Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

The earth was made so various, that the

mind Of desultory man, studious of change, And pleas'd with novelty, might be indulg'd. Prospects, however lovely, may be seen Till half their beauties fade : the weary sight Too well acquainted with their smiles, slides

off, Fastidious, seeking less familiar scenes. Then snug enclosures in the shelter'd vale, Where frequent hedges intercept the eye, Delight us; happy to renounce awhile, Not senseless of its charms, what still we love, That such short absence may endear it more. Then forests, or the savage rock, may please, That hides the sea-mew in his hollow clefts Above the reach of man. His hoary head, Conspicuous many a league, the mariner Bound homeward, and in hope already there, Greets with three cheers exulting. At his

waist A girdle of half-wither'd shrubs he shows, And at his feet the baffled billows die. The common, overgrown with fern, and rough With prickly gorse, that, shapeless and de

form’d, And dang’rous to the touch, has yet its bloom, And decks itself with ornaments of gold, Yields no unpleasing ramble ; there the turf Sınells fresh, and, rich in odorif 'rous herbs And fungous fruits of earth, regales the sense With luxury of unexpected sweets.

There often wanders one, whom better days Saw better clad, in-cloak of satin trimm'd With lace, and hat with splendid riband bound, A serving maid was she, and fell in love With one who left her, went to sea, and died. Her fancy followed him through foaming waves To distant shores; and she would sit and weep At what a sailor suffers ; fancy too, Delusive most where warmest wishes are, Would oft anticipate his glad return, And dream of transports she was not to know. She heard the doleful tidings of his deathAnd never smil'd again ! and now she roams The dreary waste ; there spends the livelong

day,

And there, unless when charity forbids,
The livelong night. A tarter'd apron hides,
Worn as a cloak, and hardly hides, a gown
More tatter'd still; and both but ill conceal
A bosom heav'd with never-ceasing sighs.
She begs an idle pin of all she meets,
And hoards them in her sleeye;. but needful

food, Though press'd with hunger oft, or comelier

clothes, Though pinch'd with cold, asks never.-Kate is

craz'd.
I see a column of slow rising smoke
O’ertop the lofty wood, that skirts the wild.
A vagabond and useless tribe there eat
Their miserable meal. A kettle, slung
Between two polès upon a stick transverse,

Receives the morsel-flesh obscene of dog,
Or vermin, or at best of cock purloin'd
From his accustom'd perch. Hard faring race!
They pick their fuel out of ev'ry hedge,
Which, kindled with dry leaves, just saves un-

quench'd The spark of life. The sportive wind blows

wide Their futt'ring rags, and shows a tawny skin, The vellum of the pedigree they claim. Great skill have they in palmistry, and more To conjure clean away the gold they touch, Conveying worthless dross into its place ; Loud when they beg, dumb only when they

steal. Strange! that a creature rational, and cast In human mould, should brutalize by choice His nature ; and, though capable of arts, By which the world might profit, and himself Self-banish'd from society, prefer Such squalid sloth to honourable toil! Yet even these, though feigning sickness oft They swathe the forehead, drag the limping

limb, And vex their flesh with artificial sores, Cap change their whine into a mirthful note, When safe occasion offers; and with dance, And music of the bladder and the bag, Beguile their woes, and make the woods

resound. Such health and gayety of heart enjoy The houseless rovers of the sylvan world;

a

And, breathing wholesome air, and wand'ring

much,
Need other physic none to heal th' effects
Of loathsome diet, penury, and cold.
Blest he, though undistinguish'd from the

crowd
By wealth or dignity, who dwells secure,
Where man by

nature fierce has laid aside
His fierceness, having learnt, though slow to

learn,
The manners and the arts of civil life.
His wants indeed are many; but supply
Is obvious, plac'd within the easy reach
Of temp’rate wishes and industrious hands.
Here virtue thrives as in her proper soil ;
Not rude and surly, and beset with thorns,
And terrible to sight, as when she springs,
(If e'er she spring spontaneously,) in remote
And barb'rous climes, where violence prevails,
And strength is lord of all; but gentle, kind,
By culture tam'd, by liberty refreshed,
And all her fruits by radiant truth matur'd.
War and the chase engross the savage whole;
War follow'd for revenge or to supplant
The envied tenants of some happier spot:
The chase for sustenance, precarious trust !
His hard condition with severe constraint
Binds all his faculties, forbids all growth
Of wisdom, proves a school, in which he learns
Sly circumvention, unrelenting hate,
Mean self-attachment, and scarce aught beside.
Thus fare the shiv'ring natives of the north,

[ocr errors]

And thus the rangers of the western world,
Where it advances far into the deep,
Tow'rds the antarctic. E'en the favour'd isles
So lately found, although the constant sun
Cheer all their seasons with a grateful smile,
Can boast but little virtue; and inert
Through plenty, lose in morals what they gain
In manners-victims of luxurious ease.
These therefore I can pity, plac'd remote
From all that science traces, art invents,
Or inspiration teaches; and enclos'd
In boundless oceans never to be pass'd
By navigators uninform'd as they,
Or plough'd perhaps by British bark again.
But far beyond the rest, and with most cause,
Thee, genile savage !* whom no love of thee
Or thine, but curiosity perhaps,
Or else vain glory, promoted us to draw
Forth from thy native bow'rs, to show thee here
With what superior skill we can abuse
The gifts of Providence, and squander life.
The dream is past ; and thou hast found again
Thy cocoas and bananas, palms and yams,
And homestall thatch'd with leaves. But hast

thou found Their former charms? And, having seen our

state, Our palaces, our ladies, and our pomp Of equipage, our gardens, and our sports, And heard our music; are thy simple friends,

*Omai.

« PredošláPokračovať »