Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

POETS.

ENGLISH LITERATURE.

OLIVER GOLDSMITH,

No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,
But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.

Yet still, eren here, content can spread a charm,
Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though

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 calm, 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 he goes ;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his venturous ploughshare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, every 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 lored 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 every good his native wilds impart,
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
And even those ills 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.

While the pent ocean, rising o'er the pile,
Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile;
The slow canal, the yellow-blossomed vale,
The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,
The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,
A new creation rescued from bis reign.

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 displayed. Their much-loved wealth imparts Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts; But view them closer, craft and fraud appear, Even liberty itself is bartered here. At gold's superior charms all freedom flies, The needy sell it, and the rich inan buys; A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves; Here wretches seek dishonourable graves, And calmly bent, to servitude conform, Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm. The Deserted Village' is limited in design, but exhibits the same correctness of outline, and the same beauty of colouring, as “The Traveller.' The poet drew upon his recollections of Lissoy for most of the landscape, as well as the characters introduced. His father sat for the village pastor, and such a portrait might well have cancelled, with Oliver's relations, all the follies and irregularities of his youth. Perhaps there is no poem in the English language more universally popular than the Deserted Village.' Its best passages are learned in youth, and never quit the memory. Its delineations of rustic life accord with those ideas of romantic purity, seclusion, and happiness, which the young mind associates with the country and all its charins, before modern manners and oppression had driven them thence

To pamper luxury, and thin mankind. Political economists may dispute the axiom, that luxury is hurtful to nations; and curious speculators, like Mandeville, may even argue that private vices are public benefits; but Goldsmith has a surer ad. vocate in the feelings of the heart, which yield a spontaneous assent to the principles he inculcates, when teaching by examples, with all the efficacy of apparent truth, and all the effect of poetical beauty and excellence.

[France Contrasted with Holland.] So blest a life these thoughtless realms display, Thus idly busy rolls their world away: Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear, Por honour forms the social temper here. Honour, that praise which real merit gains, Or even imaginary worth obtains, Here passes current; paid from band to hand, It shifts in splendid traffic round the land. Pron courts to camps, to cottages it strays, And all are taught an avarice of praise; They please, are pleased, 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 loved, or warmly sought,
Lofeebles all internal strength of thought;
And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
Henice ostentation here, with tawdry art,
Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart;
Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,
And trims her robe of frieze with copper lace;
Here begrar pride defrauds her daily cheer,
To boast one splendid banquet once a-year ;
The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws,
So weighs the solid worth of self-applause.

To men of other minds my fancy flies,
Eraboomed in the deep where Holland lies,
Sletbinka her patient sons before me stand,
Where the broad ocean leans against the land,
Ani, 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 ;
ofreads its long arins amidst the watery roar,
olurps out an empire, and usurpe the shore :

[Description of Auburn -- The Village Preacher, the

Schoolmaster, and Alehouse-Reflections.]
Sweet Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheered the labouring swain ;
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed;
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please;
How often have I loitered o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endeared each scene!
How often have I paused on every charm!
The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm;
The never-failing brook, the busy mili,
The decent church that topped the neighbouring hill;
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age, and whispering lovers made!
How often have I blessed the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play ;
And all the village train, from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree;
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old surveyed;
And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground,
| And sleights of art and feats of strength went rouna.

T

[ocr errors]

And still, as each repeated pleasure tired,

Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired : Eternal sunshine settles on its head. ! The dancing pair that simply sought renown,

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way, | By holding out to tire each other down ;

With blossomed furze unprofitably gay, The swain, mistrustless of his smutted face,

There, in his noisy mansion skilled to rule, While secret laughter tittered round the place; The village master taught his little school; The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,

A man severe he was, and stern to view ; The matron’s glance that would those looks reprove-| I knew him well, and every truant knew. 1 These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like these, Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please. The day's disasters in his morning's face;

Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close, | Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee Up younder hill the village murmur rose;

At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; There as I passed, with careless steps and slow, Full well the busy whisper circling round, The mingling notes came softened from below; Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned; The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,

Yet he was kind; or, if severe in aught, The sober herd that lowed to meet their young; The love he bore to learning was in fault; The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,

The village all declared how much he knew;
The playful children just let loose from school; 'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too;
The watchdog's voice that bayed the whispering wind, | Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage;
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind; And even the story ran that he could guage;
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade, In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill,
And filled each pause the nightingale had made. For even, though vanquished, he could argue still;

Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled, While words of learned length, and thundering sound,
And still where many a garden flower grows wild, Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around;
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.

That one small head could carry all he knew.
A man he was to all the country dear.

But past is all his fame: the very spot And passing rich with forty pounds a-year;

Where many a time he triumphed, is forgot. Remote from towns, he ran his godly race,

Near youder thorn that lists its head on high, Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his place; Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye. Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power,

Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired, By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;

Where gray-beard mirth and smiling toil retired; Far other aims his heart had learned to prize, | Where village statesmen talked with looks profound, More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.

And news much older than their ale went round. His house was known to all the vagrant train; Imagination fondly stoops to trace He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain. The parlour splendours of that festive place; The long-remembered beggar was his guest,

The white-washed wall, the nicely sanded floor, Whose beard descending swept his aged breast; The varnished clock that clicked behind the door; The ruined spendthrift now no longer proud,

The chest, contrived a double debt to pay, Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed ; A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,

The pictures placed for ornament and use, Sat by his fire, and talked the night away ;

The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose; Wcpt o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done,

The hearth, except when winter chilled the day, Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won. With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel gay; Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow, While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show, And quite forgot their vices in their wo;

Ranged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row. Careless their merits or their faults to scan,

Vain transitory splendour ! could not all His pity gare ere charity began.

Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall! Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,

Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart And even his failings leaned to virtue's side;

An hour's importance to the poor man's heart. But, in his duty prompt at every call,

Thither no more the peasant shall repair,
He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all; To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,

No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,
To tempt her new fledged offspring to the skies, No more the woodman's ballad shall prerail;
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,

No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.

Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear; Beside the bed where parting life was laid,

The host himself no longer shall be found And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed, Careful to see the mantling bliss go round; The reverend champion stood. At his control

Nor the coy maid, half willing to be pressed, Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;

Shall kiss the up to pass it to the rest. Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise, Yes ! let the rich deride, the proud disdain, And his last faltering accents whispered praise. These simple blessings of the lowly train; At church, with meek and unaffected grace,

To me more dear, congenial to my heart, His looks adorned the venerable place ;

One native charm, than all the gloss of art. Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway; Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play, And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray. The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway: The service past, around the pious man,

Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran;

Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined. Even children followed with endearing wile,

But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade, And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile; With all the freaks of wanton wealth arrayed, His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed,

In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain, Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed; The toiling pleasure sickens into pain; To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given, And even while fashion's brightest arts decoy, But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven. The heart distrusting asks if this be joy? As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,

Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm; | The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay,

« НазадПродовжити »