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Thy cocoas and bananas, palms and yams, . , And homestall thatched with leaves. But hast thou
found Their former charms? And having seen our state, Our palaces, our ladies, and our pomp Of equipage, our gardens, and our sports, And heard our music; are thy simple friends, Thy simple fare, and all thy plain delights, As dear to thee as once ? And have thy joys Lost nothing by comparison with our's? Rude as thou art, (for we returned thee rude And ignorant, except of outward show) I cannot think thee yet so dull of heart And spiritless, as never to regret Sweets tasted here, and left as soon as known. Methinks I see thee straying on the beach, And asking of the surge that bathes thy foot, If ever it has washed our distant shore. I see thee weep, and thine are honest tears, A patriot's for his country: thou art sad At thought of her forlorn and abject state, From which no power of thine can raise her up. Thus fancy paints thee, and though apt to err, Perhaps errs little when she paints thee thus. She tells me too that duly every morn Thou climbest the mountain top, with eager eye Exploring far and wide the watery waste
For sight of ship from England. Every speck Seen in the dim horizon turns thee pale With conflict of contending hopes and fears. But comes at last the dull and dusky eve, And sends thee to thy cabin, well-prepared To dream all night of what the day denied. Alas! expect it not. We found no bait To tempt us in thy country. Doing good, Disinterested good, is not our trade. We travel far, 'tis true, but not for nought; And must be bribed to compass earth again By other hopes and richer fruits than your's.
But though true worth and virtue in the mild And genial soil of cultivated life Thrive most, and may perhaps thrive only there, Yet not in cities oft: in proud and gay And gain-devoted cities. Thither flow, As to a common and most noisome sewer, The dregs and feculence of every land. In cities foul example on most minds, Begets its likeness. Rank abundance breeds In gross and pampered cities sloth and lust, And wantonness and gluttonous excess. In cities vice is hidden with most ease, Or seen with least reproach; and virtue, taught By frequent lapse, can hope no triumph there Beyond the achievement of successful flight.
I do confess them nurseries of the arts
There, touched by Reynolds, a dull blank becomes
As London opulent, enlarged, and still
She has her praise. Now mark a spot or two
And knees and hassocks are well-nigh divorced.
God made the country, and man made the town, What wonder then that health and virtue, gifts, That can alone make sweet the bitter draught, That life holds out to all, should most abound And least be threatened in the fields and groves? Possess ye therefore, ye who borne about In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue But that of idleness, and taste no scenes But such as art contrives, possess ye still Your element ; there only can ye shine; There only minds like yours can do no harm. Our groves were planted to console at noon The pensive wanderer in their shades. At eve The moon-beam, sliding softly in between 'The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish, Birds warbling all the music. We can spare The splendour of your lamps ; they but eclipse Our softer satellite. Your songs confound Our more harmonious notes: the thrush departs Scared, and the offended nightingale is mute. There is a public mischief in your mirth ; It plagues your country. Folly such as your's, Graced with a sword, and worthier of a fan, Has made, what enemies could never have done Our arch of empire, stedfast but for you, A mutilated structure, soon to fall.