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Lakes, forests, cities, plains, extending wide,
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. [crown'd; Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendour Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round; Ye lakes, whose 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, [plies: Pleas'd with each good that Heaven to man supYet 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 consign'd, 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.
Nature, a mother kind alike to all,
Still grants her bliss at labour's earnest call;
And honour sinks where commerce long prevails.
But let us try these truths with closer eyes, And trace them through the prospect as it lies: Here for a while, my proper cares resign'd, Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind; Like yon neglected shrub at random cast, That shades the steep, and sighs at every blast.
Far to the right, where Apennine ascends, Bright as the summer, Italy extends; Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side, Woods over woods in gay theatric pride;* While oft some temple's mouldering tops between With venerable grandeur mark the scene.
Could nature's bounty satisfy the breast, The sons of Italy were surely blest.
4 theatric pride] v. Lycophronis, Cass. v. 600.
Virg. Æn. v. 288. -'quem collibus undique curvis
Seneca Troades, v. 1125. 'Crescit theatri more.'
Whatever fruits in different climes are found,
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows, And sensual bliss is all the nation knows. In florid beauty groves and fields appear, Man seems the only growth that dwindles here. Contrasted faults through all his manners reign; Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain; Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue; And even in penance planning sins anew. All evils here contaminate the mind, That opulence departed leaves behind:
For wealth was theirs; not far remov'd the date, When commerce proudly flourished through the
At her command the palace learnt to rise, Again the long-fallen column sought the skies; The canvas glow'd beyond ev'n nature warm, The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form: Till, more unsteady than the southern gale, Commerce on other shores display'd her sail;
While nought remain'd of all that riches gave,
Yet still the loss of wealth is here supplied By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride; From these the feeble heart and long-fallen mind An easy compensation seem to find. Here may be seen, in bloodless pomp array'd, The pasteboard triumph and the cavalcade; Processions form'd for piety and love,
A mistress or a saint in every grove.
By sports like these are all their cares beguil'd,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;
As in those domes where Cæsars once bore sway,
5 Its] In short, the state resembled one of those bodies bloated with disease, whose bulk is only a symptom of its wretchedness: their former opulence only rendered them more impotent.' Cit. of the World, i. 98.
6 Where, in the midst of porticos, processions, and cavalcades, abbés turn shepherds; and shepherdesses, without sheep, indulge their innocent divertimenti.' — Pres. State of Learning, p. 39.