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“And when, beside me in the dale,
He caroll'd lays of love,
His breath lent fragrance to the gale,
And music to the grove.
“The blossom op'ning to the day,
The dews of Heav'n refined,
Could naught of purity display
To emulate his mind.
“The dew, the blossoms of the tree,
With charms inconstant shine;
Their charms were his; but, wo to me,
Their constancy was mine !
“For still I tried each fickle art,
Importunate and vain;
And while his passion touch'd my heart,
I triumph'd in his pain.
“Till, quite dejected with my scorn,
He left me to my pride;
And sought a solitude forlorn
In secret, where he died.
“But mine the sorrow, mine the fault,
And well my life shall pay;
I'll seek the solitude he sought,
And stretch me where he lay.
“And there forlorn, despairing, hid,
I'll lay me down and die;
"Twas so for me that Edwin did,
And so for him will I.”
“Forbid it, Heaven!” the hermit cried,
And clasp'd her to his breast:
The wondering fair one turn'd to chide—
"Twas Edwin's self that press'd.
“Turn, Angelina, ever dear,
My charmer, turn to see
Thy own, thy long-lost Edwin here,
Restored to love and thee.
“Thus let me hold thee to my heart,
And ev'ry care resign :
And shall we never, never part,
My life—my all that's mine !
“No, never from this hour to part,
We'll live and love so true,
The sigh that rends thy constant heart
Shall break thy Edwin's too.”
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 ling’ring blooms delay'd: Dear lovely bow’rs 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 paused on ev'ry charm, The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm, The never-failing brook, the busy mill, The decent church that topp'd the neighb'ring hill, The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade, For talking age and whisp'ring lovers made How often have I bless'd the coming day, When toil remitting lent its turn to play, And all the village train, from labour free, Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree: While many a pastime circled in the shade, The young contending as the old survey'd; And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground, And sleights of art and feats of strength went round.
And still, as each repeated pleasure tired,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired:
The dancing pair, that simply sought renown,
By holding out, to tire each other down ;
The swain, mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter'd round the place;
The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,
The matron's glance that would those looks reprove:
These were thy charms, sweet village sports like
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please;
These round thy bow’rs their cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charms—but all these charms are
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amid 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 thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But, choked with sedges, works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amid thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried 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 supplied.
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 required, 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 cumbrous pomp repose;
And ev'ry want to luxury allied, -
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 graced the peaceful scene,
Lived 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 pow'r.
Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
Amid thy tangling walks and ruin’d grounds,
And, many a year elapsed, return to view
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew,
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,
Amid these humble bow’rs to lay me down ;
To husband out life's taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose :
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amid the swains to show my book-learn'd skill,
Around my fire an ev'ning group to draw,
And tell of all I felt and all I saw ;
And as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return—and die at home at last.
Oh, bless'd retirement, friend to life's decline, Retreats from care, that never must be mine, How bless'd is he who crowns, in shades like these, A youth of labour with an age of ease; 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; Nor surly porter stands, in guilty state, To spurn imploring famine from the gate; But on he moves to meet his latter end, Angels around befriending virtue's friend; Sinks to the grave with unperceived 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 milkmaid 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 watchdog's voice that bay'd the whispring
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
These all in sweet 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 grassgrown footway tread,
But all the blooming flush of life is fled:
All but yon widow’d, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring:
She, wretched matron, forced in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry fagot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn: