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Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learned to stray ; Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet ev'n those homes from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture
decked, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unlettered
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
This pleasing anxious being e'er resigned, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind ? On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; E'en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; If, chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate;
Iłaply, some hoary-headed swain may say,
“Oft have we seen him, at the peep of dawn, Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. “ There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by. “ Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scom,
Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove; Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love. “ One morn I miss'd him on the 'customed hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree: Another came ; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he: “ The next, with dirges due, in sad array, Slow through the church-way path we saw him
borne : Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon agèd thorn.”
A youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown :
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere ;
Heaven did a recompense as largely send : He gave to Misery all he had,-a tear; He gain'd from heaven,—'twas all he wish'd
a friend. No further seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode (There they alike in trembling hope repose),
The bosom of his Father and his God.
REV. J. H. GURNEY.
COME, list to me, and you shall hear
A tale of what befell
His name was William Tell.*
His little flock he led;
Content to earn his bread.
* WILLIAM TELL.-A celebrated Swiss patriot, who was ordered by Gesler, the Austrian Governor, to shoot an apple off his son's head, because he refused to show his submission to the Austrians by bowing to Gesler's cap which had been set on a pole. Tell did so, but it was found that he had secreted a second arrow, wherewith to shoot Gesler, if his son had been injured. Tell was greatly instrumental in delivering the Swiss from their oppressors in 1307.
REUSS. - A river in Switzerland.
Nor was the hunter's craft unknown;
In Uri * none was seen
With eye so true and keen.
A little son was in his home,
A laughing fair-haired boy ; So strong of limb, so blithe of heart,
He made it ring with joy.
His father's sheep were all his friends,
The lambs he called by name; And when they frolicked in the fields,
The child would share the game.
So peacefully their hours were spent
That life had scarce a sorrow; They took the good of every day,
And hoped for more to-morrow.
But oft some shining April morn
Is darkened in an hour; And blackest griefs o'er joyous homes,
Alas ! unseen, may lower.
Not yet on Switzerland had dawned
Her day of liberty ; The stranger's yoke was on her sons,
And pressed right heavily.
*URI.- A canton in Switzerland,
So one was sent, in luckless hour,
To rule in Austria's name;
In pomp and pride he came.
One day, in wantonness of power,
He set his cap on high :66 Bow down, ye slaves,” the order ran;
“Who disobeys shall die !”
It chanced that William Tell that morn
Had left his cottage home, And, with his little son in hand,
To Altorf* town had come.
For oft the boy had eyed the spoil
His father homeward bore,
When they should roam for more.
And often on some merry night,
When wondrous feats were told, He longed his father's bow to take,
And be a hunter bold.
So towards the Chamois' haunts they went,
One sang his childish songs,
* ALTORF. – The chief town in Uri.