The Traveller; Or, A Prospect Of Society (excerpt) Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


But where to find that happiest spot belowB
Who can direct when all pretend to knowB
The shudd'ring tenant of the frigid zoneC
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his ownC
Extols the treasures of his stormy seasD
And his long nights of revelry and easeD
The naked negro panting at the lineE
Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wineE
Basks in the glare or stems the tepid waveF
And thanks his gods for all the good they gaveF
Such is the patriot's boast where'er we roamG
His first best country ever is at homeG
And yet perhaps if countries we compareH
And estimate the blessings which they shareH
Tho' patriots flatter still shall wisdom findI
An equal portion dealt to all mankindI
As different good by Art or Nature givenJ
To different nations makes their blessings evenK
Nature a mother kind alike to allL
Still grants her bliss at Labour's earnest callL
With food as well the peasant is suppliedM
On Idra's cliffs as Arno's shelvy sideM
And though the rocky crested summits frownN
These rocks by custom turn to beds of downN
From Art more various are the blessings sentO
Wealth commerce honour liberty contentO
Yet these each other's power so strong contestP
That either seems destructive of the restP
Where wealth and freedom reign contentment failsQ
And honour sinks where commerce long prevailsQ
Hence every state to one lov'd blessing proneC
Conforms and models life to that aloneC
Each to the favourite happiness attendsR
And spurns the plan that aims at other endsR
Till carried to excess in each domainS
This favourite good begets peculiar painS
But let us try these truths with closer eyesT
And trace them through the prospect as it liesT
Here for a while my proper cares resign'dI
Here let me sit in sorrow for mankindI
Like yon neglected shrub at random castU
That shades the steep and sighs at every blastU
Far to the right where Apennine ascendsR
Bright as the summer Italy extendsR
Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's sideM
Woods over woods in gay theatric prideM
While oft some temple's mould'ring tops betweenV
With venerable grandeur mark the sceneV
Could Nature's bounty satisfy the breastP
The sons of Italy were surely blestP
Whatever fruits in different climes are foundW
That proudly rise or humbly court the groundW
Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appearX
Whose bright succession descks the varied yearX
Whatever sweets salute the northern skyY
With vernal lives that blossom but to dieY
These here disporting own the kindred soilZ
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toilZ
While sea born gales their gelid wings expandA2
To winnow fragance round the smiling landA2
But small the bliss that sense alone bestowsB2
And sensual bliss is all the nation knowsB2
In florid beauty groves and fields appearX
Man seems the only growth that dwindles hereC2
Contrasted faults through all his manners reignS
Though poor luxurious though submissive vainS
Though grave yet trifling zealous yet untrueD2
And e'en in penance planning sins anewD2
All evils here contaminate the mindI
That opulence departed leaves behindI
For wealth was theirs not far removed the dateE2
When commerce proudly flourish'd through the stateE2
At her command the palace learnt to riseT
Again the long fall'n column sought the skiesT
The canvas glow'd beyond e'en nature warmF2
The pregnant quarry teem'd with human formF2
Till more unsteady than the southern galeG2
Commerce on other shores display'd her sailG2
While nought remain'd of all that riches gaveF
But towns unmann'd and lords without a slaveF
And late the nation found with fruitless skillH2
Its former strength was but plethoric illH2
Yet still the loss of wealth is here suppliedM
By arts the splendid wrecks of former prideM
For these the feeble heart and long fall'n mindI
An easy compensation seem to findI
Here may be seen in bloodless pomp array'dI2
The pasteboard triumph and the cavalcadeI2
Processions form'd for piety and loveJ2
A mistress or a saint in every groveK2
By sports like these are all their cares beguil'dL2
The sports of children satisfy the childL2
Each nobler aim repress'd by long controlM2
Now sinks at last or feebly mans the soulM2
While low delights succeeding fast behindI
In happier meanness occupy the mindI
As in those domes where Caesars once bore swayN2
Defac'd by time and tott'ring in decayN2
There in the ruin heedless of the deadO2
The shelter seeking peasant builds his shedO2
And wond'ring man could want the larger pileP2
Exults and owns his cottage with a smileP2

Oliver Goldsmith


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