« ForrigeFortsett »
In boundless oceans never to be pafs'd
By navigators uninformed as they,
Or plough'd perhaps by British bark again.
But far beyond the reft, and with most cause
Thee, gentle favage! whom no love of thee
Or thine, but curiosity perhaps,
Or elfe vain-glory, prompted us to draw
Forth from thy native bow'rs, to fhow thee here
With what fuperior skill we can abuse
The gifts of providence, and fquander life.
The dream is past. And thou haft found again
Thy cocoas and bananas, palms and yams,
And homeftall thatch'd with leaves. But haft thou found
Their former charms? And having feen our ftate,
Our palaces, our ladies, and our pomp
Of equipage, our gardens, and our fports,
And heard our mufic; are thy fimple friends,
Thy fimple fare, and all thy plain delights
As dear to thee as once? And have thy joys
Loft nothing by comparison with ours?
Rude as thou art (for we return'd thee rude
And ignorant, except of outward fhow)
I cannot think thee yet fo dull of heart
And fpiritless, as never to regret
Sweets tasted here, and left as foon as known.
Methinks I fee thee ftraying on the beach,
And asking of the furge that bathes thy foot
If ever it has wafh'd our distant shore.
I fee thee weep, and thine are honest tears,
A patriot's for his country. Thou art fad
At thought of her forlorn and abject state,
From which no power of thine can raife her up.
Thus fancy paints thee, and though apt to err,
Perhaps errs little, when fhe paints thee thus.
She tells me too that duly ev'ry morn
Thou climb'ft the mountain top, with eager eye
Exploring far and wide the wat'ry waste
For fight of fhip from England. Ev'ry fpeck
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 fends thee to thy cabbin, well-prepar'd
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,
Difinterested good, is not our trade.
We travel far 'tis true, but not for nought;
And must be brib'd to compass earth again
By other hopes and richer fruits than yours.
But though true worth and virtue, in the mild
And genial foil of cultivated life
Thrive moft, 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 moft noisome fewer,
The dregs and fæculence of ev'ry land.
In cities foul example on moft minds
Begets its likenefs. Rank abundance breeds
In grofs and pamper'd cities floth and lust,
And wantonness and gluttonous excess.
In cities, vice is hidden with most ease,
Or feen with leaft reproach; and virtue taught
By frequent lapfe, can hope no triumph there
Beyond th' atchievement of fuccessful flight.
I do confefs them nurs'ries of the arts,
In which they flourish moft. Where in the beams Of warm encouragement, and in the eye
Of public note they reach their perfect size.
Such London is, by taste and wealth proclaim'd
The fairest capital of all the world,
By riot and incontinence the worst.
There, touch'd by Reynolds, a dull blank becomes
A lucid mirror, in which nature fees
All her reflected features. Bacon there
Gives more than female beauty to a stone,
And Chatham's eloquence to marble lips.
Nor does the chiffel occupy alone
The pow'rs of fculpture, but the ftyle as much;
Each province of her art her equal care.
With nice incifion of her guided steel
She ploughs a brazen field, and clothes a foil
So fterile with what charms foe'er fhe will,
The richest scen'ry and the loveliest forms.
Where finds philofophy her eagle eye
With which the gazes at yon burning disk
Undazzled, and detects and counts his spots?
In London. Where her implements exact
With which the calculates computes and scans
All distance, motion, magnitude, and now
Measures an atom, and now girds a world?
In London. Where has commerce fuch a mart,
So rich, fo throng'd, fo drain'd, and fo fupplied
As London, opulent, enlarged, and still
Increasing London? Babylon of old
Not more the glory of the earth, than fhe
A more accomplish'd world's chief glory now,
She has her praife. Now mark a spot or two That fo much beauty would do well to purge;