Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
 
Poems of Home: V. The Home
The Swiss Peasant
Oliver Goldsmith (1730–1774)
 
From “The Traveller

                        TURN me to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display,
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
And force a churlish soil for scanty bread:
No product here the barren hills afford        5
But man and steel, the soldier and his sword;
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
But winter lingering chills the lap of May;
No zephyr fondly sues the mountain’s breast,
But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.        10
 
  Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm,
Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
Though poor the peasant’s hut, his feast though small,
He sees his little lot the lot of all;
Sees no contiguous palace rear its head,        15
To shame the meanness of his humble shed;
No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal
To make him loathe his vegetable meal;
But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil.        20
Cheerful at morn he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his venturous ploughshare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,        25
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, every labor sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed;
Smiles by a cheerful fire, and round surveys
His children’s looks that brighten to the blaze,        30
While his loved partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays her cleanly platter on the board;
And haply too some pilgrim, thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.
 
  Thus every good his native wilds impart,        35
Imprints the patriot lesson on his heart;
And e’en those ills that round his mansion rise,
Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies.
Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,
And dear that hill that lifts him to the storms;        40
And as a child, when scaring sounds molest,
Clings close and closer to the mother’s breast,
So the loud torrent and the whirlwind’s roar
But bind him to his native mountains more.
 
 
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