The Deserted Village, an excerpt

           

            51     Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,

            52     Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:

            53     Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;

            54    A breath can make them, as a breath has made:

            55    But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,

            56    When once destroy'd, can never be supplied.

 

            57    A time there was, ere England's griefs began,

            58    When every rood of ground maintain'd its man;

            59    For him light labour spread her wholesome store,

            60    Just gave what life requir'd, but gave no more:

            61    His best companions, innocence and health;

            62   And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.

 

Oliver Goldsmith (1730?-1774)