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THE EPITAPH [45].

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth

A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown: Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,

And melancholy mark'd him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,

Heav'n did a recompence as largely send : He gave to Mis’ry all he had, a tear, He gain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he wish’d) a

friend.

[45] Before the Epitaph, Mr. Gray originally inserted a very beautiful stanza, which was printed in some of the first editions, but afterwards omitted, because he thought that it was too long a parenthesis in this place. The lines however are, in themselves, exquisitely fine, and demand preservation.

There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year,
By hands unseen are show'rs of violets found?
The redbreast loves to build and warble there,
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.

To some readers they may appear to be a pretty close imitation of the following in Collins's « Dirge in Cymbeline :"

16 The female fays shall haunt the green,
66 And dress thy grave with pearly dew;

No farther 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 [46].

“ The redbreast oft, at evening hours,
“ Shall kindly lend his little aid,
“ With hoary moss and gather'd flow’rs,
“ To deck the ground where thou art laid.”

[46] Of this Elegy Dr. Johnson (who has depriciated Mr. Gray as much as possible for his poetry in ge. neral) says, 'it “ abounds with images which find a “ mirror in every mind, and with sentiments to which “every bosom returns an echo. The four stanzas be“ ginning, · Yet even these bones,' are to me original: “ I have never seen the notions in any other place; « yet he that reads them here persuades himself that 6 he has always felt them. Had Gray written often “ thus, it had been vain to blame, and useless to praise K him."

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