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Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,
And winter barricades the realms of Frost ;
He comes; nor want nor cold his course delay,
Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day:
The vanquished hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his miseries in distant lands;
Condemned a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.
But did not chance at length her error mend?
Did no subverted empire mark his end?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?
Or hostile millions press him to the ground?
-His fall was destined to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects find? Must dull suspense corrupt the stagnant mind? Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate, Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate? Must no disike alarm, no wishes rise, No cries invoke the mercies of the skies? Inquirer, cease; petitions yet remain Which Heaven may hear, nor deem religion vain. Still raise for good the supplicating voice, But leave to Heaven the measure and the choice. Safe in his power whose eyes discern afar, The secret ambush of a specious prayer;
Impore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure, whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet, when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resigned;
For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
For patience, sovereign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that, panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat:
These goods for man the laws of Heaven ordain,
These goods he grants, who grants the power to gain
With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.
REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, slow, Or by the lazy Scheld, or wandering Po; Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor Against the houseless stranger shuts the door; Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies, A weary waste expanding to the skies; Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see, My heart, untravelled, fondly turns to thee; Still to my brother turns with ceaseless pain, And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend, And round his dwelling guardian saints attend; Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire; Blest that abode, where want and pain repair, And every stranger finds a ready chair; Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crowned, Where all the ruddy family around Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail, Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale;
Or press the bashful stranger to his food,
And learn the luxury of doing good.
But me, not destined such delights to share,
My prime of life in wandering spent and care;
Impelled with steps unceasing to pursue
Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view;
That, like the circle bounding earth and skies,
Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies;
My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
And find no spot of all the world my own.
E'n now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend ;
And, placed on high above the storm's career,
Look downward where a hundred realms appear:
Lakes, forests, cities, plains, extending wide,
The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride.
When thus creation's charms around combine, Amidst the store, should thankless pride repine? Say, should the philosophic mind disdain That good which makes each humbler bosom vain? Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can, These little things are great to little man ; And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind Exults in all the good of all mankind. Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendour crowned, Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round; Ye lakes, where vessels catch the busy gale; Ye bending swains, that dress the flowery vale; For me your tributary stores combine: Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine.
As some lone miser, visiting his store, Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er;
Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill,
Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still:
Thus to my breast alternate passions rise,
Pleased with each good that Heaven to man supplies:
Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,
To see the hoard of human bliss so small;
And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find
Some spot to real happiness consigned,
Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest,
May gather bliss, to see my fellows blest.
But where to find that happiest spot below,
Who can direct, when all pretend to know?
The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own,
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease:
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands, and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave.
Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam,
His first, best country, ever is at home.
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind:
As different good, by art or nature given,
To different nations makes their blessings even.
Far to the right, where Appennine ascends, Bright as the summer, Italy extends: