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Stripp'd of her ornaments, her leaves and flow'rs,
745 And all their honest pleasures. Mansions once Knew their own masters; and laborious hinds, Who had surviv'd the father, serv'd the son. Now, the legitimate and rightful lord Is but a transient guest, newly arriv'd,
750 And soon to be supplanted. He that saw His patrimonial timber cast its leaf, Sells the last scantling, and transfers the price To some shrewd sharper, ere it buds again. Estates are landscapes, gaz’d upon a while, 755 Then advertis'd, and auctioneer'd away. The country starves, and they that feed th' o'ercharg'd And surfeited lewd town with her fair dues, By a just judgment strip and starve themselves. The wings that waft our riches out of sight, 760 Grow on the gamester's elbows, and the alert And nimble motion of those restless joints, That never tire, soon fans them all away. Improvement, too, the idol of the age, Is fed with many a victim. Lo, he comes !
Th' omnipotent magician, Brown, appears!
775 And streams, as if created for his use, Pursue the track of his directing wand, Sinuous or straight, now rapid and now slow, Now murm'ring soft, now roaring in cascades E'en as he bids ! Th' enraptur'd owner smiles. 780 'Tis finish'd, and yet, finish'd as it seems, Still wants a grace, the loveliest it could show, A mine to satisfy th' enormous cost. Drain’d to the last poor item of his wealth, He sighs, departs, and leaves th'accomplish'd plan 785 That he has touch'd, retouch'd, many a long day Labour'd, and many a night pursu'd in dreams, Just when it meets his hopes, and proves the Heav'n He wanted, for a wealthier to enjoy! And now perhaps the glorious hour is come, 790 When, having no stake left, no pledge t'endear, Her int’rests, 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
795 Deals him out money from the publick 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-manag'd shall have earn'd its worthy price. 800 O innocent, compar'd with arts like these, Crape, and cock'd pistol, and the whistling ball Sent through the trav'ller's temples ! He that finds
One drop of Heav'n's sweet mercy in his cup,
810 Ambition, avarice, penury, incurr'd By endless riot, vanity, the lust Of pleasure and variety, despatch As duly as the swallows disappear, The world of wand'ring knights and squires to town. London ingulfs them all! The shark is there, 816 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, doom'd to a cold jail
820 And groat per diem, if his patron frown. The levee swarms, as if in golden pomp Were character'd on ev'ry statesman's door, “ Batter'd and bankrupt fortunes mended here." These are the charms that sully and eclipse 825 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 amus'd, That at the sound of Winter's hoary wing 830 Unpeople all our countries of such herds Of flutt'ring, loit'ring, 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,
835 Checker'd 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, 840 And I am weep, can kove and can despond
Feel wrath and pity, when I think on thee !
ARGUMENT OF THE FOURTH BOOK.
plated at a distance--Address to Winter--The rural amusements
HARK ! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge,