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SWEET Auburn, loveliest village of the plain,
ow often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn; Amidst thy bow'rs, the tyrant's hand is seen, And desolation saddens all thy green: One only master grasps the whole domain, And half a tillage stints thy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 the glassy brook reflects the day,
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 inake them, as a breath has made: But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, When once destroy'd, can never be supply'd.
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 requir’d, 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,
Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
In all my wand'rings round this world of care,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
--and die at home at last.
O blest retirement, friend to life's decline, Retreats from care, that never must be mine! How blest is he who crowns in shades like these, A youth of labour with an age of peace! 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; No surly porter stands in guilty state, To spurn imploring famine from his gate; But on he moves to meet his latter end, Angels around befriending virtue's friend: Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay, While resignation gently slopes the way; And, all his prospects brightning 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 milk-maid sung; The sober herd that low'd to ineet their young;
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smild, And still where many a garden flow'r grows wild; There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest mansion rose, A man he was, to all the
country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year;