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The Subject proposed Remarks upon Pastoral Poetry A Tract of Country near the Coast described An impoverished Borough Smugglers and their Assistants Rude Manners of the Inhabitants Ruinous Effects of a high Tide The Village Life more generally considered: Evils of it The youthful Labourer The old Man: his Soliloquy The Parish Workhouse: its Inhabitants The sick Poor: their Apothecary The dying Pauper The Village Priest.

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1 The Village Life, and every care that reigns
2 O'er youthful peasants and declining swains;
3 What labour yields, and what, that labour past,
4 Age, in its hour of languor, finds at last;
5 What form the real Picture of the Poor,
6 Demand a song the Muse can give no more.
7 Fled are those times, when, in harmonious strains,
8 The rustic poet praised his native plains:
9 No shepherds now, in smooth alternate verse,
10 Their country's beauty or their nymphs 'rehearse;
11 Yet still for these we frame the tender strain,
12 Still in our lays fond Corydons complain,
13 And shepherds' boys their amorous pains reveal,
14 The only pains, alas! they never feel.
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15 On Mincio's banks, in Cæsar's bounteous reign,
16 If Tityrus found the Golden Age again,
17 Must sleepy bards the flattering dream prolong,
18 Mechanic echoes of the Mantuan song?
19 From Truth and Nature shall we widely stray,
20 Where Virgil, not where Fancy, leads the way?
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21 Yes, thus the Muses sing of happy swains,
22 Because the Muses never knew their pains:
23 They boast their peasants 'pipes; but peasants now
24 Resign their pipes and plod behind the plough;
25 And few, amid the rural-tribe, have time
26 To number syllables, and play with rhyme;
27 Save honest Duck, what son of verse could share
28 The poet's rapture and the peasant's care?
29 Or the great labours of the field degrade,
30 With the new peril of a poorer trade?
31 From this chief cause these idle praises spring,
32 That themes so easy few forbear to sing;
33 For no deep thought the trifling subjects ask;
34 To sing of shepherds is an easy task:
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35 The happy youth assumes the common strain,
36 A nymph his mistress, and himself a swain;
37 With no sad scenes he clouds his tuneful prayer,
38 But all, to look like her, is painted fair.
39 I grant indeed that fields and flocks have charms
40 For him that grazes or for him that farms;
41 But when amid such pleasing scenes I trace
42 The poor laborious natives of the place,
43 And see the mid-day sun, with fervid ray,
44 On their bare heads and dewy temples play;
45 While some, with feebler heads and fainter hearts,
46 Deplore their fortune, yet sustain their parts
47 Then shall I dare these real ills to hide
48 In tinsel trappings of poetic pride?
49 No; cast by Fortune on a frowning coast,
50 Which neither groves nor happy valleys boast;
51 Where other cares than those the Muse relates,
52 And other shepherds dwell with other mates;
53 By such examples taught, I paint the Cot,
54 As Truth will paint it, and as Bards will not.
55 Nor you, ye Poor, of letter'd scorn complain,
56 To you the smoothest song is smooth in vain;
57 O'ercome by labour, and bow'd down by time,
58 Feel you the barren flattery of a rhyme?
59 Can poets soothe you, when you pine for bread,
60 By winding myrtles round your ruin'd shed?
61 Can their light tales your weighty griefs o'erpower,
62 Or glad with airy mirth the toilsome hour?
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63 Lo! where the heath, with withering brake grown o'er,
