"The Loud Laugh That Spoke The Vacant Mind"
Context: In the happier days of Auburn, the village of the poem, the people lived wholesomely, gaining from their labor only what life required. The countryman's best companions were "innocence and health; / And his best riches, ignorance of wealth./ But times are alter'd; trade's unfeeling train/ Usurp the land and dispossess the swain." The poet then moves on to a recollection of the happy sounds of evening in those earlier days:
The mingling notes came soften'd from below;The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,The sober herd that low'd to meet their young;The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,The playful children just let loose from school;The watchdog's voice that bay'd the whisp'ring wind,And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.