« ForrigeFortsett »
Improvement too, the idol of the age,
Is fed with many a victim. Lo, he comes!
The omnipotent magician, Brown, appears!
Down falls the venerable pile, th' abode
Of our forefathers--a grave whiskered race,
But tasteless. Springs a palace in its stead,
But in a distant spot; where more exposed
It may enjoy th' advantage of the north,
And aguish east, till time shall have transformed
Those naked acres to a sheltering grove.
He speaks. The lake in front becomes a lawn;
Woods vanish, hills subside, and valleys rise;
And streams, as if created for his use,
Pursue the tract of his directing wand,
Sinuous or straight, now rapid and now slow,
Now murmuring soft, now roaring in cascades-
E'en as he bids! Th' enraptured owner smiles.
'Tis finished, and yet, finished as it seems,
Still wants a grace, the loveliest it could show,
A mine to satisfy the enormous cost.
Drained to the last poor item of its wealth,
He sighs, departs, and leaves the accomplished plan,
That he has touched, retouched, many a long day
Laboured, and many a night pursued in dreams,
Just when it meets his hopes, and proves the heaven
He wanted, for a wealthier to enjoy!
And now perhaps the glorious hour is come,
When, having no stake left, no pledge t' endear
Her interests, or that gives her sacred cause
A moment's operation on his love,
He burns with most intense and flagrant zeal
To serve his country. Ministerial grace
Deals him out money from the public chest;
Or, if that mine be shut, some private purse
Supplies his need with a usurious loan,
To be refunded duly, when his vote
Well-managed shall have earned its worthy price.
O innocent, compared with arts like these,
Crape, and cocked pistol, and the whistling ball
Sent though the traveller's temples! He that finds
One drop of heaven's sweet mercy in his cup,
Can dig, beg, rot, and perish, well content,
So he may wrap himself in honest rags
At his last gasp; but could not for a world
Fish up his dirty and dependent bread
From pools and ditches of the commonwealth,
Sordid and sickening at his own success.
Ambition, avarice, penury incurred
By endless riot, vanity, the lust
Of pleasure and variety, despatch,
As duly as the swallows disappear,
The world of wandering knights and squires to town.
London ingulfs them all! The shark is there,
And the shark's prey; the spendthrift, and the leech
That sucks him; there the sycophant, and he
Who with bareheaded and obsequious bows,
Begs a warm office, doomed to a cold jail
And groat per diem, if his patron frown.
The levee swarms, as if in golden pomp
Were charactered on every statesman's door,
Battered and bankrupt fortunes mended here.'
These are the charms, that sully and eclipse
The charms of nature. 'Tis the cruel gripe,
That lean, hard-handed Poverty inflicts,
The hope of better things, the chance to win,
The wish to shine, the thirst to be amused,
That at the sound of Winter's hoary wing
Unpeople all our counties of such herds
Of fluttering, loitering, cringing, begging, loose,
And wanton vagrants, as make London, vast
And boundless as it is, a crowded coop.
O thou, resort and mart of all the earth, Checkered with all complexions of mankind, And spotted with all crimes; in whom I see Much that I love, and more that I admire, And all that I abhor; thou freckled fair, That pleasest and yet shock'st me, I can laugh, And I can weep, can hope, and can despond, Feel wrath and pity, when I think on thee! Ten righteous would have saved a city once, And thou hast many righteous.-Well for thee— That salt preserves thee; more corrupted else, And therefore more obnoxious, at this hour, Than Sodom in her day had power to be, For whom God heard his Abraham plead in vain.
ARGUMENT OF THE FOURTH BOOK.
The post comes in.-The newspaper is read.-The world contemplated at a distance.-Address to Winter.The rural amusements of a winter evening compared with the fashionable ones.-Address to Evening.A brown study.-Fall of snow in the evening.-The wagoner. A poor family-piece.-The rural thief.— Public houses.-The multitude of them censured.The farmer's daughter; what she was—what she is.— The simplicity of country manners almost lost.-Causes of the change.-Desertion of the country by the rich.-Neglect of magistrates.-The militia principally in fault. The new recruit and his transformation.-Reflection on bodies corporate.-The love of rural objects natural to all, and never to be totally extinguished.