64 Lends the light turf that warms the neighbouring poor;
65 From thence a length of burning sand appears,
66 Where the thin harvest waves its wither'd ears;
67 Rank weeds, that every art and care defy,
68 Reign o'er the land, and rob the blighted rye:
69 There thistles stretch their prickly arms afar,
70 And to the ragged infant threaten war;
71 There poppies nodding, mock the hope of toil;
72 There the blue bugloss paints the sterile soil;
73 Hardy and high, above the slender sheaf,
74 The slimy mallow waves her silky leaf;
75 O'er the young shoot the charlock throws a shade,
76 And clasping tares cling round the sickly blade;
77 With mingled tints the rocky coasts abound,
78 And a sad splendour vainly shines around.
79 So looks the nymph whom wretched arts adorn,
80 Betray'd by man, then left for man to scorn;
81 Whose cheek in vain assumes the mimic rose,
82 While her sad eyes the troubled breast disclose;
83 Whose outward splendour is but folly's dress,
84 Exposing most, when most it gilds distress.
85 Here joyless roam a wild amphibious race,
86 With sullen woe display'd in every face;
87 Who, far from civil arts and social fly,
88 And scowl at strangers with suspicious eye.
89 Here too the lawless merchant of the main
90 Draws from his plough th' intoxicated swain;
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91 Want only claim'd the labour of the day,
92 But vice now steals his nightly rest away.
93 Where are the swains, who, daily labour done,
94 With rural games play'd down the setting sun;
95 Who struck with matchless force the bounding ball,
96 Or made the pond'rous quoit obliquely fall;
97 While some huge Ajax, terrible and strong,
98 Engaged some artful stripling of the throng,
99 And fell beneath him, foil'd, while far around
100 Hoarse triumph rose, and rocks return'd the sound?
101 Where now are these? Beneath yon cliff they stand,
102 To show the freighted pinnace where to land;
103 To load the ready steed with guilty haste,
104 To fly in terror o'er the pathless waste,
105 Or, when detected, in their straggling course,
106 To foil their foes by cunning or by force;
107 Or, yielding part (which equal knaves demand),
108 To gain a lawless passport through the land.
109 Here, wand'ring long, amid these frowning fields,
110 I sought the simple life that Nature yields;
111 Rapine and Wrong and Fear usurp'd her place,
112 And a bold, artful, surly, savage race;
113 Who, only skill'd to take the finny tribe,
114 The yearly dinner, or septennial bribe,
115 Wait on the shore, and, as the waves run high,
116 On the tost vessel bend their eager eye,
117 Which to their coast directs its vent'rous way;
118 Theirs, or the ocean's, miserable prey.
119 As on their neighbouring beach yon swallows stand,
120 And wait for favouring winds to leave the land;
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121 While still for flight the ready wing is spread:
122 So waited I the favouring hour, and fled;
123 Fled from these shores where guilt and famine reign,
124 And cried, Ah! hapless they who still remain;
125 Who still remain to hear the ocean roar,
126 Whose greedy waves devour the lessening shore;
127 Till some fierce tide, with more imperious sway,
128 Sweeps the low hut and all it holds away;
129 When the sad tenant weeps from door to door;
130 And begs a poor protection from the poor!
131 But these are scenes where Nature's niggard hand
132 Gave a spare portion to the famish'd land;
133 Her's is the fault, if here mankind complain
134 Of fruitless toil and labour spent in vain;
135 But yet in other scenes more fair in view,
136 When Plenty smiles alas! she smiles for few
137 And those who taste not, yet behold her store,
138 Are as the slaves that dig the golden ore
139 The wealth around them makes them doubly poor.
140 Or will you deem them amply paid in health,
141 Labour's fair child, that languishes with wealth?
142 Go then! and see them rising with the sun,
143 Through a long course of daily toil to run;
144 See them beneath the dog-star's raging heat,
145 When the knees tremble and the temples beat;
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146 Behold them, leaning on their scythes, look o'er
