Don Juan By Lord Byron Canto VIII

The town was enter'd. Oh eternity!-
  'God made the country and man made the town,'
So Cowper says — and I begin to be
  Of his opinion, when I see cast down
Rome, Babylon, Tyre, Carthage, Nineveh,
  All walls men know, and many never known;
And pondering on the present and the past,
To deem the woods shall be our home at last

Of all men, saving Sylla the man-slayer,
  Who passes for in life and death most lucky,
Of the great names which in our faces stare,
  The General Boon, back-woodsman of Kentucky,
Was happiest amongst mortals anywhere;
  For killing nothing but a bear or buck, he
Enjoy'd the lonely, vigorous, harmless days
Of his old age in wilds of deepest maze.

Crime came not near him — she is not the child
  Of solitude; Health shrank not from him — for
Her home is in the rarely trodden wild,
  Where if men seek her not, and death be more
Their choice than life, forgive them, as beguiled
  By habit to what their own hearts abhor —
In cities caged. The present case in point I
Cite is, that Boon lived hunting up to ninety;

And what 's still stranger, left behind a name
  For which men vainly decimate the throng,
Not only famous, but of that good fame,
  Without which glory 's but a tavern song —
Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame,
  Which hate nor envy e'er could tinge with wrong;
An active hermit, even in age the child
Of Nature, or the man of Ross run wild.

'T is true he shrank from men even of his nation,
  When they built up unto his darling trees, —
He moved some hundred miles off, for a station
  Where there were fewer houses and more ease;
The inconvenience of civilisation
  Is, that you neither can be pleased nor please;
But where he met the individual man,
He show'd himself as kind as mortal can.

He was not all alone: around him grew
  A sylvan tribe of children of the chase,
Whose young, unwaken'd world was ever new,
  Nor sword nor sorrow yet had left a trace
On her unwrinkled brow, nor could you view
  A frown on Nature's or on human face;
The free-born forest found and kept them free,
And fresh as is a torrent or a tree.

And tall, and strong, and swift of foot were they,
  Beyond the dwarfing city's pale abortions,
Because their thoughts had never been the prey
  Of care or gain: the green woods were their portions;
No sinking spirits told them they grew grey,
  No fashion made them apes of her distortions;
Simple they were, not savage; and their rifles,
Though very true, were not yet used for trifles.

Motion was in their days, rest in their slumbers,
  And cheerfulness the handmaid of their toil;
Nor yet too many nor too few their numbers;
  Corruption could not make their hearts her soil;
The lust which stings, the splendour which encumbers,
  With the free foresters divide no spoil;
Serene, not sullen, were the solitudes
Of this unsighing people of the woods.

So much for Nature: — by way of variety,
  Now back to thy great joys, Civilisation!
And the sweet consequence of large society,
  War, pestilence, the despot's desolation,
The kingly scourge, the lust of notoriety,
  The millions slain by soldiers for their ration,
The scenes like Catherine's boudoir at threescore,
With Ismail's storm to soften it the more.

The town was enter'd: first one column made
  Its sanguinary way good — then another;
The reeking bayonet and the flashing blade
  Clash'd 'gainst the scimitar, and babe and mother
With distant shrieks were heard Heaven to upbraid:
  Still closer sulphury clouds began to smother
The breath of morn and man, where foot by foot
The madden'd Turks their city still dispute.

Koutousow, he who afterward beat back
  (With some assistance from the frost and snow)
Napoleon on his bold and bloody track,
  It happen'd was himself beat back just now;
He was a jolly fellow, and could crack
  His jest alike in face of friend or foe,
Though life, and death, and victory were at stake;
But here it seem'd his jokes had ceased to take:

For having thrown himself into a ditch,
  Follow'd in haste by various grenadiers,
Whose blood the puddle greatly did enrich,
  He climb'd to where the parapet appears;
But there his project reach'd its utmost pitch
  ('Mongst other deaths the General Ribaupierre's
Was much regretted), for the Moslem men
Threw them all down into the ditch again.

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