“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, Here, as with doubtful, pensive steps I range, Trace every scene, and wonder at the change, 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 shared 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.”
this slowly unravels veshches like:
Goldsmith was inherently against the consumer society England was becoming in response to is expansion. Products like coffee, tea, sugar, and opium became normalized and everybody used it. Englishmen were becoming tightened with materialistic objects and the townsfolk was demanding more.
“tangle” reflects obstacles, his impossibility to fix things in the country. “Ruined grounds” refers to England; all this imagery gives the reader a sense of nostalgia. He, as a poet knows that society is walking a mistaken route but he also knows its inevitable. People had an egoistic attitude and sentiments like pity was no longer part of their system: “To pamper luxury, and thin mankind;” (Goldsmith frg). Women were often not treated just, animals were annihilated, forests were disappearing because a lot of wood had to be processed each winter, and all this was performed swiftly because it was giving input to English businessmen. The charms of simple life were being forgotten and Goldsmith tries to expose that living simply is matter-of-factly better to achieve happiness. That all consumption England was partaking was leading nowhere because people were constantly wanting for more. He wants people to go back to the pastoral life where you produce your own food and where you have a work-pleasure balance. Ergo, the poet was obsessed with the Georgic life-style where working the land is a way of being connected with it, for he doesn’t destroy the land but lives with it. This is the only way people can have a notion of benevolence and philanthropy again. But to return to this simplistic lifestyle is hard now that we are so used to enclose the land and do gigantic agribusiness instead. This is clear when the author states:
“A time there was, ere England’s griefs began. When every rood of ground maintained its man; For him light labour spread her wholesome store, Just gave what life required, but gave no more. His best companions, innocence and health; And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.”
Goldsmith proposes a perfect balance with working and enjoying the work results. This contrasts the English lifestyle of the 18-century where some work 24 hours in a factory and others recline all day and night.