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Here while the proud their long-drawn pomps display,
There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.
The dome where pleasure holds her midnight reign
Here, richly decked, admits the gorgeous train :
Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square,
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.
Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy!
Sure these denote one universal joy!
Are these thy serious thoughts? — Ah, turn thine eyes
Where the poor houseless shivering female lies.
She once, perhaps, in village plenty blest,
Has wept at tales of innocence distrest;
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn:
Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer's door she lays her head,
And, pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the shower,
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,
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?
Even now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
Ah, no! To distant climes, a dreary scene,
Where half the convex world intrudes between,
Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go,
Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.
Far different there from all that charm'd before
The various terrors of that horrid shore;
Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray,
And fiercely shed intolerable day;
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;
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,
And savage men more murderous still than they;
While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,
Mingling the ravaged landscape with the skies.
Far different these from every former scene,
The cooling brook, the grassy vested green,
The breezy covert of the warbling grove,
That only sheltered thefts of harmless love.
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,
And took a long farewell, and wished in vain
For seats like these beyond the western main,
And shuddering still to face the distant deep,
Returned and wept, and still returned to weep.
The good old sire that first prepared to go
To new found worlds, and wept for others' woe;
But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
He only wished for worlds beyond the grave
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his helpless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And left a lover's for a father's arms.
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And blest the cot where every pleasure rose,
And kissed her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And clasped them close, in sorrow doubly dear,
Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief
In all the silent manliness of grief.
O luxury! thou curst by Heaven's decree,
How ill exchanged are things like these for thee!
How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasure only to destroy!
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigour not their own.
At every draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe;
Till sapped their strength, and every part unsound,
Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round.
Even now the devastation is begun,
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,
That idly waiting flaps with every gale,
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;
And piety with wishes placed above,
And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,
Still first to fly where sensual joys invade;
Unfit in these degenerate times of shame
To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame;
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decried,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride;
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,
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!
Farewell, and O! where'er thy voice be tried,
On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side,
Whether where equinoctial fervours glow,
Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
Redress the rigours of the inclement clime;
Aid slighted truth with thy persuasive strain;
Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain;
Teach him, that states of native strength possessed,
Tho' very poor, may still be very blessed;
That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the laboured mole away;
While self-dependent power can time defy,
As rocks resist the billows and the sky.
NOTES TO THE DESERTED VILLAGE.
(The numbers refer to lines.)
FOR general remarks on the poem, see the sketch of Goldsmith.
I. Auburn Lissoy probably, though with the addition of imaginative
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."
4. Parting 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.
10. Cot cottage.
13. Hawthorn. — 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." 19. Circled went round. See line 22.
plain. See line 1.
21. Gambol frolicked = sportive trick was played in a frolicsome manner. 35. Lawn 37. Tyrant Goldsmith deplores the accumulation 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.
Some wealthy land-owner.
39. One only master = one sole master.
40. Stints: 43. Glades
open spaces, usually low and moist or marshy.
45. Walks = range, region. — Lapwing: =a wading bird of the plover family. See Webster.
deprives of fruitfulness and beauty.
49. Shrinking, etc. — Owing to the absorption of the land by great proprietors, the peasantry were forced to emigrate.
52. Decay decrease in number.
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 manu
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.
100. Age = old age.
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 end: phrase meaning death.
See Prov. xix. 20.
O. Fr. abayer, to bark.
110. Slopes =eases.
115. Careless: =
without care or anxiety.
121. Bayed barked at.
122. Spoke indicated.
123. The shade:
the shadows of "evening's close."
126. Fluctuate in the gale: float on the breezes.
128. Bloomy blooming.
130. Flashy puddle-like.
132. Mantling = covering as with a cloak or mantle.
136. Pensive: expressing thoughtfulness with sadness.
137. Copse = a thicket of underwood. Cf. coppice.
139. Disclose reveal, mark.
140. Mansion tensions.
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.
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 "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.
house, habitation; usually one of some size or pre