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Cruel is all he does. 'Tis quenchless thirst
Of ruinous ebriety, that prompts
His ev'ry action, and imbrutes the man.
O for a law to noose the villain's neck,
Who starves his own; who persecutes the blood,
He gave them in his children's veins, and hates
And wrongs the woman he has sworn to love!

Pass where we may, through city or through town,
Village, or hamlet, of this merry land,
Though lean and beggar'd, ev'ry twentieth pace
Conducts tb' unguarded nose to such a whiff
Of stale debauch, forth issuing from the styes
That Law has liceus'd, as makes Temp’rance reel.
There sit, involvd and lost in curling clouds
Of Indian fume, and guzzling deep, the boor,
The lackey, and the groom: The craftsman there
Takes Lethean leave of all his toil;
Smith, cobler, joiner, he that plies the shears,
And kneads the dough ; all loud alike,
All learned, and all drunk! the fiddle screams
Plaintive and piteous, as it wept and wail'd
Its wasted tones and harmony unheard :
Fierce the dispute whate'er the theme; while she,
Fell Discord, arbitress of such debate,
Perch'd on the signpost, holds with even hand
Her undecisive scales. In this she lays
A weight of ignorance; in that, of pride;
And smiles delighted with th'eternal poise.
Dire is the frequent curse, and its twin sound,
The cheek-distending oath, not to be prais'd
As ornamental, musical, polite,
Like those, which modern senators employ,

[graphic]

And manners profligate, were rarely found,
Observ'd as prodigies, and soon reclaim'd.
Vain wish! those days were never : airy dreams
Sat for the picture : and the poet's hand,
Imparting substance to an empty shade,
Impos'd a gay delirium for a truth.
Grant it: I still must envy them an age,
That favour'd such a dream; in days like these
Impossible, when virtue is so scarce,
That to suppose a scene where she presides,
Is tramontane, and stumbles all belief.
No: we are polish'd now. The rural lass
Whom once her virgin modesty and grace,
Her artless manners, and her neat attire,
So dignified, that she was hardly less
Than the fair shepherdess of old romance,
Is seen no more. The character is lost !
Her head, adorn’d with lappets pinn'd aloft,
And ribands streaming gay, superbly rais’d,
And magnified beyond all human size,
Indebted to some smart wig-weaver's hand
For more than half the tresses it sustains;
Her elbows ruffled, and her tott’ring form
Ill-propp d upon French heels; she might be deem d
(But that the basket dangling on her arm
Interprets her more truly) of a rank
Too proud for dairy-work, or sale of eggs.
Expect her soon with footboy at her heels,
No longer blushing for her awkward load,
Her train and her umbrella all her care!

The town has ting'd the country; and the state Appears a spot upon a vestal’s robe,

The worse for what it soils. The fashion runs
Down into scenes still rural; but, alas,
Scenes rarely grac'd with rural manners now!
Time was when in the pastoral retreat
Th'unguarded door was safe ; men did not watch
T'invade another's right, or guard their own.
Then sleep was undisturb’d by fear, unscard
By drunken howlings; and the chilling tale
Of midnight murder was a wonder heard
With doubtful credit, told to frighten babes.
But farewell now to unsuspicious nights,
And slumbers upalarm’d! Now, ere you sleep,
See that your polish'd arms be prim'd with care,
And drop the nightbolt; ruffians are abroad;
And the first larum of the cock's shrill throat
May prove a trumpet, summoning your ear
To horrid sounds of hostile feet within.
E’en daylight has its dangers; and the walk
Through pathless wastes and woods, unconscious

once

Of other tenants than melodious birds,
Or harmless flocks, is hazardous and bold.
Lamented change! to which full many a cause
Invet’rate, hopeless of a cure, conspires.
The course of human things from good to ill,
From ill to worse, is fatal, never fails.
Increase of pow'r begetsincrease of wealth ;
Wealth luxury, and luxury excess;
Excess the scrofulous and itchy plague,
That seizes first the opulent, descends
To the next rank contagious, and in time

Taints downward all the graduated scale
Of order, from the chariot to the plough.
The rich, and they that have an arm to check
The licence of the lowest in degree,
Desert their office; and themselves, intent
On pleasure, haunt the capital, and thus
To all the violence of lawless hands
Resign the scenes their presence might protect
Authority herself not seldom sleeps,
Though resident, and witness of the wrong.
The plump convivial parson often bears
The magisterial sword in vain, and lays
His rev'rence and his worship both to rest
On the same cushion of habitual sloth.
Perhaps timidity restrains his arm ;
When he should strike he trembles, ånd sets free,
Himself enslay'd by terrqur of the band,
Th’audacious convict whom he dares not bind.
Perhaps, though by profession ghostly pure,
He too may have his vice, and sometimes prove
Less dainty than becomes his

grave

outside
In lucrative concerns. Examine well
His milkwhite hand; the palm is hardly clean-
But here and there an ugly smatch appears.
Foh! 'twas a bribe that left it: he has touch'd
Corruption. Whoso seeks an audit here
Propitious, pays his tribute, game or fish,
Wild fowl or ven’son; and his errand speeds.

But faster far, and more than all the rest,
A noble cause, which none, who bears a spark
Of publick yirtue, ever wish'd remov’d,
Works the deplor'd and mischievons effect,

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