147 The labour past, and toils to come explore;
148 See them alternate suns and showers engage,
149 And hoard up aches and anguish for their age;
150 Through fens and marshy moors their steps pursue,
151 When their warm pores imbibe the evening dew;
152 Then own that labour may as fatal be
153 To these thy slaves, as thine excess to thee.
154 Amid this tribe too oft a manly pride
155 Strives in strong toil the fainting heart to hide;
156 There may you see the youth of slender frame
157 Contend with weakness, weariness, and shame;
158 Yet, urged along, and proudly loth to yield,
159 He strives to join his fellows of the field:
160 Till long-contending nature droops at last,
161 Declining health rejects his poor repast,
162 His cheerless spouse the coming danger sees,
163 And mutual murmurs urge the slow disease.
164 Yet grant them health, 'tis not for us to tell,
165 Though the head droops not, that the heart is well;
166 Or will you praise that homely, healthy fare,
167 Plenteous and plain, that happy peasants share!
168 Oh! trifle not with wants you cannot feel,
169 Nor mock the misery of a stinted meal;
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170 Homely, not wholesome, plain, not plenteous, such
171 As you who praise would never deign to touch.
172 Ye gentle souls, who dream of rural ease,
173 Whom the smooth stream and smoother sonnet please;
174 Go! if the peaceful cot your praises share,
175 Go look within, and ask if peace be there;
176 If peace be his that drooping weary sire,
177 Or theirs, that offspring round their feeble fire;
178 Or hers, that matron pale, whose trembling hand
179 Turns on the wretched hearth th' expiring brand!
180 Nor yet can Time itself obtain for these
181 Life's latest comforts, due respect and ease;
182 For yonder see that hoary swain, whose age
183 Can with no cares except its own engage;
184 Who, propt on that rude staff, looks up to see
185 The bare arms broken from the withering tree,
186 On which, a boy, he climb'd the loftiest bough,
187 Then his first joy, but his sad emblem now.
188 He once was chief in all the rustic trade;
189 His steady hand the straightest furrow made;
190 Full many a prize he won, and still is proud
191 To find the triumphs of his youth allow'd;
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192 A transient pleasure sparkles in his eyes,
193 He hears and smiles, then thinks again and sighs:
194 For now he journeys to his grave in pain;
195 The rich disdain him; nay, the poor disdain:
196 Alternate masters now their slave command,
197 Urge the weak efforts of his feeble hand,
198 And, when his age attempts its task in vain,
199 With ruthless taunts, of lazy poor complain.
200 Oft may you see him, when he tends the sheep,
201 His winter charge, beneath the hillock weep;
202 Oft hear him murmur to the winds that blow
203 O'er his white locks and bury them in snow,
204 When, roused by rage and muttering in the morn,
205 He mends the broken hedge with icy thorn:
206 "Why do I live, when I desire to be
207 " At once from life and life's long labour free?
208 "Like leaves in spring, the young are blown away,
209 " Without the sorrows of a slow decay;
210 "I, like yon wither'd leaf, remain behind,
211 " Nipt by the frost, and shivering in the wind;
212 "There it abides till younger buds come on,
213 " As I, now all my fellow-swains are gone;
214 "Then, from the rising generation thrust,
215 " It falls, like me, unnoticed to the dust.
216 "These fruitful fields, these numerous flocks I see,
217 " Are others 'gain, but killing cares to me;
218 "To me the children of my youth are lords,
219 " Cool in their looks, but hasty in their words:
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220 "Wants of their own demand their care; and who
221 " Feels his own want and succours others too?
222 "A lonely, wretched man, in pain I go,
223 " None need my help, and none relieve my woe;
224 "Then let my bones beneath the turf be laid,
225 " And men forget the wretch they would not aid. "
