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No costly ford the sumptuous banquet deal
repays the nightl;=bed.
many a tale
Thus every good his native wilds impart,
Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies,
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 cowering on the nest; But all the gentler morals, such as play Thro’ life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the waya; These, far dispers’d, on timorous pinions fly, To sport and flutter in a kinder sky.
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 falt'ring still, But mock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's skill ;
Yet would the village praise my wonderous power,
Dames of ancient days
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 honor forms the social temper here. Honor, that praise which real merit gains, Or even imaginary worth obtains, Here passes current, paid from hand to hand, It shifts its 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, It gives their follies also room to rise ; For praise too dearly lov'd, or warmly sought, Enfeebles all internal strength of thought. And the weak soul, within itself unblest, Leans for all the pleasure on another's breast. Hence, ostentation here, with tawdry art, Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; Here vanity assumes her pert grimace, And trims her robes of frize with copper lace Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer, To boast one splendid banquet once a year ; The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws; Nor weighs the solid worth of self applause.
To men of other minds my fancy flies,
Thus while around the wave-subjected soil Impels the native to repeated toil, Industrious habits in each bosom reign, And industry begets a love of gain. Hence all the good from opulence that springs; With all those ills superfluous treasure brings, Are here display'd. Their much-lov'd wealth imparts Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts; But view them closer, craft and fraud appear, Even liberty itself is þarter'd here. At gold's superior charms all freedom flies, The needy sell it, and the rich man buys ; A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves, Her wretches seek dishonorable graves, And calmly bent, to servitude conform, Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.
Heavens ! how unlike their Belgic sires of old ! Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold;
War in each breast, and freedom on each brow;
Fir'd at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, And flies where BRITAIN courts the western spring ; Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, And brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspes glide, There all around the gentlest breezes stray, There gentle music melts on every spray ; Creation's mildest charms are there combin'd, Extremes are only in the master's mind ! Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state With daring aims irregularly great ; Pride in their port, defiance in their eye, I see the lords of human kind pass by ; Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band, By forms unfashion'd fresh from nature's hand, Fierce in their native hardiness of soul, True to imagin'd right, above control, While even the peasant boasts these rights to scan, And learns to venerate himself as man.
Thine, freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd here, Thine art those charms that dázzle and endear: Too blest indeed, were such without alloy, But foster'd e'en by freedom, ills annoy; That independence Britons prize too high, Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie; The self-dependent lordlings stand alone, All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown ;, Here by the bonds of nature feebly held, Minds combat minds, repelling and repellid. Ferments arise, imprison’d factions roar, Represt ambition struggles round her shore, Till over-wrought, the general system feels Its motions stop, or phrenzy fire the wheels: