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E'en now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
Ah, no. To distant climes, a dreary scene,
Where half the convex world intrudes between,
Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go,
Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.
Far different there from all that charm'd before,
The various terrours 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 terrours of the vengeful snake;
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,
And savage men more murd'rous still than they ;
While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,
Mingling the ravag'd landscape with the skies.
Far diff'rent these from ev'ry former scene,
The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green,
The breezy covert of the warbling grove,
That only shelter'd thefts of harmless love.
Good Heav'n! what sorrows gloom'd that parting day,
That call'd them from their native walks away;
When the poor exiles, ev'ry pleasure past,
Hung round the bow'rs, and fondly look'd their
And took a long farewell, and wish'd in vain
For seats like these beyond the western main;
And shudd'ring still to face the distant deep,
Return'd and wept, and still return'd to weep.
The good old sire the first prepar'd to go
To new-found worlds, and wept for others' woe;
But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
He only wish'd for worlds beyond the grave.
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his helpless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And left a lover's for her father's arms.
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And bless'd the cot where ev'ry pleasure rose;
And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief
In all the silent manliness of grief.
O Luxury! thou curs'd by heav'n's decree,
How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee!
How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy !
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigour not their own :
At ev'ry draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe;
Till sapp'd their strength, and ev'ry part unsound, Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round, E'en now the devastation is begun,
And half the bus'ness of destruction done;
E'en now, methinks, as pond'ring here I stand,
I see the rural virtues leave the land.
Down where yon anch'ring vessel spreads the sail, That idly waiting flaps with ev'ry gale,
Downward they move, a melancholy band,
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.
Contented toil, and hospitable care,
And kind connubial tenderness, are there;
And piety with wishes placed above,
And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,
Still first to fly where sensual joys invade!
Unfit, in these degen'rate times of shame,
To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame,
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decry'd,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride;
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,
That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so;
Thou guide, by which the nobler arts excel,
Thou nurse of ev'ry virtue, fare thee well;
Farewell! and O! where'er thy voice be try'd,
On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side,
Whether where equinoctial fervours glow,
Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
Redress the rigours of th' inclement clime;
Aid slighted truth with thy persuasive strain,
Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain;
Teach him that states, of native strength possest,
Though very poor, may still be very blest;
That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away;
While self-dependent pow'r can time defy,
As rocks resist the billows and the sky.
"TURN, gentle hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way,
To where yon taper cheers the vale
With hospitable ray.
"For here forlorn and lost I tread,
With fainting steps and slow;
Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem length'ning as I go."
"Forbear, my son," the hermit cries, "To tempt the dang'rous gloom; For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.
"Here to the houseless child of want My door is open still;
And though my portion is but scant, I give it with good will.
"Then turn to-night, and freely share
Whate'er my cell bestows;
My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.
"No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn :
Taught by that Pow'r that, pities me,
I learn to pity them:
"But from the mountain's grassy side A guiltless feast I bring;
A scrip with herbs and fruits supply'd, And water from the spring.
"Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
All earth-born cares are wrong:
Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long."
Soft as the dew from Heav'n descends,
His gentle accents fell;
The modest stranger lowly bends,
And follows to the cell.
Far in a wilderness obscure
The lonely mansion lay;
A refuge to the neighbouring poor,
And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch
Requir'd a master's care;
The wicket, op'ning with a latch,
Receiv'd the harmless pair.
And now when busy crowds retire
To take their ev❜ning rest,
The hermit trimm'd his little fire,
And cheer'd his pensive guest
And spread his vegetable store,
And gaily prest, and smil'd;
And, skill'd in legendary lore,
The ling'ring hours beguil❜d.