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Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
Thus every good his native wilds impart, Imprints the patriot passion on his heart, And ev'n 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 confined.. 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 redress'd. When from such lands each pleasing science flies, That 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,
But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow;
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign, I turn; and France displays her bright domain. Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease; Pleased 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, faltering 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,
So blest a life these thoughtless realms display, Thus idly busy rolls their world away. Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear; For honor forms the social temper here. Honor, that praise which real merit gains, Or ev❜n imaginary worth obtains, Here passes current; paid from hand to hand, It shifts, in splendid traffic, round the land: From courts to camps, to cottages it strays, And all are taught an avarice of praise; They please, are pleased; they give to get esteem, Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem.
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 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, 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,
Thus, while around the wave-subjected soil
But view them closer, craft and fraud appear ;
At gold's superior charms all freedom flies;
Heavens! how unlike their Belgic sires of old?
Fired at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, And flies where Britain courts the western spring, Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, And brighter streains than famed Hydaspis glide. There all around the gentlest breezes stray; There gentle music melts on every spray: Creation's mildest charms are there combined; Extremes are only in 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 imagined right, above control, While ev❜n the peasant boasts these rights to scan, And learns to venerate himself as man.
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 ev'n 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, Repress'd ambition struggles round the shore, Till, over-wrought, the general system feels Its motions stop, or frenzy fire the wheels.
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay, As duty, love, and honor, fail to sway,