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Was but to boast his own peculiar good,
Which all might view with envy, none partake.
My charmer is not mine alone ; my sweets,
And she that sweetens all my bitters too,
Nature, enchanting Nature, in whose form
And lineaments divine I trace a hand
That errs not, and find raptures still renew'd,
Is free to all men-universal prize.
Strange that so fair a creature should yet want
Admirers, and be destin’d to divide
With meaner objects ev’n the few she finds !
Stripp'd of her ornaments, her leaves and flow'rs,
She loses all her influence. Cities then
Attract us, and neglected Nature pines,
Abandon'd, as unworthy of our love.
But are not wholesome airs, though unperfum'd
By roses; and clear suns, though scarcely felt;
And groves, if unharmonious, yet secure
From clamour, and whose very silence charms ;
To be preferr'd to smoke, to the eclipse
That Metropolitan volcanos make,
Whose Stygian throats breathe darkness all day long;
And to the ftir of commerce, driving flow,
And thund'ring loud, with his ten thousand wheels ?
They would be, were not madness in the head,
And folly in the heart; were England now
What England was ; plain, hospitable, kind,
And undebauch'd. But we have bid farewell
To all the virtues of those better days,
And all their honest pleasures. Mansions once
Knew their own masters; and laborious hinds,
Who had surviv'd the father, ferv'd the son.
Now the legitimate and rightful lord
Is but a transient guest, newly arriv'd,
And soon to be supplanted. He that saw
His patrimonial timber cast its leaf,
Sells the last scantling, and transfers the price
To some shrewd sharper, ere it buds again.
Eftates are landscapes, gaz'd upon a while,
Then advertis'd, and auctioneer'd away.
The country starves, and they that feed th' o'ercharg'd
And surfeited lewd town with her fair dues,
By a just judgment strip and starve themselves.
The wings that waft our riches out of sight
Grow on the gamester's elbows; and th' alert
And nimble motion of those restless joints,
That never tire, soon fans them all away.
Improvement too, the idol of the age,
Is fed with many a victim. Lo, he comes !
Th' omnipotent magician, Brown, appears !
Down falls the venerable pile, th' abode
Of our forefathers—a grave
But tasteless. Springs a palace in its stead,
But in a distant spot ; where, more expos'd,
It may enjoy th' advantage of the north,
And aguish east, till time shall have transform’d
Those naked acres to a shelt’ring grove.
He speaks. The lake in front becomes a lawn;
Woods vanish, hills subside, and vallies rise ;
And streams, as if created for his use,
Pursue the track of his directing wand,
Sinuous or straight, now rapid and now now,
Now murmring soft, now roaring in cascades-
Ev'n as he bids ! Th' enraptur'd owner smiles.
'Tis finish'd, and yet, finish'd as it seems,
Still wants a grace, the loveliest it could show,
A mine to satisfy th' enormous cost.
Drain’d to the last poor item of his wealth,
He sighs, departs, and leaves th' accomplish'd plan
That he has touch'd, retouch'd, many a long day
Labour'd, and many a night pursu'd in dreams,
Just when it meets his hopes, and proves the heav'n
He wanted, for a wealthier to enjoy!
And now perhaps the glorious hour is come,
When, having no stake left, no pledge tendear
Her int'rests, or that gives her sacred cause
A moment's operation on his love,
He burns with most intense and Aagrant zeal
To serve his country.
grace Deals him out money from the public chest;
Or, if that mine be shut, fome private purse
Supplies his need with an ufurious loan,
To be refunded duly when his vote,
Well-manag’d, shall have earn'd its worthy price.
Oh innocent, compar'd with arts like these,
Crape, and cock'd pistol, and the whistling ball
Sent through the tray'ller's temples ! He that finds
One drop of heav'n's sweet mercy in his cup,
Can dig, beg, rot, and perish, well content,
So he may wrap himself in honest rags
At his last gasp; but could not for a world
his dirty and dependent bread From pools and ditches of the commonwealth, Sordid and sick’ning at his own success,
Ambition, av'rice, penury incurr'd By endless riot, vanity, the luft Of pleasure and variety, dispatch, As duly as the swallows disappear, The world of wand'ring knights and squires to town.