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Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way, With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay, There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule, The village master taught his little school; A man severe he was, and stern to view, I knew him well, and every truant knew ; Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace, The day's disasters in his morning face; Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; Full well the busy whisper circling round, Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd; Yet he was kind, or if stvore in ought, The love he bore to learning was in fault; The village all declar'd how much he knew; 'Twas certain he could write, and cypher too ; Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage, And ev’n the story ran that he could gauge : In arguing too, the parson own'd his skill, For ev'n though vanquish'd, he could argue still ; While words of learned strength, and thund'ring sound, Amaz'd the gazing rustics rang'd around, And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew, That one small head could carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame. The very spot Where many a time he triumph'd, is forgot. Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspir'd, Where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retir'd, Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound, And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace
goose ; The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day, With aspin boughs, and flowers and fennel gay, While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for shew, Rang'd o'er the chimney, glistend in a row.
Vain transitory splendors! could not all Reprieve the tott'ring mansion from its fall! Obscurt it sinks, nor shall it moro impart An hour's importance to the poor man's heart ; Thither no more the peasant shall repair, To sweet oblivion of his daily care ; No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale, No more the wood-man's ballad shall prevail : No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, Relax his pond'rous strength, and lean to hear; The host himself no longer shall be found Careful to see the mantling bliss go round; Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest, Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.
Yes ! let the rich deride, the proud disdain, These simple blessings of the lowly train ; To me more dear, congenial to my heart, One native charm, than all the gloss of art ; Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play, The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway ; Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, Unenvy'd, unmolested, unconfin'd,
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay, 'Tis your's to judge, how wide the limits stand Between a splendid and an happy land. Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore, And shouting folly hails them from her shore; Hoards, èv'n beyond the miser's wish abound, And rich men flock from all the world around. Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name That leaves our useful products still the same. Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride, Takes up a space
many poor supply'd ; Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds, Space for his horses, equipage and hounds; The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth, Has robb’d the neighboring fields of half their growth. His seat, where solitary sports are en, Indignant spurns the cottage from the green ; Around the world each needful product flies, For all the luxuries the world supplies. While thus the land adorn'd for pleasure, all In barren splendor feebly waits the fall.
As some fair female unadorn’d and plain, Secure to please while youth confirms her reign, Slights every borrow'd charm that dress supplies, Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes ; But when those charms are past, for charms are frail, When time advances, and when loyers fail,
She then shines forth solicitous to bless,
Where then, ah! where shall poverty reside,
If to the city sped-what waits him there? To see profusion that he must not share ; To see ten thousand baneful arts combin'd To pamper luxury, and thin mankind; To see each joy the sons of pleasure know, Extorted from his fellow-creature's woe. Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade, There the pale artist plies the sickly trade ; Here, while the proud their long-drawn pomps display, There the black gibbet glooms beside the way. The dome where pleasure holds her midnight reign, Here, richly deck’t, admits the gorgeous train ; Tumultuous grandeur crouds the blazing square, The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare. Sure scenes like these no troubles ere annoy! Sure these denote one universal joy! Are these thy serious thoughts—Ah, turn thine eyes Where the poor houseless shiv'ring female lies.
She once, perhaps, in village plenty blest,
Do thine, sweet AUBURN, thine, the loveliest train, Do thy fair tribes participate her pain ? Ev'n now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led, At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
Ah, no. To distant climes, a dreary scene, Where half the convex world intrudes between, Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go, Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe. Far different there from all that charm'd before, The various terrors of that horrid shore; Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray, And fiercely shed intolerable day ; Those matted woods where birds forget to sing, But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling; Those pois'nous fields with rank luxuriance crown'd, Where the dark scorpion gathers death around; Where at each step the stranger fears to wake The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake; Where crouching tygers wait their hapless prey, And savage men more murd'rous still than they : While oft in whirts the mad tornado flies, Mingling the ravag'd landscape with the skies. Far different these from
former scene, The cooling brook, the grassy vested green, Vol. II.