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SWEET Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer'd the labouring swain,
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's lingering blooms delay'd :
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear'd each scene!
How often have I paused on every charm,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
The never failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topt the neighbouring hill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whisp’ring lovers made.
How often have I blest the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
And all the village train, from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree;
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey'd ;
And many a gambol frolick’d o'er the ground,
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round;



1 The locality of this poem is supposed to be Lissoy, near Ballymahon, where the poet's brother Henry had his living. As usual in such cases, the place afterwards became the fashionable resort of poetical pilgrims, and paid the customary penalty of furnishing relics for the curious. The hawthorn bush has been converted into snuff-boxes, and now adorns the cabinets of poetical virtuosi.-B. [See also p. 18, and Appendix to our · Life of Goldsmith,' v. i. Notwithstanding the abundance of evidence in favour of Lissoy, many think the original of Auburn is in England ; among these are Mr. Bolton Corney, Mr. Forster, and Pro. fessor Másson. -Ed.]

And still as each repeated pleasure tired,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired;
The dancing pair that simply sought renown,

By holding out to tire each other down;
The swain, mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter'd round the place ;
The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,
The matron’s glance that would those looks reprove : 30
These were thy charms, sweet village ! sports like these,
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please ;
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charms—but all these charms are fled.




Sweet, smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn!
Amidst thy bowers 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 thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But, choked with sedges, works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries :
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall;
And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away, thy children leave the land.

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay :
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade ;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroy'd, can never be supplied.

A time there was, ere England's griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintain'd its man :
For him light labour spread her wholesome store,
Just gave what life required, 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,

65 Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose, And every want to opulence allied, And every pang that folly pays to pride. These gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom, Those calm desires that ask'd but little room, Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful scene, Lived in each look, and brighten'd all the green,These, far departing, seek a kinder shore, And rural mirth and manners are no more.



Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's por
Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks and ruin'd grounds,
And, many a year elapsed, return to view ?
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew.”
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.


In all my wand'rings round this world of care,
In all my griefs—and God has given my share-
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down ;
To husband out life's taper at the close,


1 Editions one and two have “luxury.”—ED. ? At Lissoy it was believed that Goldsmith visited Ireland shortly after his return from his wanderings on the Continent, as he said he would in his letter to his brother-in-law Hodson (Dec. 27, 1757), and that part of this poem was actually written in the village. See Newell's account of his visit to Lissoy, 1811, p. 74.—ED.

3 Var.–After this was the following couplet, in the first three editions :

Here as with doubtful, pensive steps I range,

Trace every scene, and wonder at the change. 4 Var.— My anxious day to husband near the close,

And keep life’s flame, &c.-Editions one to three.


And keep the flame from wasting, by repose :
I still had hopes—for pride attends us still-
Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill,
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw;
And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return—and die at home at last.




O, blest retirement, friend to life's decline, Retreats from care that never must be mine! How happy' he who crowns, in shades like these, A youth of labour with an age


ease ;
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 the gate :
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend;
Bends to the grave with unperceived decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way;
And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
His heaven commences ere the world be past !2

Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close,
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose :
There, as I past 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 meet their young ;
The noisy geese that gabbled o’er the pool,


115 till morn;

1 “ How blest is,” in first and second editions.-ED.

2 Sir Joshua Reynolds drew the idea of his ' Resignation' from these lines. When the picture was engraved by T. Watson, the painter inscribed it to Goldsmith, saying “ This attempt to describe a character in • The Deserted Village is dedicated to Dr. Goldsmith by his sincere friend and admirer Joshua Reynolds.” The painting was in Lord Inchiquin's collection.-Ed.

The playful children just let loose from school; 120
The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whispering wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind, -
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And fill’d each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,

No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
But all the bloomy flush of life is fled!
All but yon widow'd, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring ;

130 She, wretched matron, forced in age, for bread, To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread, To pick her wintry fagot from the thorn, To seek her nightly shed, and weep She only left, of all the harmless train,

135 The sad historian of the pensive plain.

Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled, And still where many a garden flower grows wild, There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest mansion rose.

140 A man he was to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a-year : Remote from towns he ran his godly race, Nor e’er had changed, nor wish'd to change, his place; Unpractis'd he to fawn, or seek for power,

145 By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour; Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize, More skill'd to raise the wretched than to rise. His house was known to all the vagrant train, He chid their wand'rings, but relieved their pain: 150 The long remember'd beggar was his guest, Whose beard descending swept his aged breast; The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud, Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd; The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,

155 Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away, Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,


1 Var.-More bent to raise, &c.—The editions prior to the fourth.

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