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DEAR SIR, I can have no expećtations in an address of this kind, either to add to your reputation, or to establish my own.
You can gain nothing from my admiration, as I am ignorant of that Art in which you are said to excel; and I may lose much by the severity of your judgment, as few have a juster taste in Poetry than you. Setting interest therefore afde, to which I never paid much attention, I must be indulged at present in following my affections. The only Dedication I ever made, was to my brother, because I loved him better than most other men. He is fince dead-Permit me to infcribe this poem to you.
How far you may be pleased with the versification and mere mechanical parts of this attempt, I do not pretend to enquire; but I know you will object (and indeed several of our best and wisef friends concur in the opinion) that the depopulation it deplores is
no where to be seen, and the disorders it laments are only to be found in the Poet's own imagination. To this I can scarce make any other answer than that I fincerely believe what I have written; that I have taken all posħble pains, in my country excurfions, for these four or five years past, to be certain of what I alledge, and that all my views and enquiries have led me to believe those miferies real, which I here attempt to display. But this is not the place to enter into an enquiry whether the country be depopulating or not: the discussion would take up much room, and I should prove myself, at best, an indifferent politician, to tire the reader with a long preface, when I want his unfatigued attention to a long Poem.
In regretting the depopulation of the country, 1 inveigh against the increase of our luxuries; and here also I expect the shout of modern politicians against me. For twenty or thirty years past, it
has been the fashion to consider luxury as one of the great national advantages; and all the wisdom of antiquity in that particular, as erroneous. Still, however, I must remain a professed ancient on that head, and continue to think those luxuries prejudicial to fates, by which so many vices are introduced, and so many kingdoms have been undone, Indeed, so much has been poured out of late on the other side of the question, that, merely for the sake of novelty and variety, one would sometimes wish to be in the right.
I am, dear Sir,
[The Author writes this Poem in the character of a na.
tive of a country village, to which he gives the name of AUBURN-He proceeds to contrast the innocence and happiness of a simple and natural state, with the miseries and vices that have been introduced by por lished life-The beautiful description of the Parish Priest, was probably intended for a picture of his bro. ther Henry, to whom he dedicates The TravellerThe rest of the Poem confifts of the character of the Village Schoolmaster; a description of the Village Alehouse; a descant on the mischiefs of Luxury and Wealth; the variety of Artificial Pleasures; and the miseries of those who, for want of employment at home, are driven to settle new colonies abroad.]
Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,