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As soine lone miser, visiting his store, Bends at his treasure-counts, recounts it o'erHoards after hoards his rising raptures fill, Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still: Thus to my breast alternate passions rise, Pleas’d with each good that heaven to man supplies; Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall, To see the hoard of human bliss so smallAnd oft I wish, amidst the scene to find Some spot to real happiness consign'd, Where my worn soul, each wand'ring 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 shudd'ring 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 al 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:
With food as well the peasant is supply'd
On Idra's cliffs, as Arno's fhelvy side;
And though the rocky crested summits frown,
These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down.
From Art, more various are the blessings sent-
Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content:
Yet these each other's power so strong contest,
That either seems destructive of the rest
Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails,
And honour sinks where commerce long prevails :
Hence every state, to one lov'd blessing prone,
Conforms, and models life to that alone;
Each to the fav’rite happiness attends,
And spurns the plan that aims at other ends,
Till, carried to excess in each domain,
This fav'rite good begets peculiar pain.
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 Ilirub, at random cast,
That shades the steep, and sighs at every blast.
Far to the right, where Appennine ascends,
Bright as the summer, Italy extends;
Its uplands Noping deck the mountain's side,
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride;
While oft some temple's mould'ring tops between;
With venerable grandeur mark the scene.
Could Nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
The sons of Italy were surely blest:
Whatever fruits in different climes were found,
That proudly rise, or huinbly court the ground;
Whatever blooms in torrid țracts appear,
Whose bright succession decks the varied year;
Whatever sweets salute the northern sky
With vernal lives, that blossom but to die-
These, here disporting, own the kindred foil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil ;
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.
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 thro' all his manners reign-
Tho' poor, luxurious—tho’ submissive, vain-
Tho' grave, yet trifling—zealous, yet untrue-
And even in penance planning sins a-new.
All evils here contaminate the mind
That opulence departed leaves behind;
For wealth was their's-not far remov'd the date
When commerce proudly flourish'd thro' the itate;
At her command the palace learnt to rise,
Again the long-fall’n column sought the ikies;
The canvas glow'd beyond e'en nature warm,
The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form
Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
Commerce on other shores display'd her fail;
While nought reniain'd of all that riches gave,
But towns unmain'd, and lords without a slave;
And late the nation found with fruitless skill,
Its former strength was but plethoric ill.
Yet, still the loss of wealth is here supply'd By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride;
From these the feeble heart and long-fall’n mind
An easy compensation seems 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 beguild-
The sports of children satisfy the child :
Each nobler aim, represt by long controul,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;
While low delights, succeeding fast behind,
In happier meanness occupy the mind-
As in those domes, where Cæfars once bore sway,
Defac'd by time and tottering in decay,
There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed,
And, wond'ring man could want the larger pile,
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.
My soul turn from them! turn we to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display,
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansions tread,
And force a churlish foil for scanty bread:
No product here the barren hills afford
But man and steel—the soldier and his sword;
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
But winter, lingering, chills the lap of May;
No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breait,
But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.
Yet still, ev’n here, content can spread a charm, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm. Tho' poor the peasant's hut, bis feasts tho' small, He sees his little lot the lot of all;
Sees no contiguous palace rear its head
To shame the meanness of his humble med ;
No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal
To make him loath his vegetable meal:
But calm, and bred in ignorance and tuil,
Each with contracting, fits him to the soil;
Cheerful at morn he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his vent'rous ploughshare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day:
At night returning, every labour sped,
He fits hin down, the monarch of a thed,
Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze-
While his lov'd partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays her cleanly platter on the board;
And haply, too, fome pilgrim thither led,
repays the nightly bed.
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 confin'd.