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Here for awhile, my proper cares resign’d,
Here let me sit, in sorrow for mankind;
Like yon neglected shrub at random cast,
That shades the steep, and sighs at ev'ry blast.
Far to the right, where Apennine ascends,
Bright as the summer Italy extends ;
Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side,
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride;
While oft some temple's mould'ring tops between
With venerable grandeur mark the scene.
Could nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
The sons of Italy were surely blest.
Whatever fruits in diff'rent 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 salute the northern sky
With vernal lives, that blossom biat to die :
These here disporting, own the kindred soil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the pianter's toil ;
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand,
To winnow fragrance rovind the smiling land.
But small the bliss that sense 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 ;
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 flourish'd through the state :
At her command the palace learn'd to rise,
Again the long-fall’n column sought the skies ;
The canvass glow'd beyond e'en nature warm;
The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form;
Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
Commerce on other shores display'd her sail ;
While nought remain'd of all that riches gave,
But towns unman'd, and lords without a slave :
And late the nation found, with fruitless skill,
Ho former strength was but plethoric ill.
Yet still the loss of wealth is here supplied
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 pasteboard 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 control,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul ;
While low delights, succeeding fast behind,
In happier meanness occupy the mind :
As in those domes where Cesars 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.
The Traveller, continued.
My soul, turn from them-turn we to survey
Where roughest climes a nobler race display ;
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
And force a churlish soil for scanty biead :
No product here the barren hills afford,
But man and steel, the soldier 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 its rage disarm.
Tho' poor the peasant's hut, his feast tho’ small,
He sees his little lot the lot of all ;
Sees no contiguous palace rear its head,
To shame the meanness of his humble shed :
No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal,
To make him loath his vegetable meal;
But oalm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil.
Cheerful at morn he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as be goes ;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his vent'rous plough-sbare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, ev'ry labour sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed ;
Smiles by his cheerful 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 some pilgrim, thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.
Thus ev'ry good his native wilds impart,
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
And e'en those hills that round his mansion rise,
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 sounds molest,
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 assign'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 redrest.
Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies,
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 cheer
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 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
Falls blunted from each indurated heart.
Some sterner virtues o’er the mountain's breast,
May sit like falcons cow'ring on the nest;
But all the gentler morals, such as play
Thro’ life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the way ;
These, far dispers’d, on tim'rous pinions fly,
To sport and futter in a kinder sky.
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign,
I turn and Fra ce 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 murm'ring Loire !
Where shading elms along the margin grew,
And, freshen’d from the wave, the zephyr flew ;
And haply, tho' my harsh touch falt'ring still,
But mock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's skill,
Yet would the village praise my wond'rous pow'r,
And dance, forgetful of the noon-tide hour!
Alike all ages ; dames of ancient days
Have led their children thro’ the mirthful maze;
And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore,
Has frisk'd beneath the burden of threescore.
So gay a life these thoughtless realms display;
Thus idly busy rolls their world
Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear;
For honour forms the social temper here.
Honour, that praise which real merit gain,
Or e'en imaginary worth obtains,
Here passes current; paid from hand to hand,
It shifts in 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 loy'd or warmly sought,
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought;
And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
Leans for all 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 frieze 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 fies,
Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies.
Methinks her patient sons before me stand,
Where the broad ocean leans against the land ;
And sedulous to stop the coming tide,
Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride.
Onward methinks, and diligently slow,
The firm connected bulwark seems to grow ;
Spreads its long arms amidst the wat’ry roar,
Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore;
While the pent ocean, rising o'er the pile,
Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile ;
The slow canal, the yellow-blossom’d vale,
The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,
The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,
A new creation rescued from his reign.
Thus while around the ware-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 spulence that springs,
With all those ills superfluous treasure brings,
Are here display'd. Their much-lov'd wealth imparte
Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts;
But, view thera closer, craft and fraud appear ;
L'en liberty itself is barter'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,
Here wretches seek dishonourable graves ;
And, calmly bent, to servitude conform,
Dnll as their lakes that slumber in the storm.
0! how unlike their Belgic sires of old ;
Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold: