« PreviousContinue »
Forc'd from their homes a melancholy train,
E'en now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays Through tangled forests, and through dangerous
ways ; Where beasts with man divided empire claim, And the brown Indian marks with murderous aim; There, while above the giddy tempest flies, And all around distressful yells arise, The pensive exile, bending with his woe, To stop too fearful, and too faint to go, Casts a long look where England's glories shine, And bids his bosom sympathize with mine.
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find That bliss which only centres in the mind : Why have I stray'd from pleasure and repose, To seek a good each government bestows? In every government, though terrors reign, Though tyrant kings, or tyrant laws restrain, How small, of all that human hearts endure, That part which laws or kings can cause or cure. Still to ourselves in every place consign’d, Our own felicity we make or find : With secret course, which no loud storms annoy, Glides the smooth current of domestic joy. The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel, Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel, To men remote from power but rarely known, Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own.
THE DESERTED VILLAGE.
BY MISS AIKIN,
AFTERWARDS MRS BARBAULD.
In vain fair Auburn weeps her desert plains;
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
I can have no expectations, in an address of this kind, either to add to your reputation, or to establish my own. You can gain nothing from my
ad. miration, as I am ignorant of that art in which
you are said to excel ; and I may lose much by the severity of your judgment, as few have a juster taste in poetry than you. Setting interest therefore aside, to which I never paid much attention, I must be indulged at present in following my affections. The only dedication I ever made was to my brother, because I loved him better than most other men.
He is since dead. Permit me to inscribe this Poem to you.
How far you may be pleased with the versification and mere mechanical parts of this attempt, I do not pretend to inquire; but I know you will object (and indeed several of our best and wisest friends concur in the opinion), that the depopulation it deplores is no where to be seen, and the disorders it laments are only to be found in the poet's own imagination. To this I can scarcely make any other answer than that I sincerely believe what I have written; that I have taken all possible pains, in my country excursions, for these four or five years past, to be certain of what I allege; and that all
my views and inquiries have led me to believe those miseries real, which I here attempt to dis