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And, wondering 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 mansion tread, And force a churlish soil 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 breast, But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.
Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm. Though poor the peasant’s hut, his 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 shed; No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal To make him loathe his vegetable meal; But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil, Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil. Cheerful, at morn, he wakes from short repose, Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes ; ? With patient angle trolls the finny deep, Or drives his venturous ploughshare to the steep; 7 • The best manner to draw up the finny prey.'
Cit. of the World, ii. 99.
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 confin’d. Yet let them only share the praises due, If few their wants, their pleasures are but few ;
8 • Drive the reluctant savage into the toils.'
Cit. of the World, i. 112. 9 See Citizen of the World, i. lett. xi. where this position is enlarged on.
10 For every want that stimulates the breast
But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow : Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low; For, as refinement stops, from sire to son, Unalter'd, unimprov'd, the manners run; And love's and friendship’s finely pointed dart Fall blunted from each indurated heart. Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast May sit, like falcons cowering on the nest; But all the gentler morals, such as play Thro’life's more cultur’d walks, and charm the way, These, far dispers’d, on timorous pinions fly, To sport and flutter in a kinder sky.
10 For every want] · Every want becomes a means of pleasure in the redressing.'- Gold. An. Nat. ii. 123.
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign, I turn; and France displays her bright domain. Gay, sprightly land of mirth and social ease, Pleas’d 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 noontide hour. Alike all ages : dames of ancient days Have led their children thro' the mirthful maze; And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore, Has frisk'd beneath the burthen of threescore.
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 honour forms the social temper here: Honour, that praise which real merit gains, Or even 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 pleas’d, 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 lov’d, 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, 11 And, sedulous to stop the coming tide, Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride. Onward methinks, and diligently slow, The firm connected bulwark seems to grow, Spreads its long arms amidst the watery roar, Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore.
11 v. Statii Theb. iv. 62: "Et terris maria inclinata repellit.' And Dryden, Annus. Mirab. st. clxiv.:
• And view the ocean leaning on the sky.' • Bent his breast against the broad wave.' — Cit. of the World, ii. 191.