, a mother kind alike to all, Still grants her bliss at Labour's earnest call;
With food as well the peasant is supply'd
On Idra's cliffs as Arno's shelvy side;
And though the rocky crested summits frown,
These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down.
From art more various are the blessings sent;
Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content.
Yet these each other's power so strong contest,
That either seems destructive of the rest.