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Here while the proud their long-drawn pomps display,
Are these thy serious thoughts? - Ah, turn thine eyes
And, pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the shower,
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel and robes of country brown.
Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train,
Do thy fair tribes participate her pain?
Ah, no! To distant climes, a dreary scene,
Far different there from all that charm'd before
Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray,
Those matted woods, where birds forget to sing,
But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling;
Those poisonous fields with rank luxuriance crowned,
Where the dark scorpion gathers death around;
While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,
Good Heaven! what sorrows gloom'd that parting day,
That called them from their native walks away;
When the poor exiles, every pleasure past,
Hung round the bowers, and fondly looked their last,
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And kissed her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
In all the silent manliness of grief.
O luxury! thou curst by Heaven's decree,
How ill exchanged are things like these for thee!
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
At every draught more large and large they grow,
Till sapped their strength, and every part unsound,
And half the business of destruction done;
Even now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,
I see the rural virtues leave the land.
Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail,
Downward they move, a melancholy band,
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.
Contented toil, and hospitable care,
And kind connubial tenderness, are there;
That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so;
Thou guide by which the nobler arts excel,
Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well!
Teach him, that states of nativę strength possessed,
NOTES TO THE DESERTED VILLAGE.
(The numbers refer to lines.)
FOR general remarks on the poem, see the sketch of Goldsmith.
2. Swain =
peasant. A favorite word among the poets of the last century, by whom it was used in a somewhat vague sense as shepherd," 'lover," or 66 young man.
departing. For the same use of the word, see the first line of Gray's "Elegy."
5. Bowers dwellings. By poets often used somewhat vaguely.
- The hawthorn bushes around Lissoy have been cut to
pieces to furnish souvenirs of the locality.
16. Remitting = ceasing for a time.
See note to line 6 of "The Cotter's Saturday Night." went round. See line 22.
21. Gambol frolicked = sportive trick was played in a frolicsome manner. 35. Lawn: plain. See line I.
37. Tyrant Some wealthy land-owner.
Goldsmith deplores the ac
cumulation of land in the hands of great land-owners, to be used by them, not for careful tillage, but in great measure for ostentation and pleasure. 39. One only master = one sole master.
deprives of fruitfulness and beauty.
open spaces, usually low and moist or marshy.
45. Walks range, region. — Lapwing a wading bird of the plover
family. See Webster.
49. Shrinking, etc. - Owing to the absorption of the land by great proprietors, the peasantry were forced to emigrate.
55. Goldsmith is here partly right and partly wrong.
"A bold peas
antry is undoubtedly necessary to the highest welfare of a country. But when, in the following lines, he inveighs against commerce and manufacture,
he makes a mistake. These do not injure a country, but increase its wealth, population, and intelligence. When, however, he denounces luxury, which unfortunately he sometimes confounds with trade, he has the approval of all right-thinking men.
63. Trade's unfeeling train = those enriched by commerce and manufacture.
81. Busy train = thronging reminiscences of the past.
85. These lines express a real wish of Goldsmith's, but one that was destined not to be fulfilled. The reality of the desire renders these lines pathetic. 88. By repose modifies keep.
105. Guilty state. State here means livery; and it is called guilty because regarded by the poet as an evidence of criminal avarice and luxury. 107. He the person spoken of in line 99. — Latter endphrase meaning death. See Prov. xix. 20.
121. Bayed = barked at. O. Fr. abayer, to bark.
122. Spoke indicated.
132. Mantling = covering as with a cloak or mantle.
136. Pensive expressing thoughtfulness with sadness.
137. Copse = a thicket of underwood. Cf. coppice.
= a Biblical
house, habitation; usually one of some size or pre
142. Passing rich = more than rich, very rich.
144. Place post, position.
149. Vagrant train wandering company; tramps.
broken down by age, sickness, or some other cause.
159. Glow - kindle with interest or enthusiasm.
171. Parting. See line 4.
189. As some tall cliff, etc. - This has been pronounced one of the sublimest similes in the English language.
194. Furze = a thorny evergreen shrub. It is called " unprofitably
gay" because, in spite of its beautiful yellow flowers, it is of no practical use. 196. The village master = Paddy Byrne. See sketch of Goldsmith. 199. Boding = foreboding.
209. Terms and tides =seasons and times.