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To each his suff'rings : all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
The tender for another's pain,
Th’ unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! Why should they know their fate?
Since Sorrow never comes too late,
And Happiness too swiftly flies:
Thought would destroy their Paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
"Tis folly to be wise.
ELEGY, WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herds wind slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimm’ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-inantled tow'r,
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
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.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her ev'ning 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 afield !
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 Pow'r,
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 Mem'ry o'er their tombs no trophies raise,
Where through the long drawn aisle, and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise,
Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to it's mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry sooth 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 sway'd,
Or wak'd to ecstasy 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.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear :
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
And waste it's 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 list’ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist’ry in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbade : nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin’d;
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 Muse's 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 tenour of their way.
Yet ev'n 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.
For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines theis artless tale relate;
Il-chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,
Haply some hoary-headed swain inay say,
• Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
Brushing with hasty steps the dew away,
“ To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
“ There at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
“ That wreathes it's old fantastic roots so high,
“ His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
“ And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.
“ Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove; “ Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn, “ Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love. “ One morn, I miss'd him on th' accustom’d hill, “ Along the heath, and near his fav’rite 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 can'st read) the lay, “ Gravd 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 mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send :
He gave to Misry all he had, a tear ;
He gain'd from Heav’n, 'twas all he wish'd, a friendi
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. GRAY.
MARK where it's simple front yon mansion rears,
The nursery of men for future years !
Here callow chiefs and embryo statesmen lie,
And unfledg’d poets short excursions try;
While Mersey's gentle current, which too long
By fame neglected, and unknown to song,
Between his rushy banks (no poet's theme)
Had crept inglorious, like a vulgar stream,
Reflects th' ascending seats with conscious pride,
And dares to emulate a classic tide.
Soft music breathes along each op'ning shade,
And sooths the dashing of his rough cascade.
With niystic lines his sands are figur'd o'er,
And circles trac'd upon the letter'd shore.
Beneath his willows rove th' inquiring youth,
And court the fair majestic form of truth.
Here Nature opens all her secret springs,
And Heav'n-born Science plumes her eagle wings;
Too long had bigot Rage, with malice swelld,
Crush'd her strong pinions, and her flight withheld;
Too long to check her ardent progress strove :
So writhes the serpent round the bird of Jove,
Hangs on her flight, restrains her tow'ring wing,
Twists it's dark folds, and points it's venom'd sting.
Yet still, if aught aright the Muse divine,
Her rising pride shall mock the vain design ;
On sounding pinions yet aloft shall soar,
And through the azure deep untravell’d paths explore.
Where Science smiles, the Muses join the train,
And gentlest arts and purest manners reign.
Ye gen'rous Youth, who love this studious shade,
How rich a field is to your hopes display'd!
Knowledge to you unlocks the classic page,
And virtue blossoms for a better age.
O, golden days! O, bright unvalued hours !
What bliss (did ye but know that bliss) were yours !