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ODE

ON THE PLEASURE ARISING FRON

VICISSITUDE.

[Left unfinished by Mr. Gray. With additions, in

Italics, by the late Rev. Mr. Mason.]

NOW the golden Morn aloft

Waves her dew-bespangled wing,
With vermil cheek and whisper soft

She wooes the tardy Spring :
Till April starts, and calls around
The sleeping fragrance from the ground;
And lightly o’er the living scene
Scatters his freshest, tend'rest green.
New-born flocks, in rustic dance,

Frisking ply their feeble feet;
Forgetful of their wintry trance

The birds his presence greet:
But chief, the Sky-Lark warbles high
His trembling thrilling ecstasy ;
And, lessening from the dazzled sight,
Melts into air and liquid light.

Rise, my Soul! on wings of fire,
* Rise the rapt’rous Choir among ;
Hark! 'tis Nature strikes the Lyre,

And leads the general song :
Warm let the lyric transport flow,
Warm as the ray that bids it glow;
And animates the vernal grove
With health, with harmony, and love.
Yesterday the sullen year

Saw the snowy whirlwind fly ;
Mute was the music of the air,

The herd stood drooping by :
Their raptures now that wildly flow,
No yesterday, nor morrow know;
'Tis Man alone that joy descries
With forward, and reverted eyes.
Smiles on past Misfortune's brow

Soft Reflection's hand can trace;
And o'er the cheek of Sorrow throw

A melancholy grace; While Hope prolongs our happier hour, Or deepest shades, that dimly lower And blacken round our weary.way, Gilds with a gleam of distant day.

Still, where rosy Pleasure leads,

See a kindred Grief pursue ;
Behind the steps that Misery treads

Approaching Comfort view: .
The hues of bliss more brightly glow,
Chastis'd by sabler tints of woe ;
And blended form, with artful strife,
The strength and harmony of life.

See the Wretch, that long has tost

On the thorny bed of pain,
At length repair his vigour lost,

And breathe, and walk again :
The meanest flow'ret of the vale,
The simplest note that swells the gale,
The common sun, the air, the skies,
To Him are opening Paradise.
Humble Quiet builds her cell

Near the source whence Pleasure flows;
She eyes the clear crystalline * well,

And tastes it as it goes.

* So Milton accents the word :
« On the crystalline sky, in sapphire thron’d.”

Par. Lost, Book vi, v. 772.

While far below the madding Crowd
Rush headlong to the dangerous flood,
Where broad and turbulent it sweeps,
And perisha in the boundless deeps.
Mark where Indolence, and Pride,

Sooth'd by Flattery's tinkling sound, Go, softly rolling, side by side,

Their dull, but daily round: To these, if Hebe's self should bring The purest cup from Pleasure's spiring, Say, can they taste the flavour high Of sober, simple, genuine Joy? Mark Ambition's march sublime

Up to Power's meridian height; While pale-ey'd Envy sees him climb,

And sickens at the sight. Phantoms of Danger, Death, and Dread, Float hourly round Ambition's head ; While Spleen, within his rival's breast, Sits brooding on her scorpion nest: Happier he, the Peasant, far,

From the pang: of Passion free, That breathes the keen yet wholesome air

Of rugged Penury.

He, when his morning task is done,
Can slumber in the noontide sun;
And hie him home, at evening's close,
To sweet repast, and calm repose.
He, unconscious whence the bliss,

Feels, and owns in carols rude,
That all the circling joys are his,

Of dear Vicissitude. From toil he wins his spirits light, From busy day, the peaceful night; Rich, from the very want of wealth, In Heav'n's best treasures, Peace and Health.

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