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Where my worn fout, each wand'ring hope at refti? IT
May gather bliss to see my fellows bless'd.
But where to find that happiest spot below,
Who can direct, when all pretend to know?
The thudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone,
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own;
Extols the treafures of his stormy feas,
And his long nights of revelry and eafe:
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boafts of his golden fands and palmy wine ;
Baks in the glare, or ftems 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 bleffings which they share,
Though patriots fiatter, ftill shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind;
As different good, by art or nature given,
To different nations makes their bleflings even.
Nature, a mother kind alike to all,
Still grants her bliss at labour's earnest call;
With food as well the peasant is fupply'd,
On Idra's cliffs as Arno's shelvy fide ;
And tho' the rocky-crested summits frown,
These rocks by custom turn to beds of down,
From art more various are the blessings fent ;
Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content.
Yet these each other's pow'r so strong contest,
That either seems destructive of the rest,
Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails;
And honour sinks where commerce long prevails.
Hence ev'ry state to one lov'd blessing prone,
Conforms and models life to that alone.'
Each to the fav’rite happiness attends,
And spurns the plan that aims at other ends;
Till carried to excess in each domain,
This fav'rite good begets peculiar pain,
But let us try these truths with closer eyes,
And trace them through the prospect as it lies :
Here for a while my proper cares resign'd,
Here let me fit in sorrow for mankind;
Like yon néglected shrub at random caft,
That Mades the steep, and fighs at ey’ry blast.
Far to the right, where Appennine afcends,
Bright as the summer, Italy extends ;
It's uplands floping, deck the mountain's fide,
Woods over woods in gay theatrick pride ;
While oft some temple's mould'ring tops between,
With venerable grandear mark the scene.
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 falute the northern sky
With vernal lives, that blossom but to die :
There, here difporting, own the kindred foil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil;
While fea-born gales their gelid wings expand,
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land,
But small the bliss that senfe 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 ; 1'1
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 flourith'd through the state :
At her command the palace learn'd to rise,
Again the long-fall’n column sought the skies;
The canvas glow'd beyond e'en Nature warm,
The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form.
Till, more unsteady than the fouthern gale,
Commerce on other shores display'd her fail;
While nought remaind of all that riches gave,
But towns unmann'd, and lords without a slave:
And late the nation found with fruitless skill
It's former strength was but plethorick: ill.
Yet, ftill the loss of wealth is here fupply'd
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 parte-board triumph and the cavalcade;
Processions form’d for piety and love,
A mistress or a saint in ev'ry grove.
By sports like these are all their cares beguild,
The sports of children satisfy the child ;
Each nobler aim, repress'd by long controul,
Now finks at last, or feebly mans the foul;
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 tott'ring in decay,
There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed;
And, wond'ring 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 mansion tread,
And force a churlish soil for scanty bread :
No product here the barren hills afford,
But man and steel, the foldier and his sword.
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
But winter ling’ring 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 it's 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 it's 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.
Chearful at morn, he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes ;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his vent'rous plough-fhare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling favage into day.
At night returning, ev'ry labour fped,
He fits him down the monarch of a shed;
Smiles by his chearful 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 fome pilgrim, thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.
Thus ev'ry good his native wilds impart,
Imprints the patriot paffion on his heart;
And e'en those ills, that round his manfion rife,
Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies.
Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,
And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms;
And as a child, when scaring founds moleft,
Clings close and closer to the mother's breast,
So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar,
But bind him to his native mountains more.
Such are the charms to barren states asign'd;
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 ev'ry want that stimulates the breast,
Becomes a source of pleasure when redress’d.
Whence from such lands each pleasing science fies,
That first excites desire, and then supplies;
Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy,
To fill the languid pause with finer joy ;
Unknown those pow'rs that raise the soul to flame,
Catch ev'ry nerve, and vibrate through the frame.
Their level life is but a mould'ring fire,
Unquench'd by want, unfann'd by strong desire;
Unfit for raptures ; or, if raptures chear
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 fow;
Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low :
For, as refinement stops, from fire to son,
Unalter'd, unimprov'd, the manners run ;
And love's and friendlip's finely pointed dart
Fall blunted from each indurated heart,
Some fterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast
May fit, like falcons cowering on the neft ;,
But all the gentler morals, such as play
Through life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the way,
These far difpers'd, on timorous pinions fly,
To sport and flutter in a kinder fky.
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign,
I turn--and France displays her bright domain.