Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V. 1876–79.


Sweet Auburn

By Oliver Goldsmith (1730–1774)

(From 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,

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,

The never-failing brook, the busy mill,

The decent church that topt the neighboring hill,

The hawthorn-bush, with seats beneath the shade,

For talking age and whispering lovers made!

How often have I blest the coming day,

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;

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

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:

These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like these,

In 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 Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,

Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant’s power.

Here, as I take my solitary rounds

Amidst thy tangling walks and ruined 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 wanderings 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,

And keep the flame from wasting by repose:

I still had hopes—for pride attends us still—

Amidst the swains to show my book-learned 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.