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But while this softer art their bliss supplies, It gives their follies also room to rise; For praise too dearly loved, or warmly sought, Enfeebles all the internal strength of thought ; And the weak soul, within itself unblest, Leans for all pleasure on another's breast. Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art, Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; Here vanity assumes her pert grimace, And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace ; Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer, To boast one splendid banquet once a year: The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws, Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause. To men of other minds my fancy flies, Embosomed 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, The firm connected bulwark seems to grow ; Spreads its long arms amidst the watery roar, Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore: While the pent ocean rising o'er the pile, Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile; The slow canal, the yellow-blossomed vale, The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail, The crowded mart, the cultivated plain, A new creation rescued from his reign.
Thus, while around, the wave-subjected soil, Impels the native to repeated toil,
Industrious habits in each bosom reign,
But view them closer, craft and fraud appear,
Heavens! how unlike their Belgic sires of old!
Fired at the sound, my genius spreads her wing,
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
Thine, Freedom, thine, the blessings pictured 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 repelled; Ferments arise, imprisoned factions roar, Repressed ambition struggles round her shore; Till, overwrought, the general system feels Its motion stop, or frenzy fire the wheels.
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay, As duty, love, and honour fail to sway, Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law, Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe. Hence all obedience bows to these alone, And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown; Till time may come, when, stripped of all her charms, The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms, Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame, Where kings have toiled, and poets wrote, for fame, One sink of level avarice shall lie,
And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonoured die.
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find
With secret course which no loud storms annoy,
Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel, To men remote from power but rarely known, Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own.
FROM "THE DESERTED VILLAGE."
Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain, Where health and plenty cheered the labouring swain, Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid, And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed; Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease, Seats of my youth, when every sport could please; How often have I loitered o'er thy green, Where humble happiness endeared each scene! How often have I paused on every charm, The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,