Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHANGES OF HOME, by JOHN LEYDEN

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CHANGES OF HOME, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: As every prospect opens on my view
Last Line: To find the virtues here beloved in vain.
Subject(s): Scotland

As every prospect opens on my view,
I seem'd to live departed years anew;
When in these wilds a jocund, sportive child,
Each flower self-sown my heedless hours beguiled;
The wabret leaf, that by the pathway grew,
The wild-briar rose, of pale and blushful hue,
The thistle's rolling wheel, of silken down,
The blue-bell, or the daisy's pearly crown,
The gaudy butterfly, in wanton round,
That, like a living pea-flower, skimm'd the ground!
Again I view each rude romantic glade,
Where once with tiny steps my childhood stray'd
To watch the foam-bell of the bubbling brook,
Or mark the motions of the clamorous rook,
Who saw her nest, close thatch'd with ceaseless toil,
At summer eve become the woodman's spoil!
Green down ascending drink the moorish rills,
And yellow corn-fields crown the heathless hills,
Where to the breeze the shrill brown linnet sings,
And prunes with frequent bill his russet wings.
High and more high the shepherds drive their flocks,
And climb with timid step the hoary rocks;
From cliff to cliff the ruffling breezes sigh,
Where idly on the sun-beat steeps they lie,
And wonder, that the vale no more displays
The pastoral scenes that pleased their early days.
No more the cottage roof, fern-thatch'd and gray,
Invites the weary traveller from the way,
To rest, and taste the peasant's simple cheer,
Repaid by news and tales he loved to hear;
The clay-built wall, with woodbine twisted o'er,
The house-leek clustering green above the door,
While through the sheltering elms, that round them grew,
The winding smoke arose in columns blue; --
These all have fled; and from their hamlets brown
The swains have gone, to sicken in the town,
To pine in crowded streets, or ply the loom;
For splendid halls deny the cottage room.
Yet on the neighbouring heights they oft convene,
With fond regret to view each former scene,
The level meads, where infants wont to play
Around their mothers, as they piled the hay,
The hawthorn hedge-row, and the hanging wood,
Beneath whose boughs their humble cottage stood.
Gone are the peasants from the humble shed,
And with them too the humble virtues fled.
No more the farmer, on these fertile plains,
Is held the father of the meaner swains,
Partakes, as he directs, the reaper's toil,
Or with his shining share divides the soil,
Or in his hall, when winter nights are long,
Joins in the burden of the damsel's song,
Repeats the tales of old heroic times,
While Bruce and Wallace consecrate the rhymes.
These all are fled -- and, in the farmer's place,
Of prouder look, advance a dubious race,
That ape the pride of rank with awkward state
The vice, but not the polish of the great,
Flaunt, like the poppy mid the ripening grain,
A nauseous weed, that poisons all the plain.
The neasant. once a friend a friend no more,
Cringes, a slave, before the master's door:
Or else, too proud where once he loved to fawn,
For distant climes deserts his native lawn,
And fondly hopes beyond the western main
To find the virtues here beloved in vain.

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