Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
Extracts from The Borough: Strolling Players
By George Crabbe (1754–1832)
 
[From Letter xii.]

  SAD happy race! Soon raised and soon depressed,
Your days all passed in jeopardy and jest;
Poor without prudence, with afflictions vain,
Not warned by misery, not enriched by gain:
Whom justice, pitying, chides from place to place,        5
A wandering, careless, wretched, merry race,
Who cheerful looks assume, and play the parts
Of happy rovers with repining hearts;
Then cast off care, and, in the mimic pain
Of tragic woe, feel spirits light and vain,        10
Distress and hope—the mind’s, the body’s, wear,
The man’s affliction and the actor’s tear:
Alternate times of fasting and excess
Are yours, ye smiling children of distress.
  Slaves though ye be, your wandering freedom seems,        15
And with your varying views and restless schemes,
Your griefs are transient, as your joys are dreams.
 
 
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