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SWEET Auburn, loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer'd the lab'ring swain,
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's lingering bloom delay'd,
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when ev'ry sport could please.
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear'd each scene;
How often have I paus'd on every charm,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,

The decent church that topt the neighb'ring hill,
The hawthorn bush with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whisp'ring lovers made.

Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn; Amidst thy bow'rs, the tyrant's hand is seen, And desolation saddens all thy green: One only master grasps the whole domain, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain;

No more the glassy brook reflects the day,
But choak'd with sedges, works its weedy way;
Along thy glades a solitary guest,

The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest:
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvary'd cries.
Sunk are thy bow'rs in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall,
And trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away thy children leave the land.

Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay? Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade: A breath can make them, as a breath has made: But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, When once destroy'd, can never be supply'd.

A time there was, ere England's griefs began, When ev'ry rood of ground maintain'd its man; For him light labour spread her wholesome store, Just gave what life requir'd, but gave no more. His best companions, innocence and health; And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.

But times are alter'd; trade's unfeeling train Usurp the land and dispossess the swain;

Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose, Unwieldy wealth, and cumb'rous pomp repose;, And ev'ry want to luxury ally'd,

And ev'ry pang that folly pays to pride.

Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom, Those calm desires that ask'd but little room, Those healthful sports that grac'd the peaceful


Liv'd in each look, and brighten'd all the green; These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,

And rural mirth and manners are no more.

Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour, Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power. Here as I take my solitary rounds, Amidst thy tangling walks, thy ruin'd grounds, And many a year claps'd, return to view Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew: Here, as with doubtful, pensive steps I range, Trace ev'ry scene, and wonder at the change,, Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,, Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.

In all my wand'rings round this world of care, In all my griefs-and God has giv'n my share I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown; Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;

I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return-and die at home at last.

O blest retirement, friend to life's decline, Retreats from care, that never must be mine! How blest is he who crowns in shades like these, A youth of labour with an age of peace! Who quits a world where strong temptations try, And since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly. For him no wretches, born to work and weep, Explore the mine, or tempt the dang'rous deep; No surly porter stands in guilty state, To spurn imploring famine from his gate; But on he moves to meet his latter end, Angels around befriending virtue's friend: Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay, While resignation gently slopes the way; And, all his prospects bright'ning to the last. His heav'n commences ere the world be past!

Sweet was the sound, when oft at ev'ning's close, Up yonder hill the village murmur rose; There, as I pass'd with careless steps and slow, The mingling notes came soften'd from below; The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung; The sober herd that low'd to meet their young;

The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school;
The watch dog's voice, that bay'd the whisp'ring

And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
These all in soft confusion sought the shade,
And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale:
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
But all the bloomy flush of life is fled,
All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,

That feebly bends beside the plashy spring:
She, wretched matron, forc'd, in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wint'ry faggot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn;
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain.

Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd, And still where many a garden flow'r grows wild; There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest mansion rose, A man he was, to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year;

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