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REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Or by the lazy Scheld, or wandering Po;
Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor
Against the houseless stranger shuts the door;
Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies,
A weary waste expanding to the skies;
Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart, untravell'd, fondly turns to thee:
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend, And round his dwelling guardian saints attend; Blest be that spot where cheerful guests retire To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire;
*In this poem, as it passed through different editions, several alterations were made, and some additional verses introduced. We have followed the ninth edition, which was the last that appeared in the life-time of the author.
Blest that abode, where want and pain repair,
And every stranger finds a ready chair;
Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crown'd
Where all the ruddy family around
Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale ;
Or press the bashful stranger to his food,
And learn the luxury of doing good!
But me, not destin'd such delights to share,
My prime of life in wandering spent, and care:
Impell'd, with steps unceasing, to pursue
Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view;
That, like the circle bounding earth and skies,
Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies;
My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
And find no spot of all the world my own.
Ev'n now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend ;
And, plac'd on high above the storm's career,
Look downward where an hundred realms appear;
Lakes, forests, cities, plains extending wide,
The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride...
When thus Creation's charms around combine,
Amidst the store, should thankless pride repine?
Say, should the philosophic mind disdain
That good which makes each humbler bosom vain?
Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,
These little things are great to little man;
And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind
Exults in all the good of all mankind.
Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendor crown'd;
Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round;
Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale;
Ye bending swains, that dress the flowery vale ;
For me your tributary stores combine :
Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine!
As some lone miser, visiting his store,
Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er;
Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill,
Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still:
Thus to my breast alternate passions rise,
Pleas'd with each good that heaven to man supplies:
Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,
To see the hoard of human bliss so small;
And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find
Some spot to real happiness consign'd,
Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest,
May gather bliss to see my fellows blest.
But where to find that happiest spot below,
Who can direct, when all pretend to know?
The shudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own;
Extols the treatures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease;
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave.
Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam,
His first, best country, ever is at home.
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind;
As different good by art or nature given,
To different nations makes their blessings even.
Nature, a Mother kind alike to all,
Still grants her bliss at labor's earnest call; With food as well the peasant is supply'd On Idra's cliffs as Arno's shelvy side; And though the rocky crested summits frown, These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down. From art more various are the blessings sent; Wealth, commerce, honor, liberty, content. Yet these each other's power so strong contest, That either seems destructive of the rest. Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails; And honor sinks where commerce long prevails. Hence every state to one lov'd blessing prone, Conforms and models life to that alone. Each to the fav'rite happiness attends, And spurns the plan that aims at other ends; 'Till carried to excess in each domain, This fav'rite good begets peculiar pain.
But let us try these truths with closer eyes,.
And trace them through the prospect as it lies:
Here for a while my proper cares resign'd,
Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind;
Like yon neglected shrub at random cast,
That shades the steep, and sighs at every blast.
Far to the right where Apennine ascends, Bright as the summer, ITALY extends Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side, Woods over woods in gay theatric pride; While oft some temple's mould'ring tops between. With venerable grandeur mark the scene.
Could nature's bounty satisfy the breast, The sons of Italy were surely blest.