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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 deckt, admits the gorgeous train;
Tumultuous grandeur crouds the blazing square,
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.
Sure scenes like these no troubles e’er 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,
Has wept at tales of innocence distress’d;
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn;
Now lost to all, her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer's doors she lays her head,
And, pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the show'r
With heavy heart deplores the luckless hour,
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel, and robes of country brown.
Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train, Do thy fair tribes participate her pain? E’en now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led, At proud mens doors they ask a little bread!
All, 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 disf'rent 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 tigers wait their hapless prey, And, favage men more murd'rous still than they ; While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies, Mingling the ravag'd landscape with the skies, Far dis’rent these from ev'ry former scene, The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green, The breezy covert of the warbling grove, That only shelter'd thefts of harmless love.
Good Heav'n! what forrows gloom'd that parting day,
That call’d them from their native walks away;
When the poor exiles, ev'ry pleasure past,
Hung round the bow'rs, and fondly look'd their last,
And took a long farewell, and wish’d in vain
For seats like these beyond the western main;
And shudd'ring still to face the distant deep,
Return’d and wept, and still return’d to weep.
The good old fire, the first prepar'd to go
To new-found worlds, and wept for other's woe;
But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
He only wish'd for worlds beyond the grave.
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his hapless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And left her lovers for her fathers arms.
With louder plaints, the mother spoke her woes,
And blest the cot where ev'ry pleasure rose;
And kist her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And claspt them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
Whilst the fond husband strove to lend relief
In all the silent manliness of grief.
0, luxury! thou curft by heav'n's decree,
How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee!
How do thy potions with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigour not their own.
At ev'ry draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe;
Till sapp'd their strength, and ev'ry part unfound,
Down, down they fink, and spread a ruin round.
E’En now the devastation is begun,
And half the bus’ness of distruction done;
E'en now, methinks, as pond'ring here I stand,
I see the rural virtues leave the land.
Down where yon anch’ring vessel spreads the fail
That idly waiting flaps with every gale,
Downward they move, a melancholy band,
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.
Contented toil, and hospitable care,
And kind connubial tenderness, are there;
And piety with wishes plac'd above,
And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou sweet poetry, thou loveliest maid,
Still first to fly where sensual joys invade;
Unfit in these degen’rate times of shame
To catch the heart, or strive for honest fame;
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decry'd,
My shame in crouds, my solitary pride,
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,
That found’st me poor at first, and keep'st me so;
Thou guide, by which the nobler arts excel,
Thou source of ev'ry virtue, fare thee well;
Farewell, and O! where'er thy voice be try'd,
On Tornio's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side,
Whether where equinoctial fervours glow,
Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
Redress the rigours of th’inclement clime;
Aid slighted truth, with thy persuasive strain;
Teach erring man tu spurn the rage of gain;
Teach him, that states of native strength posseft,
Though very poor, may still be very blest;
That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away;
While self-dependent pow'r can time defy,
As rocks resist the billows and the sky.