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HE curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind flowly o'er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
a Dr. Johnson observes, that this Elegy abounds with images which find a mirrour'in
mind, and with sentiments to which every bosom VOL. IV.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient, solitary reign.,
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
returns an echo. The four stanzas beginning, Yet evin these bones are, says he, original : I have never seen the sentiments in any other place ; yet he that reads them here, persuades himself that he has always felt them.
[quilla di lontano
Che paia 'l giorno pianger, che si muore.
Dante Purg. 1. 8. G.
For them to more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
No children run to lisp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their fickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy Itroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye Proud, impute to These the fault,
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn ifle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem fwells the note of praise.
Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its manfion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the filent duft,
Or Flatt'ry footh the dull cold ear of Death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart, once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have fway'd,
Or wak'd to extafy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of Time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
many a gem, of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little Tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
Th’applause of liftning fenates to command,
The threats of pain and main to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hilt'ry in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbad: nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbad to wade through flaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
c Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their fober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool fequefter'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
c The thoughtless world to Majesty may bow,
Exalt the brave, and idolize fuccess;
But more to innocence their safety owe,
Than Pow'r or Genius e'er conspir’d to bless.
And thou, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead,
Dott in these notes their artless tale relate,
By night and lonely contemplation led
To wander in the gloomy walks of fate :
Hark! how the sacred Calm, that breathes around,
fierce tumultuous paflion cease;
In ftill small accents whispering from the ground
A grateful earnest of eternal peace.
No more, with reason and thyself at strife,
Give anxious cares and endless withes room;
But through the cool sequester'd vale of life
Pursue the filent tenor of thy daom. And here the Poem, says Mr. Mason, was originally intended to con clude, before the happy idea of the hoary-headed Swain, &c. suggested itself to the Author. The third of these rejected lanzas is not in. ferior to any in the whole Elegy.