Sidebilder
PDF

Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,
These little things are great to little man;
And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind
Exults in all the good of all mankind.
Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendor crown'd;
Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round;
Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale; .
Ye bending swains, that dress the flow'ry vale;
For me your tributary stores combiné :
Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine!

As some lone miser, visiting his store, Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er;. Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill, Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still: Thus to my breast alternate passions rise, Pleas’d with each good that Heaven to man supplies : Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall, To see the hoard of human bliss so small; And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find Some spot to real bappiness consign'd, Whère my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest, May gather bliss to see my fellows blest.

But where to find that happiest spot below, Who can direct, when all pretend to know?

The shudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own;
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease;
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave.
Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam,
His first, best country, ever is at home.
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind;
As different good, by art or nature given, .
To different nations makes their blessings even.

[ocr errors]

Nature, a mother kind alike to all,
Still grants her bliss at labour's earnest call;
With food as well the peasant is supply'd
On Idra's cliffs, as Arno's shelvy side;
And though the rocky crested summits frown,
These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down.
From art more various are the blessings sent;
Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content.
Yet these each other's power so strong contest,
That either seems destructive of the rest.

Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails;
And honour sinks where commerce long prevails.
Hence every state to one lov'd blessing prone,
Conforms and models life to that alone.
Each to the fav’rite happiness attends,
And spurns the plan that aims at other ends;
'Till carried to excess in each domain,
This fav’rite good begets peculiar pain.

[ocr errors]

But let us try these truths with closer eyes,
And trace them through the prospect as it lies :
Here for a while my proper cares resignd,
Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind;
Like yon neglected shrub at random cast,
That shades the steep, and sighs at every blast.

Far to the right, where Appenine 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 different climes are found,
That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground;

[ocr errors]

Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear, in
Whose bright succession decks the varied year;
Whatever sweets salute the northern sky
With vernal lives, that blossom but to die; .
These here disporting own the kindred soil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil: .!!
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.

But small the bliss that sense alone bęstows, And sensual bliss is all the nation knows. In florid beauty groves and fields appear, in a Man seems the only growth that dwindles here. " Contrasted faults through all his manners reiga: Though poor, luxurious ; though submissive, vain; Though grave, yet trifling ; zealous, yet untrue; And even in penance planning sins anew.it 0987 All evils here contaminate the mind, te srit 76 brigi That opulence departed leaves behind; ok ebaskets For wealth was theirs, not far remov'd the date, po When commerce proudly flourish'd through the state; At her command the palace learnt 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 gare,
But towns unmann'd, and lords without a slave :
And late the nation found with fruitless skill
Its former strength was but plethoric ill.

Yet, still the loss of wealth is here supply'd By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride ; From these the feeble heart, and long-fallin 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 every grove. By sports like these are all their cares beguild, The sports of children satisfy the child ; Each nobler aim, represt by long controul, Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul; While low delights succeeding fast behind, In happier meanness oecupy the mind : : As in those domes, where Cæsars 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, wondering man could want the larger pile, Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.

« ForrigeFortsett »