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Spontaneous joys, where Nature has its play,
The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway;
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
The toiling pleasure sickens into pain:
And e'en while Fashion's brightest arts decoy, The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy?
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey
The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay, 'Tis your's to judge, how wide the limits stand Between a splendid and a happy land.
Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore, And shouting Folly hails them from her shore; Hoards e'en beyond the miser's wish abound, And rich men flock from all the world around. Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name That leaves our useful products still the same.
Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride
Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds,
Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds;
The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth,
While thus the land adorn'd for pleasure, all
As some fair female unadorn'd and plain,
Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,
She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,
In all the glaring impotence of dress:
Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd,
In nature's simplest charms at first array'd;
But verging to decline, its splendours rise,
While, scourg'd by famine from the smiling land,
Where then, ah, where shall poverty reside, To 'scape the pressure of contiguous pride? If to some common's fenceless limits stray'd, He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade, Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide, And e'en the bare-worn common is deny'd.
If to the city sped....what waits him there?
To see each joy the sons of pleasure know,
Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade,
There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;
Here, while the proud their long-drawn pomps display, There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.
The dome where Pleasure holds her midnight reign, Here, richly deck'd, admits the gorgeous train; Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square,
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.
Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy!
Sure these denote one universal joy!
Are these thy serious thoughts?....Ah, turn thine eyes Where the poor houseless shiv'ring female lies.
She once, perhaps, in village plenty blest,
Has wept at tales of innocence distrest;
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn;
Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer's door, she lays her head,
And pinch'd with cold, and shrinking from the show'r
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel and robes of country brown.
Do thine, sweet AUBURN, thine, the loveliest train, Do thy fair tribes participate her pain?
E'n now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
Where half the convex world intrudes between,
Far different there from all that charm'd before,
The various terrors of that horrid shore;
Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray,
And fiercely shed intolerable day;
Those matted woods where birds forget to sing,
But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling;
Those pois'nous fields with rank luxuriance crown'd, Where the dark scorpion gathers death around;
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;