226 Thus, groan the old, till, by disease oppress'd,
227 They taste a final woe, and then they rest.
228 Theirs is yon House that holds the parish poor,
229 Whose walls of mud scarce bear the broken door;
230 There, where the putrid vapours, flagging, play,
231 And the dull wheel hums doleful through the day;
232 There children dwell who know no parents 'care;
233 Parents, who know no children's love, dwell there!
234 Heart-broken matrons on their joyless bed,
235 Forsaken wives, and mothers never wed;
236 Dejected widows with unheeded tears,
237 And crippled age with more than childhood fears;
238 The lame, the blind, and, far the happiest they!
239 The moping idiot, and the madman gay.
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240 Here too the sick their final doom receive,
241 Here brought, amid the scenes of grief, to grieve,
242 Where the loud groans from some sad chamber flow,
243 Mixt with the clamours of the crowd below;
244 Here, sorrowing, they each kindred sorrow scan,
245 And the cold charities of man to man:
246 Whose laws indeed for ruin'd age provide,
247 And strong compulsion plucks the scrap from pride;
248 But still that scrap is bought with many a sigh,
249 And pride embitters what it can't deny.
250 Say, ye, opprest by some fantastic woes,
251 Some jarring nerve that baffles your repose;
252 Who press the downy couch, while slaves advance
253 With timid eye to read the distant glance;
254 Who with sad prayers the weary doctor tease,
255 To name the nameless ever-new disease;
256 Who with mock patience dire complaints endure,
257 Which real pain and that alone can cure;
258 How would ye bear in real pain to lie,
259 Despised, neglected, left alone to die?
260 How would ye bear to draw your latest breath,
261 Where all that's wretched paves the way for death?
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262 Such is that room which one rude beam divides,
263 And naked rafters form the sloping sides;
264 Where the vile bands that bind the thatch are seen,
265 And lath and mud are all that lie between;
266 Save one dull pane, that, coarsely patch'd, gives way
267 To the rude tempest, yet excludes the day:
268 Here, on a matted flock, with dust o'erspread,
269 The drooping wretch reclines his languid head;
270 For him no hand the cordial cup applies,
271 Or wipes the tear that stagnates in his eyes;
272 No friends with soft discourse his pain beguile,
273 Or promise hope, till sickness wears a smile.
274 But soon a loud and hasty summons calls,
275 Shakes the thin roof, and echoes round the walls;
276 Anon, a figure enters, quaintly neat,
277 All pride and business, bustle and conceit;
278 With looks unalter'd by these scenes of woe,
279 With speed that, entering, speaks his haste to go,
280 He bids the gazing throng around him fly,
281 And carries fate and physic in his eye:
282 A potent quack, long versed in human ills,
283 Who first insults the victim whom he kills;
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284 Whose murd'rous hand a drowsy Bench protect,
285 And whose most tender mercy is neglect.
286 Paid by the parish for attendance here,
287 He wears contempt upon his sapient sneer;
288 In haste he seeks the bed where Misery lies,
289 Impatience mark'd in his averted eyes;
290 And, some habitual queries hurried o'er,
291 Without reply, he rushes on the door:
292 His drooping patient, long inured to pain,
293 And long unheeded, knows remonstrance vain;
294 He ceases now the feeble help to crave
295 Of man; and silent sinks into the grave.
296 But ere his death some pious doubts arise,
297 Some simple fears, which "bold bad" men despise;
298 Fain would he ask the parish priest to prove
299 His title certain to the joys above:
300 For this he sends the murmuring nurse, who calls
301 The holy stranger to these dismal walls:
302 And doth not he, the pious man, appear,
303 He, "passing rich with forty pounds a year?"
304 Ah! no; a shepherd of a different stock,
305 And far unlike him, feeds this little flock:
306 A jovial youth, who thinks his Sunday's task
307 As much as God or man can fairly ask;
308 The rest he gives to loves and labours light,
309 To fields the morning, and to feasts the night;
310 None better skill'd the noisy pack to guide,
311 To urge their chase, to cheer them or to chide;
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312 A sportsman keen, he shoots through half the day,
