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Rude as thou art (for we return’d thee rude
And ignorant, except of outward show),
I cannot think thee yet so dull of heart
And spiritless, as never to regret
Sweets tasted here, and left as soon as known.
Methinks I see thee straying on the beach,
And asking of the surge, that bathes thy foot,
If ever it has wash'd our distant shore.
I see thee weep, and thine are honest tears,
A patriot's for his country: thou art sad
At thought of her forlorn and abject state,
From which no power of thine can raise her up.
Thus Fancy paints thee, and, though apt to err,
Perhaps errs little when she paints thee thus.
She tells me too, that duly every morn
Thou climb'st the mountain top, with eager eye
Exploring far and wide the watery waste,
For sight of ship from England. Every speck
Seen in the dim horizon turns thee pale
With conflict of contending hopes and fears.
But comes at last the dull and dusky eve,
And sends thee to thy cabin, well prepared
To dream all night of what the day denied.
Alas! expect it not. We found no bait
To tempt us in thy country. Doing good,
Disinterested good, is not our trade.
We travel far 'tis true, but not for nought;
And must be bribed to compass Earth again
By other hopes and richer fruits than yours.
But though true worth and virtue in the mild
And genial soil of cultivated life
Thrive most, and may perhaps thrive only there,
Yet not in cities oft: in proud and gay,
And gain-devoted cities. Thither flow,
As to a common and most noisome sewer,
The dregs and feculence of every land.
In cities foul example on most minds
Begets its likeness. Rank abundance breeds,
In gross and pamper'd cities, sloth, and lust,
And wantonness, and gluttonous excess.
In cities vice is hidden with most ease,
Or seen with least reproach; and virtue, taught
By frequent lapse, can hope no triumph there
Beyond the achievement of successful flight.
I do confess them nurseries of the arts,
In which they flourish most; where, in the beams
Of warm encouragement, and in the eye
Of public note, they reach their perfect size.
Such London is, by taste and wealth proclaim'd
The fairest capital of all the world,
By riot and incontinence the worst.
There, touch'd by Reynolds, a dull blank becomes
A lucid mirror, in which Nature sees
All her reflected features. Bacon there
Gives more than female beauty to a stone,
And Chatham's eloquence to marble lips.
Nor does the chisel occupy alone.
The powers of Sculpture, but the style as much;
Each province of her art her equal care.
With nice incision of her guided steel
She ploughs a brazen field, and clothes a soil
So steril with what charms soe'er she will,
The richest scenery and the loveliest forms.
Where finds Philosophy her eagle eye,
With which she gazes at yon burning disk
Undazzled, and detects and counts his spots ?
In London: where her implements exact,
With which she calculates, computes, and scans
All distance, motion, magnitude, and now
Measures°an atom, and now girds a world?
In London. Where has commerce such a mart,
So rich, so throng’d, so drain’d, and so supplied
As London--opulent, enlarged, and still
Increasing London ? Babylon of old
Not more the glory of the Earth than she,
A more accomplish'd world's chief glory now.
She has her praise. Now mark a spot or two,
That so much beauty would do well to purge;
And show this queen of cities, that so fair
May yet be foul; so witty, yet not wise.
It is not seemly, nor of good report,
That she is slack in discipline; more prompt
To'avenge than to prevent the breach of law :
That she is rigid in denouncing death
On petty robbers, and indulges life,
And liberty, and ofttimes honour too,
To peculators of the public gold :
That thieves at home must hang; but he that puts
Into his overgorged and bloated purse
The wealth of Indian provinces escapes. .
Nor is it well, nor can it come to good,
That, through profane and infidel contempt
Of holy writ, she has presumed to annul
And abrogate, as roundly as she may,
The total ordinance and will of God;
Advancing Fashion to the post of Truth,
And centring all authority in modes
And customs of her own, till sabbath rites
Have dwindled into unrespected forms,
And knees and hassocks are well nigh divorced.
God made the country, and man made the town. What wonder then that health and virtue, gifts VOL. II.
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
That life holds out to all, should most abound
And least be threaten’d in the fields and groves?
Possess ye therefore, ye who, borne about
In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue
But that of idleness, and taste no scenes
But such as art contrives, possess ye still
Your element; there only can ye shine;
There only minds like yours can do no harm.
Our groves were planted to console at noon
The pensive wanderer in their shades. At eve
The moonbeam, sliding softly in between
The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish,
Birds warbling all the music. We can spare
The splendour of your lamps; they but eclipse
Our softer satellite. Your songs confound
Our more harmonious notes: the thrush departs
Scared, and the offended nightingale is mute.
There is a public mischief in your mirth; -
It plagues your country. Folly such as yours,
Graced with a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, what enemies could ne'er have done,
Our arch of empire, steadfast but for you,
A mutilated structure, soon to fall.
Reflections suggested by the conclusion of the former book.
Peace among the nations recommended, on the ground of their common fellowship in sorrow.-Prodigies enumerated. -Sicilian earthquakes. --Man rendered obnoxious to these calamities by sin.-God the agent in them.—The philosophy that stops at secondary causes reproved.-Our own late miscarriages accounted for.–Satirical notice taken of our trips to Fontainbleau.—But the pulpit, not satire, the proper engine of reformation.—The Reverend Advertiser of engraved sermons.-Petit-maitre parson.-The good preacher.- Pictures of a theatrical clerical coxcomb. Story-tellers and jesters in the pulpit reproved.—Apostrophe to popular applause.-Retailers of ancient philosophy expostulated with.--Sum of the whole matter. Effects of sacerdotal mismanagement on the laity. Their folly and extravagance.--The mischiefs of profusion.- Profusion itself, with all its consequent evils, ascribed, as to its principal cause, to the want of discipline in the universities.
O for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more. My ear is pain'd,
My soul is sick with every day's report
Of wrong and outrage, with which Earth is fill'd.
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,