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ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed, The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care ; No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share. Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke ; How jocund did they drive their team a-field !
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! 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 aisle and fretted vault,
The peeling anthem swells the note of praise. Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of death? Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre.
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unrol;
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood. Th' applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyesTheir lot forbade; nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined ; Forbade to wade through slaughter 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 Muses' flame. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray ; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unlettered Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply; And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die. For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing, anxious being e'er resign'd, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind?
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires; Even from the tomb the voice of nature cries;
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate, If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
“Oft bave we seen him at the peep of dawn, Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
That wreathes its old fantastic root so high,
the brook that babbles by. Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies, he would rove; Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.
One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd 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 churchway-path we saw him borne: Approach, and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”
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 marked 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 gained 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.
Born A.D. 1720, died A.D. 1756.
Ode to Evening.
Like thy own brawling springs,
Thy springs, and dying gales ;
With brede ethereal wove,
O'erhang his wavy bed :
Or where the beetle winds
His small but sullen horn,
Now teach me, maid composed,
To breathe some soften'd strain,
As, musing slow, I hail
ODE TO EVENING.
For when thy folding-star arising shews
The fragrant Hours, and Elves
And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge,
The pensive pleasures sweet,
Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene;
Whose walls more awful nod
By thy religious gleams.
That, from the mountain's side,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires,
Thy dewy fingers draw
While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,
While Summer loves to sport
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Affrights thy shrinking train,
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Thy gentlest influence own,