313 And, skill'd at whist, devotes the night to play:
314 Then, while such honours bloom around his head,
315 Shall he sit sadly by the sick man's bed,
316 To raise the hope he feels not, or with zeal
317 To combat fears that e'en the pious feel?
318 Now once again the gloomy scene explore,
319 Less gloomy now; the bitter hour is o'er,
320 The man of many sorrows sighs no more.
321 Up yonder hill, behold how sadly slow
322 The bier moves winding from the vale below:
323 There lie the happy dead, from trouble free,
324 And the glad parish pays the frugal fee:
325 No more, O Death! thy victim starts to hear
326 Churchwarden stern, or kingly overseer;
327 No more the farmer claims his humble bow,
328 Thou art his lord, the best of tyrants thou!
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329 Now to the church behold the mourners come,
330 Sedately torpid and devoutly dumb;
331 The village children now their games suspend,
332 To see the bier that bears their ancient friend:
333 For he was one in all their idle sport,
334 And like a monarch ruled their little court;
335 The pliant bow he form'd, the flying ball,
336 The bat, the wicket, were his labours all;
337 Him now they follow to his grave, and stand,
338 Silent and sad, and gazing, hand in hand;
339 While bending low, their eager eyes explore
340 The mingled relics of the parish poor.
341 The bell tolls late, the moping owl flies round,
342 Fear marks the flight and magnifies the sound;
343 The busy priest, detain'd by weightier care,
344 Defers his duty till the day of prayer;
345 And, waiting long, the crowd retire distrest,
346 To think a poor man's bones should lie unblest.
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There are found, amid the Evils of a laborious Life, some Views of Tranquillity and Happiness The Repose and Pleasure of a Summer Sabbath: interrupted by Intoxication and Dispute Village Detraction Complaints of the 'Squire The Evening Riots Justice Reasons for this unpleasant View of Rustic Life: the Effect it should have upon the Lower Classes; and the Higher These last have their peculiar Distresses: Exemplified in the Life and heroic Death of Lord Robert Manners Concluding Address to His Grace the Duke of Rutland.

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1 No longer truth, though shown in verse, disdain,
2 But own the Village Life a life of pain:
3 I too must yield, that oft amid these woes
4 Are gleams of transient mirth and hours of sweet repose,
5 Such as you find on yonder sportive Green,
6 The 'squire's tall gate and churchway-walk between;
7 Where loitering stray a little tribe of friends,
8 On a fair Sunday when the sermon ends:
9 Then rural beaux their best attire put on,
10 To win their nymphs, as other nymphs are won;
11 While those long wed go plain, and by degrees,
12 Like other husbands, quit their care to please.
13 Some of the sermon talk, a sober crowd,
14 And loudly praise, if it were preach'd aloud;
15 Some on the labours of the week look round,
16 Feel their own worth, and think their toil renown'd;
17 While some, whose hopes to no renown extend,
18 Are only pleased to find their labours end.
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19 Thus, as their hours glide on, with pleasure fraught
20 Their careful masters brood the painful thought;
21 Much in their mind they murmur and lament,
22 That one fair day should be so idly spent;
23 And think that Heaven deals hard, to tithe their store
24 And tax their time for preachers and the poor.
25 Yet still, ye humbler friends, enjoy your hour,
26 This is your portion, yet unclaim'd of power;
27 This is Heaven's gift to weary men oppress'd,
28 And seems the type of their expected rest:
29 But yours, alas! are joys that soon decay;
30 Frail joys, begun and ended with the day;
31 Or yet, while day permits those joys to reign,
32 The village vices drive them from the plain.
33 See the stout churl, in drunken fury great,
34 Strike the bare bosom of his teeming mate!
35 His naked vices, rude and unrefined,
36 Exert their open empire o'er the mind;
37 But can we less the senseless rage despise,
38 Because the savage acts without disguise?
39 Yet here Disguise, the city's vice, is seen,
40 And Slander steals along and taints the Green:
41 At her approach domestic peace is gone,
42 Domestic broils at her approach come on;
43 She to the wife the husband's crime conveys,
44 She tells the husband when his consort strays;
45 Her busy tongue, through all the little state,
46 Diffuses doubt, suspicion, and debate;
47 Peace, tim'rous goddess! quits her old domain,
48 In sentiment and song content to reign.
49 Nor are the nymphs that breathe the rural air
50 So fair as Cynthia's, nor so chaste as fair:
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51 These to the town afford each fresher face,
