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And haply too some pilgrim thither led,
Thus every good his native wilds impart, Imprints the patriot passion on his heart; And e'en those ills, that round his mansion rise, Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies. Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms ; And as a child, when scaring sounds molest, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar, But bind him to his native mountains more. Such are the charms to barren states assign'd; Their wants but few, their wishes all confin'd. Yet let them only share the praises due, If few their wants, their pleasures are but few; For every want that stimulates the breast, Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest, Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies, The first excites desire, and then supplies ; Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy, To fill the languid pause with finer joy ; Unknown those powers that raise the soul to flame, Catch every nerve, and vibrate through the frame. Their level life is but a mouldering fire. Unquench'd by want, unfann'd by strong desire ; Unfit for raptures, or, if raptures cheer On some high festival of once a year, In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire, Till, buried in debauch, the bliss expire,
But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow : Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low; For, as refinement stops, from sire to son Unalter'd, unimprov'd the manners run: And love's and friendship's finely pointed dart Fall blunted from each indurated heart. Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast May sit, like falcons cowering on the nest ; But all the gentler morals, such as play Thro' life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the way ; These, far dispers’d, on tim’rous pinions fly, To sport and futter in a kinder sky.
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign, I turn; and France displays her bright domain. Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease, Pleas'd with thyself, whom all the world can please, How often have I led thy sportive choir, With tuneless pipe, beside the murmuring Loire ? Where shading elms along the margin grew, And freshen'd from the wave the zephyr flew ; And haply, though my harsh touch falt'ring still, But mock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's skill; Yet would the village praise my wondrous power, And dance forgetful of the noon-tide hour. Alike all ages. Dames of ancient days Have led their children through the mirthful maze, And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore, Has frisk'd beneath the burthen of threescore.
So blest a life these thoughtless realms display, Thus idly busy rolls their world away;
Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,
But while this softer art their bliss supplies,
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought ;
To men of other minds my fancy flies, Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies. Methinks her patient sons before me stand, Where the broad ocean leans against the land, And, sedulous to stop the coming tide, Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride,
Onward methinks, and diligently slow,
Thus while around the wave-subjected soil Impels the native to repeated toil, Industrious habits in each bosom reign, And industry begets a love of gain. Hence all the good from opance that springs, With all those ills superfluous treasure brings, Are here display'd. Their much-lov'd wealth imparts Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts ; But view them closer, craft and fraud appear, Even liberty itself is barter'd here. At gold's superior charms all freedom flies, The needy sell it, and the rich man buys; A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves, Her wretches seek dishonorable graves, And calmy bent to servitude conform, Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.
Heavens! how unlike their Belgic sires of old !
Fir'd at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, And flies where Britain courts the western spring i Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, And brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspus glide, There all around the gentlest breezes stray, There gentle music melts on every spray ; Creation's mildest charms are there combin’d, Extremes are only on the master's mind! Stern o’er each bosom reason holds her state With daring aims irregularly great ; Pride in their port, defiance in their eye, I see the lords of human kind pass by ; Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band, By forms unfashion'd fresh from nature's hand, Fierce in their native hardiness of soul, True to imagin'd right, above control, While even the peasant boasts these rights to scan, And learns to venerate himself as man.
Thine, freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd here, Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear: Too blest indeed, were such without alloy, But foster'd e’en by freedom, ills annoy ; That independence Britons prize too high, Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie; The self-dependent lordlings stand alone, All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown; Here by the bonds of nature feebly held, Minds combat minds, repelling and repell’d. Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar, Represt ambition struggles round her shore,