LETTER to a FRIEND on leaving TOWN.
1 Gladly I leave the town, and all its care,
2 For sweet retirement, and fresh wholsome air,
3 Leave op'ra, park, the masquerade, and play,
4 In solitary groves to pass the day.
5 Adieu, gay throng, luxurious vain parade,
6 Sweet peace invites me to the rural shade,
7 No more the Mall, can captivate my heart,
8 No more can Ranelagh, one joy impart.[Page 80]
9 Without regret I leave the splendid ball,
10 And the inchanting shades of gay Vauxhall,
11 Far from the giddy circle now I fly,
12 Such joys no more, can please my sicken'd eye.
13 The town's alluring scenes no more can charm,
14 Nor dissipation my fond breast alarm;
15 Where vice and folly has each bosom fir'd,
16 And what is most absurd, — is most admir'd.
17 Alas! what diff'rence 'twixt the town bred fair,
18 And the blith maid who breaths the purer air.
19 Whose life is innocent, whose thoughts are clear,
20 Whose soul is gentle, and whose heart sincere.
21 Bless'd with her swain, she wants no greater joy,
22 Nor fears inconstancy, her bliss can cloy,
23 No anxious fears invade her tranquil breast,
24 The peaceful mansion of content and rest.[Page 81]
25 But rich in every virtue, void of art,
26 She feels those joys, truth only can impart.
27 View the gay courtly dame, and mark her face,
28 Where art supply's fair nature's nobler place,
29 Luxurious pleasures, all her days divide,
30 And fashion taints, bright beauty's greatest pride.
31 Each action has its fixt and settled rule,
32 Eyes, limbs, and features, are all put to school.
33 Beaux without number, daily round her swarm,
34 And each with fulsome flatt'ry try's to charm.
35 Till, like the rose, which blooms but for an hour,
36 Her face grown common, loses all its power.
37 Each idle coxcomb leaves the wretched fair,
38 Alone to languish, and alone despair,
39 To cards, and dice, the slighted maiden flies,
40 And every fashionable vice apply's,[Page 82]
41 Scandal and coffee, pass the morn away,
42 At night a rout, an opera, or a play;
43 Thus glide their life, partly through inclination,
44 Yet more, because it is the reigning fashion.
45 Thus giddy pleasures they alone pursue,
46 Merely because, they've nothing else to do;
47 Whatever can afford their hearts delight,
48 No matter if the thing be wrong, or right;
49 They will pursue it, tho' they be undone,
50 They see their ruin, — still they venture on.
51 Prudence they hate, grave wisdom they despise,
52 And laugh at those who teach them to be wise.
53 Pleas'd they embark upon the dangerous tide,
54 And with the fashionable current glide;
55 Till fate has every wish and purpose cross'd,
56 Their health, their beauty, and their fortune loss'd:[Page 83]
57 No art their wanted youth can then repair,
58 Abandon'd to remorse, and keen despair,
59 Repentant sighs, their wretched bosom wound,
60 And happiness, alas! no more is found.
61 In some sequester'd shade alone they stray,
62 And pensive waste, the solitary day.
63 Till fate relieves the wretched maid from grief,
64 And death affords, a long and last relief.
65 These are the follies that engage the mind,
66 And taint the principles, of half mankind,
67 Then wonder not my friend, that I can leave,
68 Those transcient pleasures, only born to grieve.
69 Those short-liv'd shadows of a fleeting day,
70 Those idle customs of the rich and gay.
71 Henceforth, retirement, is my chosen seat,
72 Far from the insolent, the vain, the great.[Page 84]
73 Sweet solitude, ah! welcome to my breast,
74 And with thee welcome, sweet content, and rest;
75 Farewell ambition, source of every pain,
76 Farewell pale malice, and thy hateful train:
77 Farewell black calumny, no more thy dart,
78 Shall force one sigh, or wound my placid heart.
79 My future days, shall with sweet peace abound,
80 By friendship, virtue, and experience crown'd.