52 And the clown's trull receives the peer's embrace;
53 From whom, should chance again convey her down,
54 The peer's disease in turn attacks the clown.
55 Here too the 'squire, or' squire-like farmer, talk,
56 How round their regions nightly pilferers walk;
57 How from their ponds the fish are borne, and all
58 The rip'ning treasures from their lofty wall;
59 How meaner rivals in their sports delight,
60 Just right enough to claim a doubtful right;
61 Who take a licence round their fields to stray,
62 A mongrel race! the poachers of the day.
63 And hark! the riots of the Green begin,
64 That sprang at first from yonder noisy inn;
65 What time the weekly pay was vanish'd all,
66 And the slow hostess scored the threat'ning wall;
67 What time they ask'd, their friendly feast to close,
68 A final cup, and that will make them foes;
69 When blows ensue that break the arm of toil,
70 And rustic battle ends the boobies 'broil.
71 Save when to yonder Hall they bend their way,
72 Where the grave Justice ends the grievous fray;
73 He who recites, to keep the poor in awe,
74 The law's vast volume for he knows the law:
75 To him with anger or with shame repair
76 The injured peasant and deluded fair.
77 Lo! at his throne the silent nymph appears,
78 Frail by her shape, but modest in her tears;
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79 And while she stands abash'd, with conscious eye,
80 Some favourite female of her judge glides by,
81 Who views with scornful glance the strumpet's fate,
82 And thanks the stars that made her keeper great:
83 Near her the swain, about to bear for life
84 One certain evil, doubts 'twixt war and wife;
85 But, while the falt'ring damsel takes her oath,
86 Consents to wed, and so secures them both.
87 Yet why, you ask, these humble crimes relate,
88 Why make the Poor as guilty as the Great?
89 To show the great, those mightier sons of pride,
90 How near in vice the lowest are allied;
91 Such are their natures and their passions such,
92 But these disguise too little, those too much:
93 So shall the man of power and pleasure see
94 In his own slave as vile a wretch as he;
95 In his luxurious lord the servant find
96 His own low pleasures and degenerate mind:
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97 And each in all the kindred vices trace,
98 Of a poor, blind, bewilder'd, erring race,
99 Who, a short time in varied fortune past,
100 Die, and are equal in the dust at last.
101 And you, ye Poor, who still lament your fate,
102 Forbear to envy those you call the Great;
103 And know, amid those blessings they possess,
104 They are, like you, the victims of distress;
105 While Sloth with many a pang torments her slave,
106 Fear waits on guilt, and Danger shakes the brave.
107 Oh! if in life one noble chief appears,
108 Great in his name, while blooming in his years;
109 Born to enjoy whate'er delights mankind,
110 And yet to all you feel or fear resign'd;
111 Who gave up joys and hopes to you unknown,
112 For pains and dangers greater than your own:
113 If such there be, then let your murmurs cease,
114 Think, think of him, and take your lot in peace.
115 And such there was: Oh! grief, that cheeks our pride,
116 Weeping we say there was, for Manners died:
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117 Beloved of Heaven, these humble lines forgive,
118 That sing of Thee, and thus aspire to live.
119 As the tall oak, whose vigorous branches form
120 An ample shade and brave the wildest storm,
121 High o'er the subject wood is seen to grow,
122 The guard and glory of the trees below;
123 Till on its head the fiery bolt descends,
124 And o'er the plain the shatter'd trunk extends;
125 Yet then it lies, all wond'rous as before,
126 And still the glory, though the guard no more:
127 So thou, when every virtue, every grace,
128 Rose in thy soul, or shone within thy face;
129 When, though the son of Granby, thou wert known
130 Less by thy father's glory than thy own;
131 When Honour loved and gave thee every charm,
132 Fire to thy eye and vigour to thy arm;
133 Then from our lofty hopes and longing eyes,
134 Fate and thy virtues call'd thee to the skies;
135 Yet still we wonder at thy tow'ring fame,
136 And, losing thee, still dwell upon thy name.
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137 Oh! ever honour'd, ever valued! say,
