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In regretting the depopulation of the country, I inveigh against the increase of our luxuries; and here also I expect the shout of modern politicians against
For twenty or thirty years past, it has been the fashion to consider luxury as one of the greatest national advantages; and all the wisdom of antiquity, in that particular, as erroneous. Still, however, I must remain a professed ancient on that head, and continue to think those luxuries prejudicial to states by which so many vices are introduced, and so many
kingdoms have been undone. Indeed so much has
been poured out of late on the other side of the question, that, merely for the sake of novelty and variety, one would sometimes wish to be in the right.
I am, Dear Sir,
Your sincere Friend,
And ardent Admirer,
THE DESERTED VILLAGE.
SWEET AUBURN! loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer'd the lab'ring swain,
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear'd each scene!
How often have I paus'd on every charm,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
How often have I bless'd the coming day,
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter'd round the place;
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please;
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed, These were thy charms...But all these charms are fied
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn; Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, And desolation saddens all thy green: One only master grasps the whole domain, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain; No more thy glassy brook reflects the day, But, chok'd with sedges, works its weedy way; Along thy glades, a solitary guest, The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvary'd cries.
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
IU fares the land, to hast’ning ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay: Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made: