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Say, can they taste the flavour high
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 pangs of Passion free,
Of rugged Penury.
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.
A PASSAGE FROM STATIUS.
[This was made by Mr. Gray while at Cambridge in the Year 1736, and
at the age of 20.-It has place here as a curiosity; Mr. Mason having expressed his belief that it was Gray's first attempt in English Verse.]
I HIRD in the labours of the Disc came on, With sturdy step and slow, Hippomedon; Artful and strong he pois'd the well-known)
weight, By Phlegyas warn’d, and fir’d by Mnestheus' fate, That to avoid, and this to emulate. His vigorous arm he try'd before he flung,.. Brac'd all his nerves, and every sinew strung; Then with a tempest's whirl, and wary eye, Pursu'd his cast, and hurl'd the orb on high; The orb on high tenacious of its course, True to the mighty arm that gave it force, Far overleaps all bound, and joys to see Its ancient lord secure of victory.
The theatre's green height and woody wall
Cambridge, May 8, 1736.
[This was sent by Mr. Gray to his friend West, with a reference to the
following passage in Sandys's Travels : “West of Cicero's Villa stands « the eminent Gaurus, a stony and desolate mountain, in which there « are diverse obscure caverns, choaked almost with earth, where « many have consumed much fruitless industry in searching for “ treasure. The famous Lucrine Lake extended formerly from " Avernus to the aforesaid Gaurus: But is now no other than a little « sedgy plash, choaked up by the horrible and astonishing eruption “ of the new mountain; whereof, as oft as I think, I am easy to cre« dit whatsoever is wonderful. For who here knows not, or who “ elsewhere will believe, that a mountain should arise, (partly out of “ a lake and partly out of the sea) in one day and a night, unto such
a height as to contend in altitude with the high mountains adjoin“ ing? In the year of our Lord 1538, on the 29th of September, when “ for certain days foregoing the country hereabout was so vexed “ with perpetual earthquakes, as no one house was left so entire as << not to expect an immediate ruin; after that the sea had retired 6 two hundred paces from the shore, (leaving abundance of fish, and « springs of fresh water rising in the bottom) this mountain visibly « ascended, about the second hour of the night, with an hideous « roaring, horribly vomiting stones and such store of cinders as over“ whelmed all the building thereabout, and the salubrious baths of « Tripergula, for so many ages celebrated; consumed the vines to
ashes, killing birds and beasts: the fearful inhabitants of Puzzol “ flying through the dark with their wives and children; naked, de6 filed, crying out, and detesting their calamities. Manifold mis“ chiefs have they suffered by the barbarous, yet none like this which “ Nature inflicted. This new mountain, when newly raised, had “ a number of issues; at some of them smoking and sometimes “ flaming; at others disgorging rivulets of hot waters; keeping