138 What verse can praise thee, or what work repay?
139 Yet verse (in all we can) thy worth repays,
140 Nor trusts the tardy zeal of future days;
141 Honours for thee thy country shall prepare,
142 Thee in their hearts, the good, the brave shall bear;
143 To deeds like thine shall noblest chiefs aspire,
144 The Muse shall mourn thee, and the world admire.
145 In future times, when smit with Glory's charms,
146 The untried youth first quits a father's arms;
147 "Oh! be like him," the weeping sire shall say;
148 "Like Manners walk, who walk'd in Honour's way;
149 " In danger foremost, yet in death sedate,
150 "Oh! be like him in all things, but his fate!"
151 If for that fate such public tears be shed,
152 That Victory seems to die now thou art dead;
153 How shall a friend his nearer hope resign,
154 That friend a brother, and whose soul was thine?
155 By what bold lines shall we his grief express,
156 Or by what soothing numbers make it less?
157 'T is not, I know, the chiming of a song,
158 Nor all the powers that to the Muse belong,
159 Words aptly cull'd, and meanings well express'd,
160 Can calm the sorrows of a wounded breast;
161 But Virtue, soother of the fiercest pains,
162 Shall heal that bosom, Rutland, where she reigns.
163 Yet hard the task to heal the bleeding heart,
164 To bid the still-recurring thoughts depart,
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165 Tame the fierce grief and stem the rising sigh,
166 And curb rebellious passion, with reply;
167 Calmly to dwell on all that pleased before,
168 And yet to know that all shall please no more;
169 Oh! glorious labour of the soul, to save
170 Her captive powers, and bravely mourn the brave
171 To such these thoughts will lasting comfort give
172 Life is not measured by the time we live:
173 'Tis not an even course of threescore years,
174 A life of narrow views and paltry fears,
175 Grey hairs and wrinkles and the cares they bring,
176 That take from Death the terrors or the sting;
177 But 'tis the gen'rous spirit, mounting high
178 Above the world, that native of the sky;
179 The noble spirit, that, in dangers brave,
180 Calmly looks on, or looks beyond the grave:
181 Such Manners was, so he resign'd his breath,
182 If in a glorious, then a timely death.
183 Cease then that grief, and let those tears subside;
184 If Passion rule us, be that passion pride;
185 If Reason, reason bids us strive to raise
186 Our fallen hearts, and be like him we praise;
187 Or if Affection still the soul subdue,
188 Bring all his virtues, all his worth in view,
189 And let Affection find its comfort too:
190 For how can Grief so deeply wound the heart,
191 When Admiration claims so large a part?
192 Grief is a foe expel him then thy soul;
193 Let nobler thoughts the nearer views control!
194 Oh! make the age to come thy better care,
195 See other Rutlands, other Granbys there!
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196 And, as thy thoughts through streaming ages glide,
197 See other heroes die as Manners died:
198 And from their fate, thy race shall nobler grow
199 As trees shoot upwards that are pruned below;
200 Or as old Thames, borne down with decent pride,
201 Sees his young streams run warbling at his side;
202 Though some, by art cut off, no longer run,
203 And some are lost beneath the summer sun
204 Yet the pure stream moves on, and, as it moves,
205 Its power increases and its use improves;
206 While plenty round its spacious waves bestow,
207 Still it flows on, and shall for ever flow.


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(Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Dunston B 650 (2)].)



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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): THE VILLAGE. IN TWO BOOKS.
Author: George Crabbe
Themes: corruption; rural life; poverty
Genres: narrative verse

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Source edition

Crabbe, George, 1754-1832. The Poetical Works of the Rev. George Crabbe: with his letters and journals, and his life, by his son. In eight volumes. Vol. II. [poems only] London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. MDCCCXXXVIII., 1838, pp. 71-99. 8 volumes. (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Dunston B 650 (2)].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Secondary literature

  • Chaden, Caryn. Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village, and George Crabbe, The Village. Gerrard, Christine, ed. A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Poetry. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006. 303-315. Print.