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These far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more.
Sweet Auburn, parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.
Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruin'd grounds,
And many a year elapsed, return to view
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train, Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain. In all my wanderings through this world of
In all my griefs-and God has giv'n my share-
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;
To husband out life's taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose:
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidst the swains to show my book-learned
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw ;
And, as a hare when hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return-and die at home at last.
O blest retirement, friend to life's decline, Retreat from cares, that never must be mine, How blest is he who crowns, in shades like these, A youth of labour with an age of ease;
Who quits a world where strong temptations try, And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly! For him no wretches, born to work and weep, Explore the mine, or tempt the dang' rous deep;
No surly porter stands in guilty state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend;
Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way;
And all his prospects bright'ning to the last,
His heaven commences ere the world be past.
Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;
There, as I pass'd with careless steps and slow,
The mingled notes came soften'd from below;
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
The sober herd that low'd to meet their young,
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school,
The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whisp'ring
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread,
But all the blooming flush of life is fled:
All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;
She, wretched matron, forc'd, in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn;
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain.
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd,
And still where many a garden-flower grows wild;
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.
A man he was, to all the country dear,
And passing, rich with forty pounds a-year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had chang'd, nor wish'd to change,
Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power
By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize,
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train,
He chid their wand'rings, but reliev'd their pain:
The long-remember'd beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
The ruin'd spendthrift now no longer proud,
Claim'd kindred there, and had his claim
The broken soldier, kindly bid to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away;
Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done,
Shoulder'd his crutch and show'd how fields
Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn'd to glow,
And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave ere charity began.
Even children follow'd, with endearing wile, And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest; Their welfare pleas'd him, and their cares distrest:
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven. As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the
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 severe in aught, The love he bore to learning was in fault; The village all declar'd how much he knew; 'Twas certain he could write and cipher too: