Selections from Five English Poets eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 100 pages of information about Selections from Five English Poets.

[51.] A good each government bestows.  It would not be easy to mention the special good bestowed by certain governments; by that of Turkey, for instance.

[52.] Luke’s iron crown.  George Dosia, with his brother Luke, headed an unsuccessful revolt in Hungary in the sixteenth century.  George—­not Luke—­was put to death by means of a red-hot iron crown.  In the Middle Ages this punishment was sometimes employed in the case of persons who had attempted to seize the royal power.

[53.] Damiens’ bed of steel.  Robert Francois Damiens attempted to assassinate Louis XV in 1757.  Before being put to death he was cruelly tortured, but the “bed of steel” was not used.

THE DESERTED VILLAGE

  Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain;
  Where health and plenty cheered the laboring swain,
  Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
  And parting summer’s lingering blooms delayed: 
  Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease, 5
  Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
  How often have I loitered o’er thy green,
  Where humble happiness endeared each scene! 
  How often have I paused on every charm,
  The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm, 10
  The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
  The decent[1] church that topped the neighboring hill,
  The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
  For talking age and whispering lovers made! 
  How often have I blessed the coming day, 15
  When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
  And all the village train, from labor free,
  Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree,
  While many a pastime circled in the shade,
  The young contending as the old surveyed; 20
  And many a gambol frolicked o’er the ground,
  And sleights of art and feats of strength went round. 
  And still, as each repeated pleasure tired,
  Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired,
  The dancing pair that simply sought renown 25
  By holding out to tire each other down;
  The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
  While secret laughter tittered 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 even 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,[2] 35
  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[3] grasps the whole domain,
  And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain. 40

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Selections from Five English Poets from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.