chapter
11 Pages

Rural Society

Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village (2770), lines 3S, 64, 265-823 303-8

Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn; Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen And desolation saddens all thy green.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 . . . And trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, Far, far away, thy children leave the land . . . Where then, ah! where shall poverty reside To 'scape the pressure of continuous pride ? If to some common's fenceless limits strayed, He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade, Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide, And e'en the bare-worn common is denied. Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay, 'Tis yours to judge how wide the limits stand Between a splendid and happy 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 destroyed, can